DIY Gauge Panel For Miata
I kept forgetting to order a center console gauge panel and with two days to go before an event had to make my own gauge mount.
Looking around the cockpit of the car, the passenger airbag area looked suitable for holding my gauges:
I intended to use the left hole on the bracket welded to the dash bar, then run the panel diagonally to the right front of the opening. As this was meant to be a temporary installation I figured zip ties would be sufficient to hold the front end of the gauge panel to two of the holes in the surrounding plastic: one of the bottom holes visible in the picture and one of the side holes that are not in the picture.
The indicated corner of the middle bracket sticks out into otherwise a horizontal plane from the left hole to the top of the plastic on the edge of the airbag area. I ground that corner off with a grinder. The only thing that the center bracket is supporting in my car is that wire loom, so cutting material off the bracket should not affect anything.
I started with a piece of aluminum angle from Lowe's:
The angle is much more rigid than a flat sheet, which will reduce how much the gauge will bounce once installed. I bought the thinnest piece that still resisted bending well.
A 1.5" tall piece is sufficiently tall for the gauge mounting holes to fit.
Next, mark and drill the holes. I did not immediately realize this but the most efficient way of marking the holes is to use the rear mounting braces that came with the gauges. My second hole for the first gauge did not quite come out in the right spot and had to be enlarged.
Next step is to cut out holes for wire harnesses. Auto Meter gauge has the wire harness on the bottom, and the harness detaches from the gauge. Innovate gauge has non-detachable wires and they are in the middle of the gauge. Hence I made a hole for the Auto Meter gauge (drilled a hole and then enlarged it with the drill until it was big enough for the connector to comfortably go through) and cut out a section for the Innovate gauge with a grinder.
The hole on the bottom surface is for mounting to the hole in the dash bar bracket. I forgot to drill holes for zip ties for the front mounting before I bolted the panel in the car.
I cut the left side of the panel at an angle so that the panel would be flush with the dash.
Rear view with the gauges installed:
I had to space out the Innovate gauge from the vertical plane of the panel, otherwise the bracket was pressing on the center portion of the gauge where wires go into it rather than on the studs. Lacking appropriate sized washers I used a nut on each stud for this.
Front view with the gauges installed:
Installed in the car:
I used fender washers on the left hole as the hole in the dash bar bracket was way bigger than the bolt.
View from the driver seat: