Interiors… This is an area where manufacturers spend millions of dollars on each new model. Case in point, the recent Jeep Wrangler interior upgrades were a big focus of the latest editions. Interiors, and in particular dash boards are something that the owners of vehicles spend countless hours staring at whether their focus be on the gauges or the entertainment / HVAC controls. Manufacturers and drivers alike look for a balance of good looks and usability. In a similar fashion, 4X4REVIEW.COM will in a series of four articles upgrade the interior appearance and functionality. The first of these begins with a focus on the thing we see most when on the highway or the trail, the classic CJ dash.
A Fresh Start:
Over the years, our Scrambler’s dash, like so many aging CJs, had been cut for aftermarket stereos and speakers. It was time for a fresh start. The beauty of the CJ and YJ tub is that the dash is basically a flat panel, an empty canvas, if you will, ready for creative customization. Double D Fab embraces this by offering CJ and YJ owners with seemingly limitless sets of dash options ranging from vintage reproductions to full custom creations, most available in CNC laser cut 16ga mild steel.
Double D Fab Dash Design:
Since, Project Over Easy is on the tame end of the 4X4REVIEW.COM project vehicle set, our goal was to replicate the classic CJ gauge-layout but with the improved functionality of Double D Fab designed gauge bezels angled toward the driver. This includes angled bezels for the 3 3/8” Tach and the 2 1/16” Oil Pressure Gauge and Voltmeter. We also had Double D Fab add two more 2 1/16” bezels for proper Water Temperature and Transmission Temperature gauges. For balance and symmetry we had Double D Fab move the passenger speaker grill to the right-most edge of the dash, centering the glove-box in front of the passenger seat. Lastly, Dan from Double D Fab fixed us up with a passenger grab-handle that mounts from behind the dash, cleaning the dash of extraneous fasteners. This last touch was suggested by Dan as we worked with him on final touches of our design, something that he has perfected with the production of so many custom dashes.
Design Tip: During the design of our custom dash, we elected to keep a number of things rather simple. This approach suited the design theme of Project Over Easy and also reduced the need for additional, behind the dasy, customization. For instance, we kept the stock location of all HVAC controls and cables. While the cables and controls can be moved to alternate locations the length and placement of the cables should be considered when making this decision.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) for your Jeep:
Double D Fab works with each customer to produce an actual CAD (Computer Aided Design) image of the potential dash before production. This allows the customer and Double D Fab to review the design and make additional updates without cutting any metal. The Project Over Easy design is shown below.
Choosing a Finish:
Upon receipt of our new dash, we knew that we had something special. Rattle-can primer and paint wouldn’t do this dash justice. We went for powder-coating in a blue that closely matched the factory Jeep blue for our Scrambler. The finished dash, now with a blue powder-coated finish and black passenger grab-handle are stunning.
This simple upgrade was both fun to design with help from Dan of Double D Fab and relatively inexpensive, providing one of the best bang for our buck upgrades for Project Over Easy. This new custom dash with gauge bezels angle toward the driver will provide far better usability on the road and on the trail while adding a custom element to set our Scrambler apart from other CJs. So, if you own a CJ or YJ and are looking to liven-up your interior, Double D Fab has the tools and experience to help you design something special.
Next up, some bling for our new custom dash in the form of VDO Vision Chrome Series gauges. Look for that in an upcoming article.