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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really don't have much use for the inclinometer in the FJ's multi-information display. Plus, it distracts me bobbing around all over the place as I drive. I've decided to yank it in favor of a digital air pressure gauge for my (yet to be installed) on board air setup, which will include one or two 200 PSI compressors from Helix Suspension.

I decided on the AZ220K gauge by Air Zenith:


The AZ220K is rated to 220 PSI, and is available with a light or dark face. I chose dark as I thought it would look more at home in the dash pod. As a bonus, it offers the option of reading battery voltage for the first minute after power-up. The gauge can be had for about $75, delivered, and comes with the sensor. Hook up is easy: a DC wire and a ground wire and two wires to the sensor.
Digital Air Gauge (Black)

What follows will be a pic by pic account of how I modified the FJ's pod and then installed the air gauge, though, admittedly, after getting about half way into it, appears to be much simpler than I would have imagined, and it would appear to be totally reversible.

I may go back and add removal pics later, but for now I'll start with a freshly removed MID pod. And I just realized I neglected to take a few other pics, which I'll try to remember to fill in when I put it all back together.

1. Remove the Multi-Information Display, AKA dash pod. (pics later)

2. Remove the white plastic cover directly on top of the pod's electronics. There are two small phillips screws that need to be removed, and then two plastic tabs that must be depressed. The cover will then lift off. (pics later)

3. Remove the bezel from the gauge pod. To do so, you must release a total of six plastic snap latches, three on the top and three on the bottom. (pics later)

4. Remove the white plastic inner bracket from the pod. There are three small phillips screws that need to be removed. There is a connector integrated in the white plastic bracket that will need to disengage from its mating connector, you you'll have to apply a bit of pressure to the back side of the white bracket, right behind the thermometer LCD panel.




5. Remove the three small phillips screws from the back of the inclinometer.




6. Pop the inclinometer out of the white bracket.






7. Remove the inclinometer lens from the bezel. This can be done very easily with a sharp-pointed soldering iron. (Don't grind or scrape them off, we're going to try to re-use them to hold the air gauge lens in place.) Notice the four plastic blobs on the back of the lens. These were once plastic nibs that were melted down to hold the lens in place. One at a time, insert the soldering iron tip into the black plastic blob while applying pressure to the front side of the lens. The lens should pop right off the plastic blob. After doing all four the lens is free.




That's all we can do before we hack into the shiny new air pressure gauge. I'll post more pics shortly.


-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
8. Remove the trim ring from the air gauge. The gauge bucket has a flare around the front edge and the trim ring is lightly roll crimped around that flare. Turn the gauge around so that the lens is resting in the palm of your hand. Insert a flat blade screwdriver between the gage bucket and the edge of the crimp on the trim ring, and gently twist the screwdriver enough to unroll the crimp in that spot by 1/8" or so. Repeat every 1/4" or so around the entire edge of the trim ring. Once done, you'll likely have to go back and unroll the crimp further if not around the whole perimeter, certainly in a few areas. Once you can see the edge of the flare on the gauge bucket all the way around the perimeter of the trim ring, you should be able to kind of peel if off. When you do, the gauge lens will come out.



Notice the dip switches in the above photo? One enables the optional battery voltage readout at power-up mentioned in the previous post. The other switches the readout between PSI and BAR. And it's at this point I encounter my first disappointment. While I have no use for pressure readout in BAR, just the addition of the letters F and U would have been so much more useful. Imagine having a built-in digital FUBAR gauge in the FJ! Oh well. Here's where we're at:



Remember those plastic nubbins on the back side of the inclinometer lens we melted with the soldering iron? Here's why I said not to grind of scrape them off...

9. Using the inclinometer lens we previously removed, mark the gauge lens for notching to engage those melted nubbins on the back side of the inclinometer section of the pod bezel. The two lenses are very close to being the same diameter, but the inclinometer lens is a a smidge larger. Center the gauge lens(curved side up) on top of the inclinometer lens (writing side up).When properly centered, the perimeter of the gauge lens will basically intersect the center line of each of the nubbin holes. With the proper size notch cut on the gauge lens, those nubbins should secure the lens in the bezel, and keep it properly centered at the same time.




I'm going to go notch the gauge lens and then I'll return and post some more pics.


-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
10. Fit the air gauge lens inside the pod and align the notches. You'll notice there's only one way the nubbins will line up with the notches. The notch for the locator makes it easy to place correctly, though. You *may* have to enlarge the hole in the dash pod in order for the gauge lens to fit. I did so because the lens wouldn't fit before I noticed that locator key mentioned at the end of step 9. I'm relatively sure the gauge lens will fit near perfectly without any modification but just don't have a way to check now. If you do have to enlarge the hole, it will be by a very minimal amount, maybe .25 mm per side. Again, not much.

