We used the 5-inch speedo and tach as their own circle cutting templates. Just make sure to center gauges in the existing hole and use a pencil to draw the line. Check the fit of your gauges often and remember that each hole does not have to be perfectly round when you're finished because the bezel will cover up minor imperfections.
The finished console with all its enlarged holes was then bead-blasted and readied for satin-black paint. We even enlarged the old cigarette lighter's hole (upper right corner) to accept our new Auto Meter LED Shift Light.
A hobby shop supplied the black plastic piece we needed to cover the factory shift indicator window. We mixed up some 5-Minute epoxy and glued the plastic in place. We'll drill a hole and mount a new high beam indicator lamp in here next.
The Auto Meter LED Shift Light came with a bracket to mount it to the dash or steering column. We fabricated this mounting bracket from 0.032-inch think aluminum to mount the light on the back of the panel. There are two factory screw holes in the back of the panel that were just right to secure the bracket.
It was simple to seal the Shift Light to the panel with some black RTV silicone, so it wouldn't rattle and there'd be no visible gap around it.
We replaced the stock turn indicator lights with some bright LEDs from an electronics store. They're held in place with a simple push-on clip, but you must drill the hole to 5/16-inch diameter first.
Auto Meter supplies an aluminum mounting bracket with each gauge that is designed to mount on a shallow panel. The deep plastic of our console meant that we had to cut about 1/4 inch off the ends first.
It may appear daunting, but after you've made a few connections with the Painless wiring harness, it really is painless. It has connections for everything, including the electric speedo, high beam indicator, and turn signals. It will really work well with the whole-car Painless rewiring kit, which we plan to install in the Camaro Performers special issue coming up.
This is something you'll be doing a lot of with the Painless kit. You have to crimp a male spade connector to each gauge wire and there are lots of them! Everything is color-coded and the instructions are pretty clear, although we can't figure out why they changed the standard green tach wire connection to a purple one.
To get the cool blue effect, we covered our gauges with a blue rubber boot that Auto Meter sells separately. This boot can be a pain to install, but if you stretch it to one side as shown, it'll basically slip on.
Auto Meter supplies an electronic speedo drive mechanism that screws right into your tranny. It has an easy three-wire hook-up that connects right into the Painless harness. It even works with cruise control if your car has it, but we left that end covered because our old Camaro doesn't.
Auto Meter Products
413 W. Elm St.
2501 Ludelle St.