Air Ride Head Unit

I got my hands on the Air Ride control system from someone in the UK who abandoned their project.  It is the Dakota Digital DHC-2002 as standard comes with a square brushed Aluminium head unit that fits on the dash.  When I bought it, I hadn't really given much thought to what the Interior style of the truck would be so wasn't really worried about it at the time.

Now I have an idea of what I am looking for in the Interior style the square Brushed design has no place in it.  I called Digital Dakota to see if I could get just the head unit in the oval design that they do, but it was $275 plus shipping just for the unit on its own and to be honest I really don't like the look of it.

Original DHC-2002This is the original unit with the CPU box (Houses all the electronics) In fact the front was slightly different that I got, it did not have the DHC-2000 on the front.


Oval Head UnitThe Oval alternative head unit available direct from Dakota Digital looks like this.  I just don't like the large plastic panel in the centre.


I decided that I would have a go at modifying the square head unit to make it oval like I wanted.  I used the Air Con control head unit as a guide to the shape and also copied the styling with a nice bevelled edge and a groove around the edge to give it a bit of character.  So after dismantling the head unit I ended up with the bare CNC machined box as you can see below.

My Idea was to use the existing box and simply machine the existing front off and replace it with a new front bonded in place.



This is the new front panel, its made of a 3mm thick piece of aluminium, there is still quite a lot of work to be done on it at this point.  I am having to finish the edge by hand as it didn't machine too well.  I had it cut at a local badge factory, it was effectively cut on a pantograph machine.


Here you can see the Air ride control next to the Air con control for comparison.



Its not the best picture (It's hard to get a decent picture of a polished surface), but I am really pleased with the way it came out.  I finished the edges off by filing and then sanding with progressively finer papers and then finally polished the whole thing with a polishing wheel on my bench grinder.


All I have to do now is cut out the hole on the dash to fit it.