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Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-02-15 6:26 PM (#558168)
Subject: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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Inspired by a tach installed by Dave Homstad (as shown below), I have decided to try to develop an OE-look 2" twin gauge pod to sit above the steering column with the left side of the twin pod holding a voltmeter and the right side holding a 2" tach (so I don't over rev my dear old D500 engine). To this end, I've now purchased a NOS 1626 901 bezel and lens unit as a starting point. When I picked the NOS bezel up today I realized that it's literally just the plastic part and the plated steel rings, no housing. So I've now purchased a used 55/56 Plymouth gauge housing to gut and create the rear part of a pod. Not sure about the front, i.e. whether I will need a metal "blind" to mimic the dash - or not.

Interesting that the lens of the OE gauges actually acts as a magnifying glass and that the "chrome" button is actually an integral part of the lens and is back-painted with the "chrome".

Here are the pertinent photos of the starting point of this project. The first one is courtesy of Dave Homstad and his 56 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer (Dave used his old clock housing to mount a 2" tach)



Edited by 56D500boy 2018-02-15 6:33 PM




(DHomstads2inchDashTach.jpg)



(NOS1626901_55_56InstrumentBezelAndLens.jpg)



(TempAndFuelGauge_Front.jpg)



(TempAndFuelGauge_Back.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments DHomstads2inchDashTach.jpg (236KB - 21 downloads)
Attachments NOS1626901_55_56InstrumentBezelAndLens.jpg (149KB - 24 downloads)
Attachments TempAndFuelGauge_Front.jpg (23KB - 21 downloads)
Attachments TempAndFuelGauge_Back.jpg (21KB - 21 downloads)
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-03 8:15 PM (#559158 - in reply to #558168)
Subject: RE: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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In an older related thread "Was there really a 56 D-500 tachometer?" Nathan (Powerflite) replied:

Powerflite - 2017-01-03 4:50 PM
I have one of those Fury Tachs that I purchased to put into my Savoy dash, but I am not sure I want to cut that big of a hole there, and dealing with the sender is a pain. For your Dodge, it seems that a column or dash mounted tach is what you want anyway, and it wouldn't require a special sender for it. So I would recommend that approach. You have a clock in your dash that most people find to be pretty useless in the days of cell phones and ipods, and hard to keep oiled & working. You could convert that into a tachometer. That would be pretty cool. The Plymouth and DeSoto used a clock that mounted on top of the dash that could be turned into a pretty neat tach too.


Dave H. has already gone down that road (converting the clock location to a Tach). Looks good but not exactly line of sight.



I purchased a used gauge pod to convert/modify to combo voltmeter and tachometer, attached to the steering column.

I will be using nominal 2" gauges, perhaps from Autometer, maybe something like these:



Or these ones from VDO:



(I am open to suggestions if somebody has some)

Sitting in a two gauge pod, something like this:



Edited by 56D500boy 2018-03-03 8:27 PM




(MockUpOfOETwoGaugePodOnSteeringColumnForVoltMeterAndSmallTach.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments MockUpOfOETwoGaugePodOnSteeringColumnForVoltMeterAndSmallTach.jpg (160KB - 20 downloads)
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GaryS
Posted 2018-03-03 9:49 PM (#559161 - in reply to #558168)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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New Vintage has some styles that look quite retro. They will also make custom faces for their gauges, though the price is a bit stiff. They are good folks to deal with and they respond quickly by email.

The two console gauges in my '64 Valiant are the ones with custom bezels I made from plastic plumbing pipe and then chrome plated.

http://newvintageusallc.mybigcommerce.com/

Edited by GaryS 2018-03-03 10:05 PM




(Radio and Console.JPG)



Attachments
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Attachments Radio and Console.JPG (121KB - 19 downloads)
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-04 1:31 AM (#559170 - in reply to #559161)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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GaryS - 2018-03-03 9:49 PM
New Vintage has some styles that look quite retro. They will also make custom faces for their gauges, though the price is a bit stiff. They are good folks to deal with and they respond quickly by email.


Gary: Thanks for the lead. I like their gauges but I can't find a 2 1/16" tach in any of their product lines. I do like a couple of their 2 1/16" Voltmeters because the needle base is centered and would hide nicely under the "chrome" button of the OE bezel.

