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Wanna see something cool? Factory gauge cluster... or IS it?

Discussion in '1969-1972 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Greg72, Mar 25, 2002.

  1. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Here's something the 1st Gen guys will like....I've been working on this for about 10 hours so far, but it's starting to pay off. Check out the link below:

    http://coloradok5.com/gallery/albun38/aay?full=1

    I bought a bunch of Autometer Sport-Comp gauges since the only thing that worked in my stock cluster was the speedo and fuel gauge...oil pressure was always "pegged" since it only reads to 60psi and the "Battery" and "Temperature" gauges didn't seem to even be hooked up!

    Originally I wanted to install the gauges from behind the bezel...but there wasn't enough room to get it all in there. I had to make a "tough" decision. I sat down with my brand new (and rather expensive) gauges and began peeling off the silver bezels with a screwdriver so I could use just the "body" of the gauge...the bezel, glass, and rubber gasket got thrown in the trash! /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif It was a risk that paid off well.....the fit is AWESOME and they look really similar to the other factory gauges.

    The only thing left is to get a new piece of plexiglas silkscreened with the MPH markings and FUEL markings, and reinstall it. The lighting will probably be close (green) but I may need to "tweak it" slightly to make sure the new gauges aren't brighter than the originals.

    So anyway, I thought I'd share....it's a LOT of work and when it's done, MOST people wouldn't even notice that the factory didn't do it this way...... /forums/images/icons/cool.gif

    Enjoy!
     
  2. NoSmog73

    NoSmog73 1/2 ton status

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    Hey greg I like it and It does look like stock.. Keep up the good work-mike
     
  3. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Mike,

    This project has created a few "Might-As-Wells.." for me too:

    "Might as well"....clean up some of the wiring in the dash, since the cluster is going to look so nice

    "Might as well"... Install my MSD box up under the dash so that it won't get wet, and it will keep the engine looking more "factory".

    "Might as well"... Move the Wiper Switch to the left side under the Headlight switch (like the 67-68 style ones) so that I can use the right side hole "Choke" for a stereo knob, but still have everything look stock.

    Heh Heh.... man, every project becomes such a big ordeal!! /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif
     
  4. JungleBoy

    JungleBoy 1/2 ton status

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    Greg
    How did you attach the gauges to the instrument panel? Looks great!
    JB
     
  5. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    JB....it's a little bit tricky, and certainly time consuming! /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

    The plastic front bezel is a totally seperate piece from the gauge assembly (which is all metal).

    The entire gauge cluster in order of assembly is:

    Plastic trim bezel
    Plexiglas Lens with silkscreening for gauges
    Front metal shell which holds the fuel gauge, speedo, and tach
    Rear metal shell which holds the smaller gauges (Battery, Temp, Pressure)

    The "trick" is to remove all the gauges from the Front metal shell and then cut new openings for tha gauges. I chose the 2-5/8 ones since they are more readable, but they are quite a bit larger than the existing holes, so you will need to create new holes for them. The Autometer gauges come with a square "U-bracket" which attaches from the rear and pulls the mounting lip of the gauge against the panel.

    So that's the simple answer.....there are quite a few "subtle" things that need to happen along the way, but I don't want to take all the "fun" out of this project in case you decide to do it yourself.....! /forums/images/icons/cool.gif

    My advice is to definitely get a second instrument cluster from a junkyard K5 if you decide to do this. I planned ahead pretty well, and still got caught on a couple of minor details that I am going to want to fix. At least I had the first cluster as a "dry run", before cutting up my real cluster!

    I will post some additional pics as I get it completed, and re-installed in the K5.....
     
  6. aksidentproan

    aksidentproan 1/2 ton status

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    I tried to install a tach in the factory tach spot but there wasnt enough space beind the dash to accomodate the depth of the tachomoter. I hope you can get it to work.

    Evan
     
  7. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Evan,

    Really.....? With my new gauge cluster mounted (test fit in position) I have about 5" between the back of the tach and the sheetmetal for the cowl area.

    When I remove the gauge cluster, there is nothing but wiring harnesses in that area. The wiper motor is toward the right (closer to the center of the dash) and that's about the only thing that was around.

