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So what aftermarket gauges are people running?


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#1 JP

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:27 PM

I picked up my new dash yesterday which has got me thinking, what gauges do I need. I will be going overseas again in November so that will be the best time to pick some up.

I wanted to swap out the speedo since I will be running an electronic speed sensor, but that might be a hassle due to the odometer being there.
Likewise with the tacho, with the indicator markers being there.

As for the triple gauges, in all my Z's none of them have been too accurate so I was wondering about swapping them all out. However aftermarket gauges dont seem to come in split/combination models which is a nuisance as there are at least 4 types of information I want to read from 3 holes.

Fuel, oil pressure, water temp and boost.

What are other peoples takes on this?

#2 mayhem

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:50 PM

see my dash in my album its all VDO real easy and reliable  ;)


#3 Carlos

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 09:17 PM

Running Autometer Sport Comp for Oil, Water, Boost, Volts, Tacho and Speedo. Got an odometer on the Autometer Speedo and Previous owner has indicators rigged into lights on the Airvent Assembly in the center.

#4 JP

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 10:22 PM

Nice instruments on both cars  ;)

I have heard the VDO speedo's are real easy to calibrate on the go, is this right with yours?

#5 George

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 10:26 PM

autometer sport comps suit the dash well.

#6 RBZ 260

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:01 PM

James since u visit jap land frequently. if money wasnt object i would have gone for full  APEXi EL setup or even greddy

sorry to the autometer guys but jap stuff is worth the extra $$$ ive seen and repaired both of them. hence the reason.

as for boost guage most boost controllers have them on board anyway so you dont realy need one. expecialy when they have record and memory read

i couldnt afford paying full price from local boys for apexi or greddy so i made my own.you have seen it on thezgarage.

i have a genuine greddy boost guage in one of the top pods. other two temp and fuel are r32 skyiline guages with greddy style facia to match the boost.

speedo is n15 pulsar module with s14 200sx speedo sensor.again all with greddy styling
rpm is r32 rev module with greddy style facia.

other two guages which im going to position in front of the gear stick is volts and oil.

all the guages have warning and all other light incorporated within.

also have another cluster made up i called the "Z" warning center which looks like a guage but displays: door open, demister on, fog light on, security, handbrake and other stuff skylines come up with.

though its taking me fair bit of time to finish them i can make another set.but prob be cheaper to buy all made stuff allready as im not paying for my labour. but it will be unique and factory like.

if interested willing to help. with details.



#7 George

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:15 PM

sorry to the autometer guys but jap stuff is worth the extra $$$ ive seen and repaired both of them. hence the reason.


what's better about them? are they more accurate? easier to read? more info?

also, why do race teams with budgets beyond our reach use autometer if jap stuff is better? i'm sure they use jap stuff as well but not as much afaik.

#8 RBZ 260

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 03:03 PM

i think its  more culture y people optioned for autometer. i have been an autometer fan till i took one apart.

like i said ive seen and repaired few of them.

once u take them apart u know what i mean. quality of both workmanship and materials is totaly different. when u take the autometer apart u feel ripped off that u paid $150-200 for a boost gauge.

design of them is in the same era as our zeds if not older. that has maybe $3 worth of materials in total add  another 10-15 for machining and design.but u wont think of the same when u open one of the apexi or greddy ones. lot more hours have been spent in designing them.and quality is exceptional. even on the inside.

overall i guess they all point to a scale to give u a reading.y they use them cause they prob sponsored by them so they have to.

ive noticed my autometer boost guage on different days gives different levels also temperature dependant. the apexi i had for 5yrs hasnt moved a mm in either direction no mater what the weather is like or temperature.

how easy is to read an un illuminated needle on autometer?? i had to struggle to see if it was 10psi or 12psi. needle bouncing mad between the two figures. hmm exceptional engineering. NOT

with apex with bright EL backlight and contrasting bright (glowing) red needle is far easier to read. also the annoying bouncing never happend and this was the el cheapo apexi that cost the same as autometer. the electronic ones are in different level again.

if u have the autometer comp series with liquid.LOL almost everyday u have to bleed the sucker to give u the correct reading. in race car fair enough but as a daily its damn annoying.

not saying autometer are crap just i think they are way way overpriced for what they realy are.

VDO well most OEM stuff is VDO what else to be said. its done properly.

have been playing with gauges for long time.have repaired and adjusted lot of them in my time.

sorry for disaponting few ppl that have them but just talking from experience and feel sorry for people falling for autometer. dont see the reason besides the coulture or if u get them for free.  ;D


my 5C worth.





#9 George

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 07:14 PM

thanks for that. interesting read.

you've mentioned culture and seem to talk about boost guages a bit. i've been in the rice scene and the v8 scene. obviously ricers love their jap crap and as with most things coming out of japan it is good quality. lots of variety in products as well but most of it seems to be aesthetics and useless gadgetry. maybe it's just me but i tend to think the more stuff going on the more of a chance it has of breaking down.

what do you mean by bleeding the liquid filled autometers? how do you do that? are they that terrible?

again, excuse my ignorance, but i don't understand why so many race teams use them (and no, i highly doubt it's sponsorship when there are so many involved) when as you say they are so innacurate. :/

do you have pics of your 'Z warning centre'? sounds interesting.

