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Old 03-19-2013, 04:27 PM   #1
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Default Dakota Digital VHX gauges into ls1/4l60e Chevelle

I have a thread on the Chevelle board but thought there might be some interest over here since they make similar gauges for a lot of cars and these are one of the best ways to get gauges in a ls swap car.

Better pictures will be posted shortly, these are cell shots.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

The pod with the voltage gauge would not fit on the carrier. They properly cut the face plate, but the pod box that sandwiches to it to hold the gauge was 1/8" too large. Luckily I had a small bench grinder and was able to grind away the plastic enough to get the headlight switch hole and the screw holes to line up.


Click the image to open in full size.

Red is check engine light

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


INSTALLING INTO LS ENGINE CHEVELLE

It comes with a temp sending unit adapter that will work in the ls1 head including instructions for removing the plug in the passenger side head.

The oil pressure might be able to be adapted to the stock ls1 sending unit location behind the intake using included brass fittings, but I had previously drilled and tapped the block off plate above the oil filter for my stock dummy light, so it just went right in place there.

The tach wire can be ran from the pcm directly to the brain for the gauges. My pcm was tuned to run the stock tach which requires putting the signal in 4 cyl mode but I think I read in the Dakota Digital manual that you can alter it in the gauge itself with the setup menu to get the same effect from an untuned PCM.

The speedo signal comes from the pcm. DO NOT TAP THE WIRES FOR THE SENSOR
You want the Red C2 connector and it will either be pin 50 or 55 (green wire/white stripe) depending on year. This wire is the VSS out signal (I believe it is meant to send speed signal to ABS). The gauge calibrates based on a marked mile run or you can manually set it by looking at a GPS.

Voltage gauge is determined by one of the normal wire connections for the brain so nothing has to be wired special there.

My car uses stock fuel sending unit. The instructions say to run wires to the sender and to a ground on the tank...I tapped the stock fuel gauge wire at the factory cluster plug and it works fine.

I soldered ACC power for the unit into the stock cluster harness (cut off so the bare terminals on the plug couldn't short against anything). I piggy backed the headlight switch wire to activate "Night dim mode" (instructions say all functions are low amp draw and piggybacking is fine). Ran a 10amp fused 12v wire to an empty plug on my stock Chevelle fuse block. Ran new grounds to a hole I drilled in the metal under the windshield.

There are momentary push buttons used to alternate the digital window screens and for various programming functions. I mounted mine to the right of the HVAC controls so they are easily accessible. They could easily be mounted on bottom of the dash but they would be harder to reach while driving.


The instructions are pretty clear on everything. It's a good idea to have on hand these things not included in the kit:

a color wire diagram from Classic Car Wiring
this wire diagram showing the cluster plug pin locations (year may be different): http://www.firstgenmc.com/photopost/...&ppuser=8&sl=a
package of 3-4 different colors of 18 gauge wire
1 generic fuse holder for your 12v feed (unless you intend to tap an already fused circuit)
a pack of ring terminals for ground wires
self tapping screws for grounds
heat shrink or high quality electrical tape
a good pair of quick strips and dykes
a fast heating soldering iron
Teflon tape for water and oil sending units
some Velcro (if you wish to mount the brain like I did so it's easy to remove but won't fall out on it's own)





Out of all the options for LS swapped cars, I definitely think these are the best if you want to use a factory SS dash. All the other options I've found require cutting up the dash to install bezels that don't even fit right, combo gauges that leave 3 blank holes in the dash, using a external drive motor for the speedo/ trying to adapt old style sending units and finding units with correct ohm/voltages and calibrating stock gauges using resistors to get "accurate" readings.

If anyone has any other questions feel free to ask. I'm going to try to snap some high quality pictures soon. I was trying to wait until I repaint my horn button so it doesn't look so tacky, get a new headlight switch, and paint the silver trim around the cluster area.
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:36 PM   #2
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Now those are pretty cool! Nice job!
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:46 PM   #3
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Thank you, they are worth every penny seeing as how I would have just as much invested in other aftermarket gauges/bezels.

The cable x method of fixing the stock speedometer did not appeal to me at all and people report they are very buggy and jumpy.

The stock gauges did not include an oil pressure gauge, only a light. And the lighting for them at night is terrible even though all my bulbs were good and the housing was a good condition original, not a repro.

These gauges also include some unique things such as:

odometer, 2 trip odometers, and a service odometer
digital readout options for all gauge readings
0-60 timer
top RPM and MPH recall
1/4 time and MPH
option for check engine light and warning message

You can also choose to have turn signal/high beam/brake indicators on the MPH gauge face or in the factory locations (the kit has installed LEDs for the stock locations), and I think you can also turn on both.

The housing is well made and comes with new thick quality lenses over each individual gauge. Wiring harnesses for the sending units are extra long and are in a nice protective sleeve. Directions are very thorough other than not recommending sources for wire tapping. The leads to connect the gauge control box to the gauge cluster are long enough I could mount the box behind the glove box with velcro so it can easily be accessed either by removing the dash cap and the vent tube or by pulling it out from under the passenger side dash.

