Idiot lights, what a concept. This is what the vehicle manufacturers want us all to feel safe with to monitor the vital functions of our vehicles. But, when the light comes on, it is basically saying “Oh, by the way, you just cooked your motor or your charging system just failed you”. Well, to avoid this, there are better ways to monitor the different operations of your vehicle before tragedy happens. We set the scenario with the fine folks at Stewart Warner letting them know that we had a need to get a more accurate way of monitoring our vital signs. The request was made for the necessary set- a volt meter, transmission temperature, oil pressure, and water temperature gauges. Follow along with our install. This is the best way we saw fit to mount our gauges, but you might find a different install that fits your specific application.
| We started by removing the dash bezel that houses our “idiot” lights. Once this was accomplished, we took one of the new Stewart Warner gauges and gave it a test fit where one of the old warning lights was located. The hole was shaped like a funnel, so we got out our trusty Dremel tool and carefully cut the back side of the hole so that the gauge would drop right in. After all four holes were cut, we installed the gauges with the mounting hardware that was included with each gauge. It was also necessary to cut the tubes in the dash that housed the bulbs that lit our old “idiot” lights so that the back of our new SW gauges would not have a clearance problem. (see photo) One note-the original bezel was looking pretty worn, so we hit the local Chevy dealer and purchased a new bezel with an aluminum insert to help accent the Stewart Warner gauges.
After all four gauges were mounted securely, we wired all of the gauges in series for the grounds, lighting, and ignition source to power them up when the key is turned on. We then ran the necessary wiring to the supplied sending units and gave our new gauges a test run. It gives a much better sense of security knowing that we can actually monitor the systems of our vehicle now “real time”, instead of waiting until its to late when that trusty red light starts glowing telling you ‘um you just smoked your motor.’
|This is what out finished product looked like after installed into the dash bezel. Note the stock look to the gauges. They seemed to fit “right at home”.|
|1811 Rohrerstown Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
Web Site: http://www.stewartwarner.com
|Ease of Install||Although the gauges are well designed, patience and planning is the biggest recommendation.|
|Ease of Use||Once installed, crank the motor and feel confident.|
|Performance||Very easy to read and look at.|
|Durability||Too soon to tell, but looks to be durable enough to with stand off-road abuse.|
|Driveability||Dynamite! Gauges look at home in their new aluminum faced bezel.|
|Price in comparison to related products||Very similar to VDO and the other big brands…|
|Was it worth it?||You bet..It’s fun to drive too with all those needles to read.|
|Tools Required||We needed a Dremel tool, you may not. Phillips head screw driver and other small wrenches, etc.|
|Editors Notes||This is not designed to be a speedy install, but a very vital one. After doing it on our vehicle, we recommend it to everyone…TS|