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How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 03, 2018 11:27AM

When I purchased my 'last'(?) Corvair in 2016 I wanted to "upgrade it" to what I think a '2018 Corvair 4-Door Monza' would be. I have spent a lot of my time and more money than I thought getting it to the current status.

One of the first item on my list was to improve the Instrument Displays. I started looking at everything I could find on the web and in FLAPS to see what was available and what might work the best.

I discovered a firm called Dakota Digital, located in Sioux Fall, SD that produced custom Instrument Panels for Antique and Custom cars. They use the latest in digital electronics and produce displays that are driven by a Cat 5 (Cat 6 in my case) cable from a Control Box that takes the various inputs from the car and puts its output on the Data Cable.

The Displays can be Analog (moving meters), Digital (numeric readouts), or a combination of both.

The cost of the Dakota Digital units seemed high until I looked closely at other Displays I might want, there cost and the amount of additional wiring that would be required. I found that I could monitor more items at a lesser cost with the Dakota Digital units that with any other option.

The main question was "Could they make an Instrument Cluster to fit a Late Model Corvair?" My first thought after studying their website was to use a "generic" Display that they offer and (ME) modify the Corvair Dash.

Here is the 'generic display' that got me interested:


Having a 'few' old Dash Panels lying around, I tried to do the modifications necessary to make that fit. Needless to say, that did not work! sad smiley

Here is my Dash showing the standard "Instrument Cluster" provided by Chevy:


This is the LM '3-Hole Dash' that was in most of the LM Corvairs. I contacted Dakota Digital and asked if they had done any Corvair Displays and IF they would be interested in quoting a "Custom" for me. I was referred to Rick Johnson in the Dakota Digital Customs department. After a few emails, Rick asked me to send them a Corvair 3-Hole Dash and he would see what they could do.

Here is a picture of their 'stock dash' for a Chevy Nova. When I saw it I thought it could be 'modified slightly' to fit a Corvair:


Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 03, 2018 11:51AM

The GOOD NEWS was that they could provide that Instrument Cluster to fit the Corvair 3-Hole Dash! grinning smiley

Here is a picture of the Custom Corvair Instrument Display:


The Speedometer and LCD Odometer/Data Display is on the left where the original Speedometer was. The Center opening now shows the new Tachometer with an LCD Time-of-Day/Data Display. The Right opening now has 4 gauges. The one at the top is Oil Pressure, the one on the right side is Battery Voltage, the one on the left is Oil Temperature and the bottom one is Fuel Level!

The Speedometer and Tachometer have some 'information LED's' (I won't call them 'Idiot Lights') built in. I have the Parking Brake ON Switch/Low Brake Fluid wire controlling the "Brake" LED. The Oil Pressure Snap Switch/High Temp Snap Switch wire feeds the "Check Engine" LED. The "Directional" LED's are fed from the wires that fed the old Panel Lamps. The "High Beam" LED is fed from the wire that fed the old Panel Lamp.

Here is a picture of the Dakota Digital Instrument Cluster installed in the 1967 Monza:


I decided at the last moment to go with the Dakota Digital GPS Speedometer Driver (the old 'left front wheel cable' was damaged and needed replacement and I had not figured out 'how' to mate it to the DD Speed Sensor).

As time allots, I will continue with the installation process so you can see what it takes to get this thing going!

I am very impressed and cannot thank Dakota Digital enough for their excellent job!!! grinning smileygrinning smiley

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: October 03, 2018 11:59AM

Cost??? Is there a specific Part Number?





MODERATOR
Sea Mountain, between Charleston Harbor and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
..............................110-PG.................................................Webered-Turbo

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 03, 2018 12:18PM

Matt,

The 'stock' Nova Display sells for $795.

The "Custom Corvair Display" cost me $1400!

I am the guy with the 'arrows in my back' being the first person to ask Dakota Digital to make a unit to fit the Corvair LM Dash! Now that they know how to do it, I am hoping the price will come down. The Custom part is the actual display, made to fit the '3-Hole Dash' which is 'different' than anything else Chevy made! The nicest part is how easy it bolts on in place of the Chevy cluster!

