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 Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?

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redcaddy

redcaddy

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PostSubject: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Oct 03, 2014 7:51 pm

Well, the personalization process has begun on my "new to me" '89 Estate Wagon...

I want to add a tach, water temp  oil pressure, oil temp, volt meter and a tranny temp gages. (I really hate idiot lights) Problem is where to put them all. (with out making it look like an airplane cockpit or a fart can tuner) I'm building a long distance cruiser, so I want to keep tabs on temp's and pressures easily, without the "Grizwald" look.

I considered a hood mounted tach, 'till I saw the prices affraid I found a plastic three gage hood pod, but it's swoopy and round, not a good match For the Boxie's clean lines. Is there anything out there, that when bolted to the hood, wouldn't look like a turd on a carpet?

Is there a "B" body dash that can be swapped in, with a more gage friendly lay out? What about a mini console on the tranny hump?

Well, that's the questions, (the easy part) Now I need to know how you guys have solved this problem.

Any input would be appreciated. As usual smart azz comments and sarcasm will be considered and graded for content.

Thanks, Paul
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steel-and-fire



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeSat Oct 04, 2014 4:44 pm

Unfortunately, the Buick Electra/Lesabre is a bit of a handicap when it comes to adding gauges. I literally have been trying to find ways to add more than just Speedo and Gas while trying to keep it factory looking.

The 80s caprices and cruisers had rectangled areas for the gauges. A good amount of aftermarket parts are replacements for those. Because of the Electra's setup, it doesn't allow for it. Maybe with a little hacking it can be done, but I'm trying to avoid it.

For the three gauges (oil, temp, electric) you can get the generic setup and put it under the cigarette lighter housing. It's crude and stands out a bit, but is functional.

There are the 4 in 1 gauges that has the previous mentioned ones and a fuel gauge. You could put that in place of the Large fuel gauge (though I personally love how the dial sweeps left to right depending on a turn).

Two things I will mention, the transmission gear indicator is simply a wire attached to the column, so theoretically that can be substituted for another gauge and the gear indicator can be put on the column or something. Also the 77-79 dashes had another cutout on the dash, but all else was the same. Another instance for a gauge.

This is what I have observed so far. I haven't installed any of these or tested them. Mainly from google researching. But the caprices were gauge clusters. The Electra and Lesabre are just stand alone gauges if that makes sense.
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redcaddy

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeSun Nov 02, 2014 6:55 pm

Just as a bit of an update, I think I found a place to put a small  (2 1/16") tach.

Looks like it will fit just above the headlight switch. I'll know better after I pull the lower dash panel off and check behind the wood grain.

I got serious sticker shock when I made a pass on E-gages. The cheapest I could find a 2 1/16" was from Auto meter, 5K RPM, $125.00, American money... affraid (Eggzacery what I wanted, just way over budget)

Anybody have a lead on a more reasonably priced model ?

I removed the ash tray/carrier and found a neat little recess to mount a small aluminum panel, just big enough for four 2 1/16" gages and a 3 hole power point. (My last heart attack stopped any need I had, for an ash tray anyway, LOL) Time to start cutting and folding the ever popular, shirt cardboard template. Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'.

Paul


Last edited by redcaddy on Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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steel-and-fire



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeSun Nov 02, 2014 8:10 pm

Out of curiosity, what was the tach you were looking at? Auto meter, but what style?
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redcaddy

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeSun Nov 02, 2014 9:34 pm

Classic, black face, I think. I was shopping size and price, I got sticker shock before I could pick a style. All the 2 1/16" tach's listed were the same, or higher price. I got the same price quoted at my local Auto Zone...

Thanks, Paul
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steel-and-fire



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeSun Nov 02, 2014 9:42 pm

I stumbled across this and figured it was probably what you found. I never saw a tach only go to 5000.

Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? 2697_d

http://www.autometer.com/cat_gaugedetail.aspx?gid=3239&sid=12&gnid=2&zid=2&cid=1&tid=-1§ionHash=color_tab-tab
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redcaddy

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeSun Nov 02, 2014 10:47 pm

Yep, that's likely the one.
As a general rule, D'Arsonval gage movements are most accurate in the middle third of their scale, I will use this one mostly to monitor the converter lock/unlock and overdrive RPM's. I don't think the little Olds 307 will ever spin over 5K, so the range suits the application.

Paul
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steel-and-fire



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeSun Nov 02, 2014 11:18 pm

That makes sense. Especially for Olds engines in general. Even an Olds 455 you don't want to rev them past 5-5500 rpm anyway.

And thank you. I think I just found what I'll be looking for in a tach. I like the Stewart Warner style, but they only have them in 3 3/8s. Not many tachs in the 2 1/16th range. I do wonder if that Auto Meter has a white dial. Would look a little more stock.

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redcaddy

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeMon Nov 03, 2014 8:16 am

I guess I didn't realize that the Electra trim level used the white faced gages, the factory Lesabre level has white on black, much like SW classic black, in your first picture.

