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By Chirag Asaravala

The problem with old cars is having to compromise vintage aesthetics for modern technology. Often times there is no way around it, as in the case of monitoring vital engine parameters. The factory gauges were either overly simplified, or in many cases just non-exisitant. (It's still a wonder why so many new cars fail to come with something as so basic as a oil pressure gauge!) Since most of us aren't willing to risk our engines on the account of maintaining a stock "look", we resort to buying modern, more precise and accurate, gauges and hanging them off the steering column, under the dash, or where-ever dash space allows. The end result is a something resembling the workshop of a deranged clocksmith.

But what other choice is there? If you are imaginative you've probably often stared at those pretty aftermarket gauges and wished they'd magically reside in the stock instrument cluster. (If you are innovative you've probably figured out a way to make this happen.) Well fortunately for those of us lacking the fabrication skills, JME Enterprises has the solution. The Southern California based Mustang parts and modification business has a reputation for engineering worthwhile mods for these early cars. A few years back they came up with a way to not only put high-quality Autometer gauges into the stock 65-68 instrument panels, but to wire it up in such a way that the end result is clean and factory like.



Here's the JME Enterprises 67-68 gauge cluster we'll be installing in our 1967 Mustang. We specifically asked for full-sweep Autometer Ultra-Lite gauges in a black camera-case bezel. The gauges are an electronic speedometer, 10,000 rpm tach, fuel-level, and full-sweep electric oil pressure and water temperature. The JME gauge cluster retains use of the factory wiper switch, turn signal indicators and brake warning light.

The real beauty of the JME cluster is how JME integrates the gauges into a wiring harness that is plug-and-play with the factory underdash harness. The only wiring you have to deal with is grounding the cluster, the tachometer (green wire) and if you opted for the electronic speedometer (red and gray wires.) Of course you also need to install your water temperature and oil pressure sensors.

This is another companies 67-68 gauge cluster. Actually they just sell the plastic bezel, you put in the Autometer gauges. The end result is a bundle of snakes as shown.

If you weren't using electric oil pressure and water temperature sensor gauges then you'll need to install the supplied sensors and route the wiring through your firewall.


The supplied sensors simply install in the place of the existing water temperature and oil temperature sensors. Use some telflon tape to ensure a leak free seal. Route your wiring through the firewall using a grommet and make the connections.


We opted for an Autometer electronic/programmable speedometer rather than using a conventional gear and cable drive system. This enables precise mph readings regardless of gearing or tire size. The gauge uses a vehicle speed sensor (VSS) on the end of the driven gear in the transmission case to send a signal to the gauge. The VSS can be obtained from a late-model Ford (shown in hand) or new from Autometer.

The VSS installs in the side of the transmission as shown here. . It doesn't really matter what gear you use on the end as you'll be able to program the speedometer to precisely your vehicle gearing and tire. The programming is a simply process of putting the speedometer gauge into program mode (pushing the trip odometer button while starting the engine) and then driving a 2 mile distance at about a constant 45mph.

Doing away with the stock gauge cluster is merely a matter of removing the five mounting screws and disconnecting the electrical connectors and speedometer. Two of the screws are located below (shown) and three along the top of the cluster.

With the screws removed, pull the cluster forward and reach behind to disconnect the wiper switch connector.

From the underside of the cluster access and remove the retaining nut for the speedometer cable.

Finally, the gauge can be tilted face-down on the steering column to allow access to the two connectors to the underdash harness.

With all of the connections removed the factory cluster can be pulled out from the dash.

A comparison of the stock and JME gauge clusters for 67-68 Mustangs. Note how well JME wires up the Autometer gauges to match the factory harness.

Prior to installing the new cluster you'll need to transfer over the window wiper switch from the stock cluster as shown.

We also upgraded the light bulbs in the Autometer gauges to green-LED's to retain the stock green glow and use less amperage.

Installation is simply reverse of removal, except there is no speedometer cable to connect.

Be sure to connect the ground wire, we used a factory grounding point on the dash metal behind the instrument cluster.

Before we permanently secure the new cluster into the dash we flipped the headlight switch to check all the gauges were getting power.

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In This Article:
Getting rid of all those cluttered gauges on your dashboard and installing a JME Enterprises Autometer Gauge cluster in your vintage Mustang.


Also See:
Late-Model Autometer Gauge Cluster

 
 

The factory gauge cluster offers very little useful information for the serious enthusiast. As a result most guys supplement with modern instruments, such as a precision tachometer and full sweep oil pressure and water temperature gauges. This, however, creates a very cluttered dash as evident here.
 

JME also offers Autometer instument panels for 65-66 and 69-70 Mustangs (shown.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

JME Enterprises, Inc.
15335 Castle Peak Ln, Building A Jamul, CA 91935
Tel. (619) 669-9904

Autometer
413 West Elm Street
Sycamore, IL 60178
Tel. (815) 899-0800

 

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