Here we go, the second obstacle that the new swaybar introduced.... WHERE TO PUT THE SWITCH!!
Omg, this was a big problem. I'm not even exaggerating either. You see, I am big on having a stock looking interior. I just have always liked the look of the factory interior. Tbh, it will probably eventually change, but there isn't any reason I can't keep the dash stock looking. I had already replaced the stock switched for the hardtop with my three switches for the air compressor and two lockers. I did that years ago. So, I needed to figure out how to add the additional switched without it looking hokey. Plus, I really wanted to put my original switches back in that ran my hardtop wiper and defrost.
Anyways, I did a lot of online searching to see what other people have done to solve this same problem. Somewhere along the way, I found someone that had removed the ashtray, and replaced it with the three switch bezel that is on the left hand side. I may have found it on this forum! I have no idea. I don't remember otherwise I would give credit.
Here is what the original dash looks like prior to my modifications:
I wanted to solve a couple of other issues while I was at this project as well, so I couldn't just dive right in. First, I have the common problem of the fan speed selector switch melting routinely. I decided to start chasing this down. It was a nightmare as well. I replaced every component of the system (new fan motor, entire switch assembly, and the other thing under the dash... can't remember what it is called) and after all new components, it still promptly melted my new switch. So then, after a bunch more research, I decided to attempt the fix that is out there where you add relays. This actually helped, but the highest setting on the switch still quit working. I've decided to leave this problem alone for the time being. It is one of my more frustrating things on this jeep. I wish the manufacturer would have a solution for their own product. I may circle back to it someday if I feel up to it. I'll say this though, fitting all that new wiring in the dash was a huge PITA.
So, another issue I wanted to resolve, is the stereo system. I will address this in much more detail in a later post, but in this one I will at least address the head unit. My old one had quit working over the years, and I just never got around to fixing it. Also, the factory speakers are woefully lacking and basically useless with the top off. So it was ready for some serious upgrades.
I decided to put in a new head unit that would give me the ability to add front and rear facing cameras, and apple carplay. It took way more research than I anticipated to find just the right setup that would meet those needs and also handle the addition of a few amps and additional speakers. But I digress, that is getting into info for another post...
After I put new head unit in, I found out right away that my antenna also no longer worked. It is amazing how many things I had let slip over the years (most of it unknowningly)! I ordered and installed a new antenna all the way out, and it worked great. That was a good feeling to get that resolved.
With my new head unit in, new antenna installed, new heating/cooling system in, I still had to fix my switch situation. I bet you're starting to see why it was such a big deal to add that switch now huh!? It just kind of forced my hand to do it all if I was going to do anything at all.
Back to the switches...
Here is the new Dash piece that I cut up to take the new switches and also handle my new head unit (also pictured below):
Cut out the sub-dash:
Here is progress photo...
New switch came in:
New Bezel to modify:
This is the mockup for the cut to allow me to marry these two pieces:
Continued in next post...