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Old 09-22-2021, 12:34 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
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Don't rely on the OEM gauge cluster... install QUALITY gauges!

Hey guys...


For those who travel a lot in their rigs... relying on them to run thousands upon thousands of miles and not just quick trips here and there... don't rely on the oem gauge cluster. Install some good gauges (oil pressure, coolant temp, trans temp MINIMUM... pyrometer -EGT Hightly Suggested.. boost if you want).


A good set of gauges will help you keep small problems from turning into expensive problems. They will also give you something to compare stock sensor readings to...


AND... it's not that hard to do.



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Old 09-22-2021, 02:22 PM   #2
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Gauges that work are essential. If you have an international the cluster is surely going to go flaky if it hasn’t already !
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Old 09-22-2021, 02:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr4btTahoe View Post
Hey guys...


For those who travel a lot in their rigs... relying on them to run thousands upon thousands of miles and not just quick trips here and there... don't rely on the oem gauge cluster. Install some good gauges (oil pressure, coolant temp, trans temp MINIMUM... pyrometer -EGT Hightly Suggested.. boost if you want).


A good set of gauges will help you keep small problems from turning into expensive problems. They will also give you something to compare stock sensor readings to...


AND... it's not that hard to do.



Not that hard, but also not that easy. I didn't have time just now to watch the full video (at work), but it looks like you basically had to install separate sensors for each new gauge, which means you have to have the know-how to find available ports for each new sensor, and pull the wire into the cab.


That being said, I think this is definitely worth discussing in the group here, as many of us have experienced factory dash failures. Mine just completely gave up recently (at least, I'm HOPING it's just the dash itself that gave up) and I'm looking at doing my first trip using a tablet running the BlueFire app. I'm thinking of making a tablet mount that goes right over the factory dash; with a tablet-based dash I'll start calling it my "Busla" since Tesla cars have basically a tablet for their dash display.
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dbsoundman View Post
Not that hard, but also not that easy. I didn't have time just now to watch the full video (at work), but it looks like you basically had to install separate sensors for each new gauge, which means you have to have the know-how to find available ports for each new sensor, and pull the wire into the cab.


That being said, I think this is definitely worth discussing in the group here, as many of us have experienced factory dash failures. Mine just completely gave up recently (at least, I'm HOPING it's just the dash itself that gave up) and I'm looking at doing my first trip using a tablet running the BlueFire app. I'm thinking of making a tablet mount that goes right over the factory dash; with a tablet-based dash I'll start calling it my "Busla" since Tesla cars have basically a tablet for their dash display.

Doing a digital dash is pretty slick and can be made to work really well however you are still using the original sensors and such that may or may not be in good working order (accurate). Easy enough to verify with some test gauges though.

As for the installation process... I cover that in the video (mine is a DT360 but it's very similar in many applications). Not too hard to look up port locations for coolant temp, oil pressure, etc. You don't have to be super mechanically inclined to do this job (nor most jobs).. hand tools and some patience will get it done.
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:34 PM   #5
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I love the tablet dash.. ive been running digital tablet dash for several years in my redByrd.


whether the tablet is as good as individual gauges? hard to tell but generally ive found that the sending units to gauges go bad far less than people think.. the dash clusters and "multigauges(bluebird and GMC)" go bad quite a bit..



IMG_2199.jpg
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Gauges that work are essential. If you have an international the cluster is surely going to go flaky if it hasn’t already !

Yup. Mine went haywire. Lost the tach, speedo, and temp at random. Cant see the cluster while driving due to steering wheel position. It's completely useless. A nice set of quality gauges that are easy on the eyes and easy to see while driving without loosing focus on the road is high on the list of things needed in my book.
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr4btTahoe View Post
Yup. Mine went haywire. Lost the tach, speedo, and temp at random. Cant see the cluster while driving to do steering wheel position. It's completely useless. A nice set of quality gauges that are easy on the eyes and easy to see while driving without loosing focus on the road is high on the list of things needed in my book.

