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How to Factory Tachometer 1980-1986 F-Series

 
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Old 09-10-2004, 01:40 AM
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How to Factory Tachometer 1980-1986 F-Series

How to wire a factory tach 1980-1986 F-Series

This is not a new topic but I hope to cover everything in one post.

If your truck has the stock wire harness, and came with amp, oil, and water temperature gauges, it is already wired to accomodate a factory tachometer. This applies to gasoline engine models only.

Basics:
All 6 cylinder Ford engines require only one wire (green) for the tachometer to function.
All 8 cylinder Ford engines require two wires (green) for the tachometer + (black) for bypassing the tachometer 6 cylinder function.

What you need:
A stock Ford instrument cluster with factory tachometer. You can install a factory tachometer into a cluster that was not designed for one, but that will not be covered here. The factory cluster with tachometer includes the correct printed circuit on the back of the cluster along with the factory tachometer. The quadrant shift selector, if you have an automatic transmission, is a seperate cluster piece that has two screws holding it to any stock cluster. Note: The quadrant shift selector FACE for a C6 automatic is different from the AOD, be sure you have the correct one if you need it. Manual transmission models have a blank screwed into the same mounts as the automatic quadrant selector.

Stock wire harness (you already have what you need) assuming nobody has cut or changed the coil pickup, distributer, or ignition box wires. I will explain what to do if it is not stock.

What to look for:

All Ford trucks 80-86 use basically the same ignition module and instrument panel wire harness. The ignition module which is located on the left (driver) inner fender well is secured at the top of the well. If yours has a Crane or MSD ignition module don't worry, it is covered here too.

If your truck is completely stock from coil to distributer to ignition box and still has all the stock wires, this is a simple swap from one cluster to the other. There is only one plug at the back of the cluster plus the speedometer cable to remove and reattach.


If your truck has been altered:

Carefully inspect all of the 2 wire plug connectors on top of the left (driver) fender well. There should be a plug connector with one green wire and one black wire which is bound to the harness that leads from the firewall. For all 6 cylinder engines, connect only the green wire to the tachometer output of the MSD or Crane ignition module. If you don't know which is the tachometer lead wire, go to the web site for MSD or Crane and look up the module you have. There will be instructions for wire colors and list the function at the web site. If you have an 8 cylinder engine, you will need to hook up the same green wire to the tachometer lead wire of your module but also run a good ground wire from chassis to the back wire on this plug. It is okay to cut off the plug connector at this point so you can make good connection to the wire(s). Chances are, unless you plan to restore the truck back to factory stock, you will never use the plug connectors again anyway.

If you have a stock ignition module, do NOT cut off any plugs. But you do have a different (other than stock) coil and/or distributor you will need to connect a wire from the left terminal of the coil to the green wire in the plug connector on the harness going to the firewall. You will need to ground the black wire in the plug connector (on the firewall side of the plug connector) only if your truck has an 8 cylinder engine, AND you are absolutely SURE that the black wire is not already grounded inside the distributer. Caution, some high ouput coils do not allow for tachometer connections. Be SURE your coil is not an after market high energy coil. How do you know the difference? A FORD coil has studs on each side of the coil, not nuts or bolts. A coil connector (U shaped plug) was used on all Ford trucks from 80-86. The connector slips over the studs on the business end of the coil. A stock Ford distributer with stock ignition module already has the back wire grounded inside the distributer. If either the distributer or ignition module box have been changed to aftermarket, chances are, the back wire has been cut or removed from the distributer to ignition module harness. This is why I wrote, make absolutely sure the black wire is grounded. (If your 8 cylinder truck did not have a tachometer you don't need the black wire with an after market ignition module for the module to fire properly. Also the instructions for installation tell the installer to disconnect the black wire) You can check the black wire for ground with a test light or multimeter. The stock distributer combined with the stock ignition module requires the back wire even though a 6 cylinder model does not use it for the tachometer.

What else is my truck already wired for?

If your cluster came with an oil, temperature, and amp gauges it is wired for a tachometer.

If your truck came with a radio, it is wired for a digital clock.

If your truck came with a stereo radio, it is wired for front (door) and rear cab speakers no matter what size cab.

All 1980-1986 trucks are wired for underhood lamp.

If your truck came with a cargo light, it is wired for overhead map lights or viceversa.

If your truck came with a dome light switch on the passenger side, it is wired for auxillary lighting like glove box and extra (door courtesy lamps except overhead exterior cab lamps)

If your truck has one...power windows or power door locks, it is wired for both.

Note: although the trucks were prewired for many options, there still may be missing harnesses or harness extensions if the full option package was not ordered.
 
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Old 09-10-2004, 07:25 AM
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Only question I have is where to purchase a NOS cluster with said tach? Or get the tach seperately?

DB
 
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Old 09-10-2004, 09:34 AM
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Obtaining factory Tachometer Cluster

Sources for factory clusters with tachometer are salvage yard, eBay, and sponsers for this FTE web site. NOS (New Old Stock) parts are very rare, expensive, and not necessary to purchase in order to make the swap. A used cluster with working tachometer is sufficient.

The "how to" was written for those with the cluster, considering the swap, or those who have done the swap but may be having a problem getting the tachometer to work properly.

The FTE forum is a great resource!
 

Last edited by 82F1507.5; 09-10-2004 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 09-10-2004, 10:04 AM
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Good info to have. Looks like somebody couldn`t sleep last night, lol! Where are you at in Texas?
 
