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HomeTech Articles > Installing the 914 Center Console

Pelican Technical Article:

Installing the 914
Center Console

Difficulty Level 3

Difficulty scale:
Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a 911 Motor is level ten

[Click on Photo]


Figure 1:
Center Console Installed in 914

Figure
Figure 2:
Analog Clock

Figure
Figure 3:
Temperature Gauge

Figure
Figure 4:
Voltmeter Gauge

Figure
Figure 5:
U-Bracket Across Top

Figure
Figure 6:
Center Bracket

Figure
Figure 7:
End Bracket Near Seat

Figure
Figure 8:
Leather Shift Boot

Figure
Figure 9:
Defroster Lamp Cover

Figure
Figure 10:
Plastic Heater Guide Rail

Figure
Figure 11:
Angled Heater Lever

Figure
Figure 12:
Gauge Harness

Figure
Figure 13:
A/C Center Console

Figure
Figure 14:
A/C Center Console

Figure
Figure 15:
Additional Gauge Add-on

Figure
Figure 16:
Remove Defroster Lamp Cover

Figure
Figure 17:
Center Tunnel Carpet

Figure
Figure 19:
914 Flapper Box Cable Attachment

Figure
Figure 20:
914 Flapper Box

Figure
Figure 21:
Threading Heater Cable Through Heater Lever

Figure
Figure 22:
Heater Cable Tubes in Center Tunnel

Figure
Figure 23:
Connectors in Main Wire Harness

Figure
Figure 24:
Top U-Bracket Shown Installed

Figure
Figure 25:
Twisting the Console into Position

Figure
Figure 26:
Center Console in Proper Position

Figure
Figure 27:
Connectors from Main 914 Harness

Figure
Figure 28:
Console Wire Harness Under Middle Bracket

Figure
Figure 29:
Mounting Front Bracket

Figure
Figure 30:
Mounting Rear Bracket (near seat)

Figure
Figure 31:
Center Console

 

     The 914 center console originally came as an option on the 1973 and later 914s. This center console was usually sold as part of the Appearance Group Package which included various other trim items and chrome bumpers (on the 73 & 74 cars). The console has three gauges that are installed in the center, as shown in Figure 1. These are (from top to bottom): an analog clock (Figure 2), an engine oil temperature gauge (Figure 3), and a voltmeter (Figure 4). The installation of the center console on 1973 and later cars is a relatively easy process, because the wiring harness already exists for plugging it in. On the earlier cars, you will need to tap in to the wiring harness. The scope of this article will cover installing the console on the 1973 and later cars.

The first thing that you need to do is to get yourself all the parts of the center console that you need. They are:

  • The center console unit itself. This consists of two wooden sides that are covered with vinyl, with a thin layer of sponge material in-between. There is a small wooden block holding the two sides together in the rear. Also, there are four brackets that should come with the unit. These include two u-shaped brackets that span the top of the console (Figure 5), a bracket that attaches the two sides in the middle/bottom (Figure 6), and another bracket made of vinyl covered wood that attaches the sides at the front near the gear shift (Figure 7).
  • The three gauges. Very often, the clocks that come with a used console don’t work. After about 25 years of running continuously, they wear out. Make sure that the clock works when you acquire your console - rebuilding them costs around $120. If the voltmeter or temperature gauge is broken, or is looking quite a bit weathered, then you can purchase new gauges for about $40 each, new. Pelican Parts has a limited stock of these center console gauges if you need them.
  • The center tray that surrounds the gearshift lever. This piece includes the leather shift boot (Figure 8), the defroster lamp cover (Figure 9), and the plastic heater sleeve (Figure 10). The defroster lamp cover is the same one that is attached to the floor of your 914 in the cars that do not have the center console.
  • The heater control lever. Shown in Figure 11, this heater control lever has a different angle on it, than the one used in cars without a center console. The standard heater control lever will not work with the center console - you need the angled one.
  • The gauge wiring harness. This is often overlooked. This wire harness connects the gauges to the 914’s main wiring harness. You can make a new one using some connectors available at Radio Shack if you don’t have one, but it’s wise to buy the console with the harness attached. The wiring harness is shown in Figure 12.
  • The oil temperature sending unit. This attaches to the bottom of the motor, and is necessary for sending the signal to the temperature gauge in the center console.

     It is also important to note that there were two different types of center consoles produced; one for cars with air conditioning, and one for cars without. The A/C console differs from its non-A/C brother by the fact that it is shorter and the gauges are angled towards the driver. The shorter HEIGHT accommodates the under-dash A/C unit. The A/C center console is somewhat rare, and a bit difficult to find. At the time of writing this article, Pelican Parts has in stock two of these special consoles for A/C cars. A picture of the A/C center console is shown in Figure 13 and Figure 14. This particular console has been modified by the previous owner - he has placed an additional gauge to the right of the gear shift lever. This is an option if you wish to add additional gauges, and make them look somewhat stock, as shown in Figure 15.

