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Installing MeSoJDM's Custom Lower Switch Panel

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by destin_meeks, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:19 PM
    #1
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks [OP] I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    As many of you know, @mesojdm makes some of the coolest mods available. One of his most recent endeavors has been custom made switch panels to replace the useless 3/5 switch panels below the radio, and the even more useless cubby switch panel to the left of the steering wheel. I opted for the 7 switch lower panel.

    I want to preface by saying this mod requires cutting apart some of your dash. it requires taking apart quite a bit of your dash.
    It was a pretty easy process, but keep these things in mind.
    I am not responsible for any damage you may cause to your vehicle. I endured a few scuffs and somehow have an extra screw that apparently didn't get put back. So be sure to pay more attention to where your screws come from.

    TOOLS NEEDED:
    Panel popper (plastic spatula or butter knife wrapped in electrical tape could suffice)
    Philips bit
    10mm wrench/driver

    That't it.

    I also want to state that all of these steps may not be required, and there may be steps you want to do that I didn't do. I do car stereo installs for a living and am better than the average joe at taking dash panels apart, and this way worked for me. Your results may vary.

    So let's get started

    First, you want to take out this screw.

    29249401_10160162115795646_5810291480365_645751c7a701981f5c58a2ef92f472540c58ad55.jpg

    Then you want to pull the radio surround off. Just grab the passenger side and the whole piece (orange in my truck) pops right off.

    29217090_10160162115800646_6704915331019_d0507bc4ad67fbb91d5477a6275ce2553ceae316.jpg

    [​IMG]

    Next, you want to pull this panel back a bit

    29216041_10160162115685646_2593170288016_e6538ca8de4dfe85c82ed99aef01f8f0dfe88a3b.jpg
    That will allow us to get the next panel off (engine start, a/c controls)
    It just pulls off as well. Disconnect all your wiring.

    29214042_10160162115655646_5708489192850_788a9f3215a89deb66e7db85a1ec4b6270352804.jpg

    Next, we're going to pull off the far right panel, and the corner panel
    29258225_10160162115650646_3317407965559_502f44eccca7146861535ec4c2d5b36aa0720394.jpg
    29261558_10160162115515646_7565393849621_2b19395b304e2555b4f1c6b312fdee25aae76355.jpg


    Now we should see some screws holding on the cloth panel

    29249928_10160162115505646_1998827583681_36f698d8554713a44f6726cc7173affa2ec97f8d.jpg

    Pull that panel off (more clips and those screws)

    Next, take off the 3 visible 10mm bolts holding on the very bottom panel. There are also some strong clips holding this as well. remove this panel, but be careful because this houses an airbag. DO NOT mess with the yellow plug going into this. set the whole piece aside as best you can, leaving it plugged in,

    Then, we're going to remove some phillips screws and remove the glove box.
    Some off to the sides, some up inside the glove box, some down below it.
    As i mentioned earlier, I ended up with an extra screw so I'm not sure how many hold this in.

    29214359_10160162115330646_4836633029228_e4d44453e6c297a103badc8ce28f6de42c6e8f2a.jpg
    29216481_10160162115460646_8853486443257_0e62f93fc45801489bfbbbae4652e322dafc17f6.jpg

    at least one down here behind the very bottom panel we just removed as well

    29261102_10160162115475646_8485988754044_8556633958b54504ae195e6d88c1b5ce7b6daa6b.jpg

    Next, we're going to remove (mostly) the center console.
    Start by pulling the e-brake, and removing the shift knob.
    To remove knob, pull straight down on the silver piece attached to the leather to detach it from the knob, then just unscrew the knob all the way off.

    Open the console and use your panel tool to start popping loose the center section (is it one solid piece from the front cup holders all the way to the front of the console box) The whole piece is just held on by clips so work your way from back to front popping it loose.

    Be sure to disconnect this wire here

    29197094_10160162115305646_2938726263086_596e7e40ab3a8e32703f5f0651be256680b1e9c8.jpg

    Next we want to remove the two 10mm bolts inside the console

    29244619_10160162115285646_7689439023199_9da1d9a0bf433b9bbb3610894e52a735b900e795.jpg

    Then release these two tabs, and slide the whole box back a few inches

    29213870_10160162115290646_3632729163597_d80cf575800751666d4dfcf566b14854f189779b.jpg

    Next we're going to take out these 3 phillips screws


    29257928_10160162115145646_2360092873376_6249a5cfce4d5a0d2e2aa0b71021b08a55219cee.jpg

    This whole piece, including the two wireless charging pad, can be taken out. Be sure to unplug the charging pad.

