Then, just for the heck of it, we looked at what it would cost to rebuild our cluster buying replacement components from Classic Industries and that ran upwards of $1,261. Plus, we would have to live with a lower top speed on the speedometer and a lower redline on the tachometer, as the Z28 stuff isn't available. So all of these options are available, but none of them offer the factory-style integration or expandability as the VHX, and until you get into gauges that cost much more do you get to the dial lighting--LCD message centers, micro-controlled precision stepper motors and solid-state sensors. To us, the VHX system was looking like the best choice for our build because of all the things it offers, the middle of the road pricing, and the fact that it just looks awesome. There are two different face color options available (silver or carbon-fiber) and two lighting colors, (blue or red). We went the carbon-fiber route with red lighting. To complement the installation, we picked up a new bezel, headlight knob, and lighter assembly from Classic Industries. All these new components will add some more flash and cleanliness to the completed package. Parts and Prices Dakota Digital VHX Analog/Digital Gauge System PN: VHX-70C-CAM-C-R Price: $795.00 Dash Carrier With Chrome Trim PN: K968 Price: $139.95 Lighter PN: 7028146 Price: $29.99 Lighter Housing PN: 7028056 Price: $21.95 Headlamp Switch Knob PN: 3954210 Price: $16.95 Screw Kit PN: SK1885 Price: $24.99 Total: $1,028.83 Wire Color Breakdown Control Box PortFactory Wire Color DimGrey BrakeTan HighLight Green LeftDark Blue RightLight Blue Fuel SNDTan w/Black TachBrown ACC PowerPink Constant PowerRed GroundBlack 10 Dakota Digital supplies a 0-100 psi solid-state pressure sensor and harness. We chose to install it at the back of the motor under the distributer where our old mechanic gauge was routed to. You can also install it at the port above the oil filter but you will need a piece of pipe to move the sensor out enough to clear the block.10 Dakota Digital supplies a 0-100 psi solid-state pressure sensor and harness. We chose 11 We installed the 100- to 300-degree temp sensor in the manifold where our aftermarket gauge sensor probe was. We didn't want to mess up the grounding of this sensor so we didn't use any type of sealant on the threads. Dakota Digital provides enough adapter pieces for the job.11 We installed the 100- to 300-degree temp sensor in the manifold where our aftermarket 12 We routed the three sub-harnesses--speed, temp, and oil--together and then stuffed them into the factory speedo grommet. Then, we used the speedo hole in the firewall to bring our newly formed harness into the car. The factory grommet snapped right in for a clean and protected install.12 We routed the three sub-harnesses--speed, temp, and oil--together and then stuffed the 13 The control box should be mounted away from things that give off electrical noise like the coil or ignition box because this noise can cause erratic gauge operation. After a quick test fit of the control box and cluster, we decided to mount the box right behind the cluster and mount the box directly to the metal support. Before we mounted it, we had Lucky Costa from Mobile Tech come over and wire up the box.13 The control box should be mounted away from things that give off electrical noise like 14 The three sets of wires that are provided in the kit are pretty self-explanatory thanks to the great schematic and markings Dakota puts on the box. For the other wires that come from the factory harness and hook to the control box is where Lucky's years of knowledge helped out a ton. A couple probes with his tester and he knew exactly what wires go where, even without a factory schematic. All the wires were cut from the plug and then fed into their appropriate ports on the control box.14 The three sets of wires that are provided in the kit are pretty self-explanatory thank 15 As you can see, the control box is clearly marked. We have created a table at the end of this story that maps out what color factory wire goes where to save you some time. If you look close there is an AUX I/O input, this is for the BIM Expansion units. If added things like boost, fuel pressure, or NOS pressure will get displayed in one of the message centers.15 As you can see, the control box is clearly marked. We have created a table at the end 16 The kit also comes with two micro switches that need to be installed. These will be used to set up the gauges and also be used to cycle through what is displayed in the message centers. We have a few holes drilled in the dash below the steering column from the previous owner that these switches will now fill. The leads are a bit short to make it to our holes so Lucky extended them by soldering on longer pieces of wire.16 The kit also comes with two micro switches that need to be installed. These will be us 17 Once all the wires were attached to the control box the CAT5 network cable is snapped into the box. This cable will carry all the information up to the cluster itself and be the only thing running to the cluster.17 Once all the wires were attached to the control box the CAT5 network cable is snapped 18 With everything wired to the box, Lucky attached the control box to the metal structure with two self-tapping screws.18 With everything wired to the box, Lucky attached the control box to the metal structur 19 Time to wire up the cluster and it doesn't get much easier than this: one simple snap-in plug.19 Time to wire up the cluster and it doesn't get much easier than this: one simple snap- 20 The cluster is now mounted in the dash with the stock hardware in the stock position. The cluster is made from billet aluminum so it's a pretty stout piece which is a good thing considering the cluster becomes a big part of the dash structure once installed. Goodbye faux woodgrain!20 The cluster is now mounted in the dash with the stock hardware in the stock position. 21 The stock ground straps and switches were transferred to the new bezel we got from Classic Industries. Since the piece is an exact duplicate of the factory piece everything fit perfectly.21 The stock ground straps and switches were transferred to the new bezel we got from Cla 22 The bezel fits right over the top of the cluster and screws to the dash completing the installation. We snagged these proper black screws from the screw kit. These have the correct tapered washer on them to prevent galling the plastic while tightening.22 The bezel fits right over the top of the cluster and screws to the dash completing the 23 We hit the key and sent power to the cluster and just like a brand new car, everything lit up and the gauges snapped to position. Now we needed to set up all the gauge parameters like telling the cluster we have a stock 90-OMH sending unit in the gas tank, an 8-cylinder engine for the tach and so on.23 We hit the key and sent power to the cluster and just like a brand new car, everything 24 We also adjusted the day and nighttime lighting levels. Here it is at level 10. All of these settings are done with the two micro switches in a push and hold type scenario (much like setting a digital watch).24 We also adjusted the day and nighttime lighting levels. Here it is at level 10. All of 25 And here it is maxed out at level 31. 26 Once we had all the settings stored we exited set up mode by simply releasing any buttons and then turning off the key.26 Once we had all the settings stored we exited set up mode by simply releasing any butt 27 The Dakota Digital VHX system is a pretty sweet piece and looks killer inside the Camaro. The gauges work smooth as silk yet still react very fast, no lazy needles here. Since this system is programmable and expandable it can change as the car does. If we switch to an LS engine or a fuel cell with aftermarket sender, it's still no problem we can just change the settings. If we find the need to monitor new parameters like boost or air fuel, we can pick up the additional module from Dakota and simply plug it in. Taking all that into consideration, the $795 price tag doesn't seem out of hand at all.27 The Dakota Digital VHX system is a pretty sweet piece and looks killer inside the Cama SOURCES Dakota Digital 4510 W. 61st Street North Sioux Falls SD 57107 800-593-4160 www.dakotadigital.com Mobile Tech 310-408-4260 « | 1 | 2 | View Full Article By Calin Head Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!