triple gauge kit - any advice?

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triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by 76malibu on Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:10 am

I plan to install a triple gauge kit under my dashboard (water temp , oil pressure, voltage) as seen on this picture (it's not my car):


Do you have any advice or warning?
I guess it is pretty straightforward but I ask just in case. The most difficult part may be the installation of the oil pressure tube through the firewall.

I made some homework on the forum but only found heavily modified dashboards like that http://www.g3gm.com/t7161p105-new-guy-here-from-florida

I currently plan to buy one of those kits:
http://www.amazon.com/Auto-Meter-2397-Autogage-Console/dp/B000CIL61M/ref=pd_sbs_263_8?ie=UTF8&dpID=51oNp%2BdjDoL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=0DS9H8VBGGC6YZ7E10B1

http://www.amazon.com/Equus-8100-Triple-Gauge-Kit/dp/B000EVWEKE/ref=pd_sbs_263_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=41h8DgGjgBL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=0DS9H8VBGGC6YZ7E10B1

http://www.amazon.com/Sunpro-CP8090-Mini-Triple-Gauge/dp/B000FJVNXY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1450773840&sr=8-4&keywords=triple+gauge+set

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Alan
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by Joe73 on Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:41 am

I like going with mechanical gauges but electrical gauges will do the job and be an easier installation.
As for the mechanical oil pressure I lime to purchase a brass T and pipe nipple to thread into the block right next to the distributor. That way you can run the gauge and keep your factory idiot lights working. I also run the steel braided oil pressure line instead of the usually supplied nylon tubing for oil lressure. Thats for piece.of.mind for me in case the nylon rubs on something and oil starts to shoot around your interior.
As for the temp gauge, take a look at your cylinder heads if your running stock ones. Right by the spark plugs should be your factory temp sensor (unless they are using the head sensor on the rear of your heads). The heads are the same on both sides. So if you have a stock sender on one head tbere should only be a pipe plug on the other. Remove the pipe plug and put your senskr in there so you can again run stock lights and a gauge. If you have an aluminum manifold you can also put the sender in the port right next to the thermostat housing which would.be.fine. But head readings are always.higher and thats what you really would like to know. But eitber location will do the job.
Volts connections should be at the battery or as close as you can get. I actually prefer a vaccuum gauge instead of volts.
On the firewall next to the distributor is about a 2 inch grommet with wires coming through. I like to run my stuff tbrough that grommet.
Good luck with it.
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by Joe73 on Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:20 am

When I first bought my car in 82 the gauge panel was the first thing I installed in the same location as in your pic. But now Im considering installing the panel below the ash tray. I think it would be easier to see and not blocked by the steering wheel. And might be a little easier to get to something under the dash if need be in the future.
Just a thought.
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by thatfnthing on Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:02 am

I'm guessing that was mine you were looking at, so you already know I'm not a fan of mechanical gauges. However, if you're determined to go with them, I would 2nd Joe's idea of using a braided line if you're going to be plumbing oil into your cabin. In addition to being easily abraded, the sh***y nylon ones that come with the mechanical kits eventually become brittle due to UV and/or underhood temps, and they WILL break. It's not a question of 'if', it's only a matter of 'when'. I have also encountered kits where the sender line for the temp gauge was too short.

Everyone has brands that work for them and those that don't. For me, anything labeled 'Sun' has been absolute crap, though others here may feel differently. So I would immediately discount those. I like Auto Meter, and I've heard good things about Equus, but have not tried them myself.

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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by Joe73 on Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:18 am

Another thing I look for is the sweep. Those you listed have the 270 degree sweep that I like. But if you look at the temp gauge the degree markings are close together in the range that you will be operating in. Then they get wide in the 250 to 270 range. Certain miodels are wider in the low end which I.find.more useful.
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by Hawk03 on Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:18 am

I recently put electrical gauges in mine (round gauge bezel) and thought the install was pretty easy. If I would have kept the sweep gauge bezel I would have done something like this guy. It looks a little cleaner but is a little more involved than just adding the 3 gauge set.

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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by Joe73 on Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:21 am

I has some stewart warner 2" gauges in a round gauge panel in my car for years.  Worked well.  Recently sold it with the gauges and cluster.  Putting the original one back in.



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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by 76malibu on Wed Dec 23, 2015 3:24 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I ended up buying:
- Auto Meter 2397 3 gauges kit
- copper tubing Auto Meter 3224
- Auto Meter Tachometer 2300
Should have them next week. It is not the cheapest but I am ready to put some extra dollars and I like this understated look. Some people may even think it is factory.

