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Old 10-17-2014, 05:57 PM   #1
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THOR #531
Ford E-450 Dash Upgrade (E-350 too, I think).

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.
  • Switch.
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.

And...

I am designing a template for other areas of the dash for other future functions.
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Old 10-17-2014, 08:04 PM   #2
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THOR #531
here is the next template I am working on:



It's for the lower right switch area.

And here is the template:



It's intended purpose is as follows:

Top switch is a DPDT center off (ON-OFF-ON). I plan on wiring it into the reverse lead for the stereo - the one that switches the camera view on and off when the vehicle is put into reverse gear. Also, being double pole, I will run the camera power through the switch, so that when it is in the Off (center) position, the camera power will be interrupted.

In the auto position, the camera will turn on the monitor when putting the transmission into reverse. In the ON position, 12V will be constant on the reverse switch into the stereo which will cause the rear view camera to be on all the time.

For the Stereo switch, it will be a SPDT, and this will allow me to switch the stereo power from the vehicle to the house batteries.

One thing about this switch panel. When I pulled the dash off, the blank panel is not removable as it was "welded" into place by melting over the mounting tabs. So the easiest mounting method is to drill clearances for the switches and screw the panel directly over the panel area - in a similar fashion as I did for the upper dash.

I do have templates available for this panel too - both for one with these two switches and for a blank panel as well. However, I have not ordered it yet, so I cannot verify it's fit. So that is the caveat should you want to download these templates.
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Old 10-17-2014, 10:56 PM   #3
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you did a great job
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Old 10-19-2014, 06:29 PM   #4
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Upper Dash (Upfitter) Project finished:

Here are a couple of photos:





And with the RVIBrake remote controller installed, which was the reason for doing this in the first place.
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:48 AM   #5
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I have also ordered one of these:



I am hoping it will fit into the spare opening at the bottom of the dash without modification.



If so, it will connect to the backside of the stereo (which will eventually be upgraded as well).
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Old 10-20-2014, 11:43 PM   #6
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Nice!

I love the idea of the camera interrupt/auto switch.
Not sure it would work for me though. My pioneer looses the setting to switch the camera input when gear changed to reverse.

The thing i want to add some day, but you didn't include, is a generator switch, to satrt and stop the genny from the driver's seat.....
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:25 AM   #7
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I had not thought of the genny switch. That would be a nice addition.

But I don't have an auto-transfer switch so it would not be an advantage to me as I would have to get out of the cab and plug the shorepower cable to the genny.
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:49 AM   #8
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This is kind of what I envisioned for the camera switch:



The camera power on my Jensen comes from the stereo itself, but other units might power the camera with the reverse switch. If it is wired like shown below (and I am not saying it is), the camera will not be available if the vehicle is not in reverse, no matter how the stereo is setup.


One issue is that if not wired like this, the camera could stay on all the time and run the battery down, so the power needs to be switched somehow by connecting to the reverse lead or to the stereo (by using the remote amp power lead, etc), or a switched lead in the vehicle itself.


Fortunately, the scheme I show above will alleviate that problem by wiring the camera power to the switch along with the Auto/On function.
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Old 10-21-2014, 11:35 AM   #9
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What Jensen unit do you have? We have the jrv212t and it has a "camera" button. I can put the rear camera on the screen all the time (or any of the 3 cameras) without any wiring changes?
(Ours looks like the same as you show in your photos.)
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:48 PM   #10
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It's the same one - JRV212t.

However, it is a piece of junk.

I am looking to the future, and I am planning on replacing the stereo with a better one which requires external power for the camera plus most of the other systems do not have a dedicated camera button.

Typically these units only display the camera when in the reverse gear - of course, it all depends on how you wire it up. For some units, you can go into the menu and re-display the camera, but you have to do that each time you shift out of reverse.

Wiring a dedicated switch such as I am thinking of should fix that issue.

I am not sure if I will be going to a 3 camera system or not. If I do, there are aftermarket 3 camera switches that can be used (the Jensen is the only one I know of that has a 3 camera switch built-into the unit).

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B155G5M/...I1GD8V2E6665N2
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Old 10-21-2014, 01:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FW28z View Post
I had not thought of the genny switch. That would be a nice addition.

But I don't have an auto-transfer switch so it would not be an advantage to me as I would have to get out of the cab and plug the shorepower cable to the genny.
When you unplug from shore power, don't you plug it into the genny outlet in case you want to run it? I'm guessing you stuff the cable in storage, and only plug it in if the genny is used.
I think i would always have it plugged into the genny unless using shore power.

