I've always had problems with the gauges in my van, and I've been putting bandaids on for as long as I remember. First an Aux oil pressure gauge, then an aux temp gauge. The speedometer rarely worked and after replacing the cable a couple times (broke one, burnt the other on exhaust, and got one that was a little too short so the tight radius caused problems) the gauge quit.
I've been taking the van on a lot of trips over the past year and I'd been using a GPS speedometer on my phone and a barely accurate fuel gauge on the van and I just got tired of it. I decided it was time to just replace everything and restore my confidence while taking trips.
Here are the stock gauges before I began. I've always liked the two large round units, and wanted to keep it that way.
It turns out Autometer makes a couple of gauges that match the original setup pretty well with a good backlight
A couple gripes about Autometer: They sell a 'bundle' with the speedo and 4x gauge along with all of the senders, but only with one fuel gauge resistance range, and not the type my van takes. I called them and begged that they swap out the 4x gauge for the same price and they refused. Buying separately ended up costing an extra $50 + the $100 for the VSS sender that replaces the speedometer cable. The bundle also came with a new generic fuel sender that I wouldn't have used anyway. $150 wasted.
I pulled the existing board off of the back of the gauge bezel and removed the old gauges, then drilled out some spots in the back to allow the mounting studs and new wires to fit through and painted the whole thing with some semi gloss black rattle can paint I had laying around (after rough sanding and cleaning the whole thing. Plastic doesn't take paint well if you don't prep it)
Since the indicator lights were built into the board that I removed I had to make up some new ones. I simply took some 12V incandescent lights I got at a Radio Shack clearance sale and mounted them to a piece of ABS plastic, then glued that to the end of the 'light tubes' that were already there. There is absolutely a better (time consuming) way to do this, but I was trying to be quick and get the project done, not win any build awards. They work great, the signals show up very well in daylight and at night.
For assembly I cut down the provided brackets, mounted the new gauges, then replaced the factory trim ring around each to fill the space and keep the stock look a little bit. There is a little bit of an air gap around them since the bezel isn't perfectly round, but I anticipated that and painted the inside black, and it doesn't show day or night.
Once installed they look amazing. Good clean look, crisp and readable, and not an in your face aftermarket upgrade.
The backlight isn't dimmable, but you can essentially turn off the backlight if you wire it to the stock dimmer wire, then turn the dimmer down on the light switch. It's not too bright at all at night. I was having a hard time capturing a crisp picture. The domed glass causes focus issues on my phone.
The things I didn't document with pictures were the sender upgrades and the wiring.
I installed a VSS (Vehicle Speed Signal) sender on the transmission where the speedometer would normally thread in. This uses the output from the transmission and converts it into a pulsed electrical signal that most aftermarket gauges use. Much more reliable.
The 4x gauge came with a cool oil pressure sender that doesn't require you to run an oil line up to the back, but I haven't been able to get the existing brass fitting out of the block to replace it. 2 days of PB blaster and still no movement.
I opted for the speedo/tach combo because I want to be able to set my idle, and keep an eye on RPM while I'm on the freeway. This required a wire connection to the ignition coil, super simple.
I used my shop manual to identify the stock wires and tested them with a digital multimeter (better safe than sorry), then ran new (fused) switched ignition, ground, VSS, tach, temp, and oil pressure wires.
My only gripe about the gauges is the odometer is set about a quarter inch behind the gauge surface and it makes it hard to read from a downward angle.
I have my old gauges if anyone wants them. The board has a solid state voltage regulator set for 5V I soldiered onto the traces. Not sure about the condition on most of these. I know fuel and ammeter worked. Never used the oil or temp gauges.
Speedo and circuit board not pictured, but I can get some later if needed.