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Multiple problems with Autometer gauge install

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by PetaKane, Apr 17, 2002.

  1. PetaKane

    PetaKane 1/2 ton status

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    I give up. What kind of shop can install gauges?
     
  2. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    what's the problem?
     
  3. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    The question isn't "what shop" but more "what shop that isn't going to ask for my wallet first, and do it completely wrong"
     
  4. Nitrodrip350

    Nitrodrip350 1/2 ton status

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    NEED HELP?!
    Here are the complete instructions for an Autometer install, these were on another post given by BlazerGuy:

    I decided to upgrade to Autometer Pro-Comp gauges. I used the 5" 160 mph speedo, 5" 10,000 rpm tach, and 2-5/8" electric oil pressure, water temp, fuel level, and voltmeter. All of these gauges are in-dash units so I had to figure out how I was going to mount them. I have seen setups with all of them mounted on the face of the bezel, and also using the billet aluminum replacement bezel that you can buy from LMC. I just didn't like the way it looked after you get them in. The gauges are tilted forward on the same plain as the bezel which makes it hard to see them. After I a lot of thought I finally went ahead and ordered the gauges still not fully having made up my mind on what I was going to do. After I had them I started doing a little figuring. With some grinding and cutting I could mount them from behind the bezel which will look almost factory with a lot better gauges. Below is how I accomplished this. Be forewarned, this is not for the meek of heart. If you are not prepared to butcher your instrument cluster and grind on the bezel, don't start this project. I also would like to add, this is a major pain in the butt. Of all the things I have done to my truck, this has probably been one of the most aggravating.
    Also one other warning. If you have factory cruise control, kiss it goodbye if you use the Pro-Comp mechanical speedo. On my 85 the pickup for the speed sensor is built into the speedo. The Autometer Pro-Comp mechanical speedo doesn't have this pickup, so no more cruise. I emailed Autometer about this. They replied and said I would need to use the Sport-Comp electrical speedo in order to be able to keep the cruise. I decided to keep the Pro-Comp's and get rid of the cruise. So you can see how the finished product looks, here are a few pics.
    The Start!
    Of course the first thing to do is remove the bezel and the instrument cluster from the dash. You will need to reach up behind the dash and remove the speedo cable unless yours is like mine and would slide out enough to take it loose when you pull the bezel out. Once all this stuff is out you can remove all the factory gauges. Now is when the fun starts!
    The only parts that you are going to reuse are the bezel, instrument cluster and the black plastic bulb shade (for a better word). The other pieces, gauges, glass (plastic window), and the printed circuit you don't need. Now as I have stated, I used Autometer Pro-Comp gauges, so if you use other manufacturers gauges, they may be a different size and you may have to use different measurements. With that in mind, I am going to use the Pro-Comps as a guide.
    Gauge Fitting
    You are going to need a Dremmel tool, with several different bits. On the back side of the bezel, where the hole tunnels down to the gauges, you need to cut about 1/4-inch off around the circumference of the two big holes for the speedo and tach. I took a pencil and made a mark all the way around using the edge as a guide. I used a cutoff wheel in the Dremmel to cut this off. You will have to make a notch at the bottom of the hole, for the lamp holder at the bottom of the gauge. Use one of the small drum sanders in the Dremmel to smooth the edge and make it as straight as possible. Now change to the grinding bit, sort of looks like a drill bit. You need to grind off some of the bracing between the holes so the glass on the gauges will fit up against the tunnel you just cut off. Next, with the drum sander again, grind around the outside of the tunnel about 3/8-inch down from the edge so the gauge will fit snugly up against the glass. Look from the front with the gauge put in place to make sure it fits the glass evenly. After you get both the speedo and tach fitted to their respective holes it is time to move on to the small gauges.
    The holes for the oil, volt, fuel, and water are a little harder to fit. I had to remove 1/2-inch from these tunnels because they were a lot smaller than the gauge faces. If I had just removed a 1/4-inch the tunnels would have covered up too much of the gauge face. Go through the same process as you did for the tach and speedo. After you have all of them shaped, make sure that they fit and the gauge face looks right. On the two holes beside the speedo you need to take more off of the outside of the tunnel opposite the speedo so they will line up with the hole better. It has to do with the angle of the tunnel I guess. After you have all the gauges fitted to the bezel, put the drill bit in the Dremmel and at the bottom of the braces (between the holes) drill an assortment of holes down close to the bottom of the brace. The only way I could think of to hold the gauges in place, was to wire them in. A online friend of mine says he is thinking of a way to make a metal plate to hold them in. I am waiting to see what he comes up with. I am still trying to come up with a better way, but I just can't think of one. If I figure something out I will put it on the main page so you will know. Besides, after it is all done, you can't see these wires. Anyway, the best advise I can give you is, take your time when fitting all the gauges. You don't want to make a mess and end up dissatisfied with the install. Go slowly and check the fit often. When you are completely satisfied with the fit, it is time for mounting them to the bezel.
    Gauge Mounting
    The tach and speedo should fit real good because of the notch you have to make for the lamp holder. Also they just fit the holes better. I decided to use a little black RTV to help stick them to the bezel. Use little dabs around the outside of the hole and try to keep it back from the edges so it won't smear out onto the gauge glass when you set the gauge in place. If it still gets on the glass, wipe it off before it gets dry because it is almost impossible to get it off when dry. Let them setup about 3 or 4 hours to give the RTV time to dry, overnight would be even better. After they are dry, I used some fine single strand wire, I guess you call it picture hanging wire, to tie them down to the bezel. Put it through the hole you drilled and use a pair of pliers to twist tight. Bring it up and loop it around one of the mounting screws. Hold it tight and take the supplied nut to hold it in place. You should be able to use at least three wires each on the tach and speedo.