Anyway, nice idea and great execution.... I would consider copying it but I don't think it would help since I would still have to go into the soft menus of my pioneer unit to display the camera..... I think I would much rather have an independent stand alone monitor for the camera, and an independant radio
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Old 10-21-2014, 05:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
When you unplug from shore power, don't you plug it into the genny outlet in case you want to run it? I'm guessing you stuff the cable in storage, and only plug it in if the genny is used.
Yep. That is pretty much what I do. 99% of the time we go to campgrounds with shorepower.
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Old 10-21-2014, 05:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
I think I would much rather have an independent stand alone monitor for the camera, and an independant radio
I have considered that as well. One monitor idea that I thought of is to get one of those rear-view mirrors with the camera display built in.

Afterall it's not like the existing rear-view mirror is that useful... but it does provide me a nice view of the bedroom.

I was also originally thinking of attaching a monitor to the panel in the upper (uplifter) bin/coin holder storage bin. But that idea got superseded by the need to locate the remote control for the toad braking system there.

I could still probably mount a small monitor to the right of the brake remote... which is one reason why I ordered a couple spare blank panels should I change my mind...
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:22 PM   #14
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I have a Pioneer radio in my dash. It's connected to the light switch and "dims" the screen when the headlights are turned on. I figured out to disable this feature, by interrupting the Orange/White wire to the light switch. I want to install a switch in the dash to choose when to deactivate this dimming. I'd like to install a round rocker switch into the round Audi Jack Location hole shown above.
Does anyone know how I get this hole filler plate out of there? And what size is the hole?
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:37 PM   #15
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:53 PM   #16
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what is that round thing that you labeled "Audio Jack" anyway... I mean what was Ford's intended purpose?

Ditto for the little button thing in the area you labeled as "Lower Switch Area"?

I've been scratching my head on those for almost a year now......
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:15 AM   #17
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The one I labeled "Audio Jack" is where Ford puts the Traction Control System ON/OFF switch for so-equipped vehicles.

There is also a rear fan speed adjustment switch for the HVAC system for a rear fan as an option, and it goes under the existing fan switch for the front (left lower side of the dash).

For the "lower switch area", ford puts the USB/Audio jack from the factory stereo (if it has that option) in the top part, and an Passenger Airbag ON/OFF switch in the lower section if that option was ordered.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FW28z View Post
It's the same one - JRV212t.

However, it is a piece of junk.

I am looking to the future, and I am planning on replacing the stereo with a better one which requires external power for the camera plus most of the other systems do not have a dedicated camera button.

Typically these units only display the camera when in the reverse gear - of course, it all depends on how you wire it up. For some units, you can go into the menu and re-display the camera, but you have to do that each time you shift out of reverse.

Wiring a dedicated switch such as I am thinking of should fix that issue.

I am not sure if I will be going to a 3 camera system or not. If I do, there are aftermarket 3 camera switches that can be used (the Jensen is the only one I know of that has a 3 camera switch built-into the unit).

Amazon.com : Intelligent Car Video Switcher 3-way Input 1-way Output for the Car Camera : Vehicle Backup Cameras : Car Electronics
On my prior class C the backup camera monitor was mounted in place of the rear view mirror. The system was made by Rear View Systems. Here is the link.

RVS-770619P | One (1) Camera Setup with 7" Clip-On Mirror Display | Rear View Safety

The link is for a clip on monitor, however, mine was installed in place of the rear view mirror.
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:32 PM   #19
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Swapping out the mirror is certainly a possibility. Not like it is very useful as is, but it does give me a good view of the rear wall of the coach.

I have decided to go with a 3 camera system though. I did buy a RCA adapter for the backup camera already installed as I don't want to have to replace it. As well; I have bought both side cameras.

I will be building my own switch to go between the three cameras as I never really liked the idea of the cameras being coupled to the turn signal. Instead, I will put in a switch on the side of the door near the arm rest that will allow me to switch the cameras.

That way, I can see left-right by flipping the switch without having to turn on the turn-signal. Sometimes I might want to look at those cameras without turning or changing lanes.

I might even incorporate the turn signals though, to give me the option of driving the cameras via turn signal or selector switch.

Yet another project...
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Old 04-08-2015, 03:53 PM   #20
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FW

Although I did not have side cameras on my Forest River class C the RVS monitor that was installed supported multiple cameras. I believe it had separate input ports for connecting rear, left and right cameras without going through the turn signals.

The Magnadyne stereo/GPS which was also installed in the coach by Forest River had inputs for three cameras.
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