11. With the gauge lens fitted inside the bezel, carefully align it in the center of the hole if there is any slop. If you have to align it, hold or tape it in position, turn the bezel over and put a spot of Super Glue on each of the nubbin/notch joints. That alignment tab may or may not be close enough to use as a glue point as well. My original plan was to melt the nubbins back over the notches cut into the gauge lens, but it turns out that doesn't work well. I advise strongly against trying it, as it would be very easy to burn a hole right through the bezel.



Looks better from the front, at least.




Next, I've got to figure out how to fit the air gauge bucket into the dash pod's white bracket. As far as the diameter goes, notice how close the gauge is to a perfect fit inside the white bracket:




But, there is going to be a slight clearance issue, as shown below.




I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this. Depth-wise, I'm not even sure the gauge needs to go far enough into the white bracket that this will even present a problem. I'm hoping I can basically ignore the notch in the bracket and just drill a hole for the gauge;s right side mounting screw. Might have to come up with a space/washer thing to make it all work. I'll figure that out later. For now, it appears the mounting screw extenders supplied with the gauge will need to be installed in oder to space the air gauge forward to meet the lens.

12. Remove the nuts from the back of the gauge and replace them with the supplied screw extenders.






-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
^

Thanks. I'm still trying to come up with a good way to accurately mark the back side of the white bracket for the gauge mounting screws. It sure would be easier if it weren't for the curved bit shown by the upper yellow arrow. I guess I just need to man up and mark the hole location on the outer side of the curved bit and drill.


-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
13. Drill two holes for the air gauge mounting screws. The screws measure 4mm, so I used a 5mm drill. A 7/32" would work just as well. If you normally center punch before drilling, you'll want to skip that here. My center punch broke the left part of my white bracket. Super Glue and accelerator to the rescue.

If you're like me, holes measured and drilled for brackets never quite line up correctly. As a result, I try to measure and mark as carefully as I can. Here's how I measured and marked the screws for the gauge mounting screws...

Step 1: I measured the diameter of the round part of the back of the white dash pod bracket: 56mm.




Step 2: In order to get a horizontal line on which to mark the center line for the mounting holes, I had to start with a vertical center line. Once I marked the center, I measured from there to the vertical line formed by the cut-out on the right side of the plastic bracket: 15mm. I measured and marked a vertical center line.




Step 3: Using a small t-square held against the flat part of the bottom of the white bracket (marked with a yellow line above) I measured and marked the left side of the horizontal center line and the furthest right point. Since the flat part is spaced off a bit from the bottom of the circle, the measurement is a bit more than the 28mm radius of the white circular part of the white bracket. From the flat edge, the center point measures 30.5mm. After marking, I used a straight edge to connect the dots.




Step 4: Now I was ready to mark the mounting holes, hopefully fairly accurately. The mounting screws on the air gauge measure about 36mm center to center. So it was just a matter of marking each hole 18mm away from the vertical center line.




Step 5: Drill the holes. The left hole is easy. The right hole is a bit tricky, as it's about 2mm around the edge of the cutout. I drilled that one in two steps. The first step was drilling at about a 75 degree angle. As soon as the drill went through the plastic, I reduced the speed and carefully and slowly swung the bit back upright to 90 degrees.




Now the air gauge is ready to be mounted in the plastic bracket. But, there are two problems. The first is that the screw extended on the right mounting screw interferes with the curved cutout. The second is that the left screw extension isn't long enough to go through the back of the white plastic bracket. Hopefully, removing the right screw extension and adding it to the left screw extension will fix both problems.


-Matt
 

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Looks good. It's too bad you couldn't rotate the electronics inside of that metal housing somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And, of course, the holes aren't quite in the right place. The threaded part of the screw extenders are significantly larger than the screws. Looks like the holes should have been drilled closer to 19mm apart. I'll go back and edit the pics.

And, of course, the screw extenders cannot be stacked, since they are a different diameter than the mounting screw. So the left screw extenders is still too short.

Removing the right screw extender makes it too short to pass through the back of the white bracket.

Looks like I need some threaded PC board stand-offs. They can be cut to length which will solve the issue of having to use a spacer on the mounting extensions. (Hadn't mentioned that problem yet.)

I've got a whole mess of them in my electronics goodie box, but whatcha wanna bet none of them are threaded correctly?

Stay tuned.


