It’s funny how one part of a car can be so infuriating. The dash binnacle on the LRO 90 has become an object of hate over recent months, with rattles and gauges turning in their sockets.
Luckily Raptor Engineering (raptor-engineering.co.uk, 07503 122223) has finally found time to make a replacement binnacle that banishes the standard problems: flimsy fixings and fragile gauge surrounds.
Fabricated from steel and powdercoated, the new binnacle (£79) definitely won’t suffer in the way the old one has. Fitting it is relatively time consuming, but it’s a satisfying job – especially if you’ve already fitted one of Raptor’s upgraded steel binnacle mounts.
I’d fitted one a few years ago (LRO, Aug 2012), so it was simply a case of lifting the binnacle out and refitting it. After disconnecting the battery, of course…
First you have to remove the steering wheel – mark its position on the splines otherwise, like me, you’ll take a couple of attempts to return it to the right place after refitting it.
Then you need to detach the existing binnacle from the mount. It’s fixed with two screws on the sides and two on the base.
This should give you enough room to pull it forward to access the cables on the back. Before you go any further make sure you take some photos of the way the gauges and lights are wired up. It’s not that tricky, but as you have to detach everything to replace the dash, you may end up forgetting what goes where.
Our gauges were all over the place. Because the old binnacle was so badly cracked, the gauges wouldn’t stay put. They had rotated in their holes, so the cables for the lights were strained and had a habit of pulling out the light holders.
The gauges and speedometer are held in place with brackets secured with thumbwheels – and you have to disconnect the cable drive by pulling it backwards.
There are two screws attaching the warning lights to the dash. Remove them and you’re ready to transfer everything over. I gave everything a quick brush over before refitting it and rebuilding is very much the opposite of dismantling – just remember to refit the earth cables before fitting all the gauge thumbwheels.
Happily everything worked when it was refitted. The only issue I had was that one of the allen bolts wasn’t quite long enough to reach the captive nuts. I mentioned it to Phil at Raptor and he’ll be putting longer bolts in with future kits.
The gauges sit slightly proud of the dash giving a chunky look that I like. And as it won’t break ever again, I won’t fear removing it to fit LED dash bulbs...
We’ve had one of Raptor’s centre consoles in the 90 for a few years, but I’m in the process of tidying that up.
Now I know exactly what I want to run from it, I’m going to replace the panels to enable me to fit more switches, at the expense of one gauge that I wasn’t using anyway.
I’ll also fit the fuse boxes outside the console – at the moment if a fuse blows, I have to remove the panel to access it, and then stuff the cabling back – that’s the sort of thing that causes electrical fires, so it needs sorting.