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  • Project 2003 Dodge Dakota

    Well, it was about time for me to clean up my truckputer and tuck in all those loose wires come along with me for the journey.

    First the vehicle, a 2003 Dodge Dakota. Yes, I know my tires are small, I just finished my suspension lift and haven't gotten around to getting bigger tires yet.

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    So while trying to fit the computer case that I made out of angled aluminum into the stock center console I got angry and thought to myself, "why don't I just fabricate my own?" Besides, now I can move my A/C controls and my head unit out of the dash board like you see in this picture.

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    I wanted to make sure that the center console would have maxiumum room for the computer while maintaining a somewhat uniform fit that kinda resembles the original console.

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    In the back of the console the bottom hole will provide adequate airflow for my rear fan and above it is a small window that I intend to have the VIA logo displayed just for ****s and grins. This was a small detail that was added in at the last minute and I don't know if I completely like the idea yet or not but I suppose time will tell. One thing is for sure, a lot of work is going into reinforcing the area around the window in case it gets kicked by accident.

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    Finally, my wife's one stipulation to this little project was that there would have to be cupholders no matter what. I looked around for a while and even talked to a guy out of St. Louis that wanted to charge me $150 to fabricate a custom cup holder assembly. But then a few days later I was walking around the hardware store and spotted a 3" pipe coupling that was staring at me. I thought "what? Jackpot!!" and for less then $2 I had cupholders. Above the cupholders you can see the slot for my fan controller as well as another round opening which provides ventilation for another fan. To the right is a vertical slot that will house my slim slot load laptop DVD drive. I have researched quite a bit into the best place to mount the DVD drive and I have come to the conclusion that mounting it in this way will not harm it or cause it to skip in any way. I wanted the CD rom to be close to the CPU unit so that I could simply attach it via an IDE ribbon and not tie up a USB port. Since my wife is rather crafty with a sewing machine, I have procured vinyl fabric that matches my dash board pretty well and with her help I will be making a cover that will fit over all the wood once it is covered with some good foam.

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    Well, thats all for now folks. I will update this thread when I make more prgress. Input is welcome, just don't flame me too bad for my amatuer fabrication skillz.
    Check out the updates. Project 2003 Dakota worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85490


    IS JACK BAUER GONNA HAVE TO SMACK A *****?

  • #2
    Looking good so far! Are you located at Scott? DoD sticker gives it away and the housing looks like Patriots Landing.
    __________________
    Fixinstuff
    Been there, done that, replaced it with a smartphone.

    Scott AFB, IL

    Comment


    • #3
      No, I live in O'fallon, but now that I look in the pictures, I realize that the houses do look very much like Patriots Landing housing. PM me if you live in the area, I'd like to see other people's projects in person and I haven't been able to make any meets posted on here yet.
      Check out the updates. Project 2003 Dakota worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85490


      IS JACK BAUER GONNA HAVE TO SMACK A *****?

      Comment


      • #4
        i look forward to seeing how it ends up looking. i have a 02 durango myself and have racked my brain on how im going to re-arrange everything to put an LCD in the dash.
        [::::::::::] 100% - Planning
        [::::::::::] 80% - Computer
        [::::::::::] 0% - Fabbing
        CarPC:
        SP13000 / 120GB SATA 2.5" / 512MB DDR
        8" Innovatek TS / Globalsat BU-353 / Engenius EUB-362 EXT
        Slot load DVDRW / PS3 Wireless Keyboard

        Comment


        • #5
          Some

          Okay, not to work too far backwards, but I figured I would post several pics that I have of the computer and console during fabrication. The computer is a VIA sp 13000 with 1 Gb stick of ram and a 250 GB Maxtor SATA drive. The slim load laptop drive is attached via an IDE cable even though in the pics I am using an IDE to USB attachement. I just didn't want to have to keep unplugging the IDE cable every time I moved the Comp around so I stuck with that simple solution.

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          Next I measured how much space I had available for the actual console and made a frame to attach to the body of the truck. From there I want the main console to bolt to the frame so that I can remove all of this to get to any wiring should it become necessary. I spent days looking at different ideas and this was my best solution.

