A Modern Cluster for 1967-72 Blue Oval Trucks

Dakota Digital’s Latest RTX Series Instrument System is Bumpside Specific

By Ryan Manson   –   Photography by the Author

When it comes to OE instrument clusters, most of our classic trucks leave something to be desired in regards to reliability and accuracy, not to mention aesthetics. Back when these trucks were original, that may well have been good and fine, but with the addition of modern powerplants and the expectation of more accurate information, that old cluster just isn’t going to cut it. Accuracy by way of digital and solid state technology combined with a design that complements any classic truck has become the theme for Dakota Digital’s RTX line of instrument clusters, and their latest offering for ’67-72 Ford F-Series pickups continues that trend.

- Advertisement -
02 Our old cluster lacked accurate information as well as visual appeal RTX Gauges
Our old cluster lacked accurate information as well as visual appeal. Thankfully, Classic Industries offers a brand-new chrome bezel, allowing us to cast aside the old and mate the new bezel to the Dakota Digital gauge cluster.

Dakota Digital’s new RTX Series Retrotech Analog/Digital Instrument Cluster is not only a great visual improvement to the interior of any ’67-72 Ford F-Series truck, but a practical upgrade as well. Utilizing microprocessor technology, the RTX dashboard monitors solid state sensors, transmitting the digital data directly to precision stepper motor-driven gauges. This digital capability combined with solid state reliability results in unparalleled accuracy when it comes to keeping a keen eye on your truck’s entire powertrain system. Full LED backlighting provides over 30 user-selectable color options that allow independent treatment of the needle, sweep, and digital TFT display color. Daytime and nighttime settings ensure that the instrument information is displayed in a manner that is easily consumed, regardless of the lighting conditions.

03 Solid state water temperature and oil pressure sensors provide accurate information RTX Gauges
Solid state water temperature and oil pressure sensors provide accurate information continuously to the control box via custom cables.

Read More: Road Trip for Chevy Task Force Truck Parts

A septet of analog gauges includes a 0- to 120-mph speedometer, 0- to 80-psi oil pressure, 100- to 250-degree water temp, fuel level, and 9-17 VDC voltmeter. Tachometer display is above the analog speedo in the form of a 0- to 8,000-rpm digital bar graph gauge. Built-in warning indicators for the fuel, volt, water, oil, and tach gauges help give the driver a heads-up before things turn for the worse, complemented by turn signal and high-beam indicators.

- Advertisement -
04 Speedometer sensing is achieved in a similar manner RTX Gauges
Speedometer sensing is achieved in a similar manner.

Digital, full-color TFT displays are user-configurable to display a myriad of additional information, including various performance readings as well as additional analog gauge information in digital form. Additional expansion modules allow for even more information to be displayed, including GPS speed, compass heading, outdoor temperature, wideband air/fuel, and more. Interface modules for most aftermarket EFI systems are also available, providing further information from intake air temp to fuel pressure to MAP readings. Additionally, the RTX Series Instrument System can be combined with an OBD-II Interface Module to receive various engine parameters directly from many modern OE ECUs, making installation a truly plug-and-play affair.

05 the water temp and oil pressure sensor cables are attached to their respective locations on the control box RTX Gauges
Here, the water temp and oil pressure sensor cables are attached to their respective locations on the control box

As advanced as the Dakota Digital line is, the installation is not. Solid state sending units provide the appropriate information to the control box via individually wired pigtails, making connection of the various sensors as simple as possible. Ignition and battery power, as well as chassis ground wires are run separately to the control box from the fuse panel or corresponding source. Likewise, turn signal, high beam, and other inputs are also routed individually to the central control box. That information is then shared to the instrument cluster via an eight-pin cable.

10 Daytime mode showcases how bright the LED lighting of the instrument cluster truly is RTX Gauges
Daytime mode showcases how bright the LED lighting of the instrument cluster truly is …

Read More: Could This Be the Ultimate 4×4 Chassis?

We’ve been working on a ’69 Ford Flareside project recently and when it came time to upgrade the old, tired cluster, we knew there was no better option than Dakota Digital’s RTX system. Designed to attach directly to the original gauge bezel as a complete instrument cluster replacement unit, it was one of the biggest drop-in upgrades we’ve made so far. We’re pretty excited to get it set up as our truck build progresses and can’t wait to see how well it monitors our stroker FE motor! CTP

- Advertisement -

01 Dakota Digital RTX Series instrument cluster RTX Gauges

Even without power and sitting on the bench, the amount of information that the Dakota Digital RTX Series instrument cluster for ’67-72 Ford trucks will provide once powered up is pretty apparent.

