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Old 11-09-2007, 01:11 AM   #1
BLE 'BURBAN
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Modding My Cluster

Ok I said many times I was going to do this and have decided the best way to share it with you is while I do it instead of waiting until it was all done and try to remember all the steps I went thru to reach the final result. But first, a little background as to why I'm doing this.......

I have a small onboard air compressor w/tank installed in my suburban for my train horns & for an on demand air supply for whatever may be needed in the future. I've wanted to put in an air pressure gauge for a long time but didn't want it to look like an after thought P.O.S. install. A buddy of mine was working for a snow removal company at the airport last winter when he came upon an old C70 truck with a factory air pressure gauge and a combination Tach/fuel gauge. I thought it would be pretty cool but one problem - I've got an electronic speedo in my '90 Burb and that cluster just wouldn't work for me. besides what are my chances of EVER finding one of these clusters in a wrecking yard up here in Alaska? So I filed it away in my mental file of things I'll never get to put in my Burb. Then I started thinking. And contemplating. And planning. I would just install a factory tach and a small fuel gauge set up that I got from TOOMUCHSTUFF on here. Well on the very day that instrument cluster shows up on my doorstep I stumble upon 2 other clusters on EBAY that are out of the heavy commercial trucks. the first with a vacuum gauge and the other with the air pressure gauge.
Now being in a hurry to get a bid in and not really reading COMPLETLY THE DESCRIPTION of the first cluster, I negleted to realize that it had a vacuum gauge and not what I thought was a pressure gauge
So I win the bid for both of these clusters and get one already while still waiting on the other cluster to show I decide it's in my best interest to pick up a second electronic speedo cluster to do all my modifications to so my Burb won't be without a dash and undrivable as it's my only running vehicle right now.
Here's what my cluster currently looks like.......
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:44 AM   #2
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Now I realize that the flexible printed circuit sheet on the backside of the clusters can't be modified so I'll have to redo it all together. But that's just another step to go over later with y'all. Right now, here's pics of the three clusters I'm going to use to make one housing for my gauges.
My plan is to surgically remove the mounting positions for the air pressure gauge and the tach/fuel gauge and bond them to the other cluster housing so i can mount the gauges properly.
First pic is of the donor electronic speedo cluster notice that ALL of the mounting tabs are intact and all I'm going to utilize from this cluster is the main skyblue housing the gauges set in.
Second pic is of the the donor cluster for the tach/fuel gauge.
Last pic is of the backside of the 2 clusters together.
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:27 AM   #3
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

After stripping both clusters down to nothing I took measurements, made my marks, broke out my surgical tools(X-ACTO knife set) and started sawing away.

Oh did I mention the anesthesiologist was out sick during this? THE PATIENT WAS AWAKE FOR THE WHOLE PROCEDURE!!!!AHHHH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:54 AM   #4
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Looks like you are on the way, I hope the patient works out for you.

Keep us posted..


Quote:
Originally Posted by BLE 'BURBAN View Post
After stripping both clusters down to nothing I took measurements, made my marks, broke out my surgical tools(X-ACTO knife set) and started sawing away.

Oh did I mention the anesthesiologist was out sick during this? THE PATIENT WAS AWAKE FOR THE WHOLE PROCEDURE!!!!AHHHH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
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Old 11-10-2007, 09:55 PM   #5
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Subscribing..
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:42 AM   #6
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

DISASTER!!!!!

I was up until 2 am the other night trimming out the lower left side and I cut too wide Thankfully, a little bit of extra trimming of the removed section and some 2 part plastic epoxy will save my clusters backside not to mention mine.
pics 1-4 shows the trial fit of the tach/fuel gauge backing before I epoxy them together.
Pic 5 shows the S.W.I.F.U.* on the left lower corner
I'm going to be gluing it all together tonight and will post more on saturday



*So What? I F'd Up.
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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Old 11-11-2007, 07:35 AM   #7
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Re: Modding My Cluster

You know the rule, measure twice, cut once.
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:25 PM   #8
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Re: Modding My Cluster

That sucks, but I think you can fix it.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:37 AM   #9
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Ok I've repaired my F*U*B*A*R and have installed the gauges for a test fit.
Also marked the backside of the housing for my next step in the project..... REWIRING!!!!
The fuel gauge terminals have been moved lower in the housing and 3 indicator lamps have been currently displaced. The "SEATBELT * BRAKE WARNING" lamps that WERE at the bottom of the original fuel gauge as well as the 'BATTERY" warning lamp that was originally in the lower left gauge hole.
the latter one being of importance since the alternator needs to be excited with an initial power thru draw so it will activate and run/charge like it's supposed to when the engine is started. But I'll decide where to transplant them later.
Here's pics of the repair and test fit. Mind you that the only 2 gauges in the picture I will actually be using are the air & the tach/fuel gauge.
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade

Last edited by BLE 'BURBAN; 11-28-2007 at 05:49 AM.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:45 AM   #10
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Damn! I need to shift my work bench out of LOW RANGE and get my alternator fixed!!! I'm pulling 2800 rpm at 25mph causing me to run hot @ 200* but at least the oil pressure is good!!! LOL
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade

Last edited by BLE 'BURBAN; 11-28-2007 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:54 AM   #11
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Re: Modding My Cluster

That looks sweet! Give us some pics of the back of the cluster with the gauges in.

