2000 Ford Superduty
Home-brew Upfitter Switches

Prior to the 2005 SuperDutys, factory upfitter switches were not available.  Some have retrofitted the 2005+ switches to their early-models, however I believe I have accomplished the same function without a lot of additional trouble and expense. I also ended up with five upfitters instead of the factory's four. If interested in how I did it, see below.

WARNING! The switches I used are no longer available! If you wish to duplicate this project, you need to find different switches, and mount them accordingly. I believe that these will work for you, though I don't know if they are convertable to "momentary" from "push-on-push-off". They are mounted differently, and your panel will need to be cut differently.

Click on the photos below to enlarge them.


Most parts can be ordered from All Electronics www.allelectronics.com

Parts needed are:

Five square, push-on, push-off, switches, All Electronics #PB-165 (no longer available, see above warning)

Five (or six) SPDT, 40-amp automotive relays. All Electronics #RLY-351

Three double-relay sockets for the above relays. All Electronics #SRLY-4

Two six-pin connector assemblies. All Electronics #CON-60

A fist-full of crimp splices, some 1/4" shrink-sleeving, soldering iron, screws, nuts, bolts, washers, etc.

A piece of 6061-T6 sheet aluminum, 4" x 8", 1/8" thick

          Remove the Plastic Instrument Panel Bezel


Remove the radio and its connector and antenna.  You will need a couple of small radio removal tools (available at any auto parts store for about $4). 

In the top of the opening for the radio, there are two screws with 7mm hex-heads.  Remove them.

Next, remove the fuse-panel cover (at knee level). Set the parking brake, insert the key, turn to the RUN position (but don't start the engine) and pull the gearshift lever to LOW.

There are quite a few snap-in clips around the perimeter of the plastic bezel. Start at one end and GENTLY pull the bezel away from the rest of the dash.  Reach behind and disconnect all the electrical connectors. Remove bezel from vehicle for modification.

Remove the 4WD switch from the bezel to get it safely away from the area in which you're going to make plastic dust.

Measuring and Cutting the Bezel

But first, see the above warning!

See the drawing at the left.  This represents the area just to the right of the "shift-on-the-fly" 4WD rotary switch.  Lay out the bezel's cut-out per these dimensions.   It helps to have a dial caliper for this purpose, but you could do it with a ruler and masking tape, too.

Note that these measurements are to the nearest thousandth of an inch, and you DO want to keep pretty-close to these tolerances.  Just be careful, as you get only one chance to get this right, so take LOTS of time!  After drilling a few holes in the center of the area to be removed, a Dremel with a carbide cutter is a good way to get it to "rough" size. Use a very soft touch with this, as it can take a LOT of material off in a short time!!  Then, a hand file will allow you to "sneak up" on the exact size.  Behind where the bottom of the cut-out will be when it's replaced in the truck, there is a tab of plastic with a slot in it to accommodate one of the bezel mounting clips.  You will need to take about 1/8 inch off the top of this "tab" to enable the bottom switch to clear when installed.  Again, the Dremel does a good job here.

Wiring the Switches

Since you have two of the pre-wired connector assemblies, cut one wire bundle near the female end, and the other one near the male end. Discard the short cut-off ends.  You should now have a male connector and a female connector, and EACH of them should have about twelve inches of wires attached to them.  Use the bundle with the female terminals to wire the switches.

I used the "resistor-band color code" of the wires to determine which switch it is wired to.  Using 1/4" shrink-sleeving, solder the black wire (value "zero") as the "common" to one side of any one of the switches and then continue that same wire to one side of all the other switches, ala "pigtailing".  Then, solder the brown wire (value "one") to the other terminal of switch 1.  Solder the red wire to switch 2, the orange to switch 3, the yellow to #4, and finally the green (value "five") to switch #5.  Use shrink sleeving over the solder joints to provide a bit of "strain relief".

An alternative method would be to use crimp-on spade lugs.  When finished, wrap the bundle in electrical tape.  Wrap the other half of the wiring bundle, too, and connect the six-pin connectors.

Replace the Panel Bezel


Here you see the switches as originally installed.  I wasn't at all happy with the glaring red buttons staring at me, so I found some satin black Krylon Fusion plastic paint, disassembled the switches, and painted the buttons.  I also discovered that these switches are pretty versatile, and can easily be converted to momentary-contact if desired.  They can also be changed to a DPST configuration if needed for something special. 

This is how they looked after the Krylon paint job.  I'm much happier with this look. You can now re-connect all the electrical connectors, feed the new harness down and to the left so that it goes toward the fuse access panel, and snap the bezel back in place.   Don't forget those two screws! Reconnect its antenna and connector, and snap the radio back into place.

Mounting the Relays

The only consideration here is mounting them in such a way that their connectors will fit onto them and not interfere with other wiring or components under the instrument panel.   This is a 4" x 8" 1/8" aluminum bracket that's bent 45º to mount on the cross-piece at the bottom of the instrument panel's fuse access panel. See below.

Wiring the Relay Sockets

Number the relays, and their sockets, one through five. Yes, there are six here. One is a spare. Each switch provides a ground to enable each relay's coil. This allows me to provide current for each relay's coil from my choice of "switched hot", or "constant hot".  "Constant" will enable things to be switched on when the key is off (but remember that this could be forgotten and drain the batteries), or "switched" only when the key is on.

In automotive wiring, black is usually ground, so wire the black wire from each relay socket to the corresponding number's color. Remember from above, that brown is "one", red is "two", orange is "three", etc, and we're supplying a ground from those switches.

This bracket is mounted on the cross-bracket behind the under-dash fuse access panel. Notice the small spacer under the left side. It's custom-cut to length to allow the bracket to sit flush on the right side.

Find a source for "switched hot" and "constant hot" in the adjacent under-dash fusebox.  I'll also use the corresponding headlight relay feed voltages to power #2 and #3 ...........(more to come)

What to Use Them For

I have converted switch #1 to be a momentary switch, which does not latch "on" when I push it, and immediately goes "off" again when I release it.  I use this as a "flash markers" switch, and relay #1 interrupts the feed out of the back of the headlight switch which goes to power markers and tail lights.  This is done using the normally-closed contacts on this relay.  This is one reason why I chose to use SPDT relays, not the more typical SPST type, as the double-throws are more versatile.

Switch #2 will enable the fog lights to be on when the low beams are on.

Switch #3 will enable the fog lamps to be on when the high beams are on.

Having both switches #2 and #3 pushed in will enable the fog lamps to be on any time the headlights are on.

Switch #4 will be used for turning on additional back-up lamps manually.

Switch #5 will power a small, bright, flashing red LED mounted inside the left-rear taillight lens.  I'll use this when parking on the street at night.  It uses almost no current, and could easily be forgotten, so I intend to also power a small, relatively quiet, piezo beeper inside the cab as a reminder that it's on.

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write: SpringerPop

Last updated 07/29/13