    For the small gauges, you will have to hold the gauge in place and look from the front to get it level. Once you have it set where you want it, hold it in place and use the pencil on the back side to make two aligning marks at the edge of the gauge rim and the edge of the tunnel. This way after you set the gauge down into the RTV you won't need to look at the front to make sure it is where you want it. Fit all four gauges the same way and make the pencil marks for them. You need to elevate the bezel so the gauge holes are level. This will keep them from sliding around once put into place. Now to the RTV. You will need to use more RTV because the small gauges don't fit as tight as the tach and speedo. Use the same care as before to keep from getting it on the glass. Do one gauge at a time. Set it down onto the RTV and make sure it is aligned with the mark you made, and also down against the bezel. Let each gauge setup for a little before going to the next one so if you accidentally bump one of the others it won't easily move out of place. After you have them all in place, let them setup overnight. When dry, wire them down the same as the tach and speedo.
    Cluster Cutting
    Take the printed circuit off the cluster. You need to cut some holes at the back of the cluster so it can mount onto the bezel. Just measure the back of the respective gauge and mark it off using the holes where the old gauges were as a center point. Take the Dremmel and cut it out. Test fit the cluster and keep cutting until it fits the bezel. Don't cut anymore than needed because you need to use the center bulb hole (between the tach and speedo) to light up the shifter dial. Cut the black background piece so you have the shifter dial covered. This is all that you need to use of the background. I used epoxy to glue the green turn signal lenses in place. After cutting the cluster, you don't have anything to hold them. The dull side goes to the front.
    The Wiring
    For the wiring, I am going to use my 85 C10 wire colors, yours may be a different color so keep this in mind. Cut all the wires from the big plug. This is what each wire is on mine. I hope this saves you some time, because it took a lot of time to figure this out. If you look at the plug you will see it has numbers on the side, at each wire. Here is what each is for.
    #1 Lt. green = high beam indicator lamp. #2 Gray = instrument lamps. #3 Black = ground. #4 Pink/black stripe = ignition. #5 Tan = oil pressure sending unit. #6 Pink/black stripe = ignition. #7 Pink = not used on my truck (clock I think). #8 Black = ground. #9 Dk. green = water temp sending unit. #10 Black = ground. #11 Lt. blue = left turn signal indicator lamp. #12 Dk. blue = right turn signal indicator lamp. #14 Yellow = fasten seat light. #15 Md. blue = choke warning light. #16 Pink/black stripe = ignition. #17 Tan/white stripe (2) = park brake warning light. #18 Pink (2) fuel gauge sending unit (splice to other pink wire at #4).
    You are going to need the following:
    7 ignition wires (pink/black stripe)
    13 ground wires (black)
    7 instrument lamp wires (gray)
    1 choke wire (md. blue)
    1 park brake wire (2) (tan/white stripe)
    1 oil sender wire (tan)
    1 water temp sender wire (dk. green)
    1 fuel level sender wire (pink)
    1 left turn signal wire (lt. blue)
    1 right turn signal wire (dk. blue)
    1 high beam indicator wire (lt. green)
    If I had it to do over I would have put a small board so as to have a junction for all the wires to hook up to. This way you could run the three ignition wires, three ground wires, instrument lamp wire, and all the others needed to the back of the board. Then you could just plug the wires from all the gauges and things in the front. This would a lot neater and easier to hook up. I just soldered pigtails to the ignition, ground, and instrument wires so I would have enough to plug all the things up.
    The tach has 4 wires that has to be hooked up. Pink/black stripe to red, gray to white, black to black, green to tach terminal.
    The speedo has 2 wires. Gray to white, black to black.
    Oil pressure has 5 wires. Tan to sender terminal, pink/black stripe to ignition, black to ground, gray to white on bulb, black to black on bulb.
    Voltmeter has 4 wires. Pink/black stripe to ignition, black to ground, gray to white on bulb, black to black on bulb.
    Water temp has 5 wires. Dk. green to sender terminal, pink/black stripe to ignition, black to ground, gray to white on bulb, black to black on bulb.
    Fuel level has 5 wires. Pink to sender terminal, pink/black stripe to ignition, black to black, gray to white on bulb, black to black on bulb.
    Left turn signal has 2 wires. Lt blue and black. The right turn signal has 2 wires. Dk. blue and black.
    The lamp between the speedo and tach needs to be used for lighting the shifter dial. Gray and black wires.
    High beam indicator light uses the Lt. green and black wires.
    Park brake indicator light uses the 2 tan/white stripe and pink/black stripe wires.
    Choke light uses the Md. blue and pink/black stripe wires.
    So I could have the high beam, park brake, and choke lights I bought 3 LED's at radio shack. A orange 276-272, red 276-270A, and green 276-271A. I used the orange for the choke, green for high beam, and red for park brake. I drilled three holes in the flat spot between the tach and speedo. For the turn signals and shifter dial bulbs, I reused the old bulb holders. I just soldered the wires to the terminals that made contact with the printed circuit. One other thing, you will need to buy a new speedometer cable because the old won't work. You need one that screws on to the back of the speedo and the old one uses a clip to hold it on. I bought one from NAPA Auto Parts, part number 6151603, for $15.00. This cable is as close the the original one as I could find. Make sure that you tighten it securely at both ends. I thought when I put it on the speedo it was tight. When I drove around the speedo would bounce between about 20 and 40 mph. I checked it and found out it wasn't. It's hard to reach up behind the dash anyway, but make sure it is tight. Just don't over tighten and strip the speedo.
    The End
    Well I guess that's about it, all I can think of right now. Now that I am done and everything is back to normal, I am glad I did it. If I had known how much work was involved would I have still done it? Yes! These gauges look real nice and work better than the old ones. If I think of something else or a better way of doing parts of this, I will put it up here. For now this is all there is to it. As I said, this is a major job. If you don't feel comfortable tearing the dash apart, leave it the way it is. It does make a big mess until you get it back together.


