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Thread: Console switches don't align? Voila! Problem solved!

  1. #1
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    Console switches don't align? Voila! Problem solved!

    Many DeLorean's I have seen (including my own) have the same issue - the console switches are out of alignment due to warping where the switches are seated. Being the OCD person I am, this always bothered me. Beyond the aesthetic issue, my driver's side window switch was actually getting stuck in the up or down position due to bad alignment. I thought I would hunker down and tackle this issue by doing the following...

    I created a photoshop template of the switch cut-outs (very precise to accommodate the switches) and used that to make a rigid metal plate with a CNC machine in mind. I made sure the plate would fit very snug in the switch area to firmly secure the switch cluster. I then covered the plate with vinyl wrap (washable/waterproof) that matched the car interior pretty darn exact - I know more about types of available vinyl than I ever wanted to know. The switches then snapped right into the plate, then I secured the connectors, and then seated everything as a unit. As you can see below (before and after), I could not have asked for better results.

    Now, the downside is the cost of the project (or time, depending how you go about it)... Unless you cut out the plate by hand (it can be done, but you need time and the right tools), it is expensive. If people are interested in a plate, let me know. If we can get enough people together who want one, I will try and get a cost quote. I could maybe put together a little kit with the vinyl sheet (that way if there are any small adjustments to be made, the plate can be filed and then wrapped). Thoughts in general? Or perhaps a better way to fabricate?

    BEFORE:
    photo-11.jpg

    PLATE BEING WRAPPED IN VINYL:
    photo-13.jpg

    SWITCHES MOUNTED ON PLATE:
    photo-15.jpg
    photo-17.jpg
    photo-16.jpg

    INSTALLED:
    photo-20.jpg
    photo-18.jpg
    photo-19.jpg
    DeLorean VIN 16793 - 1983
    Loving my power steering!

  2. #2
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    Just wrap the bottom of the switches with a little electrical tape and they will fit snug and tight in their holes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kenny_Z's Avatar
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    That looks awesome. I have that sticking driver window switch problem and the general mess of switches. I know I'd be interested in one.

    What did you make the plate out of and how did you secure it to the switch area?
    Red
    VIN 4534
    Born - October 1981
    Brought back to life - July 2011

  4. #4
    Slickness of SS SIMid's Avatar
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    Looks great! Mine are slightly warped, but will get worse with age. Does this plate sit above or installed underneath?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevedmc View Post
    Just wrap the bottom of the switches with a little electrical tape and they will fit snug and tight in their holes.
    The problem is the alignment rather than them being snug - but good suggestion! The area tends to warp making the switches not align properly.
    DeLorean VIN 16793 - 1983
    Loving my power steering!

  6. #6
    DMC Midwest - 815.459.6439 DMCMW Dave's Avatar
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    Two things seem to cause the problem:

    1 -The holes get opened up due to the switches coming in and out (this is what Matt fixed);
    2 - The console gets crushed (from crawling over it) which causes the switch connectors to hit the fiberglass body, forcing the switches up out of the holes. My favorite fix for this is a short (1 inch) piece of 2x4 lumber glued to the body just behind the switches to support the console in the OEM position. Take the ash tray out for access, you don't even need to remove the console.

    Matt's fix actually does a bit of both as it's adding a slight thickness to the panel raising the switches a bit more from the body.

    I know someone out there actually cut a recess in the fiberglass to fix this, but just supporting the console is much easier and presents less danger of cutting into the fuel lines. . . .
    Dave S
    DMC Midwest - retired but helping
    dswingle@DeLorean.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIMid View Post
    Looks great! Mine are slightly warped, but will get worse with age. Does this plate sit above or installed underneath?
    It sits above since the warpage throws the switches out of whack. With the vinyl wrap, you don't even notice that it is non-native. The only thing you see from the dummy switch angle (if you look close) is that the plate sits a tad off the original console surface if the area around the switches extrudes out - but you have to look hard and wouldn't know it was not intended to look that way. That is unless you are even more OCD than me

    Quote Originally Posted by DMCMW Dave View Post
    Two things seem to cause the problem:

    1 -The holes get opened up due to the switches coming in and out (this is what Matt fixed);
    2 - The console gets crushed (from crawling over it) which causes the switch connectors to hit the fiberglass body, forcing the switches up out of the holes. My favorite fix for this is a short (1 inch) piece of 2x4 lumber glued to the body just behind the switches to support the console in the OEM position. Take the ash tray out for access, you don't even need to remove the console.

