Dash Pull Apart

- iPad/MudMap -

UHF - Ultragauge

 The installation of many interior accessories requires access behind the dashboard. Unfortunately, the disassembly of modern dashboards isn't always easy (or at least obvious), and the 200-series is no exception. On this page I'll show how the various centre sections of the dash can be removed, allowing access for wiring and accessory installations.

I'll also show the selection and installation of a brake controller, UHF CB radio, Ultragauge and iPad-based mapping system.

Jump to section:

UHF - Brake controller - Navigation - Ultragauge -
Dash pull-apart written guide

UHF CB Radio

The mainstay of 4WD communications for the last couple of decades has been the humble UHF radio, and it still is. For the 200, I kept the UHF I had in my 105, which is an Australian-Made commercial radio, the GME TX3800 (since discontinued). The only change I've made is swapping from a remote head to an integrated remote microphone setup.

Going with a commercial set has several advantages over a standard UHF CB. The unit allows the programming of any frequency between 450 and 520MHz, including the 80 UHF CB channels and duplex repeaters. It also provides a switchable power output of 5 or 25 watts (although it should be noted that the maximum legal power for CB channels is 5 watts). The price is about $200 more than a typical 80-channel CB radio. If you'd rather not spend the additional for a commercial set, I recommend the Australian-made GME radios over the cheap and nasty alternatives. Specifically, the TX3550S or the TX3350, both with remote speaker-microphones.

The main UHF unit is installed out of the way, behind the centre of the dash. The unit is completely controlled via the microphone, which is equipped with a series of programmable buttons and an LCD screen. I've secured the mic to the driver's side dash trim using double sided tape to save drilling any holes in the dash.

Antenna(s)

As with the radio itself, I'm reusing my old antenna which is a GME 4700-series. It's a modular system that comprises a heavy spring base with a 1200mm 6.6dB-gain or 2100mm 8.1dB-gain fibreglass whips (#4705 or 4706 respectively).

The base also accepts a variety of other antennas with standard connectors, depending on your requirements. In addition to the GME fibreglass whips, I have a small RFI mopole which is very carpark-friendly, and with its 4dB gain is well suited to hilly terrain. The mopole's small size (it fits in the glovebox) also means you can take it with you on trips in case you break one of the large antennas or need to remove it due to tight terrain.



Electric Brake Controller



Mounting a brake controller in the 200 can be a challenge. Initially, I'm reusing my relatively compact Tekonsha Voyager, which is a basic controller supporting up to four axles. If you really want to minimise the space the unit uses, I recommend the excellent Australian-made Redarc Towpro, which is about three times the price of the Voyager, but very convenient. I'll be upgrading to one of these when I get a chance.

The Voyager controller fits neatly within the ashtray socket on the lower part of the dashboard, which is the most appropriate location for a controller on the 200. Placement under the steering column should be avoided due to potential leg injury in an accident, and interference with knee airbags (where fitted).

In all cases, I have installed the UHF and the brake controller using concealed screw points and/or double sided tape, so the devices can all be removed without leaving visible holes in the dash. The ashtray can be replaced if the brake controller is removed.

iPad - Mudmap Navigation system

The constant march of technology has seen some incredible advances in mapping systems for 4x4 vehicle use. Mapping technology for me began with a $1200 Garmin GPS45 in the early '90s, which really needed to be used in conjunction with paper topographic maps. This progressed to a laptop running GPSy software, which (although a bit clunky) did at least allow the display of moving maps on a screen when connected to the GPS45. But the total cost of the system including a laptop, GPS and topographic maps went to many thousands of dollars.

Come 2013, and there is a much better (and cheaper) way. Using a (minimum) 64GB iPad mini running Mud Map software takes vehicle mapping to a whole new level. The iPad must be a cellular version (3G/4G) as the WiFi-only version doesn't have a GPS. However, there is no need to have a SIM card in the iPad as no data connection is required for either GPS or MudMap software functionality (except for Google/Apple map access, if desired).

I won't write a full review of MudMap 2 here, but it is impressive software which has so far provided all the functionality I require. There are a wide variety of maps included and/or available at extra cost. The software will track your position on any of the installed maps, and carry that track across if you change the map you're using. Tracks and waypoints are saved to your MudMap account, so you can access them on multiple devices (ie: Tracks saved on your iPad can be accessed on your iPhone).

There are three main alternatives to Mud Map available for the iPhone/iPad:

  • Hema 4WD Maps: This includes maps covering all of Australia;
  • Hema Explorer: This app is cheaper and doesn't include many maps (they can be bought as extras), but combines numerous additional features such as taking photos and access to weather from within the app;
  • Memory-Map: This is almost free, but doesn't include any maps. You buy the ones you want as required.

Update 19/2/15: Mud Map 3 is now available, and I plan to upgrade in the near future.

There are also a variety of turn-by-turn on-road navigation applications available (eg: Whereis, Navmii and Google Maps), so the iPad can easily be used as a primary navigation tool.