     The first thing that you need to do for installing the console, is to make sure that it is completely and securely assembled. Most of the time, the screws that hold it together over the years will begin to come lose, and may require retightening, or a little glue. Make sure that you tighten all the screws on the console before you begin to install it.

     Next, you need to remove the carpeting from the center tunnel. Remove the holder that affixes the defroster lamp cover as shown in Figure 16. Also remove the red handle from the top of the heater lever by unscrewing it. Now, remove the shift knob by simply pulling it off the shaft. It is pressed onto the shaft with a crush washer, and should simply pull off with a little coaxing. Make sure that you capture and put aside the crush washer as you remove the gear shift knob, or you will have to order a new one later.  After you remove the shifter knob, remove the rubber shifter boot by pulling up on it.  Place this aside, you shoudn’t need it anymore.

     Now, you can pull up on the center tunnel carpet and remove it. It may make things easier if you also remove the driver and passenger side floormats, seeing how they overlap the center tunnel carpet. Figure 17 shows the carpet installed prior to its removal. Figure 23 shows the shift lever, and 914 main wire harness exposed after removing the carpet.

     Now you should remove the heater lever. Unbolt it from the chassis, and pull on it slightly to pull it out of the center tunnel. There will be a cable running through the center of the handle that is attached to the rear flapper boxes on the heat exchangers. You now need to jack up the car and slide underneath and loosen the barrel nuts on the flapper boxes.  Figure 19 shows the barrel nuts attached to the flapper boxes (Figure 20). You need to loosen up the cable ends and then pull the heater cable through from inside the car. Figure 21 shows the heater cable being pulled through the heater handle. Now thread the cable (use a new one if the old one is worn or frayed) through the new heater handle that is used with the center console. Thread the two ends of the cable through the two tubes in the center tunnel, as shown in Figure 22. Then reattach them to the barrel nuts and the flapper boxes. The cables may need some adjustment at a later date. Now, bolt down the heater lever to the car chassis.

     Now you are ready to install the center console unit on top of the center tunnel.  Start by replacing the carpet in the center tunnel.  You don't need to reglue the carpet, since the console itself does a pretty good job of holding down the carpet.  Don't reinstall the rubber boot on the shift lever - you don't need it anymore.  Make sure that you pull the lead wire (blue) for the defroster lamp, and its accompanying ground wire (brown) through the carpet as you install it.  Also, cut a slit in the carpet to make a hole for the connectors that you need to connect the wire harness to.  These are shown in Figure 23.  Place the carpet back over the center tunnel, and make sure that you pull the connectors and the defroster lamp wires through.  For clarity, the remainder of the pictures of this tech article will show the installation process without the carpet installed.  Before you replace the carpet, it might be wise to check to see if your chassis has the mounting holes for the center console.  These holes correspond to the center of the bottom brackets in both the middle and the seat-end of the center console.  If the holes aren't there, never fear - you can easily drill them there later.

     After the carpet is installed, it's time to install the console itself.  Start by making sure that the U-bracket on the top is removed.   This U-bracket is shown installed in Figure 24.  This will make it easier to maneuver the console into position.  Getting it in it's proper home requires some twisting and turning - be careful that you don't damage the unit wedging it into position.   With careful coaxing it will fit.  Figure 25 shows the center console at the angle that you need to twist it, and Figure 26 shows the console installed in it's proper position (center carpet not shown).

     Once the console is in place, then it's time to connect the wiring harness.  Refer to our electrical diagram for the console wiring connections.  The colors of the wires on the center console wire harness should match up to the colors on the connectors on the main wiring harness, shown in Figure 27.  For cars that were made before 1973, you can use this diagram to tap into the existing wire harness.  Also, see our full assortment of electrical diagrams to help you out further.  On the early cars, you might need to run a wire into the engine compartment to connect to the temperature sensor.  Make sure that when you connect the harness, it's path goes underneath the center mounting bracket, as shown in Figure 28.

     Once the harness is connected, you can then mount the center console down to the chassis.  Install the upper u-bracket onto the console, and then attach it to the underside of the dashboard.  There should be two mounting holes there.  If not, then you need to drill them.  Likewise, the center mounting bracket, shown in Figure 29, needs to be screwed down into the chassis with a single sheet metal screw.  If the hole isn't there, then you need to drill one for the sheet metal screw.  In a similar manner, you need to mount the bracket that goes near the seats.   The sheet metal screw goes in-between the bracket mounted to the rear of the console, shown in Figure 30.  Note that this picture also shows a section of my halogen lamp, used for taking photos.

