Close



Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    FEP Supporter vdubn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Beaverton, Oregon
    Posts
    269

    Default A Lesson in Instrument Clusters, Tachometers, Speedometers, Backlight Colors

    Ok, so I was able to tear into a few of my instrument clusters, in preparation for the 140mph speedo I just bought. In the process of doing this, I found some interesting differences. Now mind you, I don't know what year these clusters are, so I am taking a guess at what they came out of. If anyone can correct any mistakes I made with my assumptions, I'd love to hear it.

    We will start with what I believe came in my 1985 GT, its the one on the bottom in the following picture, and it had an 85mph speedo that looks like the one above, but the tach only went to 6k rpms. So, are the blue bulb covers an indication of this being an 85 cluster?

    The cluster on top shows red bulb covers, and a 7k rpm tach, so I am guessing this to be an 86 GT Speedo/Tach combination, is that a safe guess?

    Name:  20171026_173313_resized.jpg
Views: 287
Size:  117.1 KB

    My plan is to use the 7k rpm tach, and install the 140mph speedo alongside that, but I noticed that the cylinder selection knob is missing in this tach, so I was planning to just swap one from one of the other tachs I have... any reason this would be a bad idea? Better yet, any reason that the 7k tach wouldn't have this selection knob?

    Name:  20171026_173330_resized.jpg
Views: 286
Size:  36.5 KB

    Name:  20171026_173345_resized.jpg
Views: 283
Size:  32.7 KB

    Now moving on to another cluster that I thought was from an 84 or 85, as it looks like the one above with the 6k tach, and 85mph speedo, but has no bulb covers inside the housing. Maybe someone just removed them?

    Name:  20171026_173612_resized.jpg
Views: 281
Size:  41.2 KB

    Finally, I got into some early clusters, not sure which years, but since these all have green graphics on the gauges, I figure they are 1979 to 1983, right? After opening these up, I see that these all have blue bulb covers. I thought all of the early stuff had green lighting.... hmm. Anyway all of these gauges seem to be in good shape as well, and all of the tachs are set to V8 engines.

    Name:  20171026_174058_resized.jpg
Views: 279
Size:  134.6 KB

    So the final question of the day..... what color bulb covers do I run? Opinions? I honestly haven't seen what these look like at night, so I'm not sure which way to lean with this ever-so-important decision

    Thanks again for all of the experience found in this site.
    85 GT Hatchback, T-Tops. Rebuilt 302, 10.6:1, Edelbrock Alum heads, Performer Intake, full EFI swap from 86, 3.73 Posi 8.8, 5 lug Cobra 13" fr and 12.6" rear disc swap, MM SubFrame Connectors, MM Panhard Bar, MM front A-Arms, MM rear control arms, Raceland Coilovers, T5 with Centerforce DF Clutch.

  2. #2

    Default

    The 85 and 86 both had a red clock in the information center on the GTs. The non GT cars didn't always have the console or information center.

    My friends 1986 SSP car (that came from the Nebraska State Patrol) was white with blue interior. It had blue backlighting.

    My opinion - if it's a GT and you are running a console match your backlighting to your information center clock and lighting.

    I always buy red bulbs or wrap them in taillight repair tape plus use the red light shields in my cluster.

    tachs - the 7000 is a V8 only GT (or V8 LX or SSP?) tach. The 6000 is 4/6/8 as it's found in LX and GLX etc - that had several engine options but all used the same cluster.

    Double check your part number on your 140 speedometer. I bought one for my 86 and the lettering looked a little off. Turns out it's the wrong part number for a Mustang. It's calibrated completely wrong -- it's an ultra rare Ranger/BroncoII 140 speedometer. So the good news is I paid $120 for a $500 part and the bad news is I get to take it all back apart to replace it-- again.

    your are correct on the green face gauges. Watch your pinouts - they are different early vs later clusters and cannot be swapped year to year without rewiring the car or swapping printed "boards"!

  3. #3

    Default

    green faces = 1979-82

    blue bulb covers = 1979-mid 1983
    red bulb covers = mid 1983-86

    6K tach = 4-6-8 switch and resisters for circuit
    7K tach = no 4-6-8 switch and resistors only for 8cyl circuit
    8K tach = no 4-6-8 switch and resistors only for 4cyl circuit
    Buck Tag Decoder
    Owner Card Decoder
    Transmission Tag Decoder
    VIN Decoder

    FEP Registries: Black Magic & Crimson Cat / Cobra / Dominator / G.T.350 / LTD LX/Police & Marquis LTS / M81 / Pace Car / Predator / Saleen / Turbo GT & Turbo RS / Twister II

    Wanted (Dead or Alive): VINs, door tags, buck tags, build sheets, window stickers, owner cards, transmission tags, axle tags

  4. #4

    Default

    Agree with above in general.

    FYI - I have seen an 8000 rpm tach with 4/6/8 switch before. No idea if it was a one-off or what. Would really like one for my 86 that I'm building to turn some R's eventually.