I've set up a mounting system for the iPad into the 200-series just next to the gear lever using a Ram Mount Tab-tite attached to the inside face of one of the side wings of the dashboard. It fits nicely and doesn't obstruct any components other than the crawl control system (which I rarely use). The iPad can be quickly removed from the spring-loaded tabtite mount, and the whole mounting system (except for the flange which is well concealed) can be removed with a wingnut-style screw. The iPad is powered from a cigarette lighter adaptor. Because the iPad draws maximum current when the mapping is active, you need a high-power 3.4A USB outlet to power it, or the battery will gradually drain even if it's plugged in to a regular 2.1A USB adaptor. Unfortunately, the USB connection on the Toyota stereo system doesn't provide enough power for an iPad, so it isn't possible to 'kill two birds' by using your iPad as a music source for the stereo, while also providing power.

Update 19/2/15: This article was originally based around a full-size iPad. I've since changed to an iPad Mini which is a much better fit, and the article has been updated accordingly.

Mounting the tablet

These are the components you'll need to mount an iPad or tablet, with links to find them on eBay and Amazon:




Ultragauge OBDII gauge






The Ultragauge is an accessory gauge and engine monitoring tool that plugs in to the OBDII port of any modern vehicle, including the 200-series. The Ultragauge can be configured to display up to 8 pages of 4-8 gauges per page. Available gauges depend on the vehicle, but typically include assorted engine parameters and trip functions, plus providing the ability to read and reset engine trouble codes.

At about $120 including delivery to Australia, the Ultragauge is remarkable value compared to some of the alternatives available. My only complaint (compared to the Scangauge II I used previously), is that the fuel consumption gauges need calibration to the vehicle before they read correctly. The calibration procedure is pretty simple though, requiring you to fill the tank, drive normally until it's almost empty, then fill up again and enter the actual fuel usage into the Ultragauge.

The Ultragauge fits neatly on top of the steering column against the main gauges, held in place by double sided tape. I've configured mine to display one page of six gauges, as shown in the picture. The top two are digital speed and average fuel consumption in L/100km. The lower four gauges are digital water temperature, distance to empty, instant L/100km and short trip L/100km.

Update 17/5/15: There is a new version available now called the Ultragauge MX, which allows programming of up to 8 manufacturer-specific gauges (Known as X-gauges or M-gauges). On the 200-series, this means access to automatic transmission temperature. This is very useful, and worth spending the extra $10 for this version.

The extra gauges in the MX need to be user-programmed, as per the included instructions. With thanks to Grungle on the LCOOL forum, here are some of the gauges that can be set up. They can be entered into any of the 8 M-gauge slots. The ABBR1 and ABBR2 parameters represent the descriptive text that will appear with the gauge and can be set to whatever you choose. The remaining parameters must remain as shown in order for the gauge to work correctly. Download a large combined image of the gauges here.

Ultragauge MX LandCruiser 200

IMPORTANT

The following should not be taken as instructions. It is simply a documenting of the procedure I followed for my own installations. No warranty is provided as to the accuracy of the information, and/or whether it applies in your situation or to your vehicle. If you're not qualified and/or don't have the correct equipment, don't attempt to dismantle your vehicle or install accessories.

  • There are potentially lethal dangers resulting from failure due to improper installation.
  • There is the potential for expensive vehicle damage from improper installation.

If you undertake your own installations, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Equipment required 

ebay-unit-1024X160

Dash pull-apart steps

Click images to enlarge

Step 1: Remove padded trim from each side by pulling outwards.

Step 2: Remove the screw and release the clip on each side, then pull the side covers towards the rear of the vehicle to remove them. Remove the wiring connector from the side with the start and 4WD selection switches.

Step 3: Remove the top cover plate and wiring connector. It's held in place by clips and can be carefully levered upwards with a small screwdriver or special tool. You can use some tape to protect the dash from damage.

Step 4: Remove the vents on either side, and their wiring connectors. The vents are held in place with clips, and can be carefully levered and pulled out of place. Again, use some tape to protect the dash from damage.

Step 5: Remove the top fascia, which runs from the clock down to just below the hazard light switch. It pulls out of position, and it's best to start at the bottom. Then disconnect the wiring connectors at the top and bottom.

Step 6: Remove the bottom fascia module, which surrounds the ashtray and power outlets. It pulls out of position.

Step 7: Remove the centre fascia panel containing the air conditioning control display. As with the other modules, it simply pulls out of place. Then disconnect the wiring connector.

 Reassembly: Is the reverse of the disassembly steps. The sections all click back into place. Ensure you reconnect any wiring connectors you disconnected during disassembly.






UHF CB Installation:

The mounting plate for the UHF radio is attached with the existing screw on the left, and a new screw into the existing screw hole on the right.

You can then attach the speaker-microphone to your preferred location on the dash. I attached mine with double-sided tape to the flat area under the gauge cluster to avoid drilling any holes.

Trailer Brake Controller

The Tekonsha Voyager trailer brake controller mounts into the hole created by removing the ashtray. You can bolt it into place on the back of the dash module, where the mounting bolts aren't seen once you re-assemble the dash. If you prefer a better featured unit, the Tekonsha P3 controller can also be mounted in the same manner.

 

If you prefer to go with the ultimate controller (which, unfortunately,  was released after I'd already purchased the Voyager), go with the Redarc TowPro which consists of a single control knob (which can be placed into a black switch hole in the dash), combined with a main unit which can be located anywhere under the dash or console.



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