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          Finally, when I was ready to make the actual console I got my hands on some solid MDF. I would defenitely reccomment MDF for any project like this because it holds up well and it is easy to cut.

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          Its relatively heavy though and you have to watch out when you drive screws into it because it will crumble somewhat when you get close to the edge of the material. Overall, I am satisfied with how this project is coming along. In a couple days I will have a shot of the console outside of the truck as I am working on it. Its just a little difficult to remember the camera at certain points during fabrication because I get so into building it and forget to record progress such as the removable bottom, the stereo cut-outs and fabrication of the fan attachments. All for now. I should have more progress in a few days so keep your eyes peeled for my continuing misadventures. Oh yeah, so far the center console project has cost me a total of $38. Not bad I don't think.
          Check out the updates. Project 2003 Dakota worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85490


          IS JACK BAUER GONNA HAVE TO SMACK A *****?

          Comment


          • #6
            Updates for Project Dakota:

            Well i got a few spare hours today and I decided that it was time to get the A/C controls measured and mounted as well as the head unit cut to proper specs for mounting as well.

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            I measured the rear spacing for the head unit and decided that it would look rather sweet sunk in and flush to the rest of the panel it is being attached to. I cut the openings for the wiring attachments into a second layer of MDF to provide a sturdy area for the controls to be mounted. It was realtively easy to make all the measurements and cut to thos measurements but at the last minute I realized that I had not taken into account the area that the material I am covering the console with will take up. I then had to use a dremmel to widen out the area and as a result, the console has kind of a "rough" look to it. But once foal is applied and the vinyl fabric is laid I am sure the console is gonna look great.

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            As you can see, my stereo is gone and the mounting bracket is being prepped to seat into the console once the wood glue has dried. I use Elmers wood glue as well as driving wood screws just like I did when I built my subwoofer box and I highly reccommend this combination. I have quite a bit of wiring to tuck in and extend down to the new location of the stereo. Thank goodness the A/C controls are already extended. I could not imagine going through those many wires again. Looks like its coming along pretty well. Next steps are to dremmel out the minute details, sand all rough edges, and prep the console for foam padding and vinyl covering. I've been drinking beer and B/S'ing with a buddy of mine through this posting so sorry if its a little misspelled and looks like the grammer of a 5 year old.
            Check out the updates. Project 2003 Dakota worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85490


            IS JACK BAUER GONNA HAVE TO SMACK A *****?

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a 99' Dak... and I wish I was so luck to have the dash you do; minus the door panels I wouldn't be able to fit my 8"s in your doors. Just relocate the A/C controls and your set. I thought about reworking more but it wouldn't have the OE look. I'll get some pics of my progress tomorrow. I use the VoomPC case so no need to build a case and stuff.
              Setup:
              Dynaudio 240GT
              PPI PC4100, PPI PC2350
              Zapco DSP6
              ADS DAC
              Testing new board (Albatron KI690-AM2)

              "I dont know if complaints were filed, or mistakes were made, but feelings were hurt." -Krystal Washington

              Comment


              • #8
                Allright, another day to play!! Today I decided it was time rip apart my Super TM-868 monitor that I got off of ebay. Excellent touch screen monitor, very bright, and fantastically comes apart with only three screws!!

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                After removing the touchscreen overlay and packing everything up nice and neat, I took a good look at the monitor housing:

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                In order to get this into my dash where I moved my stereo and and my A/C controls, I would need to modify the dash opening to accept the custom bezel once its finished.

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                I decided that I would use to stereo bezel peice by cutting it in half and then gluing the bezel halves on the outside of the monitor housing. I starting off using simple super glue and then went shopping and graduated to some locktite super duper glue that comes in two tubes and must be mixed.

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                Well, thats all for now folks. Next step is finishing all wood fabrication for the housing of the monitor and then on to prep, primer, and finally painting!!
                Check out the updates. Project 2003 Dakota worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85490


                IS JACK BAUER GONNA HAVE TO SMACK A *****?