    The 86 SSP car from NE for sure had blue. The other ones I was inside (getting driving awards) were also blue. Not sure if NE swapped them or ordered them that way or what.
    Last edited by erratic50; 10-27-2017 at 06:09 AM.

  5. #5

    Default

    The 4-6-8 tach switch is a separate piece and can be swapped out of/into any of the 6K, 7K, or 8K tachs BUT the 7K and 8K tachs do not have complete circuits for 4cyl, 6cyl, and 8 cyl engines, so adding the switch to a 7K or 8K tach does nothing unless you also complete the incomplete circuits. People have done that before and got an 8K tach to work with a v8. The 8K tach (with no switch) was originally only for the turbocharged 2.3L models.

    If a 1986 Nebraska SSP had blue-green backlighting in the instrument cluster, HVAC control panel, and (if it had a console) warning display they were definitely all changed out. The bulb covers can easily be removed or changed.
    Buck Tag Decoder
    Owner Card Decoder
    Transmission Tag Decoder
    VIN Decoder

    FEP Registries: Black Magic & Crimson Cat / Cobra / Dominator / G.T.350 / LTD LX/Police & Marquis LTS / M81 / Pace Car / Predator / Saleen / Turbo GT & Turbo RS / Twister II

    Wanted (Dead or Alive): VINs, door tags, buck tags, build sheets, window stickers, owner cards, transmission tags, axle tags

  6. #6
    FEP Supporter vdubn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Beaverton, Oregon
    Posts
    269

    Default

    Wow, what a plethora of information! Thanks gentlemen.... so it sounds like I don't need or even want to install the cylinder selector from the other tach, into this 7k tach, as it is set to work with a V8, so I am good.

    erratic50, your suggestion to match the clock and information display sounds like a good idea... however, I have decided to eliminate the info center. I am not sure what I will run in place of that, maybe a USB port, or ??? I thought about running gauges, but since we have all that we need in terms of oil, volts, etc., I would be left with 02 sensor, vacuum, etc., which I have done in the past, and to me are pretty useless. If I were back in 1985, I would have installed an equalizer in this spot Maybe a radar detector would be good....

    So, I am still not sure if I will run red or blue lighting. Does anyone have pics of what the clusters look like with blue and red lighting? I will check google as well, and see what I can find. I've looked in the past, and usually just see a lot of gauge overlays, LED setups, etc... not much for stock lighting examples.
    85 GT Hatchback, T-Tops. Rebuilt 302, 10.6:1, Edelbrock Alum heads, Performer Intake, full EFI swap from 86, 3.73 Posi 8.8, 5 lug Cobra 13" fr and 12.6" rear disc swap, MM SubFrame Connectors, MM Panhard Bar, MM front A-Arms, MM rear control arms, Raceland Coilovers, T5 with Centerforce DF Clutch.

  7. #7
    FEP Senior Member 83GTJIM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Springfield MO
    Posts
    723

    Default

    red bulb covers = mid 1983-86

    I don't think they we have ever verified an original 83 that had red bulb covers. This was promoted in the 84 sales brochure but not mentioned in any 83 marketing materials that I am aware of. We see early 84's with some 83 features (even slapper bar SVO's) but not the other way around. I would love to find an an original 83 with factory fog lights, knee bolsters or a quad shock rear end.
    MCA #110307
    "Saved" 25k mi 83 GT - http://vb.foureyedpride.com/showthre...ght=Wrecked+GT
    83 GT T Top
    83 GT Convt
    84 20th Anniversary T Top GT350
    84 GT Convt

  8. #8
    FEP Supporter 82GTforME's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Western Canada
    Posts
    4,101
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FoxChassis View Post
    8K tach = no 4-6-8 switch and resistors only for 4cyl circuit
    The used 8K tach I found and put into our 79 V6 had the selector switch. I may have found the oddball as it apparently came out of a Canadian '82 GT that had a 4 cylinder turbo engine.

  9. #9

    Default

    IMHO the red lights are nicer in the dark.

  10. #10
    FEP Power Member Bryan Knebworth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Lexington, MA
    Posts
    2,292

    Default

    My early '83 GT, built 12/82, has a 6K tach, and a speedometer with a stopper on the back, keeping the needle from going past 85. My T-Top notch, built 6/83, has no such stopper. Both cars have green illumination (blue caps). The orange illumination (red caps) officially debuted on the '84 Mustang.
    Last edited by Bryan Knebworth; 10-27-2017 at 03:12 PM. Reason: added text

  11. #11
    FEP Supporter vdubn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Beaverton, Oregon
    Posts
    269