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sermey
Posted 2018-03-04 5:37 AM (#559176 - in reply to #559170)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge


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Dave, you did a big progress in the quality of all your attachments, nice to look at - my compliments.  - SERGE - 

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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-06 11:14 PM (#559371 - in reply to #559170)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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I contacted Autometer the other day to see what they recommended. The answer that they came back with was to try playing with their Custom Gauge website:

http://www.ampcustomshop.com/gallery

Which I did. Changed the default gauges to 2 1/16" and Voltmeter and Tach. Here are two of the possibilities that I created (neither is real close to the OE 56 Dodge gauges). Cost would be $272 or $277 for the pair.



Edited by 56D500boy 2018-03-06 11:16 PM




(56DodgeGaugesWithCustomAutoMeterInBritGreenlAntiqueNumbersSilverBezel.jpg)



(56DodgeGaugesWithCustomAutoMeterInFlatBlackDialAntiqueNumbersSilverBezel.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 56DodgeGaugesWithCustomAutoMeterInBritGreenlAntiqueNumbersSilverBezel.jpg (244KB - 27 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeGaugesWithCustomAutoMeterInFlatBlackDialAntiqueNumbersSilverBezel.jpg (241KB - 18 downloads)
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DepsilonD
Posted 2018-03-07 1:49 PM (#559405 - in reply to #558168)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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I've got a connection that can possibly make you a decal that will replicate the exact look of the Dodge gauges but will be set up for whatever tach you use. I am pretty sure he is in Canada if I am remembering correctly. And if the gauge is too small, maybe the same decal could hide whatever you use to fill the space. Just a thought. https://premiumdashdecals.com

Dave

Edited by DepsilonD 2018-03-07 1:52 PM
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-07 8:58 PM (#559428 - in reply to #559405)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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I got back in touch with AutoMeter regarding finding a center-pivot (or "full sweep") voltmeter for the "custom shop". Found one and played a bit using a "Brit Green" face, beige needle and beige markers. Printed on heavy photo paper and cut the resulting gauge images and tried them in the old gauge cluster that I bought. See below. Probably not good enough to warrant the US$382 for the two gauges (Ouch).

I think that I like the flat black face better. I'll try that one tomorrow.

PS: I will be using a NOS bezel with perfect chrome and scratch-free lenses - eventually.





Edited by 56D500boy 2018-03-07 9:01 PM




(AutoMeterCustomGaugeMockUpInOld2GaugeClusterForSizeCheck.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments AutoMeterCustomGaugeMockUpInOld2GaugeClusterForSizeCheck.jpg (191KB - 25 downloads)
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-08 6:30 PM (#559478 - in reply to #559428)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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56D500boy - 2018-03-07 8:58 PM
I got back in touch with AutoMeter regarding finding a center-pivot (or "full sweep") voltmeter for the "custom shop". Found one and played a bit using a "Brit Green" face, beige needle and beige markers. Printed on heavy photo paper and cut the resulting gauge images and tried them in the old gauge cluster that I bought. See below. Probably not good enough to warrant the US$382 for the two gauges (Ouch).
I think that I like the flat black face better. I'll try that one tomorrow.
PS: I will be using a NOS bezel with perfect chrome and scratch-free lenses - eventually.



I contacted Autometer again and asked them:

"I have gone through the custom shop but what I came up with was $380 for the two gauges. That seems too much. The fall back is either a white face or a black face set, full sweep center-pivot voltmeter and tachometer both in 52 mm (2 1/16") and from the same gauge series. I can't seem to find a matching pair. I am crazy?"

They replied this AM with

"Unfortunately, the reason they are expensive is the full sweep volt gauge. The motor they use in them is what we call our Digital Stepper Motor. Which is our top of the line meter. I do not make a full sweep volt gauge in any of the series I make a tach that small. So as far as I know, the custom shop will be your only option. "

Hmm...so either I go cheap and ugly (black face, Arial font, red pointer) off the shelf or I go back to the custom shop. Which I did. I printed the "final" one off and put those and yesterday's trials in my new NOS bezel with unscratched lenses and nice and shiny chrome rings.

The first two below are yesterday's trials with the full sweep voltmeter. About $382 for the pair. The third and last one uses a "normal" 90 degree sweep voltmeter which helped to bring the price down to $272 with green LED edge lighting (not shown in the print out - I forgot to turn the edge lighting "ON" before I printed on heavy matte photo paper). Might be the winner.