Overall I highly recommend them.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:16 PM   #4
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Those Dokota Digs look awsome!!!. I bet you will get alot of PMs/ questions on them. I bought a carbonfiber/blue set for my camaro, but I was worried I wouldn't be able to see the numbers in the daylitght, so I exchanged them for the CF/red.


thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:33 PM   #5
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Looks perfect, like it was meant to be!! I'm looking to get some new gauges into my tempest. Still can't decide what to get. I wish they had a setup like that for my car, would make life a lot easier.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:20 PM   #6
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Looks great, been looking at these for my '71 Chevelle and a '55 my dad is doing for a friend. Glad to see some positive feedback on them.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:15 AM   #7
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The VHX package for my '69 Camaro showed up last week, and will be going in over the next few weekends, along with the AAW Classic Update harness and the PSI Conversions engine trans harness. They look incredible.

Thanks for the info on the minor issue with the "check engine" light and the tach.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo1367 View Post
I bought a carbonfiber/blue set for my camaro, but I was worried I wouldn't be able to see the numbers in the daylitght, so I exchanged them for the CF/red.
You can set the backlights to come on during the day too. They are REALLY bright when on the highest setting and very easy to see.

I was already planning to paint my car back metallic blue like it used to be with carbon fiber stripes of some sort...so this was a God send for me, now it will tie the whole car together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobKovacs View Post
The VHX package for my '69 Camaro showed up last week, and will be going in over the next few weekends, along with the AAW Classic Update harness and the PSI Conversions engine trans harness. They look incredible.

Thanks for the info on the minor issue with the "check engine" light and the tach.
Also note in the instructions, if you tach seems "slow" or "sluggish" it's because the system has setting for it and on the slow setting it will average readings for smoother movement. If you set it to "Fast" it will work as well as a stock tach. This is all outlined in the setup manual.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:52 PM   #9
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cool deal..
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:54 PM   #10
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ive been seriously considering this for my 70 chevelle! this thread just sold me tho! thanks. ill be ordering a kit as soon as my tax return is back! lol
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:54 PM   #11
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They are cool. Ive got the RCF one in my 66 chevelle..Really draws attention...
Also have the std Blue digital one in my 71 chevelle.....

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Old 03-22-2013, 09:37 AM   #12
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I forgot to mention a question I answered somewhere else:

The gauges have indicators on the face for: CEL, turn signals, brake warning, and high beam. But you can't see them until they light. I had no idea they were there until I turned the key and they lit up for a moment.


The gauges also have a "warning" function. You set limits on things like "max coolant temp" or "low oil pressure" and if the reading breaks that limit, all the display windows will flash the culprit very noticeably to get your attention.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:28 PM   #13
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Got some better pictures finally:

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Old 04-01-2013, 07:48 PM   #14
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looks nice.....
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:09 PM   #15
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They came out with this series of gauges a couple months after I bought my digital ones from them. They look badass
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:00 AM   #16
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EDIT to above:

The ls1 pcm does send a ground signal. I tried reversing with a relay and now the light won't come on. Did some more reading and found 3 different posts stating it sends a ground.

Not sure why it was causing the light to stay on before, the code present in mine was one set to no trigger a MIL. Could be enough fuzz in the wire to trigger the light, I'm going to do more tinkering. I will try completely removing the Gen L terminal code from the system and see if the light goes off when wired direct to the gauge brain box.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:27 AM   #17
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Definitely cool stuff. Looks like the best easy option out at the moment. Chasing grounds and figuring out why random lights might be off or on is the worst. Makes me seriously consider just rewiring whole car from scratch.
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:20 PM   #18
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Got the VHX gauges operating in my '69 Camaro now that the engine is fired up. The check engine light goes out once the engine starts, so I guess the signal from the ECM is fine. I think I have to change the tach setting to 4-cylinder like you did- the tach says I'm idling at about 500rpm with it set on 8-cylinder.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:52 PM   #19
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I just wanted to bump this since I got a chance to check the 1/4 mile timer at the strip.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 1/4 ET was within a few hundredths and the mph was spot on down to less than half a MPH.

ET: 12.04
VHX: 12.1

MPH: 111.7
VHX: 112

I went 1.78 60ft and the VHX calculated that as a 3.6 second 0-60 time.

Pretty neat that it's so accurate. I'm sure it would be off if there was wheel spin but for a car that hooks it is spot on!
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:00 AM   #20
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They also have the adapter to connect the gauges to your OBDII port so you don't have to run any additional sensors. If you want to keep your OBDII port open for scanning then you can hard wire it instead. I really like these gauges.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:00 AM
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1970, 4l60e, 99, camaro, check, chevelle, chevy, dakota, dash, digial, digital, engine, fit, guages, light, ls1, speedometer, starting, vhx


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