January 29, 2023
Catch up on the series:
Part 1: Bass Boat Breakdown
Part 2: Bass Boat Interior Repairs
Part 3: Minn Kota Raptor Install
Part 4: Bass Boat Repower
We’re moving right along, here is Part 5 of “Outdated to Updated.” In this installment I’ll demonstrate the process of replacing existing hardware at the dash of my Ranger with custom components from Bass Boat Technologies. I’m still beyond impressed with the options BBT offers, they make custom parts for an extremely long list of boats, even rigs substantially older than mine. Without a company like them, this project doesn’t happen. Period.
Check your boat here: Bass Boat Technologies
This is a look at the previous set-up. As I said in an earlier installment, I was on a budget and I’m a DIY kinda guy, so I went that route. It worked for a while, but I outgrew this rigging quickly. Wait until you see the cleaned up, updated version.
In the above photo is the original dash look. There are a few gauges, but only a couple worked, and I only wanted two from this batch to remain intact. The tachometer and gas gauge are the critical ones.
This spot originally had an older graph that wasn’t good for much, and when I removed it there was a “gaping wound” of a hole there. I figured a rigging job was in order. Because of the set-up you see here, I had to work around it to some extent for the new BBT mount. It ended up working, but this was working from Ground Zero. Read on.
This was the right-hand graph mount. There was already a Ram Mount placed there when I bought the boat, so I used the original holes and upgraded. Obviously, this created some big holes in the console fiberglass, and I knew I would have to come up with some sort of patch job. More on that later. For now, this Ram base had to come off.
Back to the left side, the mount and base is removed ready for a custom re-rigging.
This custom plate is from Bass Boat Technologies. This is where I would move the tach and fuel gauges. Again, the brilliance of BBT and how they planned for everything amazed me throughout this process. This was an easy and attractive adjustment to make.
Here is another look at the original top-center dash with three gauges, tach, speedo and fuel. That metal plate that holds all three gauges is what the new BBT mount will replace. The tach and fuel gauge will be moved to the bottom left.
In the picture above of the original top gauges removed.
This is the tach connection. I went ahead and labeled each connection that was there previously. A note worth remembering: The original speedo is measured by water, when you remove that hose, water will come in the boat when you run the motor. I just folded it over a few times and ziptied it closed. Otherwise, you’ll have water pouring on your leg.
Why am I getting rid of the speedometer? It’s never worked, and I use the GPS speedo. This was an easy item to get rid of and make space for a better dash organizational system.
These are the two gauges I’m relocating to the lower-left position.
Here is the plate in position, but not yet attached. As you can see, there is some pre-existing molded plastic that will need removed in order to place the two gauges.
In the photo above, there is the section outlined in black marker. For the faceplate to fit with the gauges, I needed to remove that small section.
It was not easy to figure out how to cut that part out of there. The fastest and most productive way was with a grinder. It was a bit messy, but in the end it worked.
Here is a view of the relocated gauges from the rear and inside of the console. This whole area needed some cleaning up for everything to fit in nicely. If you ever tackle a project like this, stay flexible and don’t be afraid to kinda force-fit things. The end result is an awesome upgrade.
The gauges are fully installed and looking good. The innovation in this system is impressive, and even though there were some inconsistencies in the boat based on my last renovations, the BBT products worked wonderfully here.
Moving back up to the top center of the dash, the original plate is removed and it’s ready for the rest of the BBT bracket.
Here the main BBT dash bracket is installed. It will support two Helix 10s. But there’s more to wrap up yet.
That small screw you see in the middle, underneath the main platform, nicely fits into the existing holes that the previous and original faceplate was attached to. A longer screwdriver with the star bit sends it right in. Make sure the driver you use has a magnetic end to hold the bit in, otherwise you’ll drop it during this process. Trust me.
This view indicates how it is installed, but there is still a remaining part to add yet.
The BBT “faceplate” not only improves the aesthetics of the mount, but it also protects the wires as they come through the console.
Here the Humminbird Helix 10 gimbals are placed on the baseplate of the BBT mount. As you can see, the built-in slots offer lots of options to adjust the graphs to fit your desired comfort. BBT thought of everything when it comes to custom fitting electronics to the boat.
Here’s another view in the above image of the placed BBT dash mount with the Humminbird Gimbals also attached. You’ll notice the colored electrical tape again, that’s to help me keep track of what unit is where and how it’s plugged into power. Consistency helps troubleshooting when things get goofy, and trust me this is a major time-saver.
Here’s a close-up of the BBT faceplate on the dash mount. You can see the easily adjustable knobs that help you get the perfect position. Then you’ll notice rubber knob on the right behind the righthand gimbal, that thing is basically a shock absorber, and is meant to be adjusted to provide back support for the unit. This is especially helpful if you find yourself in rough waters.
In the photo above, it is fully installed and with the wires run into position. You’ll notice again how the colors are coordinated. This step makes life easy, trust me. Color coordinate and label everything.
Here is the first of two Humminbird Helix 10s installed on the BBT dash mount. Looks awesome.
Here’s another look at the rear of the unit. Make sure it sits far enough out from the dash to effectively fit the wiring. And you can adjust the rear support knob to brace the unit.
Remember this ugly thing? It served its purpose, but with the upgrade this had to go. And it wasn’t going to be pretty.
I told you it was ugly. I looked at images returned by several searches on the googles about how to repair this, and short of an expensive fiberglass repair job, I came up with an easy and effective solution.
In the above photos is another look at the holes. I often used this area on the opposite-side console as a step, so I thought why not make it easier on myself.
I cut a piece of grip tape to somewhat fit the spot I intended to occasionally step, and it nicely covered those ugly holes. I call this a super simple and easy fix.
To keep things congruent, I added another piece to the other side, and frankly it matched up perfectly, has been highly useful and doesn’t look bad at all. This update might not be for everybody, but it was a problem that intimidated me from the word go. I’m glad it worked out this way.
With both Humminbird Helix 10s installed, this is a fantastic clean upgrade that I’m very proud of. It wasn’t overly time consuming, but it certainly demanded attention to some details. I really can’t say enough about Bass Boat Technologies and how they went to great lengths to perfectly customize their sturdy mounts to an old boat like mine.
More to come. Stay tuned.