Aftermarket gauge cluster for the squarebody vehicles??

ballencd

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Location
Columbus, NC
Has anyone used the Dakota Digital (RTX/HDX), New Vintage USA or Classic Instrument gauge clusters designed for the Chevrolet/GM Squarebody vehicles? I'm specifically updating my 1991 V1500 Suburban with bad odometer, incorrect speedometer and no tachometer and wanting to update to have all three but haven't found any user input as to quality, longevity or difficulty of install of these brands. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
ballencd
 

chevymike

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San Diego, CA
I have used Dakota Digital in a number of builds (not a squarebody but other C10's and El Camino) as well as a couple buddies. They have worked great and love the look and function of them.

About the only issue I have had, it more my own install related. You MUST keep the wire for the speedo sensor away as much as you can from any tach signal wire or the spark plug wires. The interference from them will cause the speedo to do weird things. Once I would get the cable routed correctly, no problems. So far running for 4+ years in my El Camino.
 

ballencd

Member
101
2
18
Location
Columbus, NC
I have used Dakota Digital in a number of builds (not a squarebody but other C10's and El Camino) as well as a couple buddies. They have worked great and love the look and function of them.

About the only issue I have had, it more my own install related. You MUST keep the wire for the speedo sensor away as much as you can from any tach signal wire or the spark plug wires. The interference from them will cause the speedo to do weird things. Once I would get the cable routed correctly, no problems. So far running for 4+ years in my El Camino.
Thanks for the input. I wonder if one could use shielded coax for the signal wire and ground the shield? I am about to bite the bullet on one of these clusters so your info will help. Anyone have input on the Classic Instrument or the New Vintage USA clusters?
 

chevymike

Active member
Steel Soldiers Supporter
437
212
43
Location
San Diego, CA
Thanks for the input. I wonder if one could use shielded coax for the signal wire and ground the shield? I am about to bite the bullet on one of these clusters so your info will help. Anyone have input on the Classic Instrument or the New Vintage USA clusters?
I believe it is a 3 or 4 wire cable. I had actually bought some braided sleeve that I was going to use but figured out I just needed to move the cable on the frame away from the rear spark plug wire. Problem went away so I never used the sleeve. I actually have an HDX setup that will go in my '55 Chevy, when I get to that project.

I have seen both of the others used in many cars at shows I attend but no personal experience. I had a buddy who had Classic Instrument individual gauges and they worked fine but he switched to Dakota Digital in his Nova as it was a much nicer setup. If you are looking for individual gauges, I have used Speedhut gauges on three projects, including my M1010. They were custom made specifically to my design.

0902191552_HDR.jpg

0902191558a.jpg
 

ballencd

Member
101
2
18
Location
Columbus, NC
I believe it is a 3 or 4 wire cable. I had actually bought some braided sleeve that I was going to use but figured out I just needed to move the cable on the frame away from the rear spark plug wire. Problem went away so I never used the sleeve. I actually have an HDX setup that will go in my '55 Chevy, when I get to that project.

I have seen both of the others used in many cars at shows I attend but no personal experience. I had a buddy who had Classic Instrument individual gauges and they worked fine but he switched to Dakota Digital in his Nova as it was a much nicer setup. If you are looking for individual gauges, I have used Speedhut gauges on three projects, including my M1010. They were custom made specifically to my design.

View attachment 814286

View attachment 814287
I believe it is a 3 or 4 wire cable. I had actually bought some braided sleeve that I was going to use but figured out I just needed to move the cable on the frame away from the rear spark plug wire. Problem went away so I never used the sleeve. I actually have an HDX setup that will go in my '55 Chevy, when I get to that project.

I have seen both of the others used in many cars at shows I attend but no personal experience. I had a buddy who had Classic Instrument individual gauges and they worked fine but he switched to Dakota Digital in his Nova as it was a much nicer setup. If you are looking for individual gauges, I have used Speedhut gauges on three projects, including my M1010. They were custom made specifically to my design.

View attachment 814286

View attachment 814287
That looks nice. I like the green.
 

socalsrt

New member
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Location
california
I have the Classic Instruments cluster. As with everything, there are some things I like and some I do not like. It is nice having an electric tachometer and speedometer. None of the factory gauges were working and my engine swap electronics had the capability to run electric gauges with no additional work. I shopped around and went with Classic Instruments. Installation is easy and it does have a nice clean appearance. Installation on a 6.2 would be slightly more difficult. You would need a signal converter on the speedo cable. I am not sure how you could run the tachometer on the 6.2. I have attached a picture of it at night. I try not to speak badly about specialty products on the net, so feel free to send me a message for more info or pictures. For what its worth this is an accurate picture depicting the lens. On my next motor swap I will probably look at other brands, however I wouldn't be surprised if I purchased the same one again.
 

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Skinny

Well-known member
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Location
Portsmouth, NH
I'm going to bet that any gauge swap on a CUCV is going to be wire intense since we are talking about a complete retrofit from 80's technology.

Speedo signal is no issue. You can use a $25 hall effects pickup on the tcase just like stock 90's factory stuff.

Tach signal of it is a diesel tach will come from the alternator w feed which essentially is single phase AC voltage. Now this will have to be calibrated since the tach doesn't know how fast the alternator is spinning in relation to the crank. I used a free app on my phone. Drive down the road and take a reading, recalibrate. After about 4 tries it is spot on.

Temp and oil are going to need senders that match the gauges. Simply reuse the factory wires with the new senders.

I will say I like to look of the NVU Aviators. They do require a ton of fitting since they mount to a board that bolts to the sheet metal. I'm guessing any gauged retrofit that goes this way suffers from the same trouble compared to one that mounts to the back of the bezel.

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
 
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