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Old 01-11-2011, 09:14 PM
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HOWTO - 81-86 gauge cluster in 80 model (gauge models ONLY!)

If you have a 1980 model truck, with full gauges, and want/need to swap the instrument cluster from an 81-86, also with full gauges, here's how to do it. Whether you are just wanting to add the factory tach, and/or a trip reset speedo, or just have a faulty cluster due to bad gauges or printed circuit, there's a simple solution. Read on.
This ONLY applies to trucks with full gauges, not the trucks with oil/alt lights!

As we have all heard, 1980 is a "One year wonder" in many aspects, and the cluster is one such aspect. The printed circuit for the 1980 models is green, and is wired differently than the 81-86, which is red. Otherwise, the clusters themselves are the same.
You can swap the clusters from a gauge equipped truck, into another gauge equipped truck at random in the 81-86 range, but the 1980 is a different matter. Or is it?
To install an 81-86 cluster into an 80 model, you need the cluster, and the dash bezel that surrounds the cluster. The upper row of lights (turn indicators, brake/seatbelt warning, and high beam indicator) was rearrainged in 81. Part of the wiring changes for these light relocations was made in the printed circuit, and the rest in the plug that goes into the back of the cluster. These wires can be moved, and it really doesn't take much effort.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ri_truck_guy View Post
Ok...I've gone over this 5 times. At first I thought it couldn't be this easy, but it really is. There are only two pin swaps you need to make the 81+ gauge cluster work in an 80. Move the Light Green/White wire at pin 17 to pin 18, and the Dark Green/Light Green wire at pin 18 to pin 17. That's it. Everything else matches up. The pin moves themselves are pretty easy. If you look at the face of the plug, you'll see small plastic tabs that hold the wires in the connector. Use a precision screwdriver, gently pry the tab back, and pull the wire out. Shouldn't take more than a minute to make these two swaps.
Yes, it really is this simple. Move those 2 wires, and install an 81-86 cluster, with the matching 81-86 cluster bezel. I have done this to my truck, and I can attest to the fact that it works fine. I now have an 1985 tach/trip reset cluster in my 1980 model truck.
The same can be done to install the 80 cluster into an 81-86. Swap the same 2 wires, and use the matching 1980 cluster and bezel. Not that anyone would really want that super bright high beam indicator......

FWIW, those 2 wires are the L turn indicator and seatbelt warning light. The R turn indicator and brake warning light are changed in the printed circuit.

As you can see, I have quoted ri_truck_guy for the wiring pinout changes. He did the research on this, using what I assume to be factory service manuals, at my request.
I had started a thread about installing a factory tach, and discovered the roadblocks to swapping the cluster in an 80 model.
You can read all about it here: http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/94...-question.html
It's a rather long read, and the info is all there, but much harder to follow. So, I have summerized the important part here, to make it very simple to follow.
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1980 F-150 300 I6, C6 & 9" rearend. Cummins 5.9L/ NV4500 5 speed swap in the works
1974 F100 Ranger XLT 390, C6 3.25 axle. Dad bought it new.
1983 Mazda RX7 1.1L Rotary.
1984 CRX 35 MPG go kart
1995 Mazda B2300 (undercover Ford)

Last edited by ctubutis; 01-17-2011 at 11:08 PM. Reason: Add to title
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:59 PM
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If this isn't in the stickie, I'd like to suggest that it be put there. Thanks RW.
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:47 PM
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Whoops, I found some bad spullimg in that post, had to go back and correct it........



(yes, I know I mispelled "spelling", I do that intentionally.)
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1980 F-150 300 I6, C6 & 9" rearend. Cummins 5.9L/ NV4500 5 speed swap in the works
1974 F100 Ranger XLT 390, C6 3.25 axle. Dad bought it new.
1983 Mazda RX7 1.1L Rotary.
1984 CRX 35 MPG go kart
1995 Mazda B2300 (undercover Ford)
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:44 PM
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There is another way to do this, but I'm not gonna steal anybody's thunder.

Rogue, it's been awhile since I played around with this, so I may be forgetting some details, but I could have sworn it was my right turn signal and brake light that were mixed around?

If the other signal and light were changed in the printed circuit, wouldn't they still be mixed up?
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordzilla80 View Post
There is another way to do this, but I'm not gonna steal anybody's thunder.

Rogue, it's been awhile since I played around with this, so I may be forgetting some details, but I could have sworn it was my right turn signal and brake light that were mixed around?
You used the original 80 bezel. Those 2 lights are reversed in the printed circuit, and cannot be swapped. Only option, is removing the lens for each, and relocating the lens. Great option for those without A/C that have a difficult time finding a newer non A/C bezel. But, it can be tricky getting the lens off the turn/brake lights without damaging them.
Using the 81+ bezel, and swapping wires 17/18 makes it true to 81+ specs.
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1980 F-150 300 I6, C6 & 9" rearend. Cummins 5.9L/ NV4500 5 speed swap in the works
1974 F100 Ranger XLT 390, C6 3.25 axle. Dad bought it new.
1983 Mazda RX7 1.1L Rotary.
1984 CRX 35 MPG go kart
1995 Mazda B2300 (undercover Ford)
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue_Wulff View Post
You used the original 80 bezel. Those 2 lights are reversed in the printed circuit, and cannot be swapped. Only option, is removing the lens for each, and relocating the lens. Great option for those without A/C that have a difficult time finding a newer non A/C bezel. But, it can be tricky getting the lens off the turn/brake lights without damaging them.
Using the 81+ bezel, and swapping wires 17/18 makes it true to 81+ specs.
I have a completely different bezel/cluster as of a year ago. I now am running a 1982 tach cluster and bezel with a 1985 tach printed circuit. I haven't even touched the new bezel yet.
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-3.0 V6/M5OD-R1/Ford 8.8
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:49 PM
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The upper row of warning/indicator lights were as follows:
1980:
[ 4x4*] [seatbelt] [L turn] [high beam] [R turn] [brake] [4x4]
1981-1986:
[blank*] [L turn] [seatbelt] [high beam] [brake] [R turn] [4x4]
This is why the wire swap and newer bezel are needed to make the full upgrade to 81+ cluster specs. 1980 models are much harder to find in a salvage yard than the 81-86, due to limited production. (1 year vs 6 years)
* 1980 had 4x4 on both sides, but only the right side was used on north american 4wd models. Perhaps it was there for the right hand drive market. Beyond my knowledge.
1981-1986 The "blank" could be a black plate, an orange "shift" light, or an orange "emmission" light. depending on year and options. Shift light for certain manual trans models, and emmission for certain computer controlled models. There may have been something else that could have been there that I'm not aware of.

The 4x4 and shift/emmission lights were wired independant of the main cluster using seperate sockets, thus they are not important to mention in the main writeup.

As mentioned, the right turn and brake warning were wired differently on the printed circuit, and cannot be rewired. The red/green lens can be removed and moved, but can be difficult to do, and they can be rather fragile to handle. I recommend leaving them alone, except as a last resort. The 81+ bezels are much more plentiful, and are perfect swap by moving wires 17/18.
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1980 F-150 300 I6, C6 & 9" rearend. Cummins 5.9L/ NV4500 5 speed swap in the works
1974 F100 Ranger XLT 390, C6 3.25 axle. Dad bought it new.
1983 Mazda RX7 1.1L Rotary.
1984 CRX 35 MPG go kart
1995 Mazda B2300 (undercover Ford)
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue_Wulff View Post
As mentioned, the right turn and brake warning were wired differently on the printed circuit, and cannot be rewired. The 81+ bezels are much more plentiful, and are perfect swap by moving wires 17/18.
This is where i'm skewing off. So since I swapped to the 82 cluster, all this 80 stuff goes out the window, and I only need to worry about the two wires? What i'm having a hard time understanding is the printed circuit being different. Are the signals for the right turn and brake just routed differently on the printed circuit?
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordzilla80 View Post
This is where i'm skewing off. So since I swapped to the 82 cluster, all this 80 stuff goes out the window, and I only need to worry about the two wires? What i'm having a hard time understanding is the printed circuit being different. Are the signals for the right turn and brake just routed differently on the printed circuit?
Yes. The right turn and brake warning wires are in the same spot at the plug (15/16), and the printed circuit just routes them to different places. They cannot be swapped like the left turn/seatbelt wires (17/18) as the brake warning light has power to it anytime the key is on, but only lights up when the pressure warning switch or park brake switch (newer trucks only) grounds the circuit, while the turn indicator only sees power when the signal is flashing and has it's own ground.
Swapping 15/16 will not move the lights in the dash. It results in one that stays lit anytime the key is on, and one that never lights up. Ask me how I know.......
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1980 F-150 300 I6, C6 & 9" rearend. Cummins 5.9L/ NV4500 5 speed swap in the works
1974 F100 Ranger XLT 390, C6 3.25 axle. Dad bought it new.
1983 Mazda RX7 1.1L Rotary.
1984 CRX 35 MPG go kart
1995 Mazda B2300 (undercover Ford)
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:29 PM
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Okay, so I would only have to worry about the right turn/brake lights if I was using a 1980 bezel, with the 1981+ printed circuit, as I was before?
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordzilla80 View Post
Okay, so I would only have to worry about the right turn/brake lights if I was using a 1980 bezel, with the 1981+ printed circuit, as I was before?
Correct.
I believe the right turn/brake lights are the only *actual* changes between the green 1980 and red 81+ printed circuits, as far as gas models are concerned. Granted, there's at least 2 variant's of each for with/without tach.
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1980 F-150 300 I6, C6 & 9" rearend. Cummins 5.9L/ NV4500 5 speed swap in the works
1974 F100 Ranger XLT 390, C6 3.25 axle. Dad bought it new.
1983 Mazda RX7 1.1L Rotary.
1984 CRX 35 MPG go kart
1995 Mazda B2300 (undercover Ford)
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:23 PM
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Alright, now I understand. Thanks!

For fun, here's a pic of a green 1980 non/tach printed circuit. Everybody keep in mind that in summer 1980, 1981 production started, so trucks built after July 1980 will have red printed circuits.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:08 PM
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bill.csisar
In the time after this thread started, I've eliminated the printed circuit completely. I got tired of them decaying over time and opted to hard wire the entire cluster. I also replaced the stock IVR with a solid state unit. I've got to go in the dash to replace a bulb at some point...when I do I'll take some pictures to post. It was a pretty easy and cheap job....a few rolls of different colored wire, some basic supplies, and a few soldering skills. The hardest soldering was to the little copper wings inside the bulb holders, and even that wasn't too difficult, and I found you can buy those pre-wired. No more balky gauges any more....
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ri_truck_guy View Post
In the time after this thread started, I've eliminated the printed circuit completly. I got tired of them decaying over time and opted to hard wire the entire cluster. I also replaced the stock IVR with a solid state unit. I've got to go in the dash to replace a bulb at some pint...when I do I'll take some pictures to post. It was a pretty easy and cheap job....a few rolls of different colored wire, some baisc supplies, and a few soldering skills. The hardest soldering was to the little copper wings insdie the bulb holders, and even that wasn't too difficult, and I found you can buy those pre-wired. No more balky gauges any more....
That would be a great writeup on it's own merit!

BTW, thanks for the research you did when I needed it. Without your assistance, I wouldn't have been able to make the swap sound so simple (which it really is).
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1980 F-150 300 I6, C6 & 9" rearend. Cummins 5.9L/ NV4500 5 speed swap in the works
1974 F100 Ranger XLT 390, C6 3.25 axle. Dad bought it new.
1983 Mazda RX7 1.1L Rotary.
1984 CRX 35 MPG go kart
1995 Mazda B2300 (undercover Ford)
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:33 PM
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