The rest of the system is the VHX Control Box which delivers data to the different displays they offer. It is made to drive Analog displays, which was one of my requirements. I could have gone with digital readouts, but that would spoil the look of the Corvair Dash. The VHX Control Box can take a variety of 'add-on' boxes to display a very wide range of signals.

For now I decided to just add the GPS Speedometer module. There are several 'gotchas' you have to deal with and I will continue this post, showing what and how I did it!

I strongly suggest that Corvair folks look at the Dakota Digital website! You can even download their tech manuals!

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: toms73novass ()
Date: October 03, 2018 12:46PM

looks great!

-Tom


63' Monza Spyder Convertable (in process) MY Build Thread
65' Monza MY Build Thread
73' NovaSS 454 Big block
86' BMW 325es
98' Dodge 2500 12v Cummins Diesel with 1200 lb torque!
98' VW Jetta TDI, for daughter
01' Audi Allroad Stage 3 twin turbo

NFCC
Grand Island, NY

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: larry202br ()
Date: October 03, 2018 01:38PM

Looks great, and I really like it. But, the cost is a bit much for me. Thanks for the post and the pics.

1961 rampside with a 65 / 67 110 engine, car four speed.
Now I have 1965 convertible as well, got it running in June, autocrossed in July 2016 at the convention!

KC0SKX
Olathe, ks
HACOA

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: 65Ragtop ()
Date: October 03, 2018 01:46PM

Super cool! Nice job and follow through. I have a Corsa dash and think its one of the greats..... but if i had a Monza dash I would be very interested in this. Could happen someday. Thanks!thumbs up

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: Paulsgt ()
Date: October 03, 2018 02:03PM

This is awesome! I did call Dakota Digital and they quoted me $1,200 for the setup. It's probably a good deal but there are other options out there that can be had for around $600.

Paul Sergeant
CORSA Central Division Director / CORSA Treasurer <-new title
Lee's Summit, MO
CORSA since 1975
Member – HACOA, Corvair Minnesota, CORSA, Little Indians, POCI



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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: Seth Emerson ()
Date: October 03, 2018 09:38PM

It looks great, Dale. I wonder if the VHX box could handle a head temp input and display? I read that the high-temp switch is integrated. The head temp is the only place a numerical (digital) readout would be useful. Anyway, nice work! (both you and Dakota!)

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 03, 2018 09:43PM

OK, I think I should show "what" I can monitor on my new Custom Instrument Panel.

In the "NORMAL" Mode:
Speedometer (0 to 160 MPH)
Odometer (0 to 999,999 Miles)
Tachometer (0 to 8,000 RPM)
Time of Day (When using GPS adapter, from Satellite)
Oil Pressure (0 to 80 PSI)
Oil Temperature (0 to 300 Degrees F)
Battery Voltage (0 - 18 Volts)
Fuel Level (E to F)

Using the 'hidden buttons' I can select:

Trip A (0 to 9999.9 Miles)
Trip B (0 to 9999.9 Miles)
Re-settable Service Mileage (0 - 9999 Countdown)
High Speed Recall
High RPM Recall
0 to 60 MPH Time
1/4 Mile Time
1/4 Mile end Speed
Hour Meter (Re-settable)

Built-in Indicators
Left/Right Turn Signal Indicators
High Beam Indicator
Check Engine Indicator
4x4 Indicator (not used)
Wait to Start Indicator (not used)
Cruise Control Indicator (may be used later on!)
Gear Position Indicator (not used)

Outputs:
Shift Output to activate external light
Selectable 2000ppm or 4000ppm speed output for Cruise or ECM

Auxiliary gauge reading can be seen in the LCD Message Displays when using Bus Interface Modules (BIM)

The unit is completely programmable using the "hidden buttons" and I found it very easy to program it to use the Corvair Fuel Sensor and Tach Input. Using the GPS-50-2 second generation GPS BIM device allowed me to program the Speedometer and Time of Day from the GPS signals. The GPS-50-2 will also let me display Outside Air Temp and Direction.

All of this on a sealed Display over a Cat 6 Cable makes the cost seem reasonable to me. Because I was ordering a 'one of' Cluster I had to pick the color of the Instrument lighting and I picked Blue. I will post a couple of picture of that as well.

I will continue with a description of the installation process in the next few days!

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 03, 2018 09:56PM

In answer to Seth's question, YES, you can use one of their "BIM" modules to measure (and display) Head and or Exhaust temperatures!

The model BIM-12-1 will take a variety of Thermistor sensors and provide readouts of either Head Temp or Exhaust Temp. It can provide simultaneous readout of one Head and one Exhaust in place of Odometer and Time-of-Day readouts.

I have talked to Dakota Digital about this and I may install one of these with the Exhaust type sensors screwed into each Head so I can read them at the same time.

That is probably as exotic as I will go. The Monza is a 110/PG fun car, not a dragster or road course demon!

BTW, I did not mention it but I installed the "hidden buttons" (now a spring return/two position switch) in the unused Ash Tray. There when you need it, out of site when you don't!

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: ihscomputers ()
Date: October 04, 2018 04:33AM

Fantastic!

Looking forward to more details on the installation process.

Very vairy interested!

Dean F. Gemberling
Columbus, Georgia


1963 Rampside w/305 V8 - Built by Ken Arnold in 1998

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: 67 airvair ()
Date: October 04, 2018 06:09AM

Dale, when you get around to wanting cruise control, contact me. I have a mostly self-contained system ready to install on my project car (WHEN I get it out of the body shop and start putting it together) that consists only of 1) a sensor that screws onto the stock speedo cable (it also has other options for setups like yours), 2) a rectangular box module with an electrical pigtail and a pull cable for the throttle coming out of it, and 3) a turn signal lever mounted control "panel" (similar to other standard car designs) to run it. All very compact and simple.

The neat thing is that, if successful, the box will be mounted in the trunk kinda under the master brake cylinder, with the electrical cable and pull cable going through the cowl panel and attaching the electrical directly into the under dash harness. The pull cable will have a long extension that will be snaked down into the tunnel and hooked onto the throttle pedal lever. At least, that's the plan.

Maybe by the time you're ready for cruise, I'll actually have mine up and running.

-Mark
still awaiting delivery of my car's body ;(

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 07, 2018 10:20AM

OK, so I have the new Dakota Digital Custom Instrument Cluster for my '67 4-Door Monza! grinning smiley

Now I have to figure out "HOW" to install it and hook up the Control Box. confused smiley

My idea is to mount the Control Box in a 'box' on the 'rear shelf' that is normally covered with a piece of cardboard. So, I removed the cardboard, cleaned and primed the 'shelf' and mounted the bottom of the new box to the shelf.

I wanted to get a path from the engine compartment to the shelf area that did not pass through the Air Inlet Plenum! I determined that the area between the left end (standing behind the car looking forward) and the body was the place to put my connector (I had determined to put a special Data Harness in, with a Mil-Spec connector to the 'shelf'). I was able to put in the hole for the connector in a place that works. It is not 'ideal' but not bad for version 1!

I also had to figure out what to do with those 'few things' that needed to be sent to the Control Box from the Dash harness. I decided to use Belden 8456 cable. This is a 10 conductor, 22 gauge cable that is about the same diameter as the Cat 6 cable that goes to the new Display.

The first picture is the new Display. The second picture shows the hole for the Data connector. The third picture shows the layout of the two cables.

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 07, 2018 10:49AM

Now that I have that figured out I need to see about what power the Control Box needs. It needs 'constant +12 volts' to retain the clock memory and return the needles to "0" when it is turned OFF.

The Control Box (and the Displays) are turned ON and OFF using the "ACC +12 volt" function of the Ignition Switch. I had to think about this for a while. NO "ACC" voltage appears in the engine compartment so how will I handle this?

I had only assigned 9 of the 10 conductors in the 'extra' cable to signals that the Control Box needed to see. I decided to use the 10th conductor to take "ACC +12 volts" to the Control Box location.

I installed a 6 Fuse "Fuse Block" on the wood shelf that the Control Box is mounted on and made an "ACC Switching Board" consisting of a small 12 volt Relay that operates whenever the Key is in "ACC" or "ON" and applies +12 volts to the ACC Input on the Control Box.

Each Power Input (Constant +12, and ACC) comes from its own 5 amp fuse.

A Ground Block was installed on the wood shelf to provide grounding for the Control Box, ACC Switch, and any additional items I may add.

Here is a picture of the 'preliminary' install of the Control Box.
The second picture is the 'final install' of the Control box and GPS-50-2 Speed/Time/Direction box.

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 09, 2018 12:13PM

At this point it was time to 'try it out' so I took it for a run around the neighborhood and everything worked as planned! Like the guy on the A-Team said, "I love it when a plan comes together!" eye popping smiley

Some interesting observations:

It took about 10 minutes for the GPS-50-2 device to find the satellites and display Time-of-Day.

The Oil Pressure started out at 40 psi when the engine is cold. As the engine warms up it goes down. I see 25 psi at 40 mph. Oil Pressure goes down to about 7 psi when engine is at normal temperature and you stop at a light.

The Display is set to show warnings in the LCD Readouts and the Oil Pressure minimum is set to 10 psi. When it dropped below 10 psi the Odometer reading changed to "09 Oil PSI" (that was the first readout). After it warmed up some more it showed "08 Oil PSI." The lowest reading was "07" when the engine was at temp on a 85+ degree day.

The "Oil Temperature" reading is actually a readout set for a water cooled car. I decided to put the Thermister in the Clark's Oil Pan Sensor Opening and see what would happen. It worked pretty well and read just above 220 degrees when the car was at full temp. I was only driving on city streets (45 mph max, I got to 50 'once in a while') so never got above 2500 rpm (the tach showed about 2100 rpm at 45 mph).

I am extremely pleased with the total results. I still have to clean it up, finish the 'box' that will hold it all and I may install a 'third brake light' on it as well.

I have a pdf file that has the electrical drawings for this if anyone is interested. Send me a PM with your email address and I will send you a copy.

If anyone has specific questions please post them here.

Thanks for checking it out!

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: MattNall ()
Date: October 09, 2018 12:23PM

7 psi HOT / idle is normal for a well used engine... make the alarm setpoint 5





MODERATOR
Sea Mountain, between Charleston Harbor and Coos Bay! SW Oregon Coast
Click HERE for My Website...Click HERE for My TechPages!
..............................110-PG.................................................Webered-Turbo

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: Spectre ()
Date: October 09, 2018 12:43PM

Was the 10 minutes to acquire the GPS satellites because this was the first time acquiring them? If so, I would assume future rides will acquire much faster, provided the car starts from the same location it stopped.

David Clamp


1965 Corsa convertible - 140 4spd/3.55/AM-FM

2013 Mustang GT convertible - 5.0, 6spd auto, Procharger i-1

2003 Miata SE - 6spd manual (wife's toy)

"Victory is mine!" - SG

Oklahoma City, OK

Click for Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Forecast

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 09, 2018 06:32PM

Yes, the '10 minutes' was the first time it was powered up.

As long as it has power it is ready to go!

When power is interrupted it will take 5 to 10 minutes to reaquire the satellite.

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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Re: How to Upgrade an LM Instrument Cluster! grinning smiley
Posted by: oldqmguy ()
Date: October 09, 2018 06:35PM

Matt,

I left it set to 10 psi so I could see what was going on.

Dale cool smiley

Dale E. Smiley CPBE
Life Member The Society of Broadcast Engineers
RETIRED Broadcast Engineer
CERTIFIED CORVAIR NUT
CORSA/Circle City Corvairs/Corvair Performance Group
Avon, Indiana
WB9SFF
1967 4-Door Monza PG!

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