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Replacing idiot lights with Gauges

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Phatsalmon, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. Phatsalmon

    Phatsalmon Registered Member

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    Anyone know if it is possible to replace idiot lights with guages in a 1984 K20? I would like to pull the lights and replace with OEM gauges. Please respond if you have knowledge of how to do this. Thanks
     
  2. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Hate to be a parrot, but use the search function, it's been covered many times. Short answer is yes, it's possible. :)
     
  3. Phatsalmon

    Phatsalmon Registered Member

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    Searched all the way back for ten pages. Lots of detail about aftermarket, but I am speaking about OEM. I may be a technical basket case, but I could not find detail about direct idiot light to OEM conversions. Could you help by including the link?
     
  4. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

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    I had this same question a week or two ago and got the same results "search" for somthing that is not covered.

    You can do it but you have to change the sending units as well for it to work.
     
  5. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I'm not spending the time to research the threads themselves, but here are a few from the first page of results that came up by searching "cluster wiring".

    http://coloradok5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=202156&highlight=cluster+wiring

    http://coloradok5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=202305&highlight=cluster+wiring

    http://coloradok5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200047&highlight=cluster+wiring

    http://coloradok5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=157835&highlight=cluster+wiring
     
  6. grimjaw

    grimjaw 1/2 ton status

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  7. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

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    First link: Info on replacing tach
    second tach again
    third fuel gauge
    fourth coustom

    Grimjaw that was perfect, and I must have missed it when I was looking:waytogo: .

    The question for me and the OP was can you swap a facory gauge cluster (with fact oil,volt,temp gauges) into a idiot light truck.

    There is almost no question that has not been answered about K5's on this site. Maybe it should be shut down and made an archive, search only site:rolleyes: . From now on we should only reply to anyone with "just search".
     
  8. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Yes, you are right, you couldn't learn ANYTHING from the threads I linked to. Sorry I wasted my...oh wait, your time looking those up. :rolleyes:

    Maybe instead of making it search only, we have a forum that teaches people how to read, have patience, not take other peoples time for granted, and search effectively.

    And Grimjaws was perfect huh? Adding that SES light going to come in handy for you? Nothing there that coud possibly not apply to your swap. I'm sure someone will be happy to sit down, take your exact year of truck apart, write up a gauge cluster swap article that applies solely to your application, and post it for all to see.
     
  9. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

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    serriaclassic:

    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 :)

    _______________________________

    Seemed to ansewer my question perfectly, BTW I did admit to missing this post when I looked, which is why I asked the question in the first place. Thanks to grimjaw the OP will have the info he needs.
     
  10. Phatsalmon

    Phatsalmon Registered Member

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    Sorry to have asked

    Yeager, I am so sorry to have wasted your time asking a question that I am in need of help. I do not want to waste your time as I can see that you have posted over 14,500 messages and answers. Were they all this hostile to people that are asking for help? I will continue to search but nothing has stated the answer about an 84' K20 that I just need to see if someone else has blazed this trail. I suggest that you have been on this board way to long. Maybe you should take a break. We are worried about you! Respectfully!!!
     
  11. bear76

    bear76 1/2 ton status

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    Again, I was looking for the same thing you are a couple of weeks ago. The post from serriaclassic (above) should be the best ansewer on this site. It is not a plug and play swap, you will have to replace the sending units and trace some wires, but it can be done.
     

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