    In fact, there was so much space there, that I decided to mount my MSD box there. Do you have air conditioning, or some other factory accessories perhaps? I don't have A/C in mine....? /forums/images/icons/crazy.gif
     
  8. Ryan B.

    Ryan B. 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Very, Very nice Greg!
    I got to see Greg working on this over the weekend and let me tell you that is gonna be sweet when it's finished.
    No doubt I'm going to want to do the same... maybe with whiteface gauges.
    And that stereo system too man/forums/images/icons/shocked.gif... now I want to do a 1600 watt system in my K/5 too. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

    I think the way i saw this other blazer gauge set up was
    with whiteface tach and speedo for the big 5" holes. A tranny temp gauge for the 3" middle hole. ? . And the voltmeter, coolant temp sensor, oil pressure, and fuel level for the 4 smaller 2 5/8".

    Hey Greg- At the swap meet i saw the original reproduction black and chrome gauge bezel you were talking about wanting to get a good one... I saw one dude had them in the box over a dozen of em for $25 each! And they looked nice! /forums/images/icons/blush.gif Shoulda grabbed a couple but i didn't have money with me at the time. /forums/images/icons/frown.gif
     
  9. NoSmog73

    NoSmog73 1/2 ton status

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    I now have the guts to try it on mine..AFTER I take care of the little things first but seeing yours now I know it is a do able thing,,thanks greg
     
  10. JungleBoy

    JungleBoy 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks - certainly would not want to take the "fun" out of it...
     
  11. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Ryan,

    The middle hole is an oddball size....the only thing I found in the Autometer catalog that would fit there was an Oil Pressure gauge, and the tach that I bought.

    I think that 1FNHIK5 used that middle hole for the Oil Pressure gauge, and he's got the aluminum billet dash and the white face gauges.....I'm pretty sure you've already seen his setup, but if not you should check it out. He's got the 160MPH Speedo and 5" Monster Tach in the BIG holes.....

    Just got back from the store, and now I've got my new plexiglas to finish this thing up.
    /forums/images/icons/cool.gif
     
  12. ntaj*ep

    ntaj*ep 1/2 ton status

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    That panel is sweet! I did the same thing only I mounted the gauges from the front. I think your "stock" trend is a good theme. My theme is utilatarian.....totally! The center hole on mine is currently empty. I've been thinking of putting a fuel press. gauge in, or a fuel level! Since I haven't had one for so long i've kind of got used to milage calculations! I'm not sure what else to put there? I like yours, you said you would put a knob in the wiper hole for the stereo? To do what?
     
  13. 69K5

    69K5 1/2 ton status

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    Greg,
    looks good dude. why did you put 2 oil pressure gauges? what are you gonna put in the last hole water or battery?

    nathan
     
  14. LKJR

    LKJR 1/2 ton status

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    Greg,
    looks good man, I'm planning something similar but with the ultralite guages, and gonna try to mount the fuel in the middle and the tach on the right
    what's this stereo knob your talking about?
     
  15. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Les, Nathan, Nta*jep...

    I've actually got an oil pressure, and oil temperature on the right side....the remaining hole will probably be water temp. I was hoping to fit a volt gauge somewhere....but since I'm out of room, I'll skip that for now.

    The "Choke" knob will end up being for the stereo. The equipment I used has a special "Bass Control Knob" which adjusts the output of the subwoofer amp relative to the rest of the system. It's nice to be able to boost the bass when you're on the highway, since the road noise absorbs a lot of it. I currently have the knob integrated into the cigarette lighter's spot, but I don't like having to reach that far to make the adjustments.
     
  16. ak7

    ak7 Registered Member

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    I was hoping to put the billet aluminum dash in my 71. I've only seen it in 1 K5 before and I'm dying to know where to buy it. Do you know?

    Adam
     
  17. Ryan B.

    Ryan B. 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    LMC has the billet aluminum dash then you get to figure out what you want to do about gauges. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  18. ak7

    ak7 Registered Member

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    Sweet. I can't wait to put the billet dash in with some custom gauges. Do you know the website or phone number for LMC?

    ak7
     
  19. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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  20. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    I've got a piece of dimond plate aluminum that I am going to turn into a gage cluster some day. I was just going to cut it to shape and cut out holes w/ hole saws...but I am looking for a more utilatarian approch...I might even paint it OD green /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     

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