Often as RV'ers we have gadgets that need to be attached to the dash and there is no room. For example, I recently acquired a RVIBrake2 system for my toad and need a place on the dash for the remote.
The remote is connected to a cigarette lighter/auxillarly power port. This in itself is kind of neat, but unfortunately, the ports on the E-350/E-450 dash are low and not near the driver. As well, any other items you have; GPS or USB charging needs often use up those ports.
I have come up with a solution.
You E350/E450 owners know about the small storage compartment/coin holder on the dash - which is all but useless. If the upfitter option is ordered, this area will have 4 switches. If not, then it has this little storage compartment.
Fortunately, the storage compartment just snaps off from the front; but you need a dash removal tool to get it to pop off (actually, I have already popped it off and did not want to snap it back in for the photo).
So I had a custom panel made from a company that can make them to your specifications and with a single quantity. The name of the company is FrontPanelExpress.com - and no - I do not have an affiliation with them - other than being a customer.
They have a designer software you can download that allows you to design a panel, and even order it from the app.
This is the panel I came up with:
I ordered one with the cutouts for the components I am installing, and one blank panel for future use.
And in the photo below, the panel as attached to the dash and populated with the various components:
It recesses perfectly into the void left from removing the storage bin in the E-450 dash. I have not verified the E-350 dash but I am assuming it will be applicable to that dash as well. Also, this is a 2011 model dash, but it will likely fit other years (2009 to present) of the current model E-350/E-450.
The items I installed - from left-to-right are;
- Cigarette Lighter/Aux Power port for the RVIBrake2 remote.
- USB Charging port.
- DC Voltmeter.
At present, I am wiring the power source to the existing Cigarette Lighter so it is on all the time - which is why I put in the power switch.
However, in the future, I plan on running 12V from the house battery to the stereo system. When I do that, I'll change the switch so the voltmeter monitors either Vehicle or House battery.
I also ordered a couple of blank panels (cut to size for the void, but without any holes for any goodies) so that if my needs change, I can change the things sticking out of the panel.
This is the result after plugging in the brake remote:
I have a couple of templates available should you want to make one of these. Let me know if interested and I will provide a link whereby you can download them and use them as-is, or modify them for your own goodies. This is a freebie.
You simply load the template into the panel designer and go from there.
If course, you will have to buy the panel from Front Panel Express, but you can use my templates as you wish. The panel itself cost about $30, which is a bit on the expensive side, but not for a professional result.
One caveat. The radius of the panel is just a bit off from the radius of the dash. But it is not noticeable and I have determined it's close enough for my needs. You can print out the panel from the template if you wish and change the radius slightly if you want perfect.
The 8 holes are spaced so that they are in front of plastic behind the panel so you can use #6 sheet metal screws, etc. to fasten the panel down.
Let me know if you want one of the templates.
I am designing a template for other areas of the dash for other future functions.