Custom Overhead Console ~ Chevy Silverado

Discussion in 'How-to Guides' started by FrigginNoodles, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. FrigginNoodles

    FrigginNoodles Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    First off I would like to thank TritonBoulder47 & karz4life87 for the idea behind this project.

    Before attempting any electrical projects I would recommend reading this thread and using it for a reference.

    How to make a custom overhead console:

    (I had to remove materials & tools list for this post to fit)
    Now, let’s get to it!

    Step 1: Remove the overhead console from the truck.

    This is done by loosening the Phillips head screw in the slot towards the front of the console. Once loosened, the console will tip down towards the windshield of the truck. Next, gently pull straight down on the rear side, popping out the two clips supporting the rear of the console. You should now be left with your console dangling by the wire harness leading to the map lights. Un-clip the harness and your overhead console is free.

    Step 2: Remove the black din from the console.

    We will now remove the black din from the console to make more room for our new faceplate. Locate the three plastic rivets holding the din in the console. Using the drill and an appropriately sized drill bit, drill out the rivets. They will take very little pressure and very few turns of the bit to break loose. Once the rivets are removed you will be able to fully remove the din from the console.

    Step 3: Make a template for the new faceplate.

    Hold some cardboard on the outside of the opening in the console and trace it from the inside. Then, cut out your template along the outside of your drawn lines. Test fit the cardboard template and trim as needed until you have a smooth, flat, tight fitting piece of cardboard.

    Step 4: Transfer the template to plexi-glass.
    Using a permanent marker, trace your cardboard template onto the plexi-glass. I would recommend lining up the top of your template with a straight edge of the plexi-glass (I originally traced it in the middle, but re-traced it onto the top edge of the glass).

    Step 5: Cut out your faceplate.

    I used a combination of a hacksaw, coping saw, and chop saw to cut the plexi-glass to a “rough shape” slightly larger than the outline I drew with the permanent marker. Next, I used a combination of a file and a bench grinder to sand the glass down to the correct shape a bit at a time. I would sand a bit, test fit, sand some more, until I had a nice, smooth, and tight fitting faceplate to fit into the console. Once you have a good fit, leave the glass inside of the console for the next step. Congratulations! The hardest part (IMO) is over.

    Step 6: Marking the switches.

    With the template inside of the console, I held up a switch for the outside edge of the console where it looked good and marked it with a permanent marker. I then removed the faceplate from the console and made a mark at the opposite side in the identical spot. So now that we have the two outer switches marked, measure the distance between the two outside marks and divide it by three to center the two middle switches between the outer ones. For example- After marking my two outer switches I was left with 5 1/8” between them. 5 1/8” divided by three equals 1 5/8”. I then made my two inner marks 1 5/8” in from the two outer marks. Now it’s time to drill the holes.

    Step 7: Drill and mount the switches.

    Using an appropriately sized drill bit, make the holes for your switches to sit inside of. The size of the hole needed for the switch can be found on the packaging it came in. Be sure to center the drilled hole over all of your marks to ensure a straight line of switches. Once your holes are drilled, clean up any melted plastic along the edges of the faceplate and attach them.

    Step 8: Taping & Painting
    Now that our piece is all cut and the switches are all fitted, this would be the best time to paint. We will be taping and painting the backside of the piece, so any design you wish to put up will need to be a mirrored image of what you would like. (If anyone needs help designing, sizing, or mirroring an image send me a PM and I'll do my best to help you out) First step for painting is to choose a logo to be lit up through the plexiglass. I would recommend going to a local sign shop and having them print a sticker of your image for you. This will save lots of time and aggravation. If you like to do things the hard way, you can follow what I did. So, once I had a mirrored picture of my logo sized and printed, I covered the entire back of my plexiglass piece with green painters tape. I taped my printed image over that and began cutting away with a razor blade. Once cut out, remove all tape except for the logo. Next, spray the piece with black paint. I did two coats and let it dry for a while. Once it is dry, you can remove the remaining tape and you have clear plexiglass in the design of your logo.

    Step 9: Prepare the wires

    I used eighteen gauge solid wire with 1/4" crimp on quick connects to attach the wires to the switches. I would recommend using three different colored wires (power-red, ground-black, acc-green) to keep things organized and easily identified. Cut four 12” lengths of each color wire and strip one end off of all of the wires. Now, crimp one ¼” female quick connect plug onto the end of all of your stripped wire ends. I went a step farther with this and applied some heat shrink tubing over where the connector meets the wire, but this is not necessary. You will also need to have another short run of a larger gauge ground wire with a ring on the end.

    Step 10: Plug in the wires.

    Start with the power wires (red) and plug them into the corresponding slots on the back of the switches. Once you have all four power wires connected bundle them up and tie them together using a zip tie or other similar item. Once bundled cut the unstripped ends of the wires to an even length, strip the ends, and loosely attach a wire nut to the end of the wires. Now, plug in all of the acc (green) wires, trim them to an even length, but don’t bundle, strip, or connect them together (by having these short leads connected and in place, you will be able to easily attach any wires to new or existing accessories. Cap off any of these wires you aren’t planning on using right away. Now, repeat the process one more time with the ground wires (black) bundling and stripping the ends. Connect the four ground wires and your short ground wire with the ring all to the wire nut. You should now have a fully wired console that is ready to be installed in the vehicle. Set it aside and get ready to wire the vehicle to accept your console.

    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  2. karz4life87

    karz4life87 Rockstar

    thanks for the credit on that, that would be a first. If i can be of any help please let me. looking good so far
  3. KaiserMitsu

    KaiserMitsu New Member

    Hey help Karz4Life87 on the one for his truck, if your going to want to paint that bad boy, which is looking great I might add, you are going to want to paint from the back and it will give the paint a nice shine and luster to it. Again ether of us know if you need any help.

    PS you can also get a ground and power from the overhead unit for any switches!!!

    TELORVEHC Rockstar 4 Years 1000 Posts

    That looks great dude. Nice write up:great:
  5. FrigginNoodles

    FrigginNoodles Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    Thanks guys, didn't even think to take power and ground from the console's harness. I'm really stuck on the design I want right now. I want to do something totally original. Thanks for the painting tips. Credit due where it's deserved. I would have never tried this if I didn't see your post. I will update this how to more soon.
  6. KaiserMitsu

    KaiserMitsu New Member

    Orginal is always the hardest to do. :lol: There are many ways that you could have some fun with the overhead, I think that I have thought a few that im going to pitch to Karz. Keep us updated on the work. :great:
  7. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Loving the Outdoors Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    When I had my Tahoe I put my remote Radar up there.. For the Plexi use smoked so you don't see the wires behind it for a neater look..

    You can also polish the edge of the clear plexi and light it up like fiberoptics.
  8. jbjones240

    jbjones240 Rockstar 100 Posts

    Good write up, thanks for the details.

  9. ajarman

    ajarman Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Good write up FN!!
  10. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Nice job and write up...can't wait to see the final pics!!!

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