Frequently Asked Questions
I'm getting ready to place an order for an instrument cluster but am undecided about what type of gauges to use, electrical or mechanical. Could you share your thoughts?
We believe it's a matter of personal preference. Each type of gauge has its following. The mechanical units have been known for their accuracy and consistency; the electrical units are easier to run through out the vehicle. Both types of gauges are quality pieces, perhaps you could check with friends who already use either type and get their opinions.
After I installed the Instrument cluster my alternator won't charge. What did I do or not do for this to happen?
When you disconnected the factory cluster the alternator circuit was opened causing the wire that energizes the alternator to be left open. In the instructions there was a special note about how to make sure the alternator would operate. What you will need to do is in the factory wire harness there are 2 wires that need to be jumped. You need to find a 12-volt ignition source and use the jumper wire that was in the electrical hardware bag and jump the 12-volt ign. wire to the Light Green/Red wire. What that will do is it will energize the alternator when the ignition is turned on. That will fix the problem of not having a charging alternator.
To install your Instrument clusters do you need to have in depth mechanical knowledge or do you recommend having a repair shop install it?
Our recommendation is if you know how to use a 12-volt test light and have a working knowledge of automotive 12-volt systems then you should be able to install our product. The key to the Instrument cluster installs are, (1) Your mechanical /electrical aptitude (2) How well you follow and understand instructions. What should be considered before a person would commit to this type of installation is, does automotive electrical work give you problems or are you comfortable working with DC circuits.
Some of the colors of the wires in my factory harness don't match the colors referenced in the instructions. What is the problem?
What we've seen over the years pertaining to the wires is, some cars experience wire color fade or slight discoloration. That's why we stress that all wires should be probed. There are only a few wires that you will need to find that are out of the ordinary. The 12-volt ignition and ground wires should be fairly easy to find. Use the instructions and probe carefully for the circuits you need. NOTE: If you take your factory instrument cluster and look on the backside, you will see the copper strips running from the 2 rectangular harness ports. On some models the strips are labeled as to where they go and what they power. This however is not in all cases. You can follow the circuit strips to lights, grounds etc. With all the ways to identify the needed circuits, probing will just confirm what you have already found out.
Are your Instrument Cluster installations plug and play type of installs?
The quick answer is no. To explain why, we need to say that about 85% of all our built Instrument Clusters are custom units. We do have our standard configured units but we also have many that are different. AutoMeter is the predominant gauge company that we use for most every cluster we build. They have specified certain criteria for the proper installation of their gauges. They recommend that each of their gauges or group of gauges be installed with circuit protection (fuses). With that in mind, the areas that we recommend you tap into are not the 2 factory Ford harness ends that originally plugged into your Factory Cluster. You will tie into some of the wires at the harness connectors but for 12 volt ignition you will be directed to tie into the factory fuse panel. At the fuse panel you will install new circuit protection hardware, thus being able to check the fuses should a problem develop. Each built cluster comes with detailed installation instructions, hardware and the new cluster harness wires are labeled.
Do your installations require that we cut or splice into the factory wire harnesses?
Included with our built clusters we supply connecting hardware (T-Taps), so that you don't have to modify or alter your factory wires. The T-Taps we use are manufactured by 3-M and have been engineered to work in the manner in which we are using them. Once the T-Tap is connected correctly to the wire it makes a tight permanent connection. Ultimately, the method of installation is left up to the installer. You could butt connect or cut and solder each wire but it's not necessary. T-Taps are not scotch loks and are engineered to be permanent connectors.