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Old 09-10-2004, 10:22 AM
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Sleep Starved

horton-racing....
Thanks!
I struggled with getting a factory tachometer to read correctly a few years ago and could not determine why since the factory tach was designed to work in any 6K RPM application. All I needed was a ground wire.
 
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Old 09-10-2004, 12:28 PM
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I might just add that everyone states the 80 - 86 clusters are the same and they are not. I bought a 1980 gauge cluster for my truck to add the tach and after hooking it all up, found that my brake light flashed when I hit the right turn signal and the right turn came on with the e-brake.


A check of the Haynes manual verified that the circuit board has these two circuits switched. Worse yet, you can not simply reverse the wires in the plug since the brake works on ground and the turn signal works on 12V. I could go into long details but won't about how I tried to make it work but ....

Finally, I gave up, bought a gauge cluster from a 1984 and everything works fine.

Anyone want a 1980 gauge cluster with tach? -gg-

Basically, 1981 through 1986 are the same but the printed circuitboard on a 1980 are different.

Good Luck,

Lee
 
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Old 09-10-2004, 12:35 PM
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Yup!

I neglected that point and thanks for bringing it up in this forum.
 
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Old 09-10-2004, 12:38 PM
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OH! by the way Lee

The only part you needed to change is the PC (film circuit) on the back side of the cluster. On the other hand, you might have to buy a complete cluster just to get that part. FYI for those who are shopping.
 
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Old 09-10-2004, 01:16 PM
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hey lee what do you want for that cluster? let me now im very interested.
 
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Old 09-10-2004, 08:03 PM
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82F1507.5... Great post on installing the factory tach... but, like many others, I have idiot lights and would like to install the factory tach. My plan is to use my existing cluster with the idiot lights. I will remove the blank plate where the tach goes and install it. Then wire it up myself. However, I am not sure where to run the wires from the back of the tach. I expect one goes to a 12v supply, one to the coil and one to the dash lights.

I don't suppose you have a tutorial on how to do this?
 
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Old 09-10-2004, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee Lichterman
I might just add that everyone states the 80 - 86 clusters are the same and they are not. I bought a 1980 gauge cluster for my truck to add the tach and after hooking it all up, found that my brake light flashed when I hit the right turn signal and the right turn came on with the e-brake.

Anyone want a 1980 gauge cluster with tach? -gg-


Lee
Lee Lichterman: What color is the printed circuitboard on your 1980? I have a 1980 F-150 that I want to put a tach in. I purchased a 1984 cluster that will not work.

The turn signal layout is different in my 1980. It seems that you have the cluster that I need. Please PM me, and let me know what you want for it... I would appreciate it.
 
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Old 09-17-2004, 07:10 AM
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I have a 1980 F250 2 wheel drive and the temp gauge and the alt gauge do not work. i pulled the dash of and there isa a green printed circuit board back there that they all hook up to. any ideas on why the oil pressure gauge and tach and gas gauge work but not the other two. will putting in an after market temp gauge work. I am not to worried about the alt gauge.
 
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Old 09-17-2004, 07:44 AM
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Don't know for sure but in talking with others here, My circuit boards were all tan or light brown looking. The ones that it didn't sound like it would work on were the green ones. The guys with the green boards also mentioned that the plug was slightly smaller in the back also. I have a feeling, but am not sure, that the green boards may have been for idiot light versions and the tan for full gauges. Maybe someone tried to plug in a gauge cluster on yours but it was originally a lights only version from the factory.

Maybe someone else will pipe in that knows more about the green boards. My factory cluster was gauge and tan, and both the others I put in were tan also.

Good Luck,

Lee
 
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Old 09-17-2004, 08:13 AM
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The gagues just go bad over time.. I would install aftermarket gagues anyway, as the stock ones are glorified idiot lights.. They aren't calibrated so you never know what is really goin on.
 
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Old 09-17-2004, 08:26 AM
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Color is not a good indicator

There are differences between the printed circuits for the gauge clusters between the model years 1980-1986 but the color of the PC (film) is not the correct way to identify which one you need. Every PC has a part number printed on the PC.

Ford designed the PC's but did not make them, nor did just one vendor. PC film color varies according to what was available at the time. I am making reference to the PC's used for the tachometer application only.

Reference:

Just below the plug area and beneath the two instrument light sockets is a Ford Oval logo with a part number. The first two characters of the part number indicate the model date.

Example:

E1TF-10C956-B
This PC was made for a 1981 Ford Truck with tachometer.

(E=1980, +1) (If 1980 it would be E0TF-, If 1983 =E3TF-...etc)
Ex=Model year
T=Ford Truck
F=F-Series
10C956= instrument cluster with gauges
B=with tachometer


1980-1986 do not interchange throughout the entire line. 1984 and newer trucks with fuel injection, or TFI, require a different harness than those with 351W HO, 351M, 400, and 460.

Another Example:
Q.
Will my 1982 F-150 tachometer cluster work in my dads 1985 F-350 with 460 engine?
A.
Maybe. If the 460 is stock and does not have a computer, yes. If the 460 is fuel injected, no. I am NOT calling the Duraspark II or DSP2 a computer, I am referencing the under dash computer.

Hope this clears up any confusion.
 

Last edited by 82F1507.5; 09-17-2004 at 08:44 AM. Reason: add details

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