I just finished an 800 mile trip in my old Loadstar this weekend.. the nice thing about really Old busses is that they used individual replaceable gauges.. International used SW gauges.. so when my oil pressure gauge died on that 43 year old bus.. I bought a SW that looks similar, fit right in, wired right up and works.. there was no integrated circuit or Cluster.. when you go back to that style you can swap out individual instruments as they die.. just seems like a good way to go


**edit i meant Stewart warner not VDO gauges **.. both are great
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:47 PM   #8
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the BIG thing you have to watch if you install your own gauges is to NOT remove the OEM sending units on ELECTRONIC engines.. the temp, oil pressure, Crank / cam sensor (tach) are used by the computer for the injection system.. so you need to ADD sensors but not take the originals out of service.


on Non electronic engines you can remove / replace the OEM senders with your new ones and not cause issues..


examples of electronic engines are T444E, DT466E, Cummins 5.9 24 valve, CAT3126


some Non electronic engines would be 6.9 / 7.3 IDI, DT360, DT466(non E), cummins 6BT 12 valve, CAT3208, CAT3116
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I just finished an 800 mile trip in my old Loadstar this weekend.. the nice thing about really Old busses is that they used individual replaceable gauges.. International used SW gauges.. so when my oil pressure gauge died on that 43 year old bus.. I bought a SW that looks similar, fit right in, wired right up and works.. there was no integrated circuit or Cluster.. when you go back to that style you can swap out individual instruments as they die.. just seems like a good way to go


**edit i meant Stewart warner not VDO gauges **.. both are great

For sure. Heck some of the buses (and vans) rely on the gauges for the trans to function. Our old short bus ('93 E350 based) lost the odometer and the transmission quit shifting. Come to find out, the speed sensor goes straight to the speedo... then the trans controller gets it's signal from the speedo instead of the sensor. Speedo dies... trans dies. Took a bit to sort that one out. Lol. Took apart the cluster and replaced the board... Good times.
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Old 09-22-2021, 04:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I love the tablet dash.. ive been running digital tablet dash for several years in my redByrd.


whether the tablet is as good as individual gauges? hard to tell but generally ive found that the sending units to gauges go bad far less than people think.. the dash clusters and "multigauges(bluebird and GMC)" go bad quite a bit..



Attachment 61430

I need to know more about this digital dash! How did you mount those tablets? Looks like you went windows, what are you using to get the data from the vehicle?
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Old 09-22-2021, 04:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mr4btTahoe View Post
For sure. Heck some of the buses (and vans) rely on the gauges for the trans to function. Our old short bus ('93 E350 based) lost the odometer and the transmission quit shifting. Come to find out, the speed sensor goes straight to the speedo... then the trans controller gets it's signal from the speedo instead of the sensor. Speedo dies... trans dies. Took a bit to sort that one out. Lol. Took apart the cluster and replaced the board... Good times.
Boy I sure hope my bus doesn't require the dash, I had to unplug it because the backlights on two of the gauges won't shut off even with the key out.
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Old 09-22-2021, 06:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr4btTahoe View Post
For sure. Heck some of the buses (and vans) rely on the gauges for the trans to function. Our old short bus ('93 E350 based) lost the odometer and the transmission quit shifting. Come to find out, the speed sensor goes straight to the speedo... then the trans controller gets it's signal from the speedo instead of the sensor. Speedo dies... trans dies. Took a bit to sort that one out. Lol. Took apart the cluster and replaced the board... Good times.
The allison is like that . If you unplug the allison 1000/2000 speed sensor then the trans gets stuck in R or 3, and the speedo and cruise control dies
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Old 09-22-2021, 07:19 PM   #13
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The allison is like that . If you unplug the allison 1000/2000 speed sensor then the trans gets stuck in R or 3, and the speedo and cruise control dies

So if the speedometer fails or is unhooked but the speed sensor is good, it'll go haywire?


This one (E4OD) had a good signal from the speed sensor but the speedo was between the controller and the sensor. Speedo died and the trans went haywire. Almost smoked the trans because of it. Never good to be stuck in direct drive with a heavy rig and a light trans.
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Old 09-22-2021, 07:32 PM   #14
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thats a wierd one.. I didnt know that ford put the speedo itself between the sensor and the trans.. most times there is just one sensor per vehicle and it tells whichever computer its connected to its pulses.. then that computer will broadcast the value out to any other computers that need it..



on the Navistar with allison 1000/2000/3000 the speed sensor talks to the Trans TCM.. the trans TCM broadcasts the speed sensor to the ECM and speedo.. since the trans is first to see it, the trans always works.... unless you accidentilly unplug it like I did
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Old 09-22-2021, 08:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
thats a wierd one.. I didnt know that ford put the speedo itself between the sensor and the trans.. most times there is just one sensor per vehicle and it tells whichever computer its connected to its pulses.. then that computer will broadcast the value out to any other computers that need it..



