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  1. #1
    FEP Senior Member qikgts's Avatar
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    Default Dakota Digital Gauge Cluster

    Earlier this week I had a chance to install a new Dakota Digital cluster in my '85.

    I'll add some pics later of the install but right now I wanted to share a few shots of the view from behind the wheel. I'm pretty excited about it!

    The model I went with is the VHX Black Alloy with white LCD panels. I think it's a classic look, one that had I decided to go with run of the mill aftermarket gauges, would have been similar, but I think this is executed much better.

    The senders that came with it for speed, oil pressure and water temp looked and felt very high quality down to the Weatherpak connectors and shielded harnesses. They also included a billet plug for the speedo cable hole in the trans which I'll put in at some point later as I wound up using their (not included) magnetic pickup and 8 magnets on the driveshaft which gives about 16K pulses per mile. Plenty of resolution for me.

    There are also a ton of timing options (0-60. 1/4 mile, % fuel left, etc.) and other data that be displayed on the LCD's and icons on the gauge faces like high beam and brake, turn signals (through the factory bezel like I hooked up or on the gauge faces themselves), warning buzzers, trip odo's; all kinds of other cool stuff I don't know how to use yet. lol

    I'm happy so far. Everything works and seems accurate though my fuel sender in the tank seems a bit erratic so that will get replaced later down the line.

    I think I'm going to remove the red filters from the HVAC panel and set the radio lighting to match as it's variable. I also believe the clock has a red filter in front of the display so maybe that can light up white too. We'll see... I'm also going to try and figure out if I can make the idiot lights work again by making some sort of bulb holders as removing the OE cluster gets rid of the original mounting scheme for them.

    BTW, the "thing" you see in the left side of the images (with -.- on it in the last one), is a display for a collision avoidance system that uses a forward looking camera which does forward collision warning, lane departure warning and a few other features too. I used to work for that company and have had a system in this car (and one in my Lincoln) since then. Which by the way, has helped me to avoid one accident for sure when I got all confused at a goofy intersection (in an area I wasn't familar with... Ahem...) and lost focus of what traffic was doing in front of me. That thing went off, I almost pooped, and then I steered around the cars that had stopped in front of me. No doubt it kept me out of the body shop that day. Anyway...

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    Last edited by qikgts; 05-12-2016 at 11:11 PM.
    '85 GT

    The other one... 2016 F-150 XLT Supercab Ecoboosted with 3.73's...

  2. #2
    FEP Super Member escogt's Avatar
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    Default

    That is so damn cool!!! I've been contemplating getting one of those kits myself for my '85GT. Thanks for sharing.
    How was the install?
    '85GT Bright Atlantic Blue
    '92LX Bimini Blue

  3. #3
    FEP Senior Member qikgts's Avatar
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    Default

    My pleasure! This style was hard to resist! Clean and to the point!

    I'll post some install pics once I get a few things tightened up but all in all for me, it wasn't that bad. Most all of the connections were made at the harnesses right behind the cluster but it was required to run the included wiring for the water temp and oil pressure sensors and of course swap them out too. That was cake though. For speed input one could use the included sensor but I chose to be different there and use a mag pickup so it added more work.

    The back of the OE/factory bezel does require some minor trimming to get things just right, and to be honest I put off doing all of it so I need to circle back to that. There is also the matter of wiring and mounting two or three switches depending on if you want to be able to dim the internal LCD's or not.

    If you're good with wires I'd say it will take a day or maybe a little longer if that's all you're doing. Of course, the EVTM and wiring diagram were most helpful to reference and without them you/the installer will struggle.

    Don't know if it's a "gotcha" with this set up, but my low fuel light in the info center is stuck on. However, it has always been on since I've had the car. It could be on now because the voltage regulator behind the cluster is gone (was removed with the cluster) but I'm not totally convinced of that. I need to dig more to see if I can make it work or not.

    A few other features having this cluster makes me want to add to the car are a retained accessory power circuit and an auto headlamp circuit. The headlamp feature is more "critical" for me because so far the few times I've driven it at night, I've shut off the car and the cluster turns off which makes we want to forget to turn off the headlamps. Adding those two circuits will make it feel like a new car especially if a dome light delay is also done. DD has a module that does all 3 but it's way pricey. I can do all of those things for less money but it won't be as neat and tidy, contained in one box.

