Installing the New Gauges and Old Switches

Finally I get to install some of the new parts! I hauled all of the Dakota Digital Gauges out of the box and mounted them in the dash along with the new A/C outlets. I then installed all of the original switches along with the re-chromed dash inserts. Next up was the new switches for the A/C system and also three momentary contact push buttons – two are used to setup, calibrate and operate the Dakota Digital System, the third is to disengage/reengage the transmission overdrive.

Finally I reinstalled the painted glove box door which now will hide all of the fuse panels and relays mounted where there used to be a glove box. Of course the bag with all of the mounting nuts, bolts and push button was no where to be found until I spent a good two hours wandering around the shop looking for it. Eventually it turned up under a pile of other bags on the sink counter. Of course the lock was broken and the push button wouldn’t work. Fortunately on one of my DVAP trips to Casa Grade I picked up a spare glove box door that had all the parts to get me in business again.

Fitting Out the Dashboard!

I have to say I am really pleased with the way it all came together! The dash is looking like I wanted, jet age styling with space age instruments and controls.

I did have one problem left to tackle. The Dakota Digital Dash has a controller that accepts all the wiring input from all of the gauge sensors and switches and multiplexes a composite signal out to the speedometer via a Cat 5 cable. I also had to mount the controller that provides the gear shift position data to the main controller which displays the selected gear on one of the LCD displays in the speedometer housing. The speedometer processes the signals and routes the final analog levels to operate the gauges to them via a smaller telephone cable. Since I didn’t have much room left behind the dash I decided to mount the controllers on the firewall on the drivers side. I cut out a piece of aluminum from a sheet of scrap and welded a couple of tabs on the back that nice fit where the old parking brake lever was mounted. It is out of the way, but easy to get to if I need to fix something and the big plus is that I can route all of the wiring to it and only have to deal with one wire going to the dash board, okay, there will be a few more for lights, wiper and ignition etc, but not a large bundle of 20 to 30 wires!

Next up, mounting the windshild wiper, dressing up some wire bundles, mounting the A/C Drier on the firewall so that I can wire up the trinery switch and buying and mounting a Derale temperature sensor/fan controller for the radiator cooling fan. After this I should be close to the point where I can fire up the engine and make sure everything is working properly before putting the fenders and hood back on, which I need to do to confirm my choice of wheels and tires.

Once the engine is running again, I will feel like I am closing in on the end game!

Stay tuned…

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