Center Console Gauge Cluster & Dummy Lights

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Parkka

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My 302 was quipped with dummy lights in the instrument cluster when it was built.  I recently acquired the original three gauge cluster for the center console with the wiring harness that has two display lights.

My question is whether or not I can tap directly into the wiring from the sensors in the engine compartment without going to the instrument cluster.  That way I would not only have the dummy lights to tell me there is a problem, but also the gauges.  The lights would more likely direct me to look at the gauges to get a general idea of what may be happening.

Can this be done?

Thanks,

 

MikeGriese

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The sensors are different for the gauges.  The idiot lights use a pass/fail kind of sensor, the gauges use a continuous signal kind of sensor.

 

SteveO_71

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Seems like it would the same as adding any auxiliary gauges. Keep the sensors/wiring for original idiot lights. As mentioned, you would need the proper sending sensors for oil press and temp gauges. Typically the amp meter is converted to a voltmeter to make it usable.

 
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SteveO_71

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Your factory sending units and dummy lights would stay intact.

For example, I have a center gauge cluster in my 71 and I wanted to keep factory gauges working. I added an additional sending unit for the oil pressure ( used a T connection ) and an additional water temp sensor ( heater hose adapter ) for autometer gauges. Ammeter gauge was converted to a voltmeter.

 
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You CAN keep both idiot light (as we call them on this side of the pond) as well as have gauges. There has been many post on this and I have done this myself to my car that only had idiot lights. I added a full set of aftermarket gauges mounted in an original center stack. What you need to do is add an extra sensor for oil as well as water temp. In my case, I chose to use Bosch mechanical gauges and the volt meter. You can use the original gauges, but add separate sensors and the wiring. Going with mechanical is quite a bit more work as there is not a lot of options to get the tubing through the firewall. I chose mechanical for more accuracy. Bob at Rocketman's Classic Cougar Innovations can rework your old clapped out Amp meter to a volt meter if you want to keep that in place for that original look.

I was looking for an extensive post I did on my gauge build, but it appears to have not been transferred over with the latest site upgrade, but I do have a mass of pics if interested.

Oh, I almost forgot. Bob at RCCI can build you a really cool combination Tac and Idiot light gauge. I did this also and love it. Well worth the money imo. Another HUGE tip, upgrade your dash bulbs to LED or SMD's, but please don't buy el cheapo bulbs from e-pay, but buy from Bill at HiPoParts.com, www.hipoparts.com He specializes in designing and making about the best bulbs out there, trust me!

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You should keep both. You do not have time to look at gauges especially in the center of the dash instead of in front of your. The NASCAR guys have huge idiot light in front of them and when comes on they go look at the gauges.

 
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Thank you to all.  I'll be installing a T connection for the sensors
Idiot lights use different senders to electrical gauges. That was another reason I went with mechanical gauges, although electrical gauges can be worked in. Electronic stuff is not my forte, so I'm sure others will advise if necessary. Sorry for the long delay adding this, I had forgotten about the post.

 
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