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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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12,002 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This is going to be a write-up on installing autometer Ultra-Lite gauges into a factory 1985 bronco dash. I have a total of nine gauges to fit, and i believe i have it figured out. Heres what ive got:

3.375" gps speedo and tach
2.0625" oil pressure, water temp, fuel level, volts, wideband afr, and 2 differential temps.

I plan on fitting the tach, speedo, oil pressure, water temp, and fuel level within the factory bezel, with the diff temps to the left, where an xlt would have a dash vent. The wideband and volts will go somewhere to the right of the column. Im not totally sure on their placement yet.

On to some pics.

Going so fast i blew the needle right off the speedometer!



Here we are with the dash pad removed. Notice there are no dash vents.



Now off with the instrument surround



When i pulled the instrument cluster, i found this. Not sure if they all say f150 or if this was a JY cluster.



Now with the cluster out and the surround set back on.



Now for a teaser. Note center three gauges will be more evenly spaced, and not the ones pictured.



This will be a slower build as im going to document as i go. I might retain the factory indicator lights, or maybe switch them to leds. Ive got a couple tricks planned for mounting the gauges, so stay tuned!
 

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Ford Hoarder
78 & 92
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6,717 Posts
I went LED on my 78 for the turn indicators. Just be careful which ones you use as the ones I have I think are too bright and are annoying. If I was going to do mine again I would use factory style bulb for this reason.
I like where yours is headed so far.
GPS speedo's are nice, I have them in both mine and will not go back to a cable driven or tone wheel based setup.
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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12,002 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Couple more mock-up pics.





With the long weekend coming up im gonna make some good progress.
 

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Registered
'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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2,146 Posts
That looks like a nice layout, but are you sure you want the tach on the right? I'm used to it being on the left. I feel like I'd always be glancing at the wrong spot for the speedo that way. It is consistent with your original cluster, at least.
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,002 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
That looks like a nice layout, but are you sure you want the tach on the right? I'm used to it being on the left. I feel like I'd always be glancing at the wrong spot for the speedo that way. It is consistent with your original cluster, at least.
Thats not necessarily how the gauges will be, just using it for visuals. The three small ones in the middle will be water temp, top center and fuel level and oil psi on the bottom row.

As i think about it, im more interested in ease of viewing the tach, not the speedo, so ill probably end up with the tach on the right. This is a 5000 rpm inline 6 with granny low 4 speed after all.
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,002 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I've always wondered how this was done, to include indicator lights. Subscribed!
My plan is to retain the factory indicators, if possible. But seeing as the blinkers, hi beam, and a couple others that i wont use are part of the actual instrument cluster, i might not be able to. The 4x4 light has its own seperate bulb, as did the emissions light. I am considering a blue led for the high beams regardless because the steering wheel blocks my vision of it.
 

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Premium Member
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740 Posts
hey blue, hate to hijack but what are those lights to the right of your cluster? are they warning lights, like for low oil pressure or coolant temp/pressure? if so ive been meaning to do that on my bronco for a while now.
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,002 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
hey blue, hate to hijack but what are those lights to the right of your cluster? are they warning lights, like for low oil pressure or coolant temp/pressure? if so ive been meaning to do that on my bronco for a while now.
Nope, they are switches for led lights, electric fuel pump, and subwoofer volume.

I have been considering doing a warning light for the oil and water, so that may actually happen. It would be in this thread if i can figure out how to do it.
 

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Ford Hoarder
78 & 92
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6,717 Posts
I did something similar in my 92.
I soldered wire directly to light connection threw the plastic which holds the bulb in. Then connected it to the correct wires on that dash plug. Works exactly like it did with the full dash. Yes I will have to do it again if the turn bulb goes out but usually those last a long time
 

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MidlifeCrisisUndrWay
1994 Ford Bronco XL 5.0L
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1,810 Posts
Subscribed!


I've been thinking of doing this for awhile.
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,002 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Getting the main cluster built up. The stock opening in the 80-86 dash is 14" by 4.0625". My placement of the gauges is critical, as space is limited. In order to fit the 2 large gauges and 3 small ones, it must be set up like i pictured above. The two larger gauges in the center would only allow 1 small gauge on each side so i went with my design. I actually pulled the placement from a bronco i saw on barrett jackson a couple years ago.

So on to some pics.

I started with some 16ga steel that i got at Southerland's. My design called for a 17" x7" sheet. I laid out my cuts with a set of dial calipers. If you can swing it, a set of 12" calipers is indespensible for this kind of work. They measure and scribe a line at the same time.



Layout for the slices and bends. Be sure to add a little to your measurements for the bends. I added a 1/4 inch to both my measurements, 1/8" per bend.



Cuts made for the bends. A bandsaw is best for this type of work.



I used my el cheapo harbor freight sheet metal brake to do the long bends. A small square will ensure 90° bends.



Since my brake is not a box and pan style, i had to use a vise, hammer, and anvil to bend in the short sides.



Test fit!



Here is part of the topside mounting flange.







Here we are with the 3 3/8" holes drilled. Again, the calipers make quick work of measuring the guage face diameter and placing the center of the hole in the proper spot.



Thats all i did yesterday, with more to come today, so stay tuned!
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,002 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Had a productive morning!

Got the three 2.0625 holes drilled for the 3 smaller gauges. I used a hole saw on the drill press for all the holes.



Then i started on the top plate of the 'shadow box' portion of the panel. I think my weld was a bit overkill haha.





Now on to the top mount. This whole panel will mount to the factory postions.





Next come the side plates for the shadow box. I just used a couple scraps from earlier and cut then to fit.





Now on to the bottom mounts. They too are a couple scraps, already bent to 90°. I put the panel in place, then traced where the bottom mounts should be. Then i welded them on too.





Now came the time to drill the mounting holes. I used a layout fluid called dykem.



I applied it to two captive nuts at a time because it dries fast. While wet i pushed the panel mounts against the captive nuts to transfer their location to the back of the panel.



Mounting holes drilled, using a 3/16 bit on the drill press.



Now for a couple fun pics. Here is the panel mounted.



Dash surround on. I need to space the whole panel out from the dash structure about 1/8" to fit better in the surround.



And with a few gauges slid in! Once again, the three small ones are not the specific gauges that'll go in those three holes. Im very pleased so far.



Thats all for today, more to come tomorrow. Thanks for tuning in!
 

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Ford Hoarder
78 & 92
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6,717 Posts
Looks good. I like this approach as it puts the gauges at the correct angle. Lot of people just add a flat piece of aluminum to the dash and it makes them hard to see.
I always think the best looking things are those that look like you did nothing, this is turning out to look almost factory, so good work.
 
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