Thanks,
Trav

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLE 'BURBAN View Post
Damn! I need to shift my work bench out of LOW RANGE and get my alternator fixed!!! I'm pulling 2800 rpm at 25mph causing me to run hot @ 200* but at least the oil pressure is good!!! LOL
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Old 11-12-2007, 02:14 PM   #12
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Next time you see the backside of the cluster it'll be of it rewired without the floppy printed circuit sheet on it both in progress and the finished and (hopefully) properly functioning product.
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade

Last edited by BLE 'BURBAN; 11-28-2007 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 11-13-2007, 09:02 PM   #13
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Looking good. I suppose all the darkness right now is giving you plenty of "workshop" time.
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:31 PM   #14
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Hit a small snag during my rewiring of the cluster yesterday. I had made up all new terminal ends for the dash lights and warning lamps plus new terminal ends for the harness to make contact with only to find out THE HARD WAY that you can't solder onto STAINLESS STEEL!!!
Needless to say my project is stalled until payday when I can get some different material to use. Like a sheet of copper. So until then......
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade

Last edited by BLE 'BURBAN; 11-28-2007 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:29 PM   #15
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Ok I picked up what I needed yesterday to finish the job. So tonight I'll get it rewired and then test out the tach/fuel gauge before I reassemble the cluster.
Pics to follow as well.
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade

Last edited by BLE 'BURBAN; 11-28-2007 at 05:52 AM.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:57 PM   #16
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Looks great so far!
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:40 PM   #17
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Well just call me Dr. Frankenstein 'cause I've butchered and reassembled my cluster. Tested all leads and show .03 ohms resistance through each one so everything is good to go.......so far..
Here's pics of the back of the cluster with it's multi-colored spaghetti and homemade terminals. Man the things you can do with a cordless dremel tool!
In pic 3, the light socket above the air line fitting is my battery warning indicator
The 2 twisted brown and white leads in the last pic are for the brake warning light and the seat belt light I've still got to decide as to where I'm going to mount them.
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade

Last edited by BLE 'BURBAN; 11-28-2007 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:04 AM   #18
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Here's the face of the gauges. I painted the inside of the housing white to help reflect more light to the gauge faces. I'd tried the "chrome" paint once before but it didn't do as good of a job as the white does IMO.
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:40 AM   #19
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

After hooking up the tach harness I installed the cluster to double check everything and this is what I found.....
1. Only half the dash lights are working.
2. The S.E.S. light isn't working.
3. The turn indicators are bass ackwards.
I pulled the cluster back out and recleaned all the connections to make sure I had all the epoxy schmegmah off of them and also swapped out the turn signal teminals. put it all back in and every thing is ok so far. Next step is to start it and see if it all works
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:09 AM   #20
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Re: Modding My Cluster

My hats off to you on a very nice looking job. Now just go fire it up and see how it works
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Old 11-29-2007, 02:43 AM   #21
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Fired up the engine and discovered that the tach only works when I rev the engine over 3000 rpm then it drops back to "0" as soon as I let off.
I decide to pull the cluster out, disconnect the tach and plug in the other tach/fuel gauge assembly only to find out IT DOESN'T WORK EITHER!!!! I then pulled the tachometer from the cluster I bought from "TOO MUCH STUFF" on here and plugged it in to find out that it works but hasn't got the fuel gauge in it's lower quadrent like I need.
So before I start I looked at the back of the tach face and discovered that I can simply grind away the 2 tiny mounting rivets that hold the face of the gauge to the main workings of the gauge then simply swap the faces from one gauge to the other.
So out comes the trusty cordless dremel with a small tapered grinding stone on it and I started grinding away on the heads of the rivets of the good tach, grinding away until the face is loose from the back section, slight tug on the face and the needle pops off the shaft with out breaking(whew! thank ya lord!!!) I then do the same thing to my whitefaced tach/fuel gauge but from the backside of it so I don't bugger up the face I removed JUST the tach motor from the face and left the fuel gauge alone since it works. Then using the same screws I used to hold the terminals to the back of the cluster, I mounted the tach/fuel gauge face to the working tach motor. Reassemble everything and run back outside in the sweltering heatwave we're experiancing up here right now (28* above 0) and get it all installed again start it up again to see the tach is working!!!!

Kinda... well... sorta.......

Now I find I have to remove and reposition the needle to make sure it's reading right while using my FLUKE meter as a digital tach and comparing the 2 together. I had to reseat the needle about 4 times in order to get it right but now it reads the same as my fluke at various RPM's. So it's all good MAN!!!!
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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Old 11-29-2007, 03:00 AM   #22
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Oh and if you haven't noticed yet I also repainted the needles too. Got tired of the faded florescent orange needles. Little bit of masking tape, white spray paint and some red spray paint that was carefully hand painted on and it's done.
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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Old 11-29-2007, 07:17 AM   #23
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Looks good, I did something close what you did. I will post pics later. I like that white, so I my do that too.

Thanks for all the help.

Trav
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:16 AM   #24
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Quote:
Originally Posted by tvblazer78 View Post
Looks good, I did something close what you did. I will post pics later. I like that white, so I my do that too.

Thanks for all the help.

Trav
Thanx Trav.
Gotta admit though For a bit I thought I was sunk as far as the tach goes. Thank GOD that regular tach was in good working order and I had the tools and materials here to do the change up like I did Other wise I'd have been up the creek
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:58 PM   #25
BLE 'BURBAN
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Re: Modding My Cluster

Finally got around o getting pics of my dash all installed and in working order
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1987 R3500 CREW CAB DUALLY (BIG RED)Acquired 06/12/2015
1990 chevy suburban V2500 5.7L
My cluster Mods-Nov 2007
overhead console Stereo install Round 2 Aug 2009
Heated/turn signal mirror upgrade
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