The digital gauges are cool but too pricey for me.

I will post some pictures of the installation if I have time and will try to keep the factory "idiot lights" working. It is useful when you are focused driving.

I can't stop thinking of my next upgrade. It will be an air/fuel ratio and a vacuum gauge.
I spotted the Innovative MTX-L 3844 for a good price. They say it is accurate in the 12 range (to run rich on fuel), and I can even calibrate it for E85 if I go crazy and pour some Ethanol in it. I should not think about that, it makes me want to increase the compression ratio!

Why an air/fuel ratio gauge? Well that is an excuse to put a Holley 4160 carburetor with an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold ... it is hard to resist the temptation Very Happy
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by thatfnthing on Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:47 pm

With an AFR gauge, you will need to weld bungs into your exhaust manifolds/headers for the sensor if you don't already have them...

I have a vacuum gauge in mine, and I like it, but I feel like I'm being scolded every time I put my foot in it. Smile
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by 76malibu on Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:06 pm

I have a stick welder (I wish I had the insight to buy a MIG welder instead!!!). It should work with a 3/32 6013 electrode and the proper amperage ... or the muffler shop will be happy to fix my me$$ Very Happy

As I understand, the bung must be welded between the manifold and the catalytic converter. That reminds me I have serious doubts about the effectiveness of my factory looking catalytic converter. I don't think he does his job anymore, but surely limits exhaust air flow. Mmh ?! A little voice tells me "cut that cra#" and another says "no, save the planet, use a catalytic converter".


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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by thatfnthing on Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:02 pm

The bung should be as close to the head as possible, but still exposed to all the gases from the cylinders on that side.  So the near the front of a header collector, or just below the primary tubes on an exhaust manifold.  To be accurate, the O2 sensor needs to be at a minimum of something like 600°, so the closer to the head the better.

As for the cat, have you looked into any of the aftermarket high-flow models?  They're supposed to flow MUCH better than the stock units.
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by 76malibu on Wed Dec 23, 2015 10:11 pm

You are right, I should buy a universal catalytic converter like a MagnaFlow at summitracing.

I even think installing headers and do a H pattern dual exhaust. I have to do my homework before starting a project like that. I may have a fitting problem because there is no "hump" on the driver side crossmember, as seen on this picture:
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by pila on Thu Dec 24, 2015 1:33 am

On both my Malibu and my Elco, I mounted the triple gauges in the dash space where a clock would usually be mounted.....not a very clear picture, but you get the idea.....





I used white gauges in the Elco, only because I had them. The Malibu has black face.  I used mechanical water temp & oil pressure.  The oil pressure line is Aeroquip TFE hose & fittings, and an AN bulkhead fitting through the firewall. Engine is a 507 inch Caddy, so oil pressure port is almost in the same area at the rear of the block as a Chevy..


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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by thatfnthing on Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:13 am

76malibu wrote:I may have a fitting problem because there is no "hump" on the driver side crossmember, as seen on this picture:

That's the single-exhaust crossmember. There was a different one for dual exhaust that had the hump on both sides. Kinda tough to find these days in decent condition, but there are aftermarket alternatives.
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by ant7377 on Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:13 am

I ran the nylon line for the oil pressure in a piece of vacuum tube. Works good.
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by Limey SE on Fri Dec 25, 2015 12:42 pm

76malibu wrote:. I may have a fitting problem because there is no "hump" on the driver side crossmember, as seen on this picture:


OR YOU CAN make your own dual one like I did, Some Ebay sellers think they are made of gold and price accordingly, Why I took my single to a dual.






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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by 76malibu on Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:46 pm

pila wrote:On both my Malibu and my Elco, I mounted the triple gauges in the dash space where a clock would usually be mounted.....not a very clear picture, but you get the idea.....
Nice tip Pila. Those 2-1/16 gauges seem to fit in this space (the outer ring edge is above 2-1/8 ).
I first thought bolting them under the dash would be good enough but I am reconsidering it...

