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instrument cluster

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by nerraw117, May 29, 2005.

  1. nerraw117

    nerraw117 1/2 ton status

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    i had been wondering, i have a 1985 blazer with a 90 engine and a 79 tranny and transfer case. right now my speedo doesnt work because it is a electric and i need a mechanical. and i also want a tach. is there a instrument closter that will have a mechanical speedo and have the factory tach on it and work on my truck? sorry to sound such a newb i couldnt find a good search post on it

    -steve
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    The first year for the electric speedo was 90. If your tranny and T-case is from a 79 and you have the stock 85 cluster you should have a mechanical speedo and no trouble hooking it up.


    Rene
     
  3. nerraw117

    nerraw117 1/2 ton status

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    i think the previous owner took the 90 dash and swapped it in, so could i find a instrument cluster with a tach that will work with my 90 engine and mechanical speedo in it?
     
  4. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Yes, the "tach" dash was offered as an option from the mid 70's through to the mid 80's. Check Ebay...or post up a parts wanted ad and you should find something reasonably quick. I've seen them come up ever now and then...seem to run about $100-$150 though.


    Rene
     
  5. nerraw117

    nerraw117 1/2 ton status

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    do you know what year i would prolly need for my 90 engine? i know i need a mech speedo but any of the other stuff diff from those years to 90?
     
  6. mechted

    mechted 1 ton status Premium Member

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    about the only thing would be making sure you get an electronic oil pressure gauge (late 70s to 91) but even if you dont you can switch to a mechanical with relatively low hassle
    actually come to think of it, you may have just the idiot light senders on the block (water temp - driver side head, oil - under distributer) so, you can pretty easily change those out for whatever set up you want (electric, mechanical, idiot light) to match the cluster you get.
     
  7. nerraw117

    nerraw117 1/2 ton status

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    thx for your help.

    so i can just got to say ebay and get almost any instrument cluster with a tach and mecanical speedo and it will bolt up and work? like are they all the same bolt holes?

    like something like this ebay (i would never pay that much for one, i was just wondering)
     
  8. mechted

    mechted 1 ton status Premium Member

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    IIRC everything is the same... or close enough that it doesnt make a huge difference

    actually, that price isnt so horrible for a 81 tach cluster with the tach subharness (provided you get a "tested and everything worked" promise)
    the 81's (ONLY year with that font on a tach other than special orders) tend to go for high $$, and ive seen the 73-80s go from about $75 to $150 (normally around $110 or so)

    if you just want a complete bolt up, i think a 78 to 81 will work (electronic oil pressure)
     
  9. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Here's the thing. Any cluster from 73-87 (truck) or 73-91 (K5/sub) will bolt into any year of truck in the same range. the difference is the wiring. I've got a 75 k5 and found a factory tach cluster in the boneyard out of a 78 and there are some differences. First is ammeter vs volt meter. Then you have mechanical oil pressure vs electric oil pressure. Then of course the printed circuit on the backside of the cluster is different so that the fuel gauge is moved to the lower lefthand corner and the brake warning idiot light is moved. This means the main plug to the cluster has the wires moved around on the plug. Thats just the difference in 3 years. Someone might correct me here, but the FI years (87-91) had mechanical speedo's that had the VSS (vehicle speed sensor) pickup for the computer. If you have the fuel injection, you will need to keep that to allow the engine to run right.

    For some good info on factory tach clusters go here: http://www.73-87.com/7387garage/interior/factory tachometers.htm
     
  10. sandawgk5

    sandawgk5 3/4 ton status

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    I put a tach in my 87 I paid $85 for my complete gauge set but due to FI I had to use my original speedo because the 100 MPH speedo did not have a VSS. I also had to use the circuit card for the tach but the wiring plug was the same all the pins were in the proper place. I installed the tach made my own wiring harness for the tach and plug the factory connector into the circuit card and everything works great. Also my tach was off by a lot and I sent it to Necromancer from http://www.67-72chevytrucks.com. He made the tach read properly and also recalibrated it to be a 7K tach he can also do 8K and early or new style font. It cost me $40 plus the ride both ways. So for $140 I have a factory 7K tach that works flawlessly.

    Hope this helps.

    Ira

    P.S
    The small gas gauge goes for about $70 alone from LMC.
     
  11. blazinzuk

    blazinzuk Buzzbox voodoo Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Also you can use dashes from similar years medium duty trucks but you have to be familiar with wireing because of where the fuel gauge is in these trucks
     
  12. nerraw117

    nerraw117 1/2 ton status

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    well here is my problem, i bought the truck from danny on the board here and he said that it has a 90 engine, and i think he swapped out the instrument cluster from the donor vehicle making it a 90 instrument cluster also. my problem is that he said my transfer case and axles and tranny are from a 79, and that the transfer case uses a mechanical speedo and i have an electric speedo. i am basically trying to get my speedo to work and hwat not and i want a tach and was wondering should i buy one of them instrument cluster or just put a aftermarket tach somewhere on the truck. know what i mean?
     
  13. sandawgk5

    sandawgk5 3/4 ton status

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    jags that run sell a vss that replaces your OE speedo gear in the T-case and it converts it to an electrical signal for electric speedos. That is all you have to do and the Tach conversion is as stated earlier. Your best bet to find a tach and the small fuel gauge is to buy a cluster on ebay or from someone here who is selling one.
     
  14. sandawgk5

    sandawgk5 3/4 ton status

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    Also have you pulled the speedo to make sure it is actually an electric?
     
  15. nerraw117

    nerraw117 1/2 ton status

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    no im just going by what danny told me saying that it is electric. i didnt funny understand what you were saying was my best bet. buy a full cluster or get that piece and buy a seperate tach or what? if i remember corrent that gear that converts the speedo ger is like 100 bucks and i already dont have an odometer. so i thought it would be better if i buy a full cluster. just couldnt find one that would work with a tach. and i dont know what kid of oil pressure i got. mechanical or electric and what years cluster the one i need comes in. sorry to sound like such a newb im having exams this week and my passing of the classes depeds on how good i do on these so i have been cramming what litlte brain i have.
     
  16. nerraw117

    nerraw117 1/2 ton status

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    im kind of thinking of just replacing my speedo with a mechanical one and putting a tach somewhere else in the cab. that sound like the best idea?
     
  17. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    All trucks '82-89 COULD have VSS on the speedometer, so cable drive with VSS is easy.

    If I remember my speedo gauge layout correctly, all "early" ('85 would fit into that) '81 up speedo's do not have "tick" marks to indicate individual MPH (like 1, 2, 3, etc.) At some point later, GM started using the tick marks on the speedometer. I know my '90 or 91 cluster has them, the earlier clusters I have, don't. Also, a trip odometer puts the speedometer in the '87-91 range as well, wasn't offered earlier than '87 that I am aware of.
     
  18. sandawgk5

    sandawgk5 3/4 ton status

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    basically buy a cluster and use it and your existing gauge cluster to make 1 with a tach. I did not think that the vss would be that much, kinda sucks. Also if you do not have FI then the vss is not needed. You say it is a 90 engine. Is it FI or does it have a Carb? If it has a carb just get a tach gauge cluster from ebay or where ever and plug it in. The easiest way to tell if you have a mechanical or electrical oil pressure gauge is to pull apart the cluster it takes about 15 min and is quite easy.
     
  19. nerraw117

    nerraw117 1/2 ton status

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    i have a fuel injection motor
     
  20. sandawgk5

    sandawgk5 3/4 ton status

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    OK and it runs fine with no VSS input?
     

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