With the addition of the newer generation engine and the electronic communications it provides, the original gauge cluster would unfortunately need to be replaced with something a little more modern.
On my previous ’79 Malibu Wagon build, I used digital electronic LED gauges and am not completely happy with them, so I decided to go with something a little less “digital” this time. Good old fashioned gauges. Still electronic, not analog, but with an “old school” look of sorts.
I searched for quite some time for affordable good looking gauges. I found Marshall Comp 2 gauges to be a nice gauge to bridge the gap between digital and old school analog, and affordable thru a licensed reseller on Ebay.
Some new gauges use signal thru the OEM wiring along with dash, signal, high beam lights, etc. I wanted to make as little impact as necessary to the OEM wiring harness and keep it neat so I obtained original plug terminal ends to incorporate into the new gauge wiring . This also allowed me to not damage the original gauge harness and keep it complete for future use by me or someone else.
I created a template and used CAD to draw up my layout. I printed it out and applied it to the flat textured plastic used for dash plate. This is old sheet plastic scrap that I’ve had for some time. Hole saws, jig saws, drills and files got my openings to the exact sizes needed.
I used Ebay Chinese specials for the Bright, Check Engine and signal lights. I ordered black, but received silver/chrome. I reordered black again, but in the meantime decided I liked the silver/chrome better anyway to match the gauges. I was originally going to get black gauges also, but they sold out before I ordered. Then I decided the black face/silver trim matched the dash better anyway.
Along with the dash cluster install the ODB II port was installed under the dash since it was in the same harness coming in from under the hood.
With the gauges installed, the next step is to finish up the engine install with the new parts on their way.