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Discussion Starter #1
I am wondering how much force I need to use to remove the cover. I need to get the panel that contains the lower switches/power plugs off and need to remove the upper piece (the part that contains the radio/heater assembly) first so that I can replace a blank plate with a switch.

I also need to do the same thing with the lowre kick panel under the steering wheel but that one has two screws holding it in place.
 

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"I need to get the panel that contains the lower switches/power plugs off . . . .first so that I can replace a blank plate with a switch"

I was able to get to the switch blank without pulling the lower panel (which I was afraid would require me to remove the console to get at), by removing the upper panel.


"and need to remove the upper piece (the part that contains the radio/heater assembly)"

I presume you are talking about the trim panel in the central area of the dash. This pulls off pretty easily if you grab it in a corner and pull. There are wire connector clips that attach to the heater control knobs that you might need to disengage (and be sure to mark or memorize so you can reconnect properly).

"I also need to do the same thing with the lower kick panel under the steering wheel but that one has two screws holding it in place."

Yes, two screws and also some clips at the top. This one is pretty easy. There are also some wire connectors at the lower left where the switches are, so just be a little careful not to rip anything out by the roots.

Some observations from my own experience:

1. I didn't buy NISSAN switches that replace the switch blanks by snapping into place as I needed to use specialized after-market switches. What I did was pop out and drill & machine the switch blanks to accept my after-market switches, as the after-market switches were not configured to snap into the OEM switch openings. If you are just looking for on-off, you can probably buy a factory NISSAN switch and cooperating connector which will snap into place.

2. The switch blank in the lower central region of the dash is near the two cigarette lighter sockets, which may make a convenient source of power depending on your application. They are both (separately) fused at 15 Amps. The one closest to the driver is always on, the one near the passenger shuts off with the ignition.

3. I needed to run wires through the firewall, and did so by fishing them through the hood release cable grommet with a coat hanger. I couldn't find any real easy way to get wires through the firewall.

4. I would recommend doing all of this in a warm environment (heated shop, warm day, or run the heater in the truck) to reduce the chances of cracking any plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
bestatchess said:
I was able to get to the switch blank without pulling the lower panel (which I was afraid would require me to remove the console to get at), by removing the upper panel.
Were you able to remove the blank without removing the small panel? How hard is it to get it out?

bestatchess said:
Some observations from my own experience:

1. I didn't buy NISSAN switches that replace the switch blanks by snapping into place as I needed to use specialized after-market switches. What I did was pop out and drill & machine the switch blanks to accept my after-market switches, as the after-market switches were not configured to snap into the OEM switch openings. If you are just looking for on-off, you can probably buy a factory NISSAN switch and cooperating connector which will snap into place.

2. The switch blank in the lower central region of the dash is near the two cigarette lighter sockets, which may make a convenient source of power depending on your application. They are both (separately) fused at 15 Amps. The one closest to the driver is always on, the one near the passenger shuts off with the ignition.

3. I needed to run wires through the firewall, and did so by fishing them through the hood release cable grommet with a coat hanger. I couldn't find any real easy way to get wires through the firewall.

4. I would recommend doing all of this in a warm environment (heated shop, warm day, or run the heater in the truck) to reduce the chances of cracking any plastic.
I did order two replacement switches from Nissan. They are expensive, but what isn't on this truck. I wanted them all to look alike and not give away what they are for to the untrained observer.

I was planning to run them off the hot wire near the driver and run an inline fuse just in case. The strobes pull 0.75 amps each so I am looking at an inline 10 amp fuse just in case.

The one that is going in the lower left kick panel slot is the one I have to work out a hot wire for. I might run a longer wire to the same place as the other one and feed it that way. Not sure what else is always hot on the lower left yet.

Fortunately I don't have to go through the firewall yet. I think I am going to use a remote switch for when I do however.
 

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"Were you able to remove the blank without removing the small panel?"

Yes.

"How hard is it to get it out?"

Not hard, you push on the front of the switch blank and it pops out the back.

"I did order two replacement switches from Nissan. They are expensive"

How much ? Do they come with the snap in wire connector? Can you get NISSAN on-off switches that illuminate when on?

"I was planning to run them off the hot wire near the driver and run an inline fuse just in case."

I did the same thing, except I used the passenger side as I didn't want to accidentally leave it on and drain the battery. Of course with the strobes, you would have a pretty good indication that something was still on!

"The one that is going in the lower left kick panel slot is the one I have to work out a hot wire for. I might run a longer wire to the same place as the other one and feed it that way."

That might be a pain in the neck.

"Not sure what else is always hot on the lower left yet."

I couldn't find anything lower left that I could get to without butchering existing wiring. If you aren't concerned about leaving something on and draining the battery, and it is only .75 amps, you could run a long, small diameter (see http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm for a nice little voltage drop calculator) insulated wire with inline fuse through the hood release cable grommet and across to the battery (which has a nice terminal for hooking up accessory items). A few small nylon cable ties under the hood and you are in business.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If the lights are on it is because I am using them to close a road or using the truck as some sort of warning device. Normally it will be running, but with the low draw these strobes have, I might just run them while it is off. I figure if I start it every 30 minutes or so, the battery will be fine. I also have the extra large battery that came with either the tow package or the off road package (I forget which).

The switches were around $50 each and the dealer gave me 20% off that. I have yet to get them, they had to be ordered. Not sure if they are lighted or not.

I figure that if they are on, I am going to know it. These strobes are so bright!

I assume you pushed the blank out the back with the panel off so you were able to get to the wiring behind it.

Pictures after I get them in.
 

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"The switches were around $50 each and the dealer gave me 20% off that."

So $80 for two switches? Ouch !!!!

"I assume you pushed the blank out the back with the panel off so you were able to get to the wiring behind it."

For the lower left blank, yes, I pushed it out after taking the panel off (it will still be connected to the wires for the switches at the lower left, so be gentle). For the lower central blank near the lighter socket, I took off the upper panel (just grapped it and pulled it off, starting at one corner) and then disconnected all the wire harness connectors that go to the Heater & A/C knobs. After that, I was able to get to the switch blank on the lower central portion and push it out.

The Nissan switches I observed during this process are specially designed to connect to wiring harness connectors, so hopefully you will get those with the switches.
 
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