02 Our old cluster lacked accurate information as well as visual appeal RTX Gauges
Our old cluster lacked accurate information as well as visual appeal. Thankfully, Classic Industries offers a brand-new chrome bezel, allowing us to cast aside the old and mate the new bezel to the Dakota Digital gauge cluster.
03 Solid state water temperature and oil pressure sensors provide accurate information RTX Gauges
Solid state water temperature and oil pressure sensors provide accurate information continuously to the control box via custom cables.
04 Speedometer sensing is achieved in a similar manner RTX Gauges
Speedometer sensing is achieved in a similar manner.
05 the water temp and oil pressure sensor cables are attached to their respective locations on the control box RTX Gauges
Here, the water temp and oil pressure sensor cables are attached to their respective locations on the control box
06 The selection switch attaches in a similar fashion RTX Gauges
The selection switch attaches in a similar fashion and is used to toggle between the various menus used for programming and setup of the system. An 8-pin cable connects and communicates between the control box and the instrument cluster.
07 Water temperature reading will be taken from an auxiliary port on the thermostat housing RTX Gauges
Water temperature reading will be taken from an auxiliary port on the thermostat housing …
08 while oil pressure will be read directly off the oil filter housing RTX Gauges
… while oil pressure will be read directly off the oil filter housing.
09 Additional connections made at the control box RTX Gauges
Additional connections made at the control box include 12V switched, battery, and ground, turn signal and high-beam inputs, tach and fuel level signals, and DIM, which connects to the taillight circuit to switch the instrument panel from day to nighttime setting when the headlights are switched on.
10 Daytime mode showcases how bright the LED lighting of the instrument cluster truly is RTX Gauges
Daytime mode showcases how bright the LED lighting of the instrument cluster truly is …
11 variety of other options are all fully programmable on the RTX line RTX Gauges
… while the nighttime mode is set to be bright, but not blinding. Intensity levels, colors, and a variety of other options are all fully programmable on the RTX line, accessed via the selection switch.
12 Additional interface modules are available to supplement what information the RTX Series instrument cluster can provide RTX Gauges
Additional interface modules are available to supplement what information the RTX Series instrument cluster can provide. A BIM-01-2 connects the control box directly to an OE ECU OBD-II port when a modern powerplant is being used. This allows the RTX cluster to communicate directly with a factory ECU to provide a variety of information without the use of additional sensors.
13 Another interface module that is available is this GSS 3000 RTX Gauges
Another interface module that is available is this GSS-3000, which will relay gear shift position of many automatic transmissions to an RTX unit. The GSS-3000 features built-in outputs for reverse lights and neutral safety switch and contains a selection of brackets for installation on a number of popular automatic transmissions.

Sources
Classic Industries
(888) 821-4795
classicindustries.com

Dakota Digital
(800) 852-3228
dakotadigital.com

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of A Modern Cluster for 1967-72 Blue Oval Trucks.

ctp december 2023

- Advertisement -

Related Articles

Search Our Site

More Classic Truck Performance

Inside Job

Premeditated Paintwork, aka Task Force Chevy Interior Prep By “Rotten”...

Lucky 13

The Southeastern Truck Nationals Continues to Grow By Tommy Lee...

BACK IN ACTION

Todd Day Rebuilt a ’90s Show Truck Into a...

Put a Lid on It!

Old Anvil Redesigns an International Harvester Roof By Eric Geisert  ...

I Am Gert

Kenzie Moss’ Goolsby-Built ’68 C10 By Kenzie “Gert” Moss &...

UNCLE JACK’S JIMMY

Part 2: The Harrison’s Rod & Custom ’71 GMC By...
More Classic Truck Performance

Distinct Duo: Aguilar Brothers’ Project Trucks

Modifying Classic Trucks Runs In The Family By “Rotten” Rodney...

Coyote-Swapped 1955 Ford F100

A Hot Rodded Build to Honor his Father’s Ford...

Home-Built C10 Hot Rod

Mike Slayton's Three-Year Journey to Transform a 1968 Chevy...

HOW TO INSTALL ELECTRIC PARKING BRAKE ON YOUR CLASSIC TRUCK

E-Stopp Parking Brake & Wilwood Disc Brake Conversion for...

Chevy 3100 With Pro Street Performance

Howard’s Big Block Chevy 3100 Street Truck By Scotty Lachenauer  ...

Pigeon Forge Rod Run 2023

Classic Trucks Take Over Pigeon Forge, Tennessee By Tommy Lee...