Checking the Vitals

How to Install Modern Gauges in Your First-Gen Camaro

By Evan Perkins   –   Photography by the Author

Part of the allure of vintage cars is that sensation of nostalgia that only comes from driving one. However, vintage electronics, especially in the gauge department, can leave a lot to be desired. Their sole purpose is to keep your engine safe, battery charged, and fuel tank visibly full enough to not strand you on the side of the road—all things any driver will appreciate.

001 LT1 Gen V V 8
The powerplant of this Camaro, an ex-drag car being returned to street duty, is an LT1 Gen V V-8. It will be topped with a take-off LT4 supercharger. The late-model engine needed some high-tech instruments to properly monitor its vitals.
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Modern, digital gauges bring surgical precision to monitoring vehicle parameters that their predecessors simply can’t. For this LT-swapped Camaro project, being built at Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory, the crew turned to Classic Instruments for one of their G-Stock instrument clusters. These pair a high-end dash bezel with a 4 5/8-inch Speedtachular (combination speedometer and tachometer) with a quad-gauge containing coolant temperature, voltage, oil pressure, and fuel level. It brings significantly more peace of mind to the table than the factory offering and installs much more quickly than individual gauges could.

Read More: OEM-Quality Insulation for Your Classic Performance Car

The whole assembly is ready to bolt in place of the factory gauge bezel, saving even more time on wiring.

002 1968 camaro removing the cars factory gauge bezel
David Stoker of Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory got to work removing the car’s factory gauge bezel.
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003 1968 camaro classic instruments gauges

Follow along as David Stoker of Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory installs the setup, bringing this ’68 F-body one step closer to late-model performance.

004 1968 camaro factory gauges monitored only speed and fuel level
The factory gauges monitored only speed and fuel level, leaving a lot to be desired.
005 1968 camaro G Stock instrument cluster from Classic Instruments covers mph water temperature fuel level oil pressure rpm and voltage
The G-Stock instrument cluster from Classic Instruments covers mph, water temperature, fuel level, oil pressure, rpm, and voltage, giving David much better visibility over the Camaro’s operating parameters.
006 1968 camaro G Stock cluster includes all the relevant senders
The G-Stock cluster includes all the relevant senders, which in this case are oil pressure and water temperature.
007 1968 camaroG Stock has a single pig tail that neatly packages the necessary wiring
The G-Stock has a single pig tail that neatly packages the necessary wiring. It includes these crimp-on pins so that a companion connector can be attached to the vehicle harness.
008 1968 camaro vehicle harness wires labeled
David had all the vehicle harness wires labeled so they could be properly pinned into the harness.
009 1968 camaro wire received a pin then was slipped into the harness
Each wire received a pin, then was slipped into the harness.
010 1968 camaro classic instruments gauges
From this point forward the gauges and bezel can easily be installed or removed.
011 1968 camaroClassic Instruments setup required a new water temperature sender be installed
The Classic Instruments setup required a new water temperature sender be installed. Terry Stoker removed the LT1’s water pump from the engine to make the install easier.
012 1968 camaro back of the water pump has a boss from the factory that is perfect for the sender placement
The back of the water pump has a boss from the factory that is perfect for the sender placement.
013 1968 camaro classic instruments gauges
It was drilled, tapped, and the sender installed.
014 1968 camarowater pump was reinstalled and there is more than adequate clearance to access the sender
The water pump was reinstalled and there is more than adequate clearance to access the sender.
015 1968 camaro oil pressure is pulled from the oil pan on an LT
Unlike a traditional small-block that has 1/8-inch NPT ports all over the block, oil pressure is pulled from the oil pan on an LT.
016 1968 camaro classic instruments gauges
Terry found this aftermarket aluminum block that was pre-tapped for a sender, but the factory plate can easily be drilled and tapped.
017 1968 camaro wires pinned and installed in the connector
With all the wires pinned and installed in the connector, David snapped the male and female sides together in preparation for the completed gauge bezel.
018 1968 camaro only two wires that are not part of the connector
There are only two wires that are not part of the connector. One is the main ground and the other is the wire used to calibrate the speedometer.
019 1968 camaro completed cluster installed in the dash
Here is the completed cluster installed in the dash. It’s a perfect blend of late-model capability with a vintage aesthetic that fits perfectly in the interior.

Sources
Classic Instruments
(844) 342-8437
classicinstruments.com

Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory
(909) 920-6797

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Classic Instruments
(844) 342-8437
classicinstruments.com

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