Wiring - On Board Smoke

Well the time has come to transfer all the wiring from the test bed to the car. But first things first. We need a dash to tie the wiring too. There are a few options here the first and most expensive is to buy a dash, clocks and little black boxes to translate all the signals.

The second and probably most cost effective is to build the dash but still buy all the clocks and little black boxes.

The third and most technically challenging and cheapest is to use the existing SAAB equipment and build the dash to suit.

The later option has been the plan all along with Option 2 as a stand by if things got tight. As things stand there is no problem, apart from my knackered brain, of going the most difficult route. The advantage here, apart from cost, is that the bench tested wiring loom can be transferred into the car with a great deal of confidence. Also all the technical advantages that come with the SAAB T5 system can be used to their full potential. This is going to be very cool as all the software available and written for the T5 system allows totally flexible control over the car and it's features.

So here we go...... whish me luck!

The first job is to build the dash template. This is a two stage process. Step one is an out line built from cardboard. Step two is to copy this out line to plywood. Once the plywood has been trimmed to fit with enough spare room for a nice edge trim to be added later.

Then it's time to design the dashboard layout. With Mr. IVA in the back of the mind all the time the dash design has been drawn up making everything as flush to the dashboard as possible. Gauges are mounted behind the board and glazing recessed into the front. Switched are also recessed into the board so that the are only fractionally proud of the fascia. The board will be mounted to the inside of the car using sunken M6 socket head set screws and rivet nuts. Instruments are held in with either the original clips, M6 sunken set screws and M4 countersunk set screws.

Dash Ply Template.


The first stage of the dash has been completed with the main gauges, on board computer, front & rear fog lights plus dimmer.

Inital Instruments & Switches


The switchgear is all being double sealed, the original SAAB switch seals which are used on the SAAB 900 rag-tops, plus a neoprene seal behind the dashboard so that the end result should be an IP65 rated seal. This is an extra precaution because the original switchgear was designed for the “OMG it's raining. Quick close the roof!” driver. Where as this car is a case of “Oh Cr/\p it's raining. Time for a soggy butt”.

The dashboard will also be sealed, especially at the bodywork joins to stop water, dust and nasty make “it go bang” stuff from gaining access to precious computers that will control the lighting, alarms and performance programming.

Well after many hours hacking Vinyl, Poly carbonate and Aluminium the final incarnation of the dashboard has taken shape. Along with the dash a steering column cover has also been developed using Poly carbonate, Aluminium mesh and fine fibreglass sheet. The end result means that the average SAAB dashboard has been transformed into some very sexy without losing any of the functionality.

Dashboard Final Version.


There are still a few little details to sort out such as the clocks glass, the steering column bottom mounts and the dashboard top sealing strip (which can't be fixed until the dash is installed after wiring). But these are small details that will be sorted as the wiring is installed.

Dash and Steering Column.

The clocks glass has now been fitted and with some white trim added to the bottom of the dash foot wells, clocks and switchgear the dash is now complete.

Dash With All The Trimmings.

Now lets get some electrickery rushing around..........

Well the first thing we discover is that the fuse box is on the wrong side of the car for a nice neat job, bit of a cock up on my part. Not only that but the dash has had to be modified from the original idea, mainly due to Mr. IVA but also due some driver ergonomic considerations. This is going to mean some modifications to the existing loom, which is a shame because right now the loom is fully functional. Ah the best laid plans of mice and men, such is life. Time for a new fuse box first. Using 4 in line 8 way blade fuse boxes that are water proof will allow the fuses to be easily accessed under the bonnet instead of struggling under the dash. With the new fuse boxes spliced into the loom the rearranged switch gear will be easier to map onto the loom. So rewinding the clock back to the initial wiring and digging out all the diagrams tiz time to bend some more tinned copper insulated stuff.

There is more smoke here Click To See It.

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