Edited by 56D500boy 2018-03-08 9:30 PM




(AutoMeterCustomGreenFaceRoundTicksFullSweepVoltAndRPM_382dollars.jpg)



(AutoMeterCustomFlatBlackFaceDartTicksFullSweepVoltAndRPM_372dollars.jpg)



(AutoMeterCustomFlatBlackFaceRoundTicks90degSweepVoltAndRPM_272dollars.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments AutoMeterCustomGreenFaceRoundTicksFullSweepVoltAndRPM_382dollars.jpg (159KB - 18 downloads)
Attachments AutoMeterCustomFlatBlackFaceDartTicksFullSweepVoltAndRPM_372dollars.jpg (156KB - 18 downloads)
Attachments AutoMeterCustomFlatBlackFaceRoundTicks90degSweepVoltAndRPM_272dollars.jpg (141KB - 15 downloads)
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-10 9:17 PM (#559617 - in reply to #559478)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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Here's the flat black face, round "ticks", 90 deg sweep Voltmeter and 0-7K Tach mock-up in the car.



Edited by 56D500boy 2018-03-10 9:19 PM




(AutoMeterCustomFlatBlackFaceRoundTicks90degSweepVoltAndRPM_272dollarsInTheCarMockup.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments AutoMeterCustomFlatBlackFaceRoundTicks90degSweepVoltAndRPM_272dollarsInTheCarMockup.jpg (152KB - 20 downloads)
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GaryS
Posted 2018-03-11 11:06 AM (#559647 - in reply to #558168)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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I like those. Perfect is expensive, but those are nice. I suspect the only things that would make anyone question the installation are the AutoMeter name and possibly the lighting method. If you can shape and paint the shell to match and complement the dash, they might be mistaken for a dealer installed option by anyone not expert in FL models.
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-22 11:42 AM (#560297 - in reply to #559647)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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GaryS - 2018-03-11 11:06 AM
I like those. Perfect is expensive, but those are nice. I suspect the only things that would make anyone question the installation are the AutoMeter name and possibly the lighting method. If you can shape and paint the shell to match and complement the dash, they might be mistaken for a dealer installed option by anyone not expert in FL models.


I've contacted John Fowlie at Big M and asked to purchase a section of 55/56 Dodge dash from an otherwise unusable dash (I didn't want him to cut up a usable one). He is going to do that for me (for a price). See the photo below that I sent him. I will use the metal from two adjoining gauges to create the front of the gauge pod, through which my NOS bezels and lenses will poke.

I also finally settled on the Autometer custom design using "Graphite" for the gauge face, beige dots for markers, white Antique letters and white pointer, as shown below. It was the best that I could do with their available colours.

3 week delivery time from placing my order this AM. Time to work on other things, of which there are many many many.







(ProposedCutOutSectionOf55or56DodgeDashForAuxGaugeProject_small.jpg)



(DaveFsAutometerCustomGraphite2GaugeKitDetails.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments ProposedCutOutSectionOf55or56DodgeDashForAuxGaugeProject_small.jpg (157KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments DaveFsAutometerCustomGraphite2GaugeKitDetails.jpg (77KB - 17 downloads)
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GaryS
Posted 2018-03-22 12:31 PM (#560302 - in reply to #558168)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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Looks good! I'll be anxious to see the finished product.
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-29 5:28 PM (#560689 - in reply to #560297)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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Got a section of dash today from John at Big M. I thought for a moment that I was losing my mind because I planned to use the center two holes in the dash but the one of those in the dash section that I got is for the ash tray, not the clock. I guess they moved the ashtray and clock locations between 55 and 56. Not to worry, I can work around that.

What I asked John for:



What I got (today), with an older gauge module in place for fun. I won't be using the mounting tabs - makes the tach and voltmeter pod too big. I will have to carefully scribe the outer edge of the gauge pod onto the back of the dash section and cut it even more carefully. At worst, I would still have two more adjacent holes to work with (one of them - the ashtray hole - would have to be opened up and made circular first).

Thanks again John.



Edited by 56D500boy 2018-03-29 5:33 PM




(55-56DashSectionFromBigMAndOldGauge Pod.jpg)



(BackSideOfDashSectionShowingNormalGaugePodAttachmentPoints.jpg)



(55-56DashSectionTrimLines.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 55-56DashSectionFromBigMAndOldGauge Pod.jpg (74KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments BackSideOfDashSectionShowingNormalGaugePodAttachmentPoints.jpg (95KB - 22 downloads)
Attachments 55-56DashSectionTrimLines.jpg (204KB - 17 downloads)
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-29 9:32 PM (#560695 - in reply to #560689)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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Oh my, this is going to be hard to resist (would have to be based on a hi-res photo of D500 badge, shrunk, printed on a vinyl sticker, trimmed, applied and then clear-coated).



