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Idiot lights to gauges

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Metrodps, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. Metrodps

    Metrodps Strange but nice guy Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    OK lets see who has done this. I know the oil sending unit is different and the new Blazers have an elect sensor on the back of spedo. But what else do I need to change??

    What year gauges will work?

    OK lets see the experts put these broken dreams together.....:bow:
     
  2. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    What year is the vehicle that you'll be converting?
     
  3. Metrodps

    Metrodps Strange but nice guy Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    It is a 1987 and I have a 1989 Jimmy for a donor truck with gauges in cluster. I wanted to use a 100mph speedo but found it was different. The body on the 1989 is swiss cheese but motor trans and other things great. It got 15 mpg on highway at 70 mph but the 1987 is from North Dakota and minor rust.

    The frame still has factory paint on it and floor pans are fine so I am restoring it.
     
  4. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Cool, be a very easy swap then. You'll want to compare the pinouts between the two cluster connectors, and make sure they are the same. Then switch out the temp, and oil pressure gauge sending units. The rest should work just fine as is :) You may need to run another power / ground wire to the volt meter, but everything else should be happy.
     
  5. Metrodps

    Metrodps Strange but nice guy Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    Well I took the whole cluster (blue holder) from 89 and put into the 87 no dash lights and right turn signal light indcator (dash) stayed on. oil peg due to no switch temp did nothing and fuel guage didn't work. :crazy:

    You cant just switch the oil temp and alt guage because idiot light buckets are just that a hole for light. the wire harnes looks the same that plugs into the rear. :(

    Now I am thinking about buying after market guages and hooking up. I have spent three days on this MINOR job and getting a little :mad: .

    Any other thoughts?
    Thanks
     
  6. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    No one ever claimed switching clusters was easy man :) Its a pretty in-depth swap electrically speaking! However, I'm fairly sure we can get it figured out between the two of us :)

    First things first, you'll need to do some wire tracing. To do this, you need a test light so you can see if the light comes on in the engine compartment and a known 12 volt source from inside the truck (any of the pink & black, first color being the dominate one, the other a stripe, wires will have 12 volts with the key on) so you can figure out which wire on the cluster connector connects to which sending unit wire in the engine compartment.

    This job isn't quite as scary as it may seem, as you can quickly identify, and tape back several wires right off the bat.

    First is your seatbelt wire. It has been yellow in all my trucks. When you turn your ignition on, it should provide 12 volts to turn on the idiot light.

    Second is your turn signals. They are light and dark blue, located right beside eachother on the connector. They will have pulsating voltage with the signal lights on (remember which is which!)

    Third is your highbeam indicator. They have been bright green on all my trucks, should have 12 volts when your highbeams are on

    Fourth is all the hot on ignition wires, which are pink and black, and all have 12 volts on ignition on. (straight pink is NOT a power wire)

    Fifth is your ground wires, they are all black and white. Easily identified by using a multimeter, and checking continuity between them and any good ground in your truck.

    Sixth is your dash light wire, which is grey, and has 12 volts on when you turn your running lights / dash lights on.

    Seventh is your brake idiot light, which is usually a tan / white wire, and can be tested by checking for ground on it when the e-brake has been pushed down.

    Eighth is your SES idiot light, which should have ground when you turn your ignition on, activating the ECM.

    Now, once you've got all these pulled back, there will not be very many wires left, and within them will be your 3 gauge wires, and depending on how the electrical speedometer hooks up, wires for it too. So, before we go over chasing wires down, lets go over what each of the gauges needs:

    First gauge is the temp gauge. It needs a hot wire, ground wire, and the signal wire from the engine head. When its hooked up correctly, it will peg way past 0 without any input from the signal wire, and will peg all the way to the other side if you ground the signal wire. It usually has a green sending unit wire.

    Second gauge is the oil pressure gauge, which has the same needs, and behaviour as the temp gauge wire. It may share power and grounds with your temp gauge, check the circuit sheet to find out. Usually has a tan and white sending unit wire.

    Third is your fuel gauge, which again, is the same as the temp and pressure gauges. Usually has a straight pink sending unit wire.

    Fourth is your volt meter, which needs a hot wire on one terminal, and a ground wire on the other.

    So, now that you know all the requirments, you can chase down the sending unit wires. Simply apply 12 volts from one of the pink and black wires to the wire inside of the dash cluster connector (making sure that you've unplugged all the sending units on the engine!) and poking a test light in the end of the engine side connector, and the other side of the light to ground. If it lights up, you know which sending unit that wire is for, and you can then tape it back.

    Once you've got all your wires figured out, you can then check all the circuits on the back of the printed sheet, and start pinning everything out the way it needs to be on the new cluster.

    It takes a few hours, but is well worth it later :)

    If you don't want the old idiot light sending units, lemme know. I've got full gauges right now, but I'd like to install a Check Gauges light on my truck, which involves installing a few idiot light sending units that'll turn it on :)


    Oh, one more thing. Dash cluster connectors have gotta be the biggest pain in the butt of any on our trucks. You need to take a paper clip, bend the very tip if it over about 35 degrees, then hold the wire as far into the connector as it'll go, slide the paper clip in, then rotate it so the bent part bends the connector's pin in, allowing it to slide out. It takes some practice, but it isn't impossible :)

    Good luck, and lemme know if you've got any more questions. Sorry I can't help you much with the speedo, but I've never seen an electric one in person.
     
  7. Metrodps

    Metrodps Strange but nice guy Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    Ok its raining here now so will have to wait till it stops. the speedo has the cable and a seprate wire (3 to bexacte) that is like a little pickup that screws on to rear of speedo (held on by a screw). So you can use a newer in older but not older in newer.

    The guages I know that sensors must be changed 100% on oil but tmep not sure. Will try un hooking it on block. 4wheel drive light is seperate. Will put old cluster in to check on a few things then newer one.

    I know this will look great when done but for the love of God why the State of N.Dakota didn't get guages in a state vehicle gets me. Here she is leaving N.D. in December 2005.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Good lookin rig!

    That sensor on the back of the speedometer housing is a speed sensor used by the earlier cruise control setups. If your truck has TBI, then you can use that sensor for your VSS signal to the ECM (if you have TBI, you will have to use that sensor, as stock there was a sensor in the transmission, which was then converted by a device called a DRAC under your dash) So, no worries about speed sensors :)
     
  9. Metrodps

    Metrodps Strange but nice guy Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    Sorry for delay we were getting ready for inspections and had to have every thing ready for that. We passed it last week and I only had time to look at my trucks. I belive the wires were different.

    I am going home to visit my parents in a few hours and then back at it on Tuesday. I will have a look at it then and repost. At times I think I should of just bought a M1009 CUCV and painted it.
    Thanks for all your help.
    L
     

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