    Cruise Control Removal
    I decided to remove all the leftover cruise control components since it didn't work anyway. It helps to clean up the engine compartment and remove a few wires and such. Of course you don't have to do this step. You could leave it and this way if you decide to put your truck back to factory specs it would be less to put back.
    The parts you need to remove are as follows:
    Speed sensor: The wire with the optic head and little green box that plugs into the speedo.
    Servo assembly: This is the vacuum pod mounted to the intake on a bracket. It has a adjustable rod that hooks to the carb. Unbolt the bracket from the back of the head and the TV cable bracket. You can also remove the stud from the carb lever.
    Controller module: Mounted in a bracket under the dash right beside the steering column.
    Wiring harness and rubber hose: This plugs into the servo unit and goes back to the controller module and brake pedal switch. On automatic trannys this brake pedal switch also works as a TCC (Torque Converter Clutch) switch. Also you need to remove the vacuum line from the intake and plug it at the check valve.
     
  5. NoSmog73

    NoSmog73 1/2 ton status

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    Holy Sheet that was cool I am going to save this one...mike
     
  6. Michael

    Michael 1/2 ton status

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    ...or you could just go here and get the nice pics also: <a target="_blank" href=http://www.73-87.com/garage/gauges.htm>Gauges</a>
     
  7. Nitrodrip350

    Nitrodrip350 1/2 ton status

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    yea you could do that too....LOL!

    Shane-
     

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