Edited by 56D500boy 2018-03-29 9:37 PM




(55-56DashSectionTrimLinesWithFlags.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 55-56DashSectionTrimLinesWithFlags.jpg (209KB - 19 downloads)
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Powerflite
Posted 2018-03-29 10:35 PM (#560707 - in reply to #558168)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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You should put a slight saddle on the top part too to make it symmetric, and to clear more room for your speedometer. I think it would look better that way. Are you going to leave the back open or just butt it up against the dash as much as possible?
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-29 10:42 PM (#560711 - in reply to #560707)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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Powerflite - 2018-03-29 10:35 PM
You should put a slight saddle on the top part too to make it symmetric, and to clear more room for your speedometer. I think it would look better that way. Are you going to leave the back open or just butt it up against the dash as much as possible?


Interesting thought. I will consider it.

When I've trialed the pod on the steering column, I've kept it away from the dash. My plan was to get this "spare" dash section, trim it up and then bend some thin sheet steel to the same contour, wide enough that it covers the side of the OE pod and any bits of the gauges that end up hanging out the back. However, since I don't have the gauges from AutoMeter yet (probably another 2 weeks), I can't really finalize that part of the concept. Not like I don't have 15 other sub-projects going on to keep me busy in the meantime.

The OE gauge pod has a ridge around its perimeter that I would trim at the bottom but I wasn't planning to do so at the top. Stay tuned.



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71charger_fan
Posted 2018-03-30 5:22 PM (#560777 - in reply to #558168)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge


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I know a guy with a complete '56 Fury dash, including tach. I have no idea if that tach would be of any use to you. PM me if you're interested and I'll give you his email address.
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-03-30 6:05 PM (#560782 - in reply to #560777)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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71charger_fan - 2018-03-30 5:22 PM
I know a guy with a complete '56 Fury dash, including tach. I have no idea if that tach would be of any use to you. PM me if you're interested and I'll give you his email address.


Thanks for thinking of me/this project. I considered a Fury tach early on in this project but they are huge and would be difficult to locate on a 56 Dodge dash. Mounted on the steering column, it would very likely obscure the speedo. My proposed gauges will not. And then there is the issue of the sender for the Fury tach. People have Fury tachs for sale on eBay quite often but they never seem to have remembered to save the sender.

I've purchased the AutoMeter gauges now, so I am committed to Plan A. Besides I get the voltmeter that I wanted too.



Fury tach (I love the crossed flags but....):



Edited by 56D500boy 2018-03-30 6:08 PM




(1956PlymouthFuryTach.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 1956PlymouthFuryTach.jpg (166KB - 18 downloads)
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-04-20 9:18 PM (#562000 - in reply to #560782)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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Well, the rubber is about to hit the road. After waiting about a month since ordering (March 22), the custom gauges arrived today. I've trialed them behind the NOS bezel/lense but not in the OE gauge housing (yet). Although I hate to think it, I might have to modify these brand new gauges by removing the bezel and glass to get the gauge face closer to the NOS lens. I knew this was a possibility from the get go and even asked if they could NOT put the chrome bezel and glass on the gauge. They said no. Too bad.

Another possibility would be to remove the "chrome" (plastic) center from the OE gauge lens that came when I bought a used guage module and glue them on to the Autometer gauge faces and skip the OE NOS lenses (but utilize the new large chrome rings). I can mock-that up without harming the new gauges so that might be the way to start with.

Today's photos starting with a repeat of the mock-up I created in paper before ordering.:





Edited by 56D500boy 2018-04-20 9:25 PM




(ThePaperMockUpsUsedToProofTheConceptBeforeOrdering.jpg)



(TheRealGaugesGraphiteFaceWhiteNumbersAndPointerBeigeDotMarkers.jpg)



(TheRealGaugesBehindTheNOSBezel.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments ThePaperMockUpsUsedToProofTheConceptBeforeOrdering.jpg (124KB - 10 downloads)
Attachments TheRealGaugesGraphiteFaceWhiteNumbersAndPointerBeigeDotMarkers.jpg (109KB - 11 downloads)
Attachments TheRealGaugesBehindTheNOSBezel.jpg (139KB - 10 downloads)
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mstrug
Posted 2018-04-21 5:45 AM (#562007 - in reply to #558168)
Subject: Re: Towards an OE look Tach for a 56 Dodge



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Looks Great!
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