DIY DIFFICULTY LEVEL: 2/5
TOOLS NEEDED: Wire crimpers, Soldering iron, Pliers, Screwdriver
Many people struggle with where to fit aftermarket equipment inside their 4WD, and a UHF radio is often at the top of that list.
The 100 Series LandCruiser is particularly prone to this problem, as there is no spare room around the dash or centre console area.
One of the best fixes for this is an overhead roof console, as not only will it hold the UHF radio, it will also hold three interior lights including a driver and passenger light up front. Plus, it offers additional storage for things such as maps or even a second radio for those looking to install a HF or AM/ SSB unit as well. Let's take a look at what is needed to install one of these roof consoles into your 4WD.
To do this install you will need:
● Outback roof console
● UHF radio
● Rubber insert to fit UHF radio into console
● UHF antenna and a minimum of eight metres of coaxial cable
● 4 x 12V LED lights
● 1 x inline fuse holder
● Heat shrink or electrical tape
● 3mm2 electrical wire
● Assorted male and female connectors
● Assorted blade fuses
1. We have chosen to run the power from our auxiliary battery for this set-up; however, you will need to disconnect the battery terminals from both batteries as we will be cutting the main interior cabin light wires and don't want to run the risk of shorting anything out.
Once the batteries are disconnected, remove the rear-vision mirror and then the interior light from the roof area of the vehicle. When removing the light, if you have to cut the wiring, be sure to insulate both wires (unless you intend to run the LEDs from the starting battery) separately in electrical tape and tuck back into the roof lining in case you want to remove the roof console at some point in the future and replace the interior light fitting.
Once this is done, screw the metal base plate that came with the roof console up into the old light fitting. This will allow for an easy fitting of the console in the final steps.
2. Remove the pinch seal from around the driver's door and unscrew the bottom step tread to give access to under the carpet.
3. Also remove the grab handle above the rear driver's side door, the driver's seatbelt and the trim behind to give access to the roof lining. This will allow you to run the power and coaxial cable up the centre pillar and into the roof, coming out again through the hole for the light fitting and into the console.
4. Lay the console out on a bench and cut three lengths of wire (red in photo) to run from the main power switch on the side of the console to the three light switches. As power for all four LED lights will come from the same switch, it will be necessary to join all three wires and crimp into the one female blade terminal at the main power switch. Once completed, fit a female blade terminal to the other end of all three red wires with crimpers. When done, attach each to the male blade terminal on the back of each light switch.
5. Next run both the negative and positive wires from the LEDs through the holes beneath the light covers (simply unscrew the plastic lens) of the console and once through, fit a female blade terminal to the positive wire before attaching it to the second male blade terminal on the back of the light switch. Note that with the rear console light, both LED positive wires will need to be joined and fitted to a single female blade terminal, as both lights are operated from the one switch.
6. Take the negative wire from each LED (yellow in above photo) and solder the ends together to form one main negative wire, which we will be attaching to an outside earth wire in the final stages of installation. Note: if the original wire attached to the LEDs is not long enough, you will have to extend it with the use of some extra wire, a connector and crimpers. Remember to use heat shrink (preferable) or electrical tape over all connections.
7. It's now time to fit the UHF radio into its place within the console. We are installing a Uniden model, which has a face and body smaller than a single-DIN size and so needed to purchase a made to measure rubber insert, which fits over the front of the radio and will help hold it in place.
8. Slide the radio into place within the console and use double sided sticky tape and/or adhesive hook tape to hold the radio in position. Make sure you have enough power cable for the UHF to reach the other end of the console, as we will be joining it to the same power source as the LED lights.
9. It's now time to run the power and coaxial cables from the front of the 4WD through to the interior. Starting with the coaxial cable for the UHF radio, run the cable from the antennae on the bullbar underneath the front grille and up behind the second battery before continuing along the sidewall towards the rear firewall. Don't attempt to put it through the firewall into the cabin of the 4WD as yet, because it is easier to do it with the power cable in one go.
10. To power the LEDs and UHF, we are running 3mm twin-core insulated wire from the second battery through the firewall with the coaxial cable and then under the carpet and trim to the centre pillar on the driver's side. Continue running the cables up the inside of the pillar and into the roof trim, feeding it across until it emerges through the hole left by removing the original light fitting.
11. Now's the time to solder on a new connection for the coaxial cable so that it can be plugged into the UHF radio cord. After this has been done, strip back the ends of the power cable so that they can be joined to the power cable from the console. Fit a female blade terminal to the red power cable coming through the roof lining, leaving the black cable as the earth wire.
12. Connect the red power cable to the console's main switch, which is a male blade terminal. Then connect the black earth cable to the yellow earth wires coming from the LED lights. Finally, join the two ends of the coaxial cable together for the UHF antennae.
13. With the help of an assistant, lift the console into place and using the screws from the rear-vision mirror, screw the front bracket of the console into the old mirror fixture, making sure that you reinstall the mirror at the same time. Then, using the base plate kit that came with the console, fix the rear of the console to the old rear light fitting. Make sure that the console is straight, then tighten all three screws holding the console in place.
14. Replace all the interior trim including the seatbelt and grab handle, as well as the pinch seal around the driver's door.
15. It's now time to connect the power cable to the second battery, but before you connect the power, make sure you find a good place for the earth cable on the vehicle's chassis. We managed to find a spot just behind the air filter. Remember to place an inline 20A fuse on the positive wire as close to the battery as possible. Once this is in place, solder a battery connector to the end of the positive wire and then connect it to the battery terminal. Finally, insert a 20A fuse into the fuse holder.
16. And that's it. You should now be able to turn on your UHF radio and your LED lights without the need of a key being in the ignition. Both these items draw very little current, so the battery should not flatten too much if using these fixtures without the engine running. Time to get out on the tracks and test these new additions.
Thanks to Christian and Mitch at Mobi Mech for their assistance in this installation. For more information on this or any other auto-electrical install, contact them on 02 8544 0493 or visit their website www.mobimech.com.au
WORDS BY DAVID THORNDIKE PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROWAN TURNER