                Comment


                • #9
                  very cool so far. keep us posted for sure. i've been wanting to do a custom console in my car forever...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Update (small but significant)

                    So today I tackled getting the head until mount fitted perfectly into the new console. Because there is a small piece of plasic trim located around the head unit itself, there had to be two different mounting depths to maintain the required fit for the peices to snap in. If this is at all confusing, just look at my pictures and appreciate that a bit of time went into using the file and sandpaper..............

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                    I then fitted peices of wood into the spaces left from where the stereo head until mount for the dash was fitted onto the face of the touchscreen. I am working with a lot of little peices of wood, a little superglue, and a whole lot of patience. Next step will be to sand the newly glued peices to proper fit and then move onto bondo and then primer. Baby steps right now. But I think patience has been the key as will it be for the completion of this project.

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                    Whelp, thats all folks.
                    Check out the updates. Project 2003 Dakota worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85490


                    IS JACK BAUER GONNA HAVE TO SMACK A *****?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Are you going to put bondo on the wood frame ? Thats what im thinking of doing making a custom mount for my 8" xenarc opening the whole dask of my 2000 4runner then having the screen on a 45 degree angle with the custom wood mount but I want that smooth fiberglass look. Does Bondo stick to MDF?

                      Thanks

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                      • #12
                        Yes, so far the bondo has stuck to the MDF and the plastic quite well. My bondo is drying right now and I am using a "Easybake oven" that I picked up at a yard sale to cure it quicker. Quite an impressive little machine if I do say so myself, the temperature gets very hit and assists in curing process. So far, my work has been mostly trial and error but I think that it is coming out rather well. I'll post more pics when I make more significant progress.
                        Check out the updates. Project 2003 Dakota worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85490


                        IS JACK BAUER GONNA HAVE TO SMACK A *****?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          looking good keep up the good work

                          Yev
                          R. T. F. M

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, the past few days I have been sanding and discovering the magical wonders and properties of bondo. Man, this stuff is a little harder to work with then I thought!

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                            I spent a few hours with the file and the sandpaper, refining the curves to prep the screen fascia for bondo filler so that I make all the edges come together. My goal is to make this look like one whole unit without and seams which requires filling in the fine cracks with bondo and the round edges rounded as well.

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                            The bondo is very...............goopy for lack of better terms but for future reference to everyone, don't use very much hardener because the more hardener makes the bondo dry QUICK!!

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                            After sanding down the bondo and smoothing out the edges, I noticed that there were still areas that weren't as smooth as I'd like so I sanded as far down as I could and just marked areas that woud need to have bondo re-applied.

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                            This time around applying bondo was a bit different of an experience because I used very little hardener, and this permitted me more time to work the bondo into the areas that needed to be filled deeper. I have a few details that I would like to be "rounded" better which requires me to build it up with bondo. The bottom and top edges do not need to be perfect becuase I am going to use textured paint to make it appear as if a the screen had a built-in mounting plate applied. I think that more patience, more bondo, and more sanding will refelct better results in time. Till then, I'll be sanding, filling, and cursing.
                            Check out the updates. Project 2003 Dakota worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85490


                            IS JACK BAUER GONNA HAVE TO SMACK A *****?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              More bondo more primer HAHAHA!!!!!



                              Today I sanded the second application of bondo down to smoothness and decided that I was satisfied with the look of the screen bezel. I wet-sanded the piece and refined all of the edges until I was comfortable.

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                              Upon satisfaction with the smoothness of the seams and edges I started applying the clear plastic primer that I picked up yeasterday. Normally I would gray "colored" primer but I didn't realize that I was purchasing clear primer. It looks like its doing just as good a job though so I am not concerned with it being clear. The bondo brought all the edges and seams together to appear as one unit when it is finally painted and I am using the primer to create a sandable layer which will take care of any imperfections along the way. I didn't have any masking tape so I had to improvise and use clear tape which doesn't seem to make any difference.

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                              There were some areas that I didn't want to have much additional primer on so I masked them off. I will likely pull them when I apply the final 4-5 layers of primer. Yes, I am using many many thin layers of primer so that I can build up all areas and sand them down as I need.

                              Back to work!!
                              Check out the updates. Project 2003 Dakota worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=85490


                              IS JACK BAUER GONNA HAVE TO SMACK A *****?

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