In racecars, I want a bright face/backlight combination that jumps out at you, even at night. For a cruiser, I prefer the illusion of the numbers and needle just "floating" on a field of black. (In the Le Sabre, the lighting is from above, in the dash pad, so the illusion I like, is destroyed, lol)

I really like the "heads up" display technology, but adapting it to the "boxie" dash is way above my pay grade.

I guess it's the swap meets and yard sales for me, I'm gonna hit the boat yards too, ya just never know.

Paul
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81X11

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeMon Nov 03, 2014 10:58 am

The 77-79 full-size Buicks use silver-faced gauges with black letters. The 80-90 used black-faced gauges with white letters.

The Buick Skylark X-car used very similar gauges from 80-85 if you want a stock look. The 80 model was silver-faced, and the 81-85 were black-faced.

The full gauges were optional on all Skylarks, and standard on the Sport Coupe, Sport Sedan, and T-Type models.

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Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? 27827276-770-0@2X
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steel-and-fire



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Nov 07, 2014 2:42 pm

Thanks for the tip Texas Mike.
That three in one gauge does look good...it'll be a miracle to find one, but its another item to keep an eye out for.
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AlmostaBuick

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeSat Nov 08, 2014 8:42 am

Not sure what the dash looks like on your car, Paul.
On my '77 LeSabre based Estate wagon there is a big round Buick emblem on the passenger side dash that would hold a full size tach. I guess it's covering a hole for an analog clock.
The gauges are black on silver.
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redcaddy

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeWed Nov 26, 2014 9:34 pm

here's a pic of my dash. I think the tach will fit just above the headlight switch.
Never mind, my damn box o rocks will not up load pictures any more. paul
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cammerjeff

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeWed Nov 26, 2014 10:23 pm

Good Luck in your efferts, I know it can be a Challenge. I am greatful my 78 Catalina has a Guage Package and really is only missing a Tach and Trans Temp gauge to be like what you are trying to do. Keep us updated on how it turns out.

I do like the looks of the Buick round Gauges better than the Square Gauges in my Pontiac.

Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? IMG_2204_zpsc1e6005a

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81X11

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeMon Dec 01, 2014 10:28 am

Love that dash Jeff! Brings back such memories of my Mom's '78 Grand Safari and my '79 Bonneville!

-Mike
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steel-and-fire



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeTue Dec 01, 2015 11:02 am

Thought I'd bring this thread back up since I'm doing a lot of what redcaddy was planning. Have the smallest (both numerically and size) tach I could get that also had a style similar to the gauges already present. Now, I was thinking of putting the tach above the lightswitch. Earlier 77-79 wagons had a spot for this, so I found one on ebay for $20. Not a great fit. It does fit near perfectly in the Gear indicator slot.

There is an easy way and a hard way.
Easy way: replace the gear indicator with the tach and reroute the shift indicator to the column.
Hard way: cut a hole in the car's dash, cut out the shift indicator slot in the spare dash, and creating a new slot for the tach above the headlight switch, while looking factory.



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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeTue Dec 01, 2015 12:20 pm

I vote for the gear selector spot. I bet you could add that second,inner circle in white to your gauge easy enough. That would be a nice touch. Just my two cents... What a Face
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MalibuSSwagon



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeTue Dec 01, 2015 1:04 pm

Check these guys out, they will build custom gauges to your spec if you pay them enough. They also offer alot of off the shelf designs that look pretty good.

http://newvintageusa.com/
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redcaddy

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeWed Dec 02, 2015 3:55 pm

Wow, it's nice to see this thread coming back to life.

I haven't had time to rip out the dash panal, (last picture in Steel and fire's post above) to see just how much room there is behind it, above the headlight switch, for the 2 inch tach I found.

I've been considering turning up a surface mount cup if there is not enough room in back of the space above the headlight switch.
Has anybody had one apart that can answer the back clearance question? That would put the tach close enough to line of sight, to be easily monitored

I've got the panel mocked up to mount the other 4 gages, as well as a 3 port power center, in place of the ashtray. (I just scrounged up some .063 aluminum sheet, time to go to work...)

Thanks, Paul


Last edited by redcaddy on Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:05 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : some dsys I don't spel well)
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steel-and-fire



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeWed Dec 02, 2015 8:05 pm

I'll check out my dash panel later this week. I'm curious about it myself.

Good thing you have a three port power center. It comes in handy:

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68GS400

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeThu Dec 03, 2015 9:47 pm

I was driving my 89 home tonight nd noticed that the rim of my steering wheel cuts right thru the center of that proposed location above light. May be reason that area is blank. I'm mounting mine on window pillar above the speaker grill... Not too hidden but enough out of way for safety and within eyesight.
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steel-and-fire



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 04, 2015 1:56 pm

Ask and ye shall receive. Makes sense there is room because that was where the left window mirror controls used to be in the late 70s models. PLENTY of room for a tach. As for the gear indicator spot, plenty of room if that wanted to be swapped out for a tach.

I know it'll probably be more work, but I think I'm gonna try for the empty spot above the headlight switch. It involves some plastic cutting, but it is within eyesight and can look pretty sharp.

Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? 20151204_134705_zps4bnkytqh

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redcaddy

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 04, 2015 3:47 pm

S&F,
From what your kindly provided picture shows, it's the "over the light switch" location for me. It looks like a 3 inch (2 7/8ths?) would fit in that hole. Too bad I already have the 2 inch in hand.

It sure is tempting to put a big tach in place of the gas gage hole, and buy a 2 inch gas gage for the "over the switch" hole. (got thinkin' about what John said) Waddya think of that idea?

Thanks very much,
Paul
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steel-and-fire



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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 04, 2015 4:01 pm

Its more about taste. I could replace the gas gauge for a 4 in 1, but it looked too cluttered and not appealing. As for a big tach, the way I see it, our 307s don't rev much past 5 - 5500 anyway. Our gas gauge probably moves more than it revs.

I'm curious as to what you are planning for your ashtray / cig lighter area. I have a three gauge cluster I'm gonna mount underneath it.
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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 04, 2015 4:08 pm

The gearshift gauge hole seems to be a perfect location for the tach to me. Right in front.

The caprice dash seems ideal for gauge modding to me. Ditch the whole sweep speedo mess. I was going to do that to a boxie wagon I had my eye on. Gut gauge cluster, laser cut a new panel and install gauges along with a LT1 caprice digi speedo. Car ended up being too far gone.
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68GS400

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 04, 2015 5:20 pm

I'm looking in to old school CB going into the ashtray space then a trio gauge pack beneath it. (Use CB on HRPT and other trips.) Problem with gauges is temperature. Where is sending unit going to be located? I have not found any spot except for the one used for computer feed. I like the idea of idiot lights being functional along with gauge (has a thermostat fail when sister was driving the car and she didn't know to look at those gauges once in a while!) Saw a fitting that goes into radiator hose but that might not give me accurate readings. How are you addressing this?
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redcaddy

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 04, 2015 5:35 pm

Gee John, I guess I hadn't thought that far ahead. It's been a long time since I was Head down-ass up under a dash board, installing a gage set.
First battle plan is to mount and wire loom the gages and power points, thru the firewall then chase down the senders and wire them all thru a tap strip/fuse block, power and data. (lot's of neat marine stuff can play under the hood.) Senders like oil pressure and water temp might have to be "T"ed. Oil and tranny temp, I might have to get creative to get representative readings. (no hill for a high stepper, a damn mountain for an old fart...)

The aim is to retain the idiot lights and add audible alarms for water and tranny temp.

Paul
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68GS400

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 04, 2015 10:18 pm

Yes Paul, I too have had a few years pass since I've been able to easily crawl under the dash so I only want to do it once. (& The bifocals make it difficult to see up under there!)I did my '68 Buick GS400 about 8 years ago and, yes, the oil pressure was simple T fiting with oil sending unit one way and gauge sender the other. On the Buick I had a spare fitting in block for water. Volt was easy, just a run to ignition fused block. But I just have not found a fitting on my 89 307 for temp. The computer on these Computer Controlled Engines needs a heat signal to work correctly. I tried a plumbing Tee years ago but the sender needs to be immersed in water flow and Tee left void as water flowed by. The water sending unit I found is about 3/4" in diameter. It is beneath the cruise control unit near waterpump bypass hose. The GM service manual is of little help.
I'm hoping someone here has done this and can give us a clue on where to connect or how to connect.
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redcaddy

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeFri Dec 04, 2015 11:16 pm

John, I will try an old hot rod trick. Pick out an accessible straight section of the top radiator hose. splice in a section of brass or copper pipe, with a bung, to match the sender for the gage you have, silver soldered / brazed/ Tig welded in place. (I always put the sender on the bottom, in the top hose, if readings are sketchy, sometimes air bubbles  in the top hose will make for some funny gage bounce or sender ground issues might show up )  No flow restrictions or turbulence issues. Or, you can buy a nice chrome one from Summit.

Several times I fabricobbled up a hand bent, brass/copper nickel tubing replacement for the top / bottom hose, for SBC and Cad motors in street rods. Looks trick 'till you brush your arm against it...

Paul
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68GS400

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PostSubject: Re: Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash?   Tach and gages in/on a boxie dash? Icon_minitimeSat Dec 05, 2015 1:18 pm

I've thought of that Paul. Was going to look to see which hose is discharge to radiator from pump. Is it the top? I was looking on ebay and saw some similar to what you describe. Was going to order then we bought a camper and my project Buick was put on side...
May not have accurate readings until thermostat opens but that happens rather quickly here in GA.
I bought my gage pack from Summit in GA. They have same black background and white markiings as does my vacuum and tach, thus matching the Buick in appearance.
Looking forward to your progress pictures.

Regards, John
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