    Matt's fix actually does a bit of both as it's adding a slight thickness to the panel raising
    the switches a bit more from the body.

    I know someone out there actually cut a recess in the fiberglass to fix this, but just supporting the console is much easier and presents less danger of cutting into the fuel lines. . . .
    Very good solution! Thanks Dave The problem I had was a slight variation on a collapse to the console
    as you said... The switches actually sat in the holes fully seated (so jacking it up would not help in this case), but what I assume pressure on the console did over the years caused the "bridges" between the holes to go out of whack. Between the dummy and window switch, the bridge warped up, then was straight between the window and defroster, then sunk between the defroster and the other window switch, etc... I tried to put pressure on the bridges to straighten them but no success - plus I assume the issue would come back even if I got them straight. This seemed like a good solution in my case in which I did not have to alter anything original. It raises the switches slightly but only the width of a couple dimes. Maybe not enough if the switches are hitting the fiberglass but will keep aligned at the height of the most outward sitting switch (one reason I wanted the plate to fit so snug).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenny_Z View Post
    That looks awesome. I have that sticking driver window switch problem and the general mess of switches. I know I'd be interested in one.

    What did you make the plate out of and how did you secure it to the switch area?
    Plate is steel and it is secured simply with a very snug fit (the thin vinyl wrap helps cushion the fit) and what little the rest of the switch can grab onto in the original opening. It won't come loose in my case unless you take out a switch and pull up on the plate with a bit of force.
    DeLorean VIN 16793 - 1983
    Loving my power steering!

  8. #8
    Senior Member AdmiralSenn's Avatar
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    That looks really good, man! If it could be made reasonably affordable I'd buy one. As it is I may have to duplicate your efforts with some of the scrap steel I have laying around.

    A source on that vinyl might be nice for the rest of us if you don't end up producing these.
    Aka Adam S, aka Adam Wright
    1981 DMC-12 #3416, mothballed in preparation for motor swap
    2006 Volvo S60R

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdmiralSenn View Post
    That looks really good, man! If it could be made reasonably affordable I'd buy one. As it is I may have to duplicate your efforts with some of the scrap steel I have laying around.

    A source on that vinyl might be nice for the rest of us if you don't end up producing these.
    I am happy to share the template file if anyone would like it - just PM me. You would have to cut it out by hand which is tricky to get it precise. I am also happy to send out a piece of black vinyl wrap (sorry, no gray - but might be available and will check) you can use to cover it as long as the shipping cost is covered. Otherwise you have to buy a whole roll. I think it would be great to be able to make a small run of the plates though but need more interest

    Also, just to reiterate so people don't have to read the whole thread (though some very good alternate solutions were presented) - the problem I had was not that the holes were too big or that the switches would not fully seat due to the console collapsing too low to the fiberglass, but rather the bridges between each cut-out had warped in and out causing the switches to never sit correctly. I tried to bend those back flush but did not have much success with it, and didn't want that issue to creep back in a year. This solves all 3 issues though (switches perfectly flush and locked) without having to modify anything stock or open up the console. Was just easiest for my particular situation.
    DeLorean VIN 16793 - 1983
    Loving my power steering!

  10. #10
    Administrator Ron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kajcienski View Post
    The problem is the alignment rather than them being snug - but good suggestion! The area tends to warp making the switches not align properly.
    Wierd...mine were so tight I was afraid of breaking something when I was taking them out. I thought it might be because of warping but they all seemed to be scrubbing all the way around basically... maybe my console has shrunk.

    OH, Great Job!!!

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