Custom retro electric window switches

3 12 2010

I’m quite proud of this mod.

I like the Nielex retro electric window switches and thought it’d be interesting to make something similar.

I ended up with these:


I’ve posted pics up on a few of the MX5 forums and given the interest thought it worth doing a post on how you can make these yourselves.

What you’ll need:

* 1x stainless steel plate, cut to a rectangle 66x52mm.  The radius of the corners is exactly the same as a UK penny coin.

* 2x toggle switches.  You need Double Pole, Double Throw (DPDT), ON/OFF/ON momentary switches.  I got mine from Parts Express and a friend shipped them to me in the UK but i”ve since found them here:

EDIT: just noticed these are OFF-ON-OFF which isn’t correct – you need ON-OFF-ON switches.

* 2x toggle switch hoop guards.

* 12 ring or fork crimp connectors and some lengths of 10 gauge automotive wire.

* A Mazda plastic blanking plate from a manual-window NA Eunos Roadster/MX5 or Miata, or a spare electric window plastic switch panel that you will need to cut up.

* A couple of nice nuts and bolts.


Starting off

Remove the center console.  There are two screws either side of the gearstick on the sides of the console, and a screw underneath the ashtray, and two screws in the rear cubby hole.  Unscrew the gearknob and lift up the console from the front and guide it forward over the boot release levers.

Disconnect the ashtray bulb and the existing electric window switch and remove the console – you can work on the rest of this inside in the warmth!

Take your plastic blanking plate, or your spare electric window switch panel.  I used the latter, which required the switches removing and cutting out all the excess plastic to give me a flat plate.  I used a small drill bit and some pliers to drill and snap the excess plastic, which gave me this:


I would imagine if you start off with a manual-window blanking plate this would be even easier.

I then cut a couple of cardboard templates to match the stainless steel plate, measured up the placement of the holes and then used a pin to make matching holes on the second piece of card.   One of these pieces became the template, the other had holes cut in it so I could test fit the switches and hoops to see what they looked like.


The toggles need a 12mm hole, the hoops a 3mm hole and the caphead bolts I used a 6mm hole.

I used some flat head screws and screwed the plate to a plank so it wouldn’t move, centerpunched the hole locations and then drilled – leave the stainless plate protective film in place when you do this!

Once I was happy with the result, I test fitted the components to it like this:


The two caphead bolts go through the plastic of the original bracket.  I flattened the plastic so the nuts could sit properly using a soldering iron to melt the plastic.

Once happy I took everything off and gave the plate a polish with a Dremel and some Autosol polish.


A test fit looks like this.  All looking good so far.  Now for the tricky part – the wiring!

Wiring the switches

I’m not an electrican at all, so I found this a bit of a challenge.  I found an excellent and very helpful post on by Jnshk here;

but at least on my ’94 Roadster the wiring colours didn’t match.  I worked it through and made some changes to fit my car.

I’ve posted the resulting wiring instructions here:

Once you’ve wired this up as per the instructions you’ll end up with something like this:


As I was butchering a spare electric window switch to reuse the wiring and 6 pin connector, I ended up with this plug-and-play replacement for standard – note cut plastic bracket is attached:


If you don’t have a spare window switch to play with you’ll be pleased to know that the connector on the car side has spade terminals that are exactly the same size as normal male spade connectors, so you can just attach your new switch direct to these using female spade connectors.  I recommend you do a trial plug in of your new switches now, turn on the ignition and check the windows operate correctly.  You realise you’ll lose the one-shot up/down on the driver’s side?  Good, thought so.

Assuming it works correctly, take it out of the car and we’ll attach it to the center console.

Turn your original center console over and remove the three screws that hold the OEM switches in place and remove.  Fit the new retro switches in place and secure using the same 3 screws.  The new stainless plate will be sandwiched between the bracket it’s bolted to, and the plastic center console, holding it firmly in place.



Refit the center console, and check it operates correctly.  It should look something like this:



Job done!


I’m happy to help with questions on this project – and no, currently I’m not planning on doing these to order!




6 responses

4 12 2010
Adam //

The step-by-step makes this little switch pate even more impressive. The end result is just so clean! I may have to make one for myself since I have a spare window switch just taking up room in the garage…

26 12 2010

cant wait to try this!

14 01 2011

Nice work there! If i understand correctly i ill have to use the box of the old switches as a base for the metal plate, the inside plate(the green one with the wiring) of the old switches is useless and the wires that i cut off that plate i connect them directly to the new switches? thanks!

14 01 2011

Cheers. Yes, use the old plastic bracket (or get a spare blanking plate from a manual window car via autolink or someone!) to mount it, and either run new wires from switch to spade connectors and push fit them into the existing loom, or (as I did) cut up the original electric window switches and use the tail of the wiring to plug into the car loom.

10 05 2011

Bit late but i ended up here from nutz switchs look lovely mate and im gonna steal your wiring very kind of you to post it up : thumbs up : ( that wont do a thumbs up but nevermind )

8 07 2016

Inspired by this for something similar I have been noodling…putting the window switches, and perhaps a start button in place of the airbag switch plate (I would put this in the glove box area). One question, since the links for the switches appear to be out of date – what are the specs on these? Amperage? Great job!!

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