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My 1985 Econoline aftermarket gauge mounting solution

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by Cubey, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Cubey

    Cubey Full Access Member

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    For whatever reason, I didn't want to drill or cut the dashboard on my motorhome, at least right now. I also didn't want to spend extra money on special pods.

    So I came up with this. It's clear acrylic I already had left over from replacing a broken window on the travel trailer I had and sold last year. I put in the proper sized hole for the gauge and drilled one hole for a screw mount. I also used two L brackets I already had, bending them into U shapes for an offset bracket

    I used an original dash screw to hold on the bracket to the dash at the bottom. At the top, it merely slides up into a gap. I put in some old packing material foam as a spacer and to absorb vibration. It's offset enough that there is no contact of the leads on the cluster.

    Since the factory temp gauge sensor is much easier to reach on a van, the sender is going to be put into that port, instead of the dummy light sensor port, so being directly in front of the factory gauge doesn't matter, it won't be operational anyway.

    It's not the prettiest installation but its very functional and can be removed without leaving any extra drilled holes. Plus I only used materials I already had.

    The acrylic isn't lined up 100% right in the pics but you just have to slightly move it to adjust it. The foam helps keep it still once in position. I could make another lower bracket but I don't have anyone L brackets on hand, so maybe later.

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    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  2. Kizer

    Kizer Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Good idea.
    I've got the parts for my "no holes in the dash" gauge install on the way.
     
  3. Jason1377

    Jason1377 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Nice repurposing things
     
  4. Cubey

    Cubey Full Access Member

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    I think I may start over with another piece so that I can fit 3 gauges into it (water temp, pyro and manifold pressure) since I want to move those gauges into my line of sight anyway. I might try cramming in 2 more into this piece first, but I'm not sure I can. The water temp gauge could be moved about 1/2" down from where it is, if I start over with a new piece. I have plenty of extra left over, so I might just do that.

    It would block the right turn indicator though, but I guess that's not the worst thing. I could always run a + wire from the front fender bulb and power a panel mount LED attached to the acrylic. The flasher isn't super loud so having a blinking light does help remind me that I left it on.

    The other thing I want to do is rough it up with a wire brush or sandpaper, then spray paint it flat black on the outer side, so it can't be reflective. I foresee it being frustratingly distracting, seeing things "moving" on it out of the corner of my eye if sunlight is shining on it just so.
     
  5. YJMike92

    YJMike92 Full Access Member

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    I am not a fan of poking holes in my rigs either. Being creative is always my first choice.
     
  6. genscripter

    genscripter Full Access Member

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    Back ages ago in my youth, I wouldn't drill holes in my cars either. I even used a similar method of mounting switches/radio/gauges with acrylic and polycarbonate sheets.

    The problem was, that dark acrylic reflected so much light. If the sun was at the right angle, I would be blinded while driving. From then on, I never did that again.

    Now with my IDI and TDI, I drill through whatever I want. It just looks better to mount everything where it should be, and poke the wiring through clean holes and custom grommets. I recommend you do the same. It's a lot easier to work with when repairing your van and easier to maintain. Like my overhead gauge pod, I just love how all the wiring flows cleanly through my predrilled hole and grommet, and there are electrical connectors to allow for easy disassembly. And the wires are neatly bundled to the underside of the trim so they aren't sliding all over the place.

    [​IMG]

    If you are really concerned about keeping your dash stock without holes, you can always just go to a junkyard and find a spare radio/cc cover, dash liner, pillar covers, and cluster if you ever want to revert back to the original. But if I were you, I would just drill, cut, and modify your econoline stuff as you see fit. Gasser econolines are pretty typical in junkyards, so you can always find spare dash parts if necessary.
     
  7. Cubey

    Cubey Full Access Member

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    I might do something better later. I'm trying to do this for as cheap as possible for right now. Too many other bills right now. I'm barely buying anything beyond food for June and July.

    Regarding reflection, a dollar can of flat spray paint or even just duct tape over the acrylic would avoid that. Being a potentially temporary mount that didn't cost me anything to set up, it's good enough for now. It didn't need any holes so its totally reversible.

    I think a dash mounted triple pod is what I'd want, mounted directly in front of me, if I were to start drilling/cutting. I really don't like the way universal pillar mounts point them so far upward, nor do I like the idea of an overhead pod.

    I don't think my gauges would reach overhead anyway, so it's either pillar or dash. It's slightly annoying that the van dash is padded, unlike my truck dash which is hard plastic, where I was able to just drill and screw down a metal bracket for a water temp gauge. I wonder if the van dash has hard plastic futher down for screwing down a triple pod.
     
  8. Cubey

    Cubey Full Access Member

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    I finally got the gauge sensor installed to the engine. The square head plug in the head on the left rear wouldn't budge for anything in the world, so I had to give up and install the sensor in the factory gauge sensor location, being much easier to reach on a van than the dummy light sensor. Not that it matters, the aftermarket gauge is blocking the factory one how I have it mounted right now. It doesn't much take the factory sensor back, should I ever want to.

    Rather than drilling a new hole to run the sensor which was looking impossible without tearing half the dash out, I used a step drill bit to widen the hole that was already there for the pyrometer sensor wires and the manifold pressure air hose. It did a crap job at an angle but I got it big enough to put in a large grommet just good enough to stay put while running the sensor and nut fitting through. Then ran the pyrometer wires and manifold pressure hose back through.

    The pyro and MP gauges seem newer, based on a date code on the MP when I had it out of the pod that said something/90. Was the 085 still being made that late? Seems odd.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  9. The_Josh_Bear

    The_Josh_Bear Full Access Member

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    From what I've read the 085 and 093 aren't just the model number but actually correlate to the year the kit was released. So 085=1985, etc. I found that rather satisfying since most model numbers mean absolutely nothing to a human brain these days.
     
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  10. Cubey

    Cubey Full Access Member

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    Maybe the green number stamped on the gauge wasn't a date code, seems odd that it wouldn't be though. I didn't think to take a picture. Maybe the original gauges with the turbo kit failed or something and were replaced. They are Isspro gauges, called "classic" on the ones being made now.

    It's not a cheap pryometer, $194 with the thermocouple at this site.
    http://www.dieselmanor.com/isspro/R607G.htm
     

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