1970 Barracuda - Late Model Overhead Console

(Using an OEM Jeep Cherokee console)

Since I have a custom center console with digital gauges, I thought it might be nice to sort've continue the "modern" theme in the interior via the addition of an overhead console. Gran Coupe Barracudas actually did come with a rudimentary overhead console with some idiot lights in it, but the one from this car is LONG gone. Going with a modern console will allow me to add a compass and ambient temperature sensor to the car for that added "gee whiz" factor. :-)

I wanted to keep this project "in the family", so a non-Mopar console was not an option for me. I did some looking around on E-bay and found a Jeep Grand Cherokee console which looked nice. Unfortunately, after it arrived, I discovered that it was a bit too modern. The console communicated via a data bus, rather than using a temp sensor which went directly to the console. I kept looking, and a short while later, found an overhead console from what I believe is a 1995 Jeep Cherokee, which looked like it might do the trick. Unfortunately, it didn't look quite as slick as the newer console since it is a bit more angular and not quite as sleek, but its sure better than what I have now, which is nothing. :-) It came with a temperature sensor and the mounting brackets, which should be helpful. I have no doubt that some fabrication will be required, but the brackets may prove useful.

This page will chronicle my attempt to adapt this console to my car.
Click on any pic to bring up the full sized version. Note: it may take a little while for this page to load, depending on your browser. Its set up as a table, and some browsers wait until the whole table has been loaded before displaying it. Just give it some time. :-)
001.jpg - 35 KB Tue 6/29/04

Just a picture I found of a stock 1995 Jeep Cherokee console to give you an idea what it looks like. Its pretty simple, as consoles go; 4 map/reading lights, sunglasses holder, garage door opener compartment, and a compass/temperature display which you can turn on or off and switch between US and metric measurements.
001 - 35 KB
002.jpg - 64 KB Tue 6/29/04

The temp sensor and plug. You'll need this in order for the thermometer to work! You can probably get this from the dealer if need be, but if you can get the sensor along with the console, so much the better!
002 - 64 KB
003.jpg - 71 KB Tue 6/29/04

Here, I've laid out the console and am in the process of trying to figure out which leads do what. My main source of information during this procedure was the factory service manual for my 1996 Dodge Dakota. Tom Hunsaker (a fellow MML'er) was kind enough to fax me some 1995 Jeep Cherokee pinouts and wiring diagrams, but unfortunately I wasn't able to use much of them because the wire colors and pinouts didn't quite match up to the console I got. Using the Dakota manual and a little trial and error, I was finally able to decipher which wire goes where. :-) Just in case you are working on a similar project, here is that info:

Wire ColorPurposeMore detailed info
Black groundprovides a ground for the reading lamps, (and possibly the console in general)
Pink constant +12v There are 2 pink wires, these provide power for the dome light and reading lamps.
Yellow ground This wire, when grounded, will turn on the dome light. It should be connected to the door plungers, and you can also connect it to your "dome light" switch.
White w/black stripe switched +12v This provides power to the digital display, and should provide +12v when the ignition is on
Black w/green stripe groundThis wire provides a ground to the compass
Orange w/black stripe parking light/headlight sense This wire should provide +12v whenever your headlights or parking lights are on
Blue w/violet stripe dimmer switch This wire should produce 0-12v, depending on the position of your dimmer knob. The higher the voltge, the dimmer the display will get.
Violet w/green stripe Temperature sensor This wire provides +12v to the temperature sensor. Connect it to the corresponding wire on the sensor.
Black w/blue stripe Temperature sensor This wire receives a signal back from the temperature sensor. Connect it to the corresponding wire on the sensor.
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004.jpg - 85 KB Tue 6/29/04

Because my headliner will be black, I want the console to match. I have completely dissasembled the console so that I could pull the fabric off. The foam still attached to the console is where the factory glued the fabric in place. I will try to locate some black felt or headliner material to use to re-cover the console. You might also notice that there is a hole in the fabric around the middle of the console. There is a little black dome connected to a circuit board which comes down through that hole (you can see a picture of it in the very first picture on this page.) It looks very much like an infra-red sensor like you might find on a TV or VCR. Although I am not quite sure what that is for, I am guessing it is an IR temperature sensor which is used in the Jeep for climate control. Obviously this won't be necessary in my Barracuda, so re-covering the console will also provide me with the opportunity to eliminate this hole.
004 - 85 KB

This page was last updated Wed Jun 30 02:14:37 EDT 2004