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Installing aftermarket gauges while retaining function of OEM gauges

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Old 05-16-2014, 11:19 PM
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Installing aftermarket gauges while retaining function of OEM gauges

I finally got a phone that takes good pics and I finally figured out how to download them. So lets have some fun!


Made a bracket to bolt to a couple of studs already sticking out of the firewall.


Going to weld this fitting to the bracket to mount the manifold.


The oil sender manifold. It has the original dummy switch on the left, a real sender that will be used to run the dash gauge once I get the mod done, and the new add-on gauge sender on the right.

Welded it.


Test fit the manifold to the bracket.


Had a 5 ft. hose made to run from the oil sender port on the engine intake manifold across the firewall and down to where the sender manifold will be mounted. ( It's the hose with the writing on it.)


This is where the sender manifold will be mounted.


Tapped into the harness on the fender so I can hook the OEM dash gauge back up.


Painted the bracket and attached the ground strap.


Thought I would show how the OEM gauge in it's current state is a dummy by grounding the wire.


This is key on, engine off. It shows normal. If it was a real gauge or one that had been fixed, it would be pegged at H.


Manifold installed, hose attached, and OEM wire attached to OEM sender just to see what happens.


This is the tee fitting I installed so I can hook up the OEM temp gauge and the aftermarket temp gauge at the same time. Don't know if this will work good or if the readings will be lower than the actual temp because the senders are not in the coolant "stream". I guess we will see.


I made this bracket to mount the temp and oil pressure gauges in the cubby hole. Drilling holes in the dash panel before painting the bracket. The volt gauge on the right will be replaced with a trans temp gauge when it gets here. I'm using it for the mock-up.


Painted!


Fabbing up the wiring. I used a 5 wire plug that I had laying around and a 2 wire plug for the lights. Next time I will get a six wire plug.


Put in up through the back into where it will be hooked to the gauges.


Plug sticking out the back, wires for volt gauge run out the side.


Lighting wires and lights.


All hooked up.


Ran the temp gauge wire and loomed it.


All the wires hooked up and loomed.


It is critical that these wires are pushed up against the back of the dash panel and centered top-to-bottom so they will clear.


Installed!


What they look like while driving.


Close up with engine running.

Turned on the lights.

Trans temp gauge showed up early! Better get busy.


Put the sender in the "hot" line from the transmission. I may have to move it down to the transmission if the readings don't look right.


Decided to hook the OEM gauge wire back to the dummy sender and install a manual gauge. Had a little issue with a remote filter and this came in handy. Thread to follow soon...................

The trans temp gauge was slightly longer and the dash needed a little modification.


Ready to install.


Making the harness with the plugs was time consuming but it was worth it. You can unplug it and remove the dash panel with the gauges in it in about a minute! The next time I do one like this, I will usu a 6 wire plug so I don't have to run a separate wire for the lights.


What it looks like, engine running.


What it looks like when driving.

I hope someone can get a few ideas from this and do something even better.
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Old 05-17-2014, 12:41 PM
Eddiec1564 Eddiec1564 is offline
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That looks good, I though about putting gauges in that location. But I like to have them up higher in in of sight. I been looking around about a gauge pod that sits right on top of the dash. No luck finding anything yet. So I probly have to make up a pod myself.

A good upgrade is to swap out your cluster for a tach cluster, its all plug and play for our years of 87 to 91!! Don't matter if its from a I6 or V8 engine(not diesel though).
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Old 05-17-2014, 01:41 PM
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A transmission temp sender in that line will not tell you the temp of the transmission. It will only tell you how much heat the torque converter can generate.
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddiec1564 View Post
That looks good, I though about putting gauges in that location. But I like to have them up higher in in of sight. I been looking around about a gauge pod that sits right on top of the dash. No luck finding anything yet. So I probly have to make up a pod myself.

A good upgrade is to swap out your cluster for a tach cluster, its all plug and play for our years of 87 to 91!! Don't matter if its from a I6 or V8 engine(not diesel though).
Thanks Eddiec! The tach swap is on the to-do list.
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:49 PM
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A transmission temp sender in that line will not tell you the temp of the transmission. It will only tell you how much heat the torque converter can generate.
Yep and that is about 230* @ 70mph no load! I'm due for a fluid change anyway so would a weld-in bung in the pan be best or is there a better place? C6 trans, by the way.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:25 PM
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Nice write up, especially with the PLUG. I do the same thing when I install A pillar gauges
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:33 PM
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Nice write up, especially with the PLUG. I do the same thing when I install A pillar gauges
Thanks for the atta-boy Brad! That means a lot to get a compliment from somebody that has done as much to trucks as you have.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddiec1564 View Post
That looks good, I though about putting gauges in that location. But I like to have them up higher in in of sight. I been looking around about a gauge pod that sits right on top of the dash. No luck finding anything yet. So I probly have to make up a pod myself.

A good upgrade is to swap out your cluster for a tach cluster, its all plug and play for our years of 87 to 91!! Don't matter if its from a I6 or V8 engine(not diesel though).
I agree on the line-of-sight issue. If you notice on the bracket that holds the twin 1-1/2" gauges the bottom of the bracket sets out about 3/4" farther than the top. This helped a lot with visibility of the gauges. The original design was flat and you couldn't see them very good so that one got scrapped. That wasn't an issue with the trans temp gauge. And if the other two were bigger gauges it might not have been an issue with them either but I wanted the smaller ones so they would fit in the cubby-hole.
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Old 05-18-2014, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by eakermeld View Post
Yep and that is about 230* @ 70mph no load! I'm due for a fluid change anyway so would a weld-in bung in the pan be best or is there a better place? C6 trans, by the way.
If I remember right the C6 has a test plug in the side like the E4OD, so that would be the the best place for it.
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:28 PM
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If I remember right the C6 has a test plug in the side like the E4OD, so that would be the the best place for it.
Ok thanks. Is that port primarily a pressure port? Might be good for a future project!
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:09 PM
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Yes it is.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:30 PM
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Old thread, I know. But I'm wondering if now that you've lived with it for 3 months, is there anything you'd change about the way it's done?

Also, have you found the temperature sender setup, tee'ed up on the manifold, to be accurate?
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Old 09-01-2014, 02:41 PM
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Thanks for the interest in my project. The temp gauge has turned out to be quite accurate. It took it a while to get the air bubble out of the top of the tee, but once it burped itself it works well. Shot it with the laser temp gauge and it reads within one degree. The oil pressure manifold was by far my best idea. The gauges are ok, but I think I'll put the temp, oil pres, and something else up on the pillar and put some other gauge(s) there. I like the trans temp where it's at, but the sender needs to be moved to the pan. I may use that one for a converter temp gauge and add another sender in the pan and another gauge for actual trans temp and another gauge for trans pressure. That would be like the setup on our old dozer. I know it's not necessary but it would look cool! And no matter what I build or how I build it, I always think of something better/cooler/different that I can't wait to try!
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:03 PM
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Good to know. When you say "burped itself" did you have to do anything to help it, or did it really just work itself out without help.

I think based upon your project, and some things posted by others, I'll do a triple "A" pillar with oil pressure, coolant temp, and tranny temp. Trimming up a later model pillar housing for my '90 should be fun, but it won't look any worse than the interior already looks and will probably look a heck of a lot better.
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:10 PM
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The "burp" did work itself out. I was going to loosen the sender a bit to let it bleed out, but ended up not needing to. Show me some pics of the pillar mount when you do it.
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