     Finally, install the bottom piece of the console by sliding the piece over the shifter rod.  Connect the blue wire for the defroster lamp, and also tie the ground connection to the lug on the defroster lamp as shown in Figure 31.   The bottom piece simply pressed down into the console.  In a similar manner, the gauge panel presses back into the console.

     The last thing that you need to do is to install the temperature sensor on the bottom of the engine.  The sensor screws into the bottom of the engine case, and has a small little cover that surrounds most of the sensor.  In the 1973-76 wire harness, there is a green and black wire that plugs into the sensor from within the engine compartment.

     Well, that just about completes the package.  Your console should be installed and working well.  Note that when you turn your turn signal on, the voltmeter will move significantly.  This is a common problem on the center console gauge, and from what I hear, they did that when they were new from the factory.  There are a couple of options and interesting things that you can do when you have the center console installed in your 914.   Most common is to install the center cushion that came with the center console.   The original cushion and plastic try combination will no longer fit well with the center console installed.  Another idea involves utilizing the inside of the console behind the gauges which makes for a really good hiding place for an external amplifier for your radio. You can also install a subwoofer there, and get some pretty good bass without tearing apart your car. You also might consider adding an oil pressure gauge to the center console. The easiest way to do this is to buy an early 914 combo gauge that has a temperature measurement along with the gas level in one gauge. This would then free up the middle gauge slot for adding an oil pressure gauge at a later time. Please check back on the site for an upcoming article on adding an oil pressure gauge to the 914.

     Well that about does it.  Remember, that Pelican Parts stocks as many center consoles as we can find, as we know that this is a popular item with 914 owners.  Please check with us for information on our latest stock.  Remember that your repeated business and support helps to keep this website alive and growing.  Please give us a call at 1-888-280-7799 if you need anything for your car, or feel free to email us, if you have any questions or comments.


Dave Darling (dave@pelicanparts.com) has the following info to add:

This is something I wrote up for a Rennlist’er a little while ago. Gary Helbig mentioned that it would be a good companion to the center console tech article.

The wiring harness has five wires in it. Those all start at the “bottom” (where the harness plugs into the car’s main wiring harness), and go up to the gauges. The wiring harness splits into three parts, and the individual wires come out of each of those three sub-harnesses.

14” from the contacts on the bottom to the split. Lower sub-harness (to voltmeter) has red/white wire (red with white stripe), brown wire, and black/blue wire. From split to contacts is 11”. The brown and black/blue wires are doubled up—two wires go into the metal contact. Middle sub-harness (to temp gauge) has a doubled black/blue wire, a doubled brown wire, a doubled red/white wire, and a single green/black wire. From contacts to split is 11”.

Top sub-harness (to clock) has single black/blue wire, single brown wire, and single black wire.

It appears as if the doubled wires run to and from the split a couple of times. For instance, the red/white wire goes from the lower contacts to the split, to the temp gauge. Another red/white wire goes from the temp gauge back down to the split, then through another sub-harness to the voltmeter. The brown wire goes from the bottom contact to the split, to the temp gauge (at a guess). Another brown wire goes from the temp gauge back to the split, to the voltmeter. A third brown wire goes from the voltmeter back to the split, to the clock.

Black/blue wires are the power supply to the gauge illumination lights. They should connect to a grey wire in the car’s main wiring harness.

Brown wires ground the gauges. The stock gauges ground the whole case of the gauge, so the illumination lights don’t need separate grounds. If you’re using aftermarket gauges, you probably do need separate grounds. I’d daisy-chain them onto the gauge grounds. The brown wires connect to a brown wire in the main harness. The brown wire in the stock configura-tion also has a branch coming off of the bottom contact that goes to the “defrost” illumination bulb. This wire is about 8” long, and ends in a small (~1/8”) female spade connector.

Red/white wires are the switched +12V power supply to the gauges.

They connect to a red/white wire in the main harness.

The green/black wire is the signal from the oil temp sensor. It connects to a green/black wire in the harness.

The black wire is unswitched +12V to power the clock. It connects to where a black wire and a black/red wire are joined together in the harness.

The above are from the 74 US wiring diagram, which is the one that I am most familiar with. I think the wires are the same, or at least very similar, for the 73 cars.

Hope this helps!
    DD

daves_diagram.jpg (68616 bytes)

Comments and Suggestions:
porschetub Comments: Would I be right in saying these are standard VW terminal jointers as used in air cooled beetles?,thanks
May 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not sure if the parts are interchangeable. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
old#7 Comments: Thank you for the info.
April 1, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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