Two things stick out to most enthusiasts once they get in the driver’s seat. The steering wheel and the gauges. These two components can drastically change a driver’s attitude and love of the vehicle based on the way they look. Fortunately, these are two items that can be changed easily and do not cost several weeks of paychecks to pull it off. Beyond the cost, there are a few other questions that are common with home mechanics wanting to make a dash swap. Classic Dash answers three of the most common questions with a bonus question for the most inquisitive.
How Do Classic Dash Gauges Differ From The Original Set?
According to our source at Classic Dash, “There are two considerations; style and functionality. Often cars came with huge linear speedometers, no tachometer, and “idiot lights” to monitor key functions and sometimes faux wood grain or fabric inserts. Not only can you update the look of the dash by selecting a matte black, brushed aluminum, or carbon fiber finished panel (and trim pieces, with some applications), and equip it with gauge styles that range from classic to contemporary, but it’s easier to keep tabs on the systems and spot things like declining oil pressure and voltage, or increased water temperature. This early warning lets you take corrective measures before it’s too late.”
Can Original Sending Units Be Used With Classic Dash Gauges?
While this might sound like an easy and practical alternative to speed up the installation process, Classic Dash advises against using the OE sending units. “You should use the oil pressure, and water temperature sending units that come with the Classic Dash package to ensure accuracy.”
What Are Half Sweep Vs. Full Sweep Gauges?
When ordering a new set of gauges, you will be faced with several options. One of the most confusing options to some enthusiasts is “half sweep” or “full sweep.” Classic Dash explains it this way: “Thinking of the gauge like a clock, the half sweep gauges go from about 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock. Full sweep gauges are about 7 o’clock to 4 o’clock. Most of our electric gauges are short sweep. Mechanical gauges tend to be full sweep.”
Bonus Question: How Long Does A Classic Dash installation Take?
“Most installations can be performed in 5-7 hours. Once a person has done an installation, the second one goes much quicker —about half the time. Some vehicles are more complex and tighter-fitting than others and will require more time.”
Accordingly, enthusiasts with a lot of mechanical and electric experience will find dash and gauge installations a quicker experience. However, less experienced mechanics won’t have too much difficulty if they follow the instructions provided with the kit.
In most cases, it’s a simple bolt-in situation. However, minor trimming may be required to achieve proper fitment. Some older vehicles (Camaro comes to mind) were built in multiple factories (Ohio and California) and were not 100 percent identical. Production methods weren’t as accurate and consistent as they are today. Multiple manufacturing plants and tooling means there may be some slight dimensional differences that need to be fabricated.
Any factory differences will be minor and trimming to achieve proper fitment will not be difficult. So replacing OE dashes and gauges should be a snap. Enthusiasts that are replacing an aftermarket dash may want to investigate deeper to ensure the previous owner didn’t modify too much.
For more information on Classic Dash offerings or technical information, visit them online at classicdash.com.