Notice the cracked dashboard, it's standard feature now!
And the fake wood decal, a prestige signature. Not sure it will impress anymore Very Happy

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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by 76malibu on Fri Dec 25, 2015 5:06 pm

Joe73 wrote:I like going with mechanical gauges but electrical gauges will do the job and be an easier installation.  
As for the mechanical oil pressure I lime to purchase a brass T and pipe nipple to thread into the block right next to the distributor.  That way you can run the gauge and keep your factory idiot lights working.  I also run the steel braided oil pressure line instead of the usually supplied nylon tubing for oil lressure.  Thats for piece.of.mind for me in case the nylon rubs on something and oil starts to shoot around your interior.  
As for the temp gauge, take a look at your cylinder heads if your running stock ones.  Right by the spark plugs should be your factory temp sensor (unless they are using the head sensor on the rear of your heads).  The heads are the same on both sides.  So if you have a stock sender on one head tbere should only be a pipe plug on the other.  Remove the pipe plug and put your senskr in there so you can again run stock lights and a gauge.  If you have an aluminum manifold you can also put the sender in the port right next to the thermostat housing which would.be.fine. But head readings are always.higher and thats what you really would like to know.  But eitber location will do the job.
Volts connections should be at the battery or as close as you can get.  I actually prefer a vaccuum gauge instead of volts.
On the firewall next to the distributor is about a 2 inch grommet with wires coming through.  I like to run my stuff tbrough that grommet.
Good luck with it.
Thanks Joe, it helped me a lot sorting out what to plug where while keeping the factory emergency lights.

Here is the water temp light sensor (green wire), on the driver side between the spark plugs:


The plug for the water temp gauge on the passenger side:


And the oil pressure light sensor, where I plan to put a T fitting:


The big picture to find the oil pressure sensor: remove the air filter assembly and look at the driver rear side of the HEI distributor


I may have to put an angle fitting like this, depending on the shape of the T fitting and the remaining clearance:
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by 76malibu on Fri Dec 25, 2015 5:27 pm

Limey SE wrote:
76malibu wrote:. I may have a fitting problem because there is no "hump" on the driver side crossmember, as seen on this picture:


OR YOU CAN make your own dual one like I did, Some Ebay sellers think they are made of gold and price accordingly, Why I took my single to a dual.
That would be great Limey but the legislation in the province of Quebec does not seem to allow any welding, drilling or modification on the frame.
That is sad because I would love to stiffen the frame.

It makes me stressed because it doesn't give me much choice and if one day the frame needs repairs, an aftermarket replacement with shipping may cost more than another chevelle ...
One option may be to bolt tubes and bars in the existing holes. It looks unconventional and fairly complicated to me, but may be street legal.

For the exhaust, I may simply re-route all the tubes on the passenger side.
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by chevellelaguna on Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:15 pm

Technically the trans crossmember isn't part of the frame itself. What if you had a rotted frame rail, it wouldn't pass inspection because you welded a used piece on? What about newer cars that need a front/rear rail replaced from a collision?
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by Limey SE on Fri Dec 25, 2015 6:46 pm

Tom is right this has NOTHING to do with your frame it is only a support for a transmission mount and Unless they know these cars inside and out, So if you paint it to just look factory it would be good. But if not here is how mine was routed with 2 1/4" factory style exhaust and passed emissions here.


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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by 76malibu on Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:53 pm

chevellelaguna wrote:Technically the trans crossmember isn't part of the frame itself. What if you had a rotted frame rail, it wouldn't pass inspection because you welded a used piece on? What about newer cars that need a front/rear  rail replaced from a collision?

Limey SE wrote:Tom is right this has NOTHING to do with your frame it is only a support for a transmission mount and Unless they know these cars inside and out, So if you paint it to just look factory it would be good.
I agree with you, it is quite frustrating and sometimes doesn't make sense in a technical point of view.
My understanding is they approach vehicle modification from the insurance point of view and tend to forbid a private individual to alter the structural integrity of the car. They like factory designed stuff.

The word "frame" in this case is a translation of the French word "Châssis", which in their definition includes also the steering, braking, engine and drivetrain assemblies.
The official document, which mentions the law, is dramatically clear at pages 8 and 26. I give you the link as a reference but no English translation is available, sorry for the inconvenience.
http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/publications/dossiers_speciaux/veh_modif_artisan.pdf

I think they want to force us let accredited shops do the job. This way if a road accident occurs with the car it is easier for the crash experts, the lawyers, the insurance companies, the administration ...
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by pila on Sat Dec 26, 2015 2:29 am

I know a new cross member isn't cheap, but for around $250 you can get a bolt-in on from a few sources & save the hassle of building or modifying another one..

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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by Joe73 on Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:48 pm

5 bucks ??? Cheap gauges but 1 1/2" would fit in that clock space nicely.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/sun-cp8092/overview/
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Re: triple gauge kit - any advice?

Post by thatfnthing on Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:24 pm

They're a tad small for our cars, though I actually looked at similar ones to replace the warning lights on a 70 Monte I had a while back, since 1st gen Monte's were that size.
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