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GlowShift Combo Gauge in a Vanagon
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Gnarlodious Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 8:53 pm    Post subject: GlowShift Combo Gauge in a Vanagon Reply with quote

Preparing for my turbocharger upgrade I wanted to have a pyrometer (EGT) and boost gauge in place, yet options seemed rather limited for a combo gauge. This is a hardtop Vanagon weighing in at a mere 2,720 pounds and no trailer hitch so I didn't think I needed a high performance pyrometer. The GlowShift lineup of Combo Gauges offer a high visibility magnification lens dial with two digital readouts and includes 3 sensors, all for $180 shipped. Hopefully I won't regret buying this cheap glitzy piece of crap, especially since I will be hacking my cluster to install it. There were no examples on the internet of installation in a Vanagon, so I am photojournaling this experiment for your edification.

First obstacle is the nonstandard size of the cylinder at 60mm, since they are made for diesel trucks. As you will see, it does make for a highly readable gauge up front and center:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Don't panic, the outrageous numbers you see are the unit's POST (Power On Self Test) values. This model is the 3 in 1 Black Face Diesel Combo Gauge - Pyrometer EGT, Digital Boost and Temperature Gauge for turbo diesels, an application where pyro temperature is the most critical to monitor. The standard 50mm gauge would fit nicely in the wasted real estate front and center, but all the gauges I could find only feature one readout. Not a very efficient use of space.

The challenge was cutting a 60mm hole in the wasted space. I didn't have a Dremel so I started with a Unibit hole cutter, then used a scalpel. After about 3 hours and 4 broken surgical blades, this is what I had:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

You have to shave the walls on both sides to fit 60mm in there, but they do taper wider further back. This is difficult freestyle carving work, I don't think any kind of hole cutter could do it and leave you with an intact cluster. The kit includes a plastic hood which I used as a guide where to cut. If you do this mod, give yourself long a stretch of uninterrupted time where you can get into "Artist's mind".

At 90º of insertion, the gauge needs the top cut back underneath where the clear plastic over the indicators snaps in:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

You can see the 2 X's that hold the indicators in. I didn't remove anything, which probably made it harder. WARNING! The plastic circuit board is VERY FRAGILE! You can easily damage it by holding the cluster in position for carving. A closeup of the difficult area:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I used a diagonal cutter to rip the plastic then carved it with a curved surgical blade. You can certainly position the gauge lower, and avoid this difficulty, but you run the risk of removing too much plastic from the bottom rail.
A closeup of the clearance with the gauge in position:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Notice that this gauge is shallow enough to fit in the space as one of its advantages. I did research other gauges some of which extend too far back and collide with the master cylinder:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Here you see me measuring 73mm of clearance from the front of the instrument panel to the master cylinder. I am including this irrelevant dimension because it was listed nowhere on the internet, and it is virtually impossible to measure accurately without mutilating your cluster. the obtuse location of this brake part makes finding a digital gauge problematic.
Here is the gauge installed:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The retainer can't fit as expected, so I hacksawed its wings and bent/broke them off leaving a sharp burr which digs into the sidewall nicely:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Bend the wings outward slightly to make them grip as a crude but effective solution. Notice that I lost one washer, my worst mistake so far!
Wiring the gauge in, connect as such ('83 diesel):
Orange onto grey/blue (panel lights)
Black onto brown (ground)
Red onto red (hot, CAREFUL!)
White onto black (switched)
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The feed wires are ready to solder in without even trimming, and give you enough free wire to install the cluster. I snapped apart the bus connector by pushing the ends outward and prying it apart. This allowed the contact pins to be pulled out. I soldered the wires onto the crimp area. There may have been a better way, since the blob of solder prevented the retainer from snapping closed again. I had to snip a tiny piece of plastic off of the tabs that press the pins to get the thing closed.

There you have it, plug the darned thing in and it should work!

HINT: Before reconnecting your cluster smear both contact surfaces with Permatex® Dielectric Grease to extend the lifespan of delicate parts!

The unit beeps a few time loudly when the key is turned on. Note that as part of its self-diagnostics the GlowShift flashes continuously while any sensor is unconnected. In my next post, I will get some sensors wired in.
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good work and a nice writeup!
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Syncroincity
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job! I have 4 Glowshift gauges currently, so far they are very reliable. I particularly like the feature that changes the light red when you exceed a set value.


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'86 Syncro CHC Top AAZ Turbodiesel
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The red light warning is not a feature of the 3-in-1 combo gauges. I guess something had to be sacrificed to squeeze three readouts into one gauge.
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's kinda funny to have a 15k rpm tach for a diesel.. it'll maybe peg 5000 a coulpe times..

do the gauges dim with night? they seem a bit bright and would affect your night vision?
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This particular model is the pyro sweep (EGTs) since it is such a critical reading for the turbo diesel. You basically drive with your eye on the needle whenever you are charging up a long hill, backingoff when it gets around 1200º. GlowShift has a whole line of 3-in-one gauges so you can choose the one that has the readouts you want.
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Syncroweekender
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syncroincity, how did you mount your ScanGauge?
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DOH! I saw the X100 and ASSumed..
I knew we were talking pyro gauges too..
very cool.
Gnarlodious wrote:
This particular model is the pyro sweep (EGTs) since it is such a critical reading for the turbo diesel. You basically drive with your eye on the needle whenever you are charging up a long hill, backingoff when it gets around 1200º. GlowShift has a whole line of 3-in-one gauges so you can choose the one that has the readouts you want.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 6:54 am    Post subject: Review Reply with quote

Driving now with winter coming and the sun hanging low, a few observations.

A minor complaint is that the colors of the two digital readouts is not adjustable like the dial colors are. They are rather dim and with the sun at a low angle the numbers can be unreadable. Especially when wearing sunglasses. The dial comes with an optional hood for this purpose, maybe that would help.

A night-driving complaint is that the dial is too bright. The blue color is the most dim setting, but reflects off the side windows in a way that makes me nervous that a cop is over there. Only during night driving though.

I’d also suggest that if you take out your cluster put a piece of tape on the dial face beforehand to protect it. I haven’t noticed that it scratches easily, but it does protrude and could be damaged while out.

All in all though, I’m pretty happy about this gauge setup.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a set of 'cheap' LED illuminated gauges down on the dash to the left of the steering column.
the purpose was to place them where they weren't always in my face.. and the LED color still bothers me at night.. (and the steering wheel blocks them from direct view).

I turn them to red illumination when at night driving..

I like the Amber of older Audi's most myself. the blueish tones bugger your natural night vision eyesight.. and pedestrians are more important to see than my gauges..

I like the triple gauge idea though.. very cool very handy.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the exact same placement as Dan. I would like to figure out how to get them to dim.

The 'hood' sounds like a nice low-tec solution.... how about a sunglasses holder that covers the gauge? Unless you...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good suggestion, I stuck a piece of window tinting on it and it looks great.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The VDO oil pressure gauge I mounted next to the dash pod is on the dimmer circuit with the rest of the dash lights but was too bright for my taste so I added a resistor in line to make it match the rest of the instruments.

I do not recall what I used, just tried an assortment of whatever I had in the drawer until I liked the result.

The VDO probably has an incandescent bulb but I think the resistor would work fine with an LED.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ahwahnee, I should try that. There is only one power connector on these cheapy LED gauges, but I bet giving them less power would make them dimmer. Perhaps I'll experiment with a variable resistor and see how dim I can make them before they start acting weird because they don't have enough power.

After that, add the light sensor circuit and smart headlight on/off switch, etc, etc....
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