on the Navistar with allison 1000/2000/3000 the speed sensor talks to the Trans TCM.. the trans TCM broadcasts the speed sensor to the ECM and speedo.. since the trans is first to see it, the trans always works.... unless you accidentilly unplug it like I did

Yeah it was a pain... Ford used the same deal from '92-'97. It's on all of the F series and E series. The module is called a PSOM and it takes the reading from the sensor on the diff and converts it to a pulse that controls the odometer, speedometer, and trans if you have the e4od. Good times.
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Old 09-23-2021, 08:03 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by dbsoundman View Post
I need to know more about this digital dash! How did you mount those tablets? Looks like you went windows, what are you using to get the data from the vehicle?



the one on the left is Engine data, it is a VMSpc by silverleaf that I then wrote a go-between box to capture more parameters and pass on as J1708 to it.. this is nearing 5 years old.. a BlueFire can do this much better (and runs on android, windows, or iPad).


the one on the right is the Allison 1000 data (my allison was a custom swap-in).. the software is EFIlive which si also my transmission tuning software to adjust the shifting. I havent tried reading out Trans Data yet with my Bluefire.. I do have my CAN-2 on my TCM built as a J1850 / OBD2 so I could probably use about any software like Torque Pro to read that data.. however that is not something most have unless they do a custom swap in or have a Duramax Van-based bus with 4th gen allison. some trans data is available via the J1939 which a Bluefire can read. but not all of it comes across.. some PGN's are requestable.. Bluefire doesnt support requesting custom PGNs unless you take the windows or Android Source code and modify it.. (ive messed with that and it does work, the mechanisms are there in their code they just dont support it in the GUI)
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Old 09-23-2021, 10:31 AM   #17
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Thinking about diving into this myself - our fuel gauge likes to dance while we drive, and I'd rather not let it trick me into running out of fuel on the road.

I'm assuming I'll have to replace the sensor inside the fuel tank for this upgrade? Any clues to the difficulty level on a fuel gauge replacement?

Edit: spelling ;)
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Old 09-23-2021, 12:15 PM   #18
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One thing to think about when you mention the fuel gauge dancing is that on many commercial vehicles the gauge is not buffered meaning that there is no computer averaging the sloshing in the tank.

So the question you ask is the gauge accurate and consistent when parked stopped and level? If it reads full parked and level after a fill up and the amount of fuel you pump in is consistent within a couple gallons each time for the same gauge reading 1/2, 1/4 etc then you gauge is working as expected and the dancing needle is fuel slosh.

Consumer vehicles have circuitry and / or computer software that averages out the slosh so the needle doesn’t dance.

Now if you fill it and one time it reads F and the next time 3/4, or one time at 1/2 you out in 30 gallons and the next time at 1/2 45 then it’s time to change the sender and / or gauge..
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Old 09-23-2021, 12:44 PM   #19
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One thing to think about when you mention the fuel gauge dancing is that on many commercial vehicles the gauge is not buffered meaning that there is no computer averaging the sloshing in the tank.

So the question you ask is the gauge accurate and consistent when parked stopped and level? If it reads full parked and level after a fill up and the amount of fuel you pump in is consistent within a couple gallons each time for the same gauge reading 1/2, 1/4 etc then you gauge is working as expected and the dancing needle is fuel slosh.

Consumer vehicles have circuitry and / or computer software that averages out the slosh so the needle doesnít dance.

Now if you fill it and one time it reads F and the next time 3/4, or one time at 1/2 you out in 30 gallons and the next time at 1/2 45 then itís time to change the sender and / or gauge..
I thought that might be the case, I just didn't think about the amount of sloshing around in the tank. Probably way more than I imagined, so it totally makes sense the needle would jump around like a maniac.
I'll make sure the tank is full and check the gauge again.
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Old 09-23-2021, 06:39 PM   #20
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Fuel slosh in these big tanks is normal as most of them aren't baffled or anything. Some aftermarket gauges buffer that a bit. You wouldn't have to replace the sender necessarily... would just need to know the empty and full ohm rating of the sender and match the gauge to the sender.
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