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Upgrading to a Gauge Package W/ Column Shifter


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I will add pics later, but I just performed this upgrade on my 87 MJ auto on the column. I used a gauge package from an 89 XJ. I got lucky with the gauge package, as the odometer was within 200 miles of the idiot light version that was in my MJ. The very first thing I did was I checked all of the bulbs in the new gauge package. I used an extra light bulb socket I had (and a 12v battery), and tested each bulb to make sure all of the bulbs worked. I then removed the idiot light version from the MJ, and compared it to the gauge package. The PRND21 indicator bolts on separately to the blue housing, and the gauge package had the same mounting spots built in to the blue housing as well. The only thing that the gauge package housing lacked was the viewing hole in the tachometer for the PRND21 indicator, and the access hole in the bottom for the wire that controls the PRND21 indicator. I used a dremel and carefully cut both the viewing hole in the tach (use the fuel gauge in the idiot light version to judge where/how big to make this hole), and the access hole for the wire to come through the blue housing (again, judge the location and size of this hole by referencing the idiot light version blue housing).

 

The tachometer is removed from the gauge package by removing 5 screws from the back. 2 hold the gauge in place, the other 3 (if your looking at the back of the gauge package where the tach is, there is a row of 4 screws and a row of 3 screws, remove the row of 3 screws)are contacts for a PC board that is connected to the gauge by a few wires. After removing these 5 screws, the tach will come right out.

 

A quick note on the PRND21 indicator::::

This works on a wire connected inside of the steering column. It has a "return spring" that hooks to the indicator housing (the separate piece mounted inside the blue housing behind the fuel gauge in the idiot light version) on the left side (if looking at the face), AND the indicator needle on the left side. The wire from the column feeds through a plastic "alignment" piece on the right side of the indicator housing (just pay close attention to how the wire runs when you take it out of the idiot light version). The wire has an eyelet on it that fits into a notch on the red indicator needle, on the right side. This is easily unhooked/hooked back up, as long as it is done carefully ( I can see the red indicator plastic breaking very easily if the wire is forced).

 

To put the gauge package in, you must leave the tachometer out and feed the column shift wire up through the blue housing. Then fish it through the right side of the PRND21 indicator and clip it back onto the red needle. Then the PRND21 indicator can be mounted down to the gauge package housing with the two screws that held it in place in the idiot light housing. At this point install the speedo cable and put in the tachometer with the 5 screws. Plug in the two plugs in the back of the gauge package and go and install the two sensors under the hood (the oil pressure and coolant temp sensors) and test it. Once your convinced everything works, finish up putting the dash together.

 

So.... the moral of this story is the fuel gauge and the PRND21 indicator ARE SEPARATE PIECES.... and the PRND21 indicator can be easily removed from the "idiot light version" and installed into a gauge package version behind the tachometer. Two access holes need to be cut and thats it!!

 

I'll put up pics soon...

 

Andy

 

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Good job and thanks for the pics. That cleared up a mystery for me; the shift indicator mount is only in the blue 1990 and below gauge cases, not the white 1991 and up case that I had to use because the electronic speedometer. The newer speedo won't mount (easily) in the white case. :cheers:

 

Old Speedo

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New Speedo

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No problem, but I am a little confused by your comments. So the later electronic speedo version has a white case (I have to do this to a 96 XJ soon too)? Are you swapping a 91-newer white case into a 90 or older MJ? Or do you have a 91-newer MJ with the shift indicator in the gauge cluster? I thought they all went to floor shifters in 91.

 

Not sure if you had it turned around in your text, but it looks to me like the newer speedo won't mount easily in the older blue case... is that what you meant?

 

 

Good job and thanks for the pics. That cleared up a mystery for me; the shift indicator mount is only in the blue 1990 and below gauge cases, not the white 1991 and up case that I had to use because the electronic speedometer. The newer speedo won't mount (easily) in the white case. :cheers:

 

Old Speedo

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New Speedo

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No problem, but I am a little confused by your comments. So the later electronic speedo version has a white case (I have to do this to a 96 XJ soon too)? Are you swapping a 91-newer white case into a 90 or older MJ? Or do you have a 91-newer MJ with the shift indicator in the gauge cluster? I thought they all went to floor shifters in 91.

 

Not sure if you had it turned around in your text, but it looks to me like the newer speedo won't mount easily in the older blue case... is that what you meant?

 

I have a 91 and swapped in a 95 full gauge cluster. I had to use the white case HO cluster because I have the electronic speedo, and that speedo does not mount in the Renix blue case cluster (wish it would). AND the white cluster has no provisions for mounting the column shift indicator, so I was basically screwed. Would have much preferred to keep the original indicator in my new cluster as you did but could not figure out a way to do it. So I ended up doing it like the below:

 

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I recently stuck an XJ cluster in my 92 with electric speedo and column shift. I started to swap the new gauges into the old cluster housing, but the holes were not identical and did not feel like trying to figure everything out. I went about this with out having a clue what I was getting into. After All, I only bought the truck 3 weeks ago! This is what I did:

 

Factory Cluster still in the truck

1. Remove the fuel gauge from your factory gauge cluster and cut off the bottom. Use the top of the PRD3 1-2 opening as your cutting guide

2. Remove the PRD3 1-2 housing from your factory gauge cluster. Two screws and unhook the wire to the column.

3. Remove the cluster from the truck

 

Altering XJ donor Cluster

1. Remove the tach from your donor cluster, 3 or 4 screws on the back.

2. Notice: the bottom of the tach has two hole in each corner. Line up your PRD3 1-2 housing with those mysterious holes in the tach. Mark the tach where the PRD3 1-2 will be located.

3. Cut the Tach.

4. Place the lower portion of the original fuel gauge (the piece you cut in the beginning) behind the tach of of your donor gauges. Trim the PRD3 1-2 opening as necessary. You are essentially strengthening the tach to withstand the pressures of the column shift spring by doubling up the thickness of the tach.

5. Use 1" machine screws, nuts, and washers to fasten the PRD3 1-2 housing to the back side of the tach. I put the screw in from the back, through the PRD3 1-2 housing, added 2 nuts as spacers, through the tach, and fastened down with two nuts. The PRD3 1-2 housing is now securely positioned behind the tach. The plastic gauge bezel will cover up the end of the machine screws and nuts.

6. Trim any ribbing inside the donor gauges housing around the lower portion of the tach. Also, drill a big hole in the bottom of the donor housing between the speedo and tach. This is for the column shift wire to go through.

7. Test fit and check for clearances. The gas gauge might have capacitor on its circuit board. You may have to trim the PRD3 1-2 housing for clearance.

 

Installing the New XJ Cluster

1. Take the donor gauge cluster to your Jeep and get it plugged in (I would speculate holding off the the speedo cable at this time, the HO Jeeps do not have the speedo cable).

2. Fish the column shift wire through the hole you drilled and attach it to the proper place on the PRD3 1-2 housing. Push and hold the tach into position.

3. Twist the gauge cluster forward and down to gain access to the back. Reinstall the tach using the 3 or 4 screws through the back of the cluster housing. This is a royal pain, but possible with a small screw driver or bit driver. When doing this you will notice the gear indicator may move down to 1-2, this is simply because you are pulling on the column shift wire.

4. Rotate the cluster backward and attach the speedo cable if necessary.

5. Once stuck back in the dash, the PRD3 1-2 indicator should be in the park position and should be ready to go.

6. I plan on using some small black tubing to "frame" the PRD3 1-2 opening in an effort to clean up the cuts.

 

EDIT 02.22.09 for Pictures

I am experimenting with 1/8" hard plastic vacuum line around the cut marks... It is still very rough, but I see potential!!!

 

Here you can see the end of the machine screw assembly described above. Once you get in there this should all make sense if you have never looked behind the dash bezel.

 

How it sits behind the bezel:

 

And lastly, what you see when driving. Using this method will put the indicator in a lower position than factory. This is magnified by my attempt to create a frame around the opening with the hard plastic vacuum line.

Yes, it still gets plenty of light from the tach lights to see at night.

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Ingenious! That makes you smarter than I since you figured a way. :cheers: Any chance you can post some pics of the finished product?

Sure thing. I'll be poking my nose behind the dash this weekend to find a lighting problem so I can capture a few pictures for the crowd. I spent way to long trying to figure out how to make it work and made a few mistakes along the way, but it still turned out decent enough :banana:

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No problem, but I am a little confused by your comments. So the later electronic speedo version has a white case (I have to do this to a 96 XJ soon too)? Are you swapping a 91-newer white case into a 90 or older MJ? Or do you have a 91-newer MJ with the shift indicator in the gauge cluster? I thought they all went to floor shifters in 91.

 

Not sure if you had it turned around in your text, but it looks to me like the newer speedo won't mount easily in the older blue case... is that what you meant?

 

I have a 91 and swapped in a 95 full gauge cluster. I had to use the white case HO cluster because I have the electronic speedo, and that speedo does not mount in the Renix blue case cluster (wish it would). AND the white cluster has no provisions for mounting the column shift indicator, so I was basically screwed. Would have much preferred to keep the original indicator in my new cluster as you did but could not figure out a way to do it. So I ended up doing it like the below:

 

 

Ah, OK... I understand what you were talking about then. Did you have to buy the separate column mounted PRND21 indicator? How does that work? Does that just hook to the same wire?

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Ah, OK... I understand what you were talking about then. Did you have to buy the separate column mounted PRND21 indicator? How does that work? Does that just hook to the same wire?

 

The indicator (made by Ididit) window is fastened to the fixed upper column housing and the pointer is fixed to the moveable middle column housing. This indicator is for a GM 3-speed tranny, but it lines up perfectly with the AW4 shift points. Not illuminated though so I'm working on a small LED to embed within the movable pointer.

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Ingenious! That makes you smarter than I since you figured a way. :cheers: Any chance you can post some pics of the finished product?

Updated my previous post with pictures. Hope they help :D

 

Many thanks for posting the pics. Dayem shame Mopar didn't see fit to design an HO full gauge cluster for the column shift models. Good job! :cheers:

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  • 2 months later...

Then there's the really hard way, I went about this with an early full cluster from an XJ, a late XJ cluster and my 89 Comanche's cluster and I was neck deep before I realized I should go get a full guage cluster from a renix Comanche.

 

I had to hack in the MJ speedo into the early XJ full cluster (so the speedo cable would mate up, and also because the old XJ full cluster speedo was thrashed). Then hack in and glue the shift indicator, and because I hate those old gray faces and I have some Autometer's I'd like to match I whipped up some overlays in photoshop. to cover them up.

 

I was going to go 5" Autometer tach and speedo but they would have required hacking the dash up for a recessed mount, or mounting flush on a fabbed mounting plate like sheet metal or plastic; which looks ultra hacked most of the time (think drag racer) and sucks if the sun hits them. So I compromised between hacking stock clusters together in a way that doesn't look hack, and making the stock ones appear closer to the autometer (Pro-Comp series) guages I plan to put in for trans temp and oil temp. (and later Pyrometer and Boost/Vac). At some point I may put 3 3/8th in-dash Autometer tach and speedo in so I can fit 2 1/16th support guages.

 

All in all a carbide burr an angle grinder and a dremel make quick work of plastic fabbing and some super duper "Plastic Surgery" brand plastic glue (good stuff) and a couple screws made secure and fairly easy if a little more invloved than the "unscrew and rescrew" operation I was hoping for. Took an evening, not counting photochopping.

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  • 9 months later...

Thanks for this thread!

Tho I should've read the part about the indicator wire a little closer,

I ended up having to reattach mine to the clip on the shifter side. :doh:

 

I also should've cut my indicator hole a little larger.

 

 

I added these pics to the 'Grandpa Jeep' build thread, but since there's no pics of a converted 1987' font gauge set in this thread, I thought I'd add them here too:

 

 

Also,

instead of slitting vacuum hose, I used the insulation off a black #18 wire to cover the rough edge.

It's tedious, but you slit the wire down one side, then pull the insulation off, and cover the edge just like 87Warrior did his.

 

I haven't done the sensors yet, but should be able to do it tomorrow.

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  • 2 weeks later...
jpnjim , that look's great. What year/model is your cluster from ?

 

It came out of my old 1987 Cherokee Laredo.

 

I always liked this style better,

probably because that's what my first XJ had.

 

Glad you like it. :cheers:

 

 

 

 

FWIW,

I got the Temp & Oil gauges to work....

and the fuel gauge stopped working. :doh:

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Thanks for this thread, I decided to change my Comanche instrument cluster to have the tach included and get rid off of all those idiot lights!! I did what Andy did: use a dremel to open the holes in tach and case, and of course, having a steady hand to avoid an accident. The whole project took me a couple of days, but it worth it!! The cluster was from a 90' Cherokee, from where I also got the bucket seats, seat belt females and visors with mirrors. Believe it or not, seats are the same interior color and year as my Comanche!! See the cluster pictures after the modification:

 

The complete cluster, with all working gauges:

 

The tach with indicator:

 

 

If anyone of you, those who haven't change your cluster yet, want to do it, go for it!!! Thanks, people!!

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I think i'd go this route...

 

Yeah i might have 2 look into this as another project sometime as well.....i did a cluster swap but forgot about my PRND321 switch when i pulled the old cluster and you can figure out the rest, lol oops, atleast all i drive are jeeps so I'm used 2 the shift points :yes:

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I think i'd go this route...

 

Yeah i might have 2 look into this as another project sometime as well.....i did a cluster swap but forgot about my PRND321 switch when i pulled the old cluster and you can figure out the rest, lol oops, atleast all i drive are jeeps so I'm used 2 the shift points :yes:

 

I did this today....$20 from summitracing.com.....works great! :clapping:

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