    I'd say do it if you want bright, clear and accurate gauges with a clean look that provide some contemporary features.
    Last edited by qikgts; 05-12-2016 at 11:13 PM.
    '85 GT

    The other one... 2016 F-150 XLT Supercab Ecoboosted with 3.73's...

  4. #4

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    That looks really good. The price and my inability to read a wiring diagram are the only things holding me back from one of those. But it would be great to have a set of accurate legible gauges behind the stock faceplate.
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  5. #5
    FEP Senior Member qikgts's Avatar
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    vxr500, FWIW I paid a lot less than the list price on the DD website for the kit. I'd be happy to hook you up (or anyone else for that matter) via PM with the retailer who sold it to me.

    Is the EVTM floating around for an '84? If so I think you could get where you need to go with it.
    '85 GT

    The other one... 2016 F-150 XLT Supercab Ecoboosted with 3.73's...

  6. #6

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    Looks awesome! I love DD. But not the price.
    Brad

    '79 Mercury Zephyr ES 5.0L GT40 EFI T-5 (Mustang LWB)
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  7. #7
    FEP Senior Member qikgts's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ZephyrEFI View Post
    Looks awesome!
    Thanks Brad!
    '85 GT

    The other one... 2016 F-150 XLT Supercab Ecoboosted with 3.73's...

  8. #8

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    Indeed it looks pretty cool. I will wait to get your opinion in a few months. My buddy installed their gauges for a classic Mustang a while back and after they sent him his third replacements and they died, he sent the whole show back and went back to the OEM 1967 gauges. Hopefully their quality control has improved a lot since then. It could've been just growing pains.

  9. #9
    FEP Senior Member qikgts's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'll be sure to let EVERYBODY know if I have issues down the road.

    IIRC I think I saw where you had mentioned this before, it almost made me shy away from them.
    '85 GT

    The other one... 2016 F-150 XLT Supercab Ecoboosted with 3.73's...

  10. #10

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    I'm pretty sure that the Low Fuel light operates independently of the Instrument Panel Voltage Regulator. I'm even more sure that there's a control module for the low fuel light, which can go bad. I know I switched the one out in my old '84, and got the light working again. I don't remember if the light was stuck on or off.
    I think the module was up above the glove box, but it's been well over 15 years...
    '88 Mustang GT convertible, T5, 3.08:1 gears. 5.0 Explobra Jet: A9L Mass Air conversion, Fenderwell Mac cold air intake, 70mm MAF meter = 4.6 T-Bird/Cougar housing + '95 Mustang F2VF-12B579-A1A sensor, aftermarket 70mm throttle body and spacer, Explorer intakes, GT40P heads with Alex's Parts springs and drilled for thermactor, Crane F3ZE-6529-AB 1.7 "Cobra" roller rockers, Ford Racing P50 headers, Mac H-pipe, Magnaflow catback, Walbro 190 LPH fuel pump, UPR firewall adjuster and quadrant with Ford OEM cable, 3G conversion ('95 Mustang V6), Taurus fan, rolled on Rustoleum gloss white paint...
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by qikgts View Post
    Don't know if it's a "gotcha" with this set up, but my low fuel light in the info center is stuck on. However, it has always been on since I've had the car. It could be on now because the voltage regulator behind the cluster is gone (was removed with the cluster) but I'm not totally convinced of that. I need to dig more to see if I can make it work or not.
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  12. #12
    FEP Senior Member qikgts's Avatar
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    Great info guys! Thanks!
    '85 GT

    The other one... 2016 F-150 XLT Supercab Ecoboosted with 3.73's...

  13. #13
    FEP Super Member escogt's Avatar
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    Any updates?
    '85GT Bright Atlantic Blue
    '92LX Bimini Blue

  14. #14
    FEP Senior Member qikgts's Avatar
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    Nothing new... yet... Everything is still the same as it was when I posted. However, in December I bought the DD GPS speed sensor because I ran into issues with the way I did the mag pick up on the driveshaft. At some point here I'll get going on it again. My '90 is in my way, and frankly so am I... lol
    '85 GT

    The other one... 2016 F-150 XLT Supercab Ecoboosted with 3.73's...

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