-Matt
 

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smooth... nice write up... makes me want...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
14. Secure the air gauge in the housing. Since the screws aren't quite long enough, I used a couple of aluminum PC board standoffs. Of course, they didn't have the correct sized threads, and they were too long. So I drilled them out, tapped them to 4.0x.7mm, and shortened them. All I can really say about this step is that it will take a bunch of fiddling around. A piece of dowel rod could likely be used as easily as the aluminum standoffs. Whatever the case, the standoffs need to end up about 3/8" in length. After much fiddling around with trying to check the fit of the gauge, I settled on trying to get the face of the gauge bucket flush with the leading edge of the white bracket. In that position, the air gauge comes very close to seating into the rim of the lens we already installed. If it turns out the fit is too loose (the only problem I would anticipate might be some light leaking around the edge of the gauge bucket which might look weird at night) I can go back and add a washer between the standoffs and the inside of the white plastic bracket.





You can see the holes don't quite line up. A little extra slop will allow me to center the air gauge as I tighten up the mounting bracket.

Since the right hand mounting hole hangs off in the void, there's no good way to tighten it up without some additional bracket. I milled off the u-bracket that came with the air gauge.





Now I'm ready for a couple of short 4.0x7mm screws, which I doubt I have handy. I'll have to wait for a trip to the hardware store to go any further.


-Matt
 

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That is exactly what i was going to suggest you do with the plastic being in that odd shape.

:cheers:



Now I'm ready for a couple of short 4.0x7mm screws, which I doubt I have handy. I'll have to wait for a trip to the hardware store to go any further.


-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hah! Found a couple of screws that fit. They ain't pretty, but they'll save me a trip to the hardware store. Note the wiring harness for the air gauge.




I think I'm ready to start putting everything back together.


-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That is exactly what i was going to suggest you do with the plastic being in that odd shape.
I would have preferred to go without the large hank of steel there since the compass gauge sits right behind it. If it turns out to be a problem, I'll go back and replace it with an aluminum or plastic one.

Oh, wait...

This won't quite work as-is. The white plastic bracket won't go back into the MID base like this. Nothing the Dremel won't fix.

-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here's the situation...




So, I've removed the air gauge for now, and with the white plastic bracket nested in place, I've used the right hand mounting slot as a template to mark the MID base for slotting, which will allow the standoff to clear, and then I'll hack the back side to allow the flat bracket to clear.




-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It fits!






15. If you want to be able to access the option switches, you'd want to drill an access hole in the white plastic bracket. I don't care to switch the readout to BAR, and I want the voltage display at startup, so I'm not going to bother with an access hole. If you want one, it appears it would need to be drilled towards the top of the round part of the white bracket. A 3/8" hole would likely be all you need.

16. Slide the white plastic bracket inside the MID base, making sure the mating connectors line up. Then re-install the 3 small phillips screws in the white plastic bracket.

17. Slip the air gauge into the recess prepared in the white plastic bracket after it's been crewed back into the MID base. I ran the wiring harness on the bottom side of the larger PC board and pulled the wires through the hole in the bottom of the MID base where the factory harness plug attaches.

18. Secure the air gauge as shown in the last picture shown above.


-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
19. Re-install the white plastic cover using two small phillips screws. OPTIONAL: Strictly speaking, you probably won't have to trim the cover as I could make it fit over the steel bracket on the back of the air gauge without trimming. Depending on what material you use for that bracket, though, you may have to trim the lid. If you do, simply chuck the lid up in your mill with a 3/8" carbide end-mill...oops, sorry. :jester:

I used my mill, but a Dremel would also work. I removed about 1/8" of material from the leading edge of the right hand side of the cover, like so:




I actually went back and removed just a bit more than what's shown in the pic above. Here's how it looks with the cover secured with the two small phillips screws.





-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
BONUS! :jester:

20. Add the logo of your choice. Since Air Zenith is paying me no royalties, I decided to do away with their logo on the face of the air gauge. It's especially easy since we had to crack open the gauge any way. I whipped up an FJ logo:



Feel free to snitch it for yourselves. If printed without sizing, it should measure approximately 5/8" wide x 3/8" high. Here's where it got ghetto. I'm not sure I'm going to like the logo, so I just affixed it with some Scotch Magic Tape, so it wold be easy to remove. The problem with doing it this way, since the face plate is rough, is that the tape never goes completely clear. If you apply a bit of pressure it gets clearer, but it never goes completely transparent. If I end up liking it, I'm going to order up a vinyl cut sticker to replace it.




At this point I notice my gauge is angled slightly. I'll eventually go back and enlarge the mounting holes slightly so I can correct that.

20. Clean the back side of air gauge lens, as it will be nice an smudged by this time.

21. You may have noticed a thin plastic light mask fell out some where along the way. It fits under the connector for the LCD display for the thermometer.

22. Snap the bezel in place on the MID base.

23. Remove the protective sticker from the front of the air gauge lens.





The new and improved MID display is ready to be bolted back into the FJ. The wires for the air gauge can easily be routed behind the stereo, right along side the MID harness connector and beyond as needed.


-Matt
 
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