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SS dash upgrade

4911 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Shootstraight
So as many others, I suppose, I'm looking to upgrade my 72 Camino to an SS dash. You see tons of reproductions on eBay, are there certain ones you guys have had experience with or maybe ones to stay away from. Not looking to make it exact factory, it's gonna be custom so I can wander a bit. Don't really want to sink $1600 or so in a whole kit, is there a better solution other than finding one out of a MC.

I do see these dash cluster kits, anyone try these, will they look professional if installed properly. Don't want it to look like crap..

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Check out Dakota Ditigal. They have a gauge cluster, totally digital, that fits into a round gauge dash housing. I don't think the price is too bad and it looks totally stock.
Thanks for the link, helpful but still around the same price $770 for just the cluster, still looking.
Seems that there are differing opinions from some of the venders, Ecklers says you have to replace harness, whereas the eBay guy says you don't. One concern of mine on the gauge unit that you cut your existing dash for is, my dash is pretty nice, hate to hack it up.

So on the MC dash, are you using the gauges that came with it?

I've started on this process myself. I got an MC dash, but they come with the "idiot lights" instead of the full gauges. So, if you want to do that conversion, and if there's anything on the original dash that needs refurbishing/repair, you really are better off getting the repop kits. I've already spent about the same amount, and it's going to look used.

Now... if you want to keep the lights.... you might not have to make any changes to the cluster plug on the back (I don't know the pinouts for them), and you won't need to change anything under the hood. I wanted the gauges, so dash harness is being replaced. I'm also replacing the forward lamp and engine harnesses just because they're old and brittle. The engine harness is slightly different for gauges and I had modifications done right at M&H for HEI and internal regulator alternator.

Keep in mind that there were significant changes to the wiring harnesses from '70 to '71, and to '72. They are not directly interchangeable. You would have to make modifications to make it work... and the fact that they are still 40 years old and should be replaced anyway.
Is there a certain brand gauge that is better, or maybe a certain brand to stay away from?
Go with the parts place for the gauges. they are the only ones that have the correct tach with the three screws. Also, the repro dashes are easy to spot. The silver parts are wrong and the font used for the lighter and lights etc is noticeably different. Ultimately its up to you if that stuff is important and you want the original look, I just haven't seen it mentioned in this thread yet.
Thanks for that, I hadn't seen them before, lots of good stuff there.
I went back and looked at DD again and that is a possibility, I guess the saving are that you don't need a wire harness. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I wanted round dials I could get a repro SS dash for around the $350 mark and then the gauge cluster from DD $770. Any clue if I would need any of the other back housings you see in addition?

For whatever its worth, I cloned a 72 custom I had about 5 years ago. Since it was not an original SS I felt comfortable taking some liberties with the dash, one of which was installation of the Dakota digital gauges. My primary motivation initially was cost savings but once I had it installed, I realized how superior the quality of the gauges was to the old analog gauges. I was a little disappointed with the fit & quality of the repro dash but I understand that has improved over the past couple years.

Having had both digital and analog, there is no question in my mind the best bang for the buck is digital. If you're looking to save a few hundred bucks & get a superior quality product that looks great (expecially at night), Dakota is definately the way to go!
STAY AWAY FROM Ecklers and The EL Camino Store, search on this site and you will find enough negative dealings to keep you reading all night.

If your going to pro mode or custom look and stock is out then look at Covans dash and Dakota Digital gauges. Piecing one together from different cars or different repops is a bad idea and the differences do exist from 70,71,72. Dakota will spell it out has a back tech and if you feed them the correct existing stock year and model, there stuff is usually good to go. Several of the othere Caminos I run with have them.
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