Relocating Climate Control panel. - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-24-2003, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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Relocating Climate Control panel.

Some people have expressed interest in relocating their climate control panel to a location other than the stock one.

In the 94-97 MN12's, there are 3 openings in the center instrument panel. The 94-96 has 2 DIN size openings, and the bottom opening is slightly smaller than DIN. In the 97 MN12's, all 3 openings are DIN size, although the bottom one has a small frame that reduces it's size so that the ashtray can fit. This frame pops out easily. In the 94-96 cars, a warning light panel is in the bottom opening, which may or may not have a switch for the Traction Assist system on it also. In the 97 model MN12's, the instrument cluster changed to include all the warning lights that were previously located in the bottom DIN opening. The opening was then fitted with an ashtray/lighter combo, and the Traction Assist switch was moved under the center console lid next to the trunk release switch. If you are willing to give up or relocate the warning light panel in your 94-96 MN12, or are willing to give up your ashtray/lighter in your 97, then this mod will free up that top DIN opening so you can add gauges, DVD screen, CD deck, whatever.

First you will need to remove the warning light panel or ashtray/lighter assembly. If your car has the warning light panel, first remove it, and then you will need to trim some plastic away to make the opening DIN size. What you do with the wiring harness is your call. Leave it as is, or run it somewhere else and reconnect the warning lights, it's up to you. If you have a 97, take out the ashtray, and then take out the plastic "frame" that it sits in that also holds the lighter...if I remember correctly, it should just pry out with a screwdriver. Now disconnect the wires from the cigarette lighter, and insulate the ends, then push them out of the way. These are a good source of constant 12V power, always hot even without the key being on, but if you are not using them they should be taped off so they won't short out. Now, pull out the ashtray light assembly at the top of the opening, and do the same as you did for the cigarette lighter wires unless you are going to use them. These wires are only hot when the parking lights are on, and are run thru the dimmer switch, therefore rendering them useful for things like gauge lighting.

Now, remove the climate control panel by using standard Ford radio removal tools. Disconnect the 3 electrical connectors, and also the silicone vacuum connector. DO NOT pull out the individual vacuum lines, just remove the entire connector from the back of the unit.

Make sure to remove the entire silicone/plastic vacuum connector like this, do not pull out the individual lines.

Set the unit aside, and open the glovebox. Take everything out, then squeeze the sides in while pulling down gently. The glovebox will drop down to the floor, which should offer you some room to stick your head in there and see what you are doing inside the dash. If not enough room is available, you can simply take the glovebox door off. At this point, you may also want to remove the radio from the dash, it will be easier to work inside without it being in the way.

Now, reach in thru the glovebox opening and pull all the electrical harnesses and the vacuum line harness out of the top opening and back out into the dash. You will need to spend a few minutes figuring out how to reroute these around the confines of the dash, but they WILL REACH the bottom DIN opening if you get them routed correctly. Once you get them into the bottom opening, tap into the cigarette lighter or ashtray light wires if you need to do so, as once the climate control unit is installed, these wires will be inaccessible without removing the unit. Reconnect the wiring/vacuum harness connectors to the back of the climate control unit, and push it into place in the bottom DIN slot. It should lock in with a snap. If you should ever need to remove it again, do it the same way you normally would, using the radio removal tools to release it from the dash.

Reconnect the vacuum and electrical harnesses, and push the unit into place. It will snap into place.

Now, you can reinstall the radio (if removed) and also snap the glovebox back into place, or reinstall it if you removed it. Now you have a free DIN opening at the top of the dash to do whatever you want with. I found that it is a good spot for gauges to be placed, as they are near eye level, but you can install pretty much anything there.

The finished installation. The radio is not installed because I was attempting to remove a jammed CD from it.


I removed the factory Premium Sound amp when I installed my cd player. The A/C controls SHOULD still fit even with the amp in there, but if not, then either remove the amp or put it elsewhere.

The cigarrette lighter wiring is always hot, even with the key off, so if you are not going to use it for anything, insulate the ends and push them out of the way, making sure they are not pinched.

The ashtray light is at the top of the ashtray opening. It's wires are fed thru the dimmer switch, making them a good connection point for the gauge lighting.

Last edited by hotbird; 03-28-2004 at 11:00 AM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-25-2003, 12:18 AM
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i have to add that on mine when i moved it down to the bottom to put the W&S Infocenter in the top slot, the bottom slot is not a din sized opening, slightly smaller, i had to do some triming to get the climate controls to sit flush with the trim.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-04-2004, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Vic...I revised the post to include the fact that the 94-96's need some trimming.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 08:44 AM
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Any Pics???
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-26-2004, 12:29 PM
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good write up.. should be a tech article **Hint Hint**

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2004, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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myride21: Um I *could* take pics I one in my avatar of it.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2004, 11:13 PM
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The Avatar is nice, but got any pics that are full size for us mature people who may not have absolute perfect vision?

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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No actually the avatar sux also. If you look at the original it is all crappy and grainy and I'm gonna change it soon. I just went outside and took some pics of the car and will try and integrate them with my article after I get done resizing them.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, I went outside and pulled apart the climate control and glovebox to simulate working on them and took some pics. The radio is not installed because it broke, (not due to this mod, it was a cheap Wal*Crap radio). I hope these are good enough, if you'd like pics of other things let me know. Things I can't get a pic of however, include:

Ashtray/Lighter combo and frame...went in trash.
Pics with gauge panel removed...that would be too much work to remove those now.
Behind-dash pics...I tried, but it didn't work.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-10-2004, 11:04 AM
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Wow, great info. Does anybody know of a backplate for gauges that actually fits the opening, though? Sure would make it look a lot more stock, and "finished".
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-20-2004, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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I think there is a site called "" or something where you can get a gauge plate. Also, you could just get a DIN delete panel and bore out correct size holes in it for the gauges. That's what I'm gonna do someday, the DIN delete plate.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2004, 02:51 AM
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It's very easy to cut a piece of plexiglass to fit in there, just cut it so it's a bit bigger than the opening so it's wedge fit in there. It didn't take very long for me to make one. Then you can paint it. I chose to paint the back side of the plexiglass so the outside would still appear smooth and shiny. If you paint the front side of it, the paint is exposed and can be scratched off.
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