In the last installment we looked at some reasons why it is important to isolate auxiliary wiring from your vehicle's main harness. We also touched base on safe methods of doing so. In this post we will cover one method of adding an aftermarket fuse panel (in this case a Blue Sea model #5029). We chose to go the custom route.
Here is a list of items used to install the fuse panel in our 2012 Jeep JK 2 door.
- 1 sheet of 16ga weld steel from Lowes 8"x24"
- 1 Blue Sea fuse panel part #5029
- Electric angle grinder and cutting disc (Harbor Freight)
- Cordless drill and 0.25" drill bit
- Template for bracket (DIY)
- Rattle can car primer
- Rattle can high temp gloss black paint (I prefer satin but already had the gloss)
- 1/4" ratchet and 10mm shallow socket
- 8ga wire x 1'.
- 2 8ga ring terminals
- Wire crimpers
- Heat shrink tubing and small torch
- 1 Sheet of 120 grit sandpaper to clean up the rough edges
- Hardware to mount the fuse panel to the bracket
I didn't photograph the cutting of the bracket as it seemed a bit self explanatory. I used the drill bit described above for the mounting holes and cut the rest out with the angle grinder. I could have also used a jigsaw and a metal blade to make the cuts. The grinder is much easier to handle on such a small piece as jigsaws tend to push materials around the bench. You could use the mounting holes to secure the steel to a large piece of plywood in order to hold it still while you trim it. I recommend 1/4" plywood to do this as thicker pieces may make cutting curves more difficult. Either method works fine, just be careful, cut slow, and keep clothing and body parts away from power tools.
|Oops! It looks like I leaned against the passenger side driving light. I ran two different lights up front, the driver side is a spot beam and the passenger side is a driving light. This permits a little of both worlds without taking up extra space.|
|The 45* notch above the fender mounting holes was made to clear the factory plastic mount. For cleanliness and to make a modification truly reversible, modify accessories around the vehicle rather than vice-versa.|
|I designed the bracket to line up with the fender, and contoured the fuse panel on the other side. Small details like this are easy to produce and can make a simple job look more professional.|
|Above you can see the reason for the notch. The bracket rests gently against the right side of the plastic bracket thus adding a bit of additional support.|
|Here you can see how the bracket contours the fuse panel.|
|Close-up shot of the panel and bracket installed.|
|Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out. I may have change a few things if I am ever inclined to make another.|
|As you can see here, there is at least 5/8" of clearance between the bracket and the factory battery -more than enough to keep the bracket from making contact with the battery while traveling off road.|
With the bracket and fuse panel installed, next task: create a harness for the accessories then wire everything in. Stay tuned for Part III....