View Full Version : My red needle mod - no, not a camaro red needle swap

04-30-2012, 11:38 AM
Hey Guys. I'm new here, but not the least bit new to cars or modding. The latest add to the toy car fleet is a 98 Trans Am convertible with only 65K miles on it.

Of course it has the orange needles like every stocker has. And since my car is all black with red accents, I wanted red needles. I didn't want to do the Camaro red needle swap though, I wanted something a little different. My winter beater is a 05 Grand Prix, and I like the shape of those needles, so I bought two junked clusters and did this conversion for the TA. A GP cluster has a short tach needle, so toss those, and you'll need 2 speedo needles, and 4 small instrument needles. All needles need a bit of trimming, as the GP ones are slightly longer as you can see in the pics. As you can see in my last pic, when the car was shut off, the needle wouldn't fully drop to 0. This is because the GP needle has a copper counterweight in the stubby end, and after I trimmed the long end, I guess it became a bit tail heavy. Anyways, I carefully drilled into the counterweight to remove a bit of material, and now they drop to 0 like they should. I also included a pic of the backside of the short needles, showing a little plastic stop you will need to cut away on the GP needle to make it fit. Oh, and the GP speedo needle has a longer shaft (no giggling), where it fits into the stepper motor on the cluster, so you will need to cut that shorter, then drill it out with a super tiny drill bit (sorry, I didn't note the size)

04-30-2012, 11:42 AM
Very nice. I like the subtle change. I always disliked my Firebird needles.

04-30-2012, 12:07 PM
Those look excellent!

Nice upgrade.

04-30-2012, 12:24 PM
Nice DIY mod! I can't tell if my camaro needles are red or orange. I ordered mcnord overlays and am wanting the needles red, and thought about ordering S86 needles but I think mine are red...enough lol

04-30-2012, 12:42 PM
Wow those look killer!

04-30-2012, 12:44 PM
Very nice....

04-30-2012, 02:17 PM
That looks much better than the stock needles. I'll have to start looking for them in the yards.

The Guz
04-30-2012, 05:03 PM
They look great. Nicely done.

04-30-2012, 05:11 PM
Nice, OP.

Nice DIY mod! I can't tell if my camaro needles are red or orange. I ordered mcnord overlays and am wanting the needles red, and thought about ordering S86 needles but I think mine are red...enough lol

Yes, yours ARE red! :)

04-30-2012, 05:39 PM
those look awesome! Nicely done :)

04-30-2012, 06:22 PM
Damn, I wish I could get some yellow ones in that style. Guess I'll have to stick with the stock style in yellow :(

04-30-2012, 06:27 PM
Looks great. Nice job OP

04-30-2012, 07:31 PM
Those look pretty sick. Nice job thinking outside the box.

04-30-2012, 09:28 PM
Thanks for the props guys. :cool:
My goal is always to make a mod look like it was factory intended. I think I met that with the needles.

Here's a night time pic for you. (no the speedo needles is not dimmer, just a stupid iphone pic)

05-01-2012, 04:45 AM
Those new needles look much better. Nice work.

05-01-2012, 06:44 AM
Nice work!!!! Loved the gauges in my GP.

05-01-2012, 01:58 PM
Those look 10 times better than the stock ones did. Great way of thinking outside the box OP.

The Mighty Texan
05-01-2012, 03:36 PM
Nice job, looks way better then it did.

05-01-2012, 03:50 PM
Looks pretty good. I hated my orange TA needles too. I went with the camaro one. Never considered the GP ones. They are a nice change. Good work man!

05-01-2012, 06:37 PM

05-01-2012, 06:43 PM
those look good. and i noticed no one said it. those are out of a grand prix amirite?

05-01-2012, 07:12 PM
looks great man ... what did the swap run you total ... may wanna look into this i really like the way the needles look

05-01-2012, 07:13 PM
That looks really good! What really sets it off is the black point that protrudes from the center! :thumb:

I'm seeing GP gauge clusters with these needles on eBay for ~$25. Might need to try this myself? ;)

05-01-2012, 11:29 PM
looks really nice.... i like how the black arrow kinda looks like the pontiac arrow...awesome work!

05-02-2012, 06:46 AM
Autogeek23: Not sure what an amirite is. These needles are out of plain jane 04-08 GP clusters. I've also seen this same needle in the Pontiac a$ztek, but as soon I say that it devalues the whole mod :-)

My cost was about $60. Expensive for 6 chunks of plastic, but that shows how much I disliked the stockers. I did use eBay to find what I needed, but most vendors wouldn't remove the needles for me and just ship the needles, so either search for a good vendor, or be prepared to ship 2 clusters.

I encourage anyone to do the mod. Call it the Stick Powell needle mod and reference this thread if you would be so kind.

Thanks guys!

05-02-2012, 06:52 AM
Camaroboriqua: I totally agree the "arrow" looks like the Pontiac arrowhead. I wondered if anyone else would notice. I also like how the center is black, not grey-ish. It matches the cluster bezel, and removes another contrasting color from the cluster.

It is also nice to know I am not alone in disliking the orange needles. What was Pontiac thinking?

05-02-2012, 04:17 PM
nice work, kinda crazy how something that simple can class up a car