Loc: Back in BFE, WV
Installing Reverse-Glow Dash Lights (w/ Tach!) in a 1995.5-1997 Rodeo [PROJECT COMPLETED!]
09/07/04 03:40 AM
New information has come to light...
After reading this post, scroll down until you find the RED ASTERISKS
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Then keep going until you reach the BLUE ASTERISKS
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And finally, you might also want to take a look at THIS OTHER POST as well.
And now back to the original post, already in progress...
Yes, that's right, I said a 1995.5-1997 Rodeo, with a Tachometer!
Despite the fact that no such kit exists, you CAN do it, and here's how:
First of all, you'll have to locate a dash kit for a 1994-1995 Trooper. --- I ordered mine from these folks:
Pro Car Parts
9319 Telstar Ave.
El Monte, CA 91731
Here’s the link for their 1994-1995 Trooper Reverse-Glow Kit
^^^ (No affiliation - Yadda,yadda,yadda)
Next, if you trust your mechanical skills enough that you think you can get this far with the dash removal…
…then you’re almost home-free! (If not, then I strongly suggest that you farm-it-out!)
NOTE: Don't forget to read the 'RED ASTERISK POST' before starting your installation!
(There is some helpful information there that is directly related to this section)
Once you have the dash torn apart, if you’re the type that actually reads the instructions, you’ll notice that they recommend that you leave the needles on the gauges… Well guess what? – You can’t… at least not with most of them. --- The centers of the needles for the Temperature, Battery, Oil Pressure, and Fuel are all larger than the holes in the original panels… therefore, you’ll have to take great care when removing them, and make note of their positions (and in all likelihood, you’re still going to have difficulties. *More on that later*)
After you have removed the clear plastic cover, and very carefully removed the needles, you’ll need to remove the tiny screws that hold the panels in place…
…It’s not THAT difficult, but whatever you do; don’t drop any of those little screws… They’re a real bugger to find!
* HELPFUL HINT:
In the photo above, notice the small notch that’s cut out of the top of the white gauge cluster (Just above the 4000-RPM mark on the Tachometer). --- You’ll need to make one of these on each side so that the wires for your new inserts can be routed out of the top of cluster. – I used my trusty Barlow pocket knife and a pair of needle nose pliers, and managed to do it without dropping any fragments onto any of the instruments below.
The needles for the Tach and Speedometer are a little bit more forgiving than the others, provided that you have a steady hand and don’t slip-up. --- With the same knife, I made a careful cut from the edge, over to the center hole on each one of these two gauges; and doing so made it possible to remove them without disturbing the needle settings. --- Just make sure that you don’t upset those needles while you’re working on them, because if you do, your readings are going to be wrong when you’re done. (*Again – More on this later*)
So, moving right along…
…You’re ready to start replacing some of those panels!
Right about now is a pretty good time to address where you want to route the wiring. --- I chose to come-up through the bottom of the interior part of the dash, right under the gauge cluster… It’s plastic, and easy enough to cut through, right? --- Well, almost…
…But not quite.
If you’ll look at the above photo, you’ll see some metal peeking through the lower part of the steering wheel. --- Well guess what? – It’s as sharp as a razor! --- Do yourself (and your knuckles!) a huge favor and put some electrical tape on all of those edges! --- Before I noticed it, I was already cut to ribbons and bleeding all over the place.
The rest of this project is relatively straightforward – All except for replacing those removed needles…
The best suggestion that I have is this:
Before ever doing this project, you’ll probably want to make note of where all of your needles point when you’re at full operating temperature… Then you can save yourself a hole lot of work by leaving the dash torn apart until AFTER you’ve let your motor run for quite a while, and put all of the needles back on, making sure to match those known readings. --- If not, then you’re going to have a period of trial-and-error wherein your gauges are indicating things that aren’t even remotely close to reality. (Ask me how I know! )
If you’re lucky, then the rest of this project is a breeze…
…The best thing to do is test and re-test as you go along.
Once you reach the point of worrying where to connect to a power source, you’ll note that the instructions say NOT to connect to the factory dimmer… But without taking the steering column apart to get to the main switch, how else can you make sure that your new dash lights will be controlled by the on/off switch? --- Well, here’s what I did:
Since I already had the lower dash panel off, because I was finally connecting the lights for my Rancho gauges as part of this project, I’d already lined-in on the factory dimmer and established which of the three wires did what… Therefore, I already knew that the one at the top of the switch connector (the one that sits all alone, above the other two) was the main lead wire… And I already had a blade splicer block installed on that wire. --- I simply opened-up the splicer and added my red power wire… Then I ran the black ground wire to an existing ground, and I was all set. --- Because I was tapping power out of the source line, BEFORE it reached the factory dimmer, the new dash lights came on with the switch just as they should… and using the factory dimmer had absolutely no ill effects on them, whatsoever.
Before buttoning everything back together…
…I double-checked everything and made sure that I had addressed any potential problems. (Well, OK… Everything but the settings on a couple of my gauges. – I’m going to have to take it apart at least one more time to get those right. )
* ANOTHER HELPFUL HINT:
If you’re the type that has to have everything EXACTLY right, then you might not want to do this installation.
It’s relatively subtle, but the fact is, the side gauge panels are not a perfect fit… There’s a small gap at the bottom of both of them. --- But if you’re like me, and you're doing this installation because you had to replace some dash bulbs anyway, and you figure ‘So what if it’s not 100% right? - 95% is good enough!’ then by all means, GO FOR IT!
Here are the 'ALMOST' final results:
NOTE: For the REAL final results, scroll down to the 'BLUE ASTERISK POST'.
You've probably noticed that the idiot light panels are still black. --- This is because I didn't specify that I have a manual transmission. - The lights are in a somewhat different configuration for the automatic... In fact, a few are completely different.
Still, it's not too shabby, if I do say so myself. --- Nonetheless, since I have to open it back up again anyway, I'm probably going to check into the availability of a set of manual inserts.
* ONE LAST HELPFUL HINT:
When everything is all hooked-up, and you’re trying to find a suitable location for the new dimmer switch… Try not to let your fingers come in contact with the exposed circuitry on the back of the switch panel! --- OUCH!