The Rabbit TDI Project
Part 11: the dash
Or: big round peg, small square hole
The IMMO system in the ECU required that I use the A4 cluster with the
IMMO system built in.
The upside is that I get to use those cool backlit blue gauges,
the downside is that the cluster is huge and there is no reasonable way
to fit that into a Westmoreland dash.
As a bit of pre-history, I don't like US built cars. I don't understand
the 70's and 80's thing of putting the switch for the headlights on a
pull type switch. One of the first things I did when I bought the truck
was to remove the pull type switch, and in it's place I put the flip switch
like in the A1 Jetta and Scirocco II. Worked quite well.
But then when it came to fitting the A4 cluster into the westmoreland dash,
there wasn't enough room for the headlight switch. I moved it to a blank section
below the cluster opening.
There isn't much left of the dash, most of the plastic in the opening was
cut away so the cluster would fit. I tried many times to fit the full cluster,
front plastic and all, but there was no way I could make it work. Too high,
too low, can't see the gauges, looks aweful. Hmmm....
Think outside the box, be the spoon.
Hmmm... these A4 gauges are in the same layout as the gauges in an Audi TT.
Probably just a different front plate. What if I made my own front plate?
Pulled the front cover off the gauges, sat with a caliper and my CAD program,
and drew the layout of the gauges. Printed 1:1 on the big plotter at work,
and played around.
I ended up taking my CAD drawings to a custom metal shop, they programmed their
machine, and punched out some 1/4" plate for me. A great number of hours later,
I had a workable solution for my instrument cluster.
The dashplate as delivered:
The cluster setup is made of 5 layers. The cluster itself,
two 1/4" clusterplates/spacers, a 1/4" piece of plexi, and finally
the top dashplate.
While I had the dash out of the truck, I dyed the vinyl black.
For the first few weeks of having the truck running, I didn't have the full dashplate
done, so made a quick one out of plexiglass. Sorry, no pictures.
I also installed a whack of VDO gauges. What's the point of a fancy engine if you don't
know what's going on?
EGT, boost, tranny oil temp, voltage, oil pressure, engine oil temp.
So, when it all comes togeather, it doesn't look too bad:
Summary: cluster, dash and gauges
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Installing the Engine
Part 3: Transmission
Part 4: Wiring 1
Part 5: Speedometer and Cluster
Part 6: ImmobilizerIII
Part 7: Drive By Wire
Part 8: Intercooler
Part 9: Intake and Exhaust
part 10: MFA and Cruise Control
Part 11: The Dash
Part 12: The Little Things
Part 13: The End (for now)
Part 14: 6spd transmission and brake upgrades
One Year Later
Who Needs a VR6