    Default

    Ah, so the blue caps ends up looking green when looking at the dash?
    85 GT Hatchback, T-Tops. Rebuilt 302, 10.6:1, Edelbrock Alum heads, Performer Intake, full EFI swap from 86, 3.73 Posi 8.8, 5 lug Cobra 13" fr and 12.6" rear disc swap, MM SubFrame Connectors, MM Panhard Bar, MM front A-Arms, MM rear control arms, Raceland Coilovers, T5 with Centerforce DF Clutch.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vdubn View Post
    Ah, so the blue caps ends up looking green when looking at the dash?
    Yes. Unless you use led bulbs. The yellow glow of incandescent bulbs shining thru the blue covers turns into green light.
    I tried led bulbs in my svo and they are so bright they over powered the red covers to the point the gauges lit up plain white and it was actually harder to see the gauges. I took them back out and put the regular incandescent bulbs back in. I think if you do use led bulbs then you need to remove the covers and pick colored led bulbs. Or match bulb color to cover color.
    I installed the led gauge light kit from Fox Resto in my wifes 91LX and it is wonderful to drive at night.

  13. #13

    Default

    If I use LEDs will I need the covers? Also will LEDs work alone or will I have to add anything to make them work?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  14. #14

    Default

    You should use the covers but like I said match bulb color to cover color.
    Since you have a gauge instead of idiot light you should not have any problems.

  15. #15

    Default

    100% agree - match bulb color to cover color. It looks really nice when it's done. We've done that so far to two of our three four eyed foxes. You can bet the 3rd one will be done when the real Saleen cluster slides into place in "1985-006".

    Then I can decide what of my 6 clusters for three cars is actually going to get kept...... my goal will be fully working gauges and 140 or 170 mph speedometers in all three cars. Not sure if I'll punt the 85 mph speedometers or not.

    I gave away the 4/6/8 6K tach I had. in some ways wish I would have tried to build an 8K combining it with an SVO tach.

    I swear I've seen an 8K that had no evidence of being screwed with that was 4/6/8 but I don't have the part number info or anything to go on.

  16. #16
    FEP Supporter 82GTforME's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Western Canada
    Posts
    4,101
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by erratic50 View Post
    I swear I've seen an 8K that had no evidence of being screwed with that was 4/6/8 but I don't have the part number info or anything to go on.
    Thread post is here for the one I got. Too bad it's the earlier 79-82 one.

    http://vb.foureyedpride.com/showthre...=1#post1764780

    Too bad PhotoBullsh** screwed everything. The links in the thread should take you to the pics too.

  17. #17

    Default

    To confirm what others said, I have a very late 1983 turbo RS capri with all green backlights, and an 8000 RPM tach... no switch for cylinder count.

  18. #18
    FEP Supporter vdubn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Beaverton, Oregon
    Posts
    269

    Default

    Anyone have a good source for a paint pen or similar for freshening up the needles on the rest of the gauges? The one on the new 140mph speedo is nice and new
    85 GT Hatchback, T-Tops. Rebuilt 302, 10.6:1, Edelbrock Alum heads, Performer Intake, full EFI swap from 86, 3.73 Posi 8.8, 5 lug Cobra 13" fr and 12.6" rear disc swap, MM SubFrame Connectors, MM Panhard Bar, MM front A-Arms, MM rear control arms, Raceland Coilovers, T5 with Centerforce DF Clutch.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vdubn View Post
    Anyone have a good source for a paint pen or similar for freshening up the needles on the rest of the gauges? The one on the new 140mph speedo is nice and new
    any craft store should have the paint. Also companies like LMR, American Muscle sell it
    1986 GT T Top- stock except for magnaflow cat back
    1990 LX vert- 500hp V3 and all that stuff
    2013 GT- usual bolt ons

  20. #20

    Default

    Testors model paint is what I used. Unfortunately the "correct" color is discontinued. I matched part of my needles that were not faded and came up with flouresent red. It matched much better than flouresent orange.
    I use model paint because it comes in small amounts and is usually less than $2 a bottle.

  21. #21
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Grand Junction, CO
    Posts
    10,907

    Default

    Your gauge faces look to be in decent shape, but if you or anyone else needs replacements you can order them here.

    http://www.whitegauges.net/products/...ce-Gauges.html

    In the drop down menu you can pick OEM Matte or Semi Gloss Black. IMHO the Matte is the best option.

    They also offer the needle paint, although it's a bit pricey IMHO.

    http://www.whitegauges.net/categorie...oration-Parts/
    ​Trey

    "I Don't build it hoping for your approval! I built it because it meets mine!"

    "I've spent most of my money on Mustangs, racing, and women... the rest I just wasted."

    Mustangs Past: Too many to remember!
    Current Mustangs:
    1969 Mach 1
    1979 Pace Car now 5.0/5 speed
    1982 GT Awaiting Restoration
    1984 SVO Restoration in Progress
    1986 GT Wrecked by PO, but still want to save!

    Current Capris:
    1982 Capri Roller
    1984 Capri Returned to Bubble Back Glory
    1983-84 Gloy Racing Trans Am/IMSA Body Parts

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •