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Firebird Cluster Build by rbell2915
Started on: 03-19-2020 05:59 PM
Replies: 21 (461 views)
Last post by: rbell2915 on 03-30-2020 05:58 PM
rbell2915
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Report this Post03-19-2020 05:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hey there everyone, this is my latest project. I bought a spare gauge cluster housing and I pulled the gauges out of a 95 or 96 Firebird in the junkyard. After disassembling the spare Fiero cluster and doing some cutting and Dremel work, I was able to build this. Obviously there is more work to be done, such as the wiring (planning on building a plug and play harness utilizing the spare cluster's plugs and some soldering) and making the back look nice. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.





Overall was a productive day! Up next is the wiring. I want to test everything and make sure it works before I finish making the housing look good.
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nosaint
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Report this Post03-19-2020 09:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for nosaintSend a Private Message to nosaintEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Regal GS in background?
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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-19-2020 09:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by nosaint:

Regal GS in background?


Yes. 2012 manual. The daily driver.
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nosaint
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Report this Post03-19-2020 10:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for nosaintSend a Private Message to nosaintEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
same!
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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-20-2020 07:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I completed the wiring harness and just finished testing it out. All of the warning lights are functional. The tachometer, volt meter, and fuel gauge are working as well. The speedometer is not getting any reading, the temp gauge isn't either. The oil pressure gauge seems to be reading 20-30 PSI high. I'm going to conduct continuity tests next to ensure everything has been connected successfully.
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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-21-2020 10:39 AM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post


Got the speedometer to work. Now I just have to sort out the temp gauge and the oil pressure.

[This message has been edited by rbell2915 (edited 03-21-2020).]

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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-21-2020 03:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
After conducting further testing, the temp gauge is getting 12v from the car's harness, through the adapter and gauge harness, and into the Firebird cluster plug. It appears that the gauge is broken. Going to try and scavenge the temp gauge from a 4th gen Camaro in the junkyard to replace it with.

Now I need to figure out the problem with the oil pressure gauge. I might try to use a potentiometer to drop the needle to the correct reading.
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Report this Post03-21-2020 04:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RCRClick Here to Email RCRSend a Private Message to RCREdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Nice job getting it going. Looks good in place. It's been a long time since someone has at least documented doing something like this.

Thanx for sharing.

Bob
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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-21-2020 07:10 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by RCR:

Nice job getting it going. Looks good in place. It's been a long time since someone has at least documented doing something like this.

Thanx for sharing.

Bob


Thanks a lot! I'm glad someone is getting some enjoyment out of this. I thought I would be getting some more traction in this thread.

Here are photos of the wiring harness.



Since I didn't have a 120 mph speedometer to use, I had to use a buffer from a third gen 4/6 cylinder F-body in order to create a usable signal for the gauge cluster.



Here is a close up of the speedometer plug. I was able to cut off the excess board and diodes since the yellow buffer creates the signal I need. Everything is contained inside the buffer.



Here are the C2 and C3 connectors.





After I took these photos, I used some wire loom to cover the wires on the speedometer, buffer, and C2. Since I'm still working on the C3 connector I didn't cover those wires yet. I tried to wire in a potentiometer in order to turn down the oil pressure signal to the correct reading. Unfortunately, all three pots I used barely moved the needle. The next idea I had is to use a 3.4l oil pressure sender and rig that up to the Fiero's connector. I am hoping that changing that sensor will give me the correct reading that the gauge requires. I'm also going to the junkyard tomorrow in order to scavenge a fuel gauge from a 96 Camaro. Hopefully the replacement will work.
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Report this Post03-22-2020 12:33 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SpadesluckSend a Private Message to SpadesluckEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I believe I saw you post this on Facebook. I very much like it. The cluster looks at home for sure. Nice work!

[This message has been edited by Spadesluck (edited 03-22-2020).]

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Report this Post03-22-2020 02:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for wftbClick Here to Email wftbSend a Private Message to wftbEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post


To go along with my ecotec swap I adapted a 2004 Cavalier instrument cluster. Not as much work as yours because my car has a cavalier wiring harness. Had to make a plexiglass cover to hide stuff that the cav dash normally covers and I disabled the warning lights for airbags abs etc by snipping the feeds to the diodes on the circuit board. Still some improving to do with the trim on the top but it works so I am happy with it.

[This message has been edited by wftb (edited 03-22-2020).]

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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-22-2020 04:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I went to the junkyard and scavenged a temp gauge from a 97 Grand Am. I swapped it into the Firebird cluster and warmed the car up. Still isn't moving the needle.

I also swapped out the Fiero's oil pressure sender for the one in my father's 02 Firebird, I was thinking that the Fiero's sender wasn't compatible with the Firebird cluster. I'm still having the same issue with the oil gauge getting pegged. I'm beginning to think that the cluster is faulty. It's strange to me that it would break, but who knows.

Of course, I am out of warranty on the gauge cluster so I'm going to have to try eBay or another junkyard nearby for another cluster.

Reading through the thread in the construction zone, it appeared to me that making the speedometer work was the most difficult issue. No one has posted in the thread in years, so I'm most likely on my own trying to figure this out.

Up next:

Create a fiberglass cover for the rear of the housing. I've never fiberglassed anything before, so this will be an adventure.

 
quote
Originally posted by Spadesluck:

I believe I saw you post this on Facebook. I very much like it. The cluster looks at home for sure. Nice work!



Thanks a lot! Hopefully I can get these wiring issues sorted out soon. I just purchased some foam and fiberglass material to begin making the rear cover.

 
quote
Originally posted by wftb:



To go along with my ecotec swap I adapted a 2004 Cavalier instrument cluster. Not as much work as yours because my car has a cavalier wiring harness. Had to make a plexiglass cover to hide stuff that the cav dash normally covers and I disabled the warning lights for airbags abs etc by snipping the feeds to the diodes on the circuit board. Still some improving to do with the trim on the top but it works so I am happy with it.



That looks nice. I think that fitting making a bezel for the front might be a challenge to look good. But I'll find a way. I already took care of the warning lights. It's just those last two gauges that are giving me issues.
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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-22-2020 05:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Finished the harness. It's not the prettiest thing but it'll be hidden.

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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-22-2020 08:10 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I started work on the rear housing. I took some blocks of foam and I glued them onto the plastic at a depth I believe will be sufficient for all of the wiring to be stored inside.





Time to let it dry overnight. It should be cured tomorrow and then I'm going to sand the foam down. After it looks satisfactory, I'm going to start the fiberglass procedure.

[This message has been edited by rbell2915 (edited 03-22-2020).]

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Report this Post03-23-2020 10:42 AM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
This morning I sanded the foam down into the shape of the rear housing.



Then I taped everything up for added strength and to fill any gaps I couldn't with the foam.



Covered it with waxpaper so the mold would be easy to remove.



Here it is with the fiberglass on it. Now I'm letting it cure.



I am hoping that the fiberglass looks good. I'm not feeling too confident about my skills so if it looks bad I'm going to add more fiberglass to it. I also have some glaze that I can use to fill in the holes and imperfections.
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Report this Post03-24-2020 09:26 AM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post






Currently cutting off excess material. I'm surprised at how well it fits.
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Report this Post03-24-2020 04:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I did lots of trimming on the rear housing today. The edge doesn't sit flush so I'm going to try and correct that tomorrow. It's never going to be perfect, but when it gets wrapped it'll be fine.

I also ordered a replacement gauge cluster from another 1996 Firebird off eBay. Hopefully that one is fully functional.
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Report this Post03-25-2020 03:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SpadesluckSend a Private Message to SpadesluckEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Nice work for a DIY. Fiberglass is a skill that you only get better at by doing it more often. Just a very tedious procedure though.
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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-25-2020 05:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Spadesluck:

Nice work for a DIY. Fiberglass is a skill that you only get better at by doing it more often. Just a very tedious procedure though.


Thanks a lot. I did a little bit of touching up on it and then tomorrow I'm going to trim it again. It's slowly fitting better.

I also had the idea to unplug the Fiero auxiliary gauges. That actually fixed the oil pressure issue I was having. Now it's reading correctly. Who would've thought that was the issue? Now I just have to get the temp gauge to work. I'm still under the impression that the cluster may be bad. I'll know for sure tomorrow, that's when the replacement shows up.

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rbell2915
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Report this Post03-26-2020 11:19 AM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I just got my replacement gauge cluster in the mail and all of the gauges are working now! Glad to see it wasn't a wiring issue.

All that's left to do is to finish the cluster housing. I'm planning on getting both sections wrapped in leather or vinyl. I also have to make a new cluster lens. The current one is scratched all over from sliding it in and out of the housing.
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Report this Post03-26-2020 08:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post


Here is my progress on the front. I have some more trimming to do on the lower bezel. I'll be filling the holes and painting it black, and right now my plan is to silicone it into place. I also drew up a template for the upper bezel. I'm going to carve it out of foam and seal it with fiberglass resin. Hopefully it won't melt. But if it does, I'll think of another way to do it.

I also replaced the lights in the new cluster with red LEDs and it looks fantastic. I also need to spin the mileage up to what my Fiero has right now. So many things to do. Where does the time go?
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Report this Post03-30-2020 05:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rbell2915Click Here to Email rbell2915Send a Private Message to rbell2915Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post


Finally got the gauge cluster mounted. But the hood of the cluster is so large that from the normal driving position cant see anything above 40mph. I'm thinking that I might have to grind out the hood in a semi-circle. I also cracked the housing so will have to reenforce the crack with some metal and JB Weld. It's also going to be difficult figuring out where all of the plugs are going. There's very little room everywhere I look.



I also installed LEDs. Looks amazing at night.

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