    29214784_10160162115140646_1867940004965_f251583ad1f6311a19f1915862a44cec3fe51ea9.jpg

    Now you want to get the 3 screws at the bottom of the switch panel
    Once again, DO NOT MESS WITH YELLOW AIRBAG WIRES

    29249410_10160162115125646_2576762589515_ba4dccec8adadaab5ddeb0420337d76890a33143.jpg

    Now, that whole panel should pop out. Disconnect the wiring, and get ready to start cutting apart your precious Tacoma

    You want to cut out ALL of the recessed plastic. Here, you can see that I got most of it, but a quick test fit showed that it all needs to be gone for the new panel to fit.

    29313862_10160162114890646_5352441265459_c71a777cf774b45389eee36ab9efec5a17b09275.jpg

    I used a multi-tool (I actually used a rounded blade on the top and bottom and the straight blade on the left and right sides) but a dremel will work, or a very fine-tooth saw I suppose. I used a new razor blade in my box cutter and it worked slowly. Just take your time and focus. Its just plastic.

    29249541_10160162114900646_2135998613304_7772a929c0b285551e715910c8ad66347a236f35.jpg

    R.I.P. 3 switch panel

    29244307_10160162114675646_7537418099631_fe2dd7e2062bb3a419115812ec012bf62781b6f2.jpg

    To attach the new panel, you can use whatever you'd like. I opted for black heavy duty hot glue. I use it for lots of stuff in the car stereo world and it holds like a champ. You could also use a two-part epoxy or possibly gorilla glue? I would lean towards something black though, just in case some shows through on the edges. I like hot glue best because 1) It's cheap and has multiple uses outside of this mod, 2) It comes in black, 3) It doesn't take 2-3 hours to dry like some 2-part epoxies.

    Keep in mind that this panel will be taking a beating. 7 switches will see some use. You want your panel to stay put.

    29213817_10160162115135646_7893238030306_b771105149ea26a3b4abc8ab5b64dda1900a86b9.jpg

    All done

    29197186_10160162114905646_5365054504219_106b2164cd4af86d6bdba9811eee8203340d9dc1.jpg

    29216263_10160162114910646_3280904496662_7a906acadf4085bbf6527710ec2ee8ec39f9e851.jpg

    While you have your truck taken apart, now is a good time to run some wire from wherever your fuses and relays are to your new switch location.

    I personally use multi-conductor speaker wire. Depending on how many switches you need, there are plenty of options. I have a single run of METRA 9-conductor 18awg from the new switch panel, across under the dash, and through the firewall to my aux fuse/relay panel under the hood. This way, I have 9 wires inside one single casing so each of my 4 new switches has a power out, (4) and I can have 1 or 2 power in (I have one constant hot, and one tied to my high beams) plus a ground wire and an illumination wire (so the switch lights turn on with your dash lights)

    That uses 8 of the existing wires, and I have 1 extra for future expansion (I will probably remove the wireless charger button if I ever need a 5th switch)

    This same technique applies to any switch panel location

    The stuff I used can be purchased in-stock at most Best Buy locations, but there are plenty of brands of speed-wire available in town and online.

    Now, go put in your new switch panel and put your truck back together. Hopefully you paid attention when taking it apart and don't have a screw leftover like I do!

    29197236_10160162115945646_3792075324664_50acdbf1ccaacef35abd46fbddaedc594efbe63a.jpg
    29250012_10160162115820646_6180399009574_f84761741f0dfeaa7401bea4814be45e1b7e674f.jpg
    29257820_10160162115865646_1455784022276_a3bf9a12a949827aad021c9b8ab30d7ff69c57ba.jpg

    If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to comment and let me know!

    And most of all, Thanks to @mesojdm for making these awesome mods in the first place!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
    siniquezu, Not_Sure, bmmjr and 12 others like this.
  2. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:21 PM
    #2
    ratcityrain

    ratcityrain Well-Known Member

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    your pictures are not displaying
     
  3. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:24 PM
    #3
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks [OP] I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    They're showing on my phone and computer. They're pretty large photos so might be taking some time to load? I'll keep an eye on it.
     
  4. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:25 PM
    #4
    ratcityrain

    ratcityrain Well-Known Member

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    on my computer they are not showing up and I have had the page open for a little while now, nor do they show on my phone using Chrome
     
  5. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:27 PM
    #5
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks [OP] I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    Ill try them from my album instead of hyperlinks
     
  6. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:38 PM
    #6
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks [OP] I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    Any better?
     
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  7. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:45 PM
    #7
    ratcityrain

    ratcityrain Well-Known Member

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    Yes, working now. Thank you
     
    destin_meeks [OP] likes this.
  8. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:46 PM
    #8
    Phoosa

    Phoosa I never saw nothing.

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  9. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:47 PM
    #9
    tonered

    tonered tacorider

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    One addition: if you want to install switches in the blanks down the road, only the center vent and HVAC panels need to be popped out. From there you can work on the back side of the switch panel.
     
    helix66, DAS Taco and 02Duck like this.
  10. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:48 PM
    #10
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks [OP] I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    Great point! Will update original post
     
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  11. Mar 15, 2018 at 2:53 PM
    #11
    ratcityrain

    ratcityrain Well-Known Member

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    Great write up. Cannot wait till I get to this and move my switches from old location to new locations
     
  12. Mar 15, 2018 at 3:13 PM
    #12
    LostHusker

    LostHusker Just one day at a time

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    Thanks


    Looks like a good write up, will check it out later.
     
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  13. Mar 16, 2018 at 7:37 AM
    #13
    ratcityrain

    ratcityrain Well-Known Member

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    Do you know by chance how many wires are connected to the usb switch? I am moving mine to left of the steering wheel once I get all of my new panels from mesojdm and I was hoping I only have to run 2 Metra speedwires from left of steering to below heater controls.
     
  14. Mar 16, 2018 at 7:53 AM
    #14
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks [OP] I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    The USB/aux should be 7 wires. I say should because the AUX portion has 3 visible wires, but the USB portion is wrapped up super tight. But USB is only 4 wires luckily.

    If I might offer a suggestion for moving that plug...
    Use cat5 or cat6 (ethernet) for the USB/aux extension. The wires are TINY and metra speedwire is way too big for that. Order a 4-6 foot ethernet cable on Amazon (or dig one out of the box your internet modem/router came in) and chop the ends off. BOOM! 8 conductor cable the perfect gauge for moving the usb/aux
     
  15. Mar 16, 2018 at 8:02 AM
    #15
    ratcityrain

    ratcityrain Well-Known Member

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    That's a good idea. I was going with Metra speedwire 'cause I wanted something near 18ga. I have a spool of cat6 wire I can use, but isn't that closer to 24ga? Also, would cat6 work for moving the cargo light switch and the power switch from left of steering wheel to below heating controls too?
     
  16. Mar 16, 2018 at 8:26 AM
    #16
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks [OP] I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    The USB/aux wiring is even thinner than 24awg after looking at it closely. So cat cable should work fine for that. All of the factory switches to the left of the wheel (cargo, rear window, inverter) look to be in the 24/22 range. I have a spool of 20awg and that is too big. But my roll of cat5 24awg seems to be a bit thin. I'm willing to bet that cat6 would be fine given that these switches are pulling very little power. But 18awg would just be so difficult to solder to 22/24. and it would look terrible.
     
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  17. Mar 16, 2018 at 8:33 AM
    #17
    tonered

    tonered tacorider

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    The USB only put out about 0.5A. It is not really meant for charging. So, just about any gauge wire will work there.
     
  18. Mar 16, 2018 at 8:35 AM
    #18
    ratcityrain

    ratcityrain Well-Known Member

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    Awesome good to know. Cat6 absolutely would be easier to work with when soldering onto the wires inside the truck and easier to run too. It never crossed my mind 'cause I thought the gauge was too small.
     
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  19. Mar 16, 2018 at 8:48 AM
    #19
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks [OP] I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    Luckily there's not a lot of high power stuff in these trucks. I would say cat6 should suffice for the factory stuff. And keep the 18awg to the aftermarket switches. 1 run of speedwire gives me enough to do 5 switches. and still have 2 seperate hot wires AND an illumination circuit.
     
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  20. Jun 29, 2018 at 5:38 PM
    #20
    Stew22

    Stew22 Well-Known Member

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    @destin_meeks what type of black hot glue did you use. I noticed there are a few and made from different material.

    Also I live in a hot climate with this stay together on a hot day with a closed up truck?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018

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