#10 sco_aus

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:10 PM

VDO speedo and Tacho.  Was thinking of going to the Autometer sports comp cos i like the look, but i might re think that now, especially since I have friends who work at autobarn, might be able to get the good ones for a decent price.

#11 RBZ 260

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 09:49 AM

thanks for that. interesting read.

you've mentioned culture and seem to talk about boost guages a bit. i've been in the rice scene and the v8 scene. obviously ricers love their jap crap and as with most things coming out of japan it is good quality. lots of variety in products as well but most of it seems to be aesthetics and useless gadgetry. maybe it's just me but i tend to think the more stuff going on the more of a chance it has of breaking down.

what do you mean by bleeding the liquid filled autometers? how do you do that? are they that terrible?

again, excuse my ignorance, but i don't understand why so many race teams use them (and no, i highly doubt it's sponsorship when there are so many involved) when as you say they are so innacurate. :/

do you have pics of your 'Z warning centre'? sounds interesting.


not realy lot of japs use autometer as well cause its american and different in jap land. japanese like diversity hence millions of brands while yanks only have one so called decent one.

as for things more gadgets and thigs going wrong i think i confused with the issue with the top of the range gear.

i was comparing autometer boost to apexi mechanical boost. roughly same price.

but performance and quality was if they were from a different planet.

like i said i had autometer guage for about 2yrs in my car. and half the time i didnt know what it was actualy reading. got rid of it and bought the jap one. and never looked back.

all my other mates had autometer as well and after they seen the light quickly changed over.

as for liquid filled there is a little rubber grommet on top of the guage. u pop it open and let it vent for 5 to 10 min till the gauge resets to its proper 0. otherwise u wont be getting the correct reading. at least these models can be corrected. but other ones ive seen an error of up to 3psi. if boost guage has that much error jsut look at their tachos.
had a play with tachos as well and i dont realy like them as well. needle not reseting to 0 rpm and startin of at 1500rpm till u do a manual reset. i mean for the $$$ u pay its just not acceptable. returned back for warranty and apperenlty no issue with it. and that wasnt one off case. 

its a prefrence. im just saying that autometer is not that great as people think they are and for some reason accept the sub standard operation. not me. i want it right everytime i turn the car on. at least for 5yrs.

im not a hardcore jdm fan but stuff from japan does crap all over others..sorry.

also high end racers with huge sponsors dont bother with analouge guages.they use  digital consoles which are directly wired up to ecu's and car itself for data recording and quick easy readable instumentation.also they are all wireless wired to the pit crew which monitor the car constantly. also they are lighter.
so therefore again if they have been sponsored by the autometer they will use autometer regardless if its accurate or not. my relative had a race car sponsored by various companies. even though other manufactureres were better he couldnt use it he was basicaly given what the sponsor allowed.

the z warning center guage. well its designed for efi engines and having all the indicators in one cluster.as in check engine, demister, handbrake,brake,power steer, alarm, and anything else u want to show that u are runing.
ts a round guage looking thing with 8 leds indicating different things. though it looks like a factory warnign cluster with a bit of a twist and a Z glowing emblem in the middle of it.
i havent finilised this board yet as in havent put it all together as im deciding what colour led to display what and tryign to find a correct enclousure.

will take few pics while its running hopefully some time next week and will post the pics up.

i made my own  gauges cause i couldnt justify paying lot of $$ plus i wanted  my indicators and warning lights on the guages no aftermarket gauge does it.

like i said dont get me wrong autometer is ok if it were half price or free. and than maybe i could live with wierd operation and dino era technology behind it.

(RUNNING FOR COVER  ;D) ;)






#12 George

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 02:32 PM


will take few pics while its running hopefully some time next week and will post the pics up.

i made my own  gauges cause i couldnt justify paying lot of $$ plus i wanted  my indicators and warning lights on the guages no aftermarket gauge does it.


sounds good. can't wait to see pics and well done on making your own guages. i wouldn't have a clue where to begin.


#13 RBZ 260

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 08:38 AM

i know ive been slack. well making your own gauges is a big project in itself.

so far ive completed the temp, fuel and rpm gauges. though only the first two have been installed in the car.

speedo, boost are about 90% completed just need to stick them into original Z housings.

oil,volt and indicator/warning lights cluster are lot further behind.

as my other telementary is displayed using Apexi AVCR ie rpm,spedo, throtle, injector pulse etc.... at the moment its all i need to run the car.

havent installed the rpm gauge as i need extra mini loom for wiring in the backlight controll as its in the way.
.
backlight is based on LEDs 3 main colours RED, white and blue but switchable 7 colours (ie more than one colour at the same time) hence the reason for the extra loom.

just took this pic this morning of the two gauges mounted in the car while i was waiting for the chu chu to go past on my way to work.

as soon as i put the backlight loom in al take nite shots.

ah i found the rpm picture on my work pc. bit crap quality but at least the gauge can be seen completed.



