Some confessions need airing before we begin. Nobody has ever accused this author of being smart, witty, or charming; That holds especially true when it comes to wiring. Whether it's automotive, home, or even stereo, wiring has been one of those mysteries of the universe that has always been elusive. With that confession, my burden has been lifted and I am here to say, if I can figure this out, anybody can. That's not to say everything during this install was slicker than snot on a doorknob. As expected, there are always a few bumps on the road. There were a few times a quick call to the tech assistants at American Autowire and Auto Meter gauges set me back on track and the install was able to resume. So I'm here to say again, if I can do it, anybody can.
In some Third-Generation Camaros, the speedometer only goes to 85 mph! Can you believe that? That wasn't the case for this '88. But when it's time for a change, it's time for a change regardless of what your old speedometer says. Our first stop was to select a new dash. For that we went to Covan's Classic's Web site and browsed their online selections of premade panels. Covan's Classic has a few different panel styles and gauge combos to choose from. In this case, we chose the "Brushed Aluminum" panel. Covan's Classic also gives you the option to order the dash with the Auto Meter gauges already installed. For Third-Gen Camaro owners like myself, the Covan's dash only fits '82-'89 Camaros.
We like doing things the hard way here, so instead of the preassembled route, we went directly to Auto Meter for our gauges. They had just recently come out with their new line of NV gauges, which replace the old Lunar gauges. Here is a list of the exact gauges we ordered: 3 3/8-inch 160-mph Speedo, 10,000-rpm tach, 2 1/16-inch oil pressure, 2 1/16-inch water temp, 2 1/16-inch fuel level and 2 1/16-inch volt gauges. The oil and temperature gauges come with the sending units already in the box. Should you decide to switch from mechanical gauges to electric (like we did), make sure to let Covan's know this during the order. You will need a Vehicle Speed Sensor, which you can order from them. A VSS plugs into the transmission where the speed-o cable used to attach and has two wires that connect directly to the speedometer.
Now you have everything in your hands and are ready to do the install, right? One bit of advice, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. I read, re-read, and read again the instructions to familiarize myself with all the different colored wires, where they go, and what they do. There were times during the install that the instructions seemed a bit vague to me. Nevertheless, we plowed through and made only a few correctable mistakes along the way. This article is not going to be a comprehensive step-by-step how-to article. American Autowire has already provided the step-by-step instructions.