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#14 nat0_240_chevZ

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 11:58 AM

GOOD STUFF JOHNNY,

bout time you put some of the pics up, im sure it will silence all that brag autocentimetre's as thats how they compare, 100th of a meter!!!

Ive seen yours and they are top notch in comparo, and that was still in the very early stages, will have to come and have another look.

I used to think highly of autometer but that was mainly due to its rep, not the quality of their units, and yes they are from the stone age. even their best!

dont you worry bout my gauges as i reckon i got some bribing power for you to sort me out! lol
and now that the VH is going in ie nissan ecu (your specialty!!)  ;)

good to see some more completed pics, and damn your car makes me nearly snap my neck drivg past your work, driving along and catch a small glimpse of what looks s30 and snap!

#15 RBZ 260

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 12:25 PM

hmm bribing power im interested in that LOL....

yeah i was thinking to catch up with you at the workshop. see what you have done with the VH. i got this great idea for flappy pedal shift for your car since you sticking with auto setup.  it be unique i have to have another look at the cluster of yur front cut. and than we c what we can do. i do have more prints of the guage facias (no white left ,still got 2x blue and 1x black)

be carefull of the neck u allready snapped that once.





#16 Zedman240®

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 02:48 PM

Hey Rbz260, to run that aftermarket fuel guage, are you still using the original sender in the tank? And did you have to calibrate the guage to the sender? I'm just curious; I need to sit down and figure out which gauges to replace on my cluster. I dont trust the original 38 yo oil pressure guage. It gives me strange readings when its hot! I hope my oil pressure isnt at 3 kg/cm when hot runnin around the track!

#17 RBZ 260

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 03:43 PM

Zedman240,

The gauges are actualy not aftermarket but custom modified OEM Nissan R32 items

being nissan (you got to love them all) most use 0-90ohm senders in tank calibrated to the tank. most gauges are calibrated to read this. luck has it that the 260z sender was close to identical values to the r32 in low mid and full. thugh the linearity is different between the two so in another words it reads accurate as before according to the tank.than testing it at the petrol station gives me an pretty close indication how much fuel i got in the tank.if shows eg 10l and u add 30l gauge should show 40l.which in my case it does.

ive modifed the sender unit to incorporate the low fuel warning on the dash. 

all gauges besides boost and speedo are of R32 skyline. boost is genuine greddy item while the speedo is off a N15 pulsar.

calibration is necessary but very easily done expecialy if u have factory service manuals telling you the details.

some things may not work out for you as i have r32 rb engine and entire loom going through the car.

for oil pressure you have to check if the resistance value between the two senders is identical if not just swap the one from the later model believe it or not they are interchangable.

i used to pay big $$ for calibration till ive found out how they do it.

have a look at that 38yo oil gauge and have a look at the autometer one and tell me if u see any difference. exact same technology.

i believe the new VDO electronic range is good quality for the money. just use one of them. i think few members from here are allready using the complete set. not sure about ins and outs regarding the sensors but im sure they got that covered.

if you game to tackle this its not hard but it is damn fidly.

#18 Zedman240®

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 08:07 PM

Thanks for the info.. I'm pretty good with my fiddly things, just want the most important gauges with the vital information to display it accurately.. My Wolf hand controller displays RPM's, Volts and water temp among others but there is nothing about oil pressure. I think you have to be in the game to come across all the bits and pieces you need to put gauges like yours together! The only thing I have lying around and the one thing I was going to attempt was to put a 280ZX digital clock with stop watch in a 240/260Z clock housing...

#19 RBZ 260

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:32 AM

well the bits and pieces are not hard to find. though my r32 gauge cluster came with the front cut and i bought a n15 s2 cluster of ebay for a different reason but than changed my mind and it came quite handy for the speedo. with bit of trimming it will just fit in the 260z housing.

hardest thing is finding out on the clusters what each wire does. which you do by tracing the tracks back to tthe connector which has abreviations to what pin is what.

Ie: IGN , BAT, GND , TM=tempereature meter signal, OM= oil meter signal, etc.... but to run these u have to have relevant sensors. ie TM is identical throught the range of nissan cars including the old ones.so its as easy as wiring your, ign, gnd and a wire from your temp sensor.

ive incorporated a warning led on all the guages with led backlight. this is even more fidley and  you need a custom pcb made up. but if you not interested in fancy stuff it could be easily moded to fit in the factory housing.

if you need help on these just drop me a line and ill explain in more detail the bits you may need and where to get them from. though knowing basic electronics and good with soldering iron you have no issues. if you can wire in a cd player (not twisting the wires together and taping it with electricaltape, but soldering it properly and using heatshrink to insulate) you be ok. just lot more fidlier than wiring 10wires to the deck.




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