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Beware Aurora Gauges

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by murfman, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 539


    I know I should have known better, but 2 years ago I bought my old man a set of Aurora brand gauges for a 1953 Plymouth Wagon he is building. Typical project taking much longer than expected. The gauges stayed in the box for 20 months in his hall closet, safe and sound. He finally got the dash welded up/ painted etc, and installed the gauges last month. We went to get the car fired up on the real wiring harness for the first time, (We hotwired the engine to get it primed and running on only the battery before the dash was even installed in the car) and every one of the gauges is dead, 2 peg to full/high, 2 peg to empty/low. The Speedo and Tach are just plain dead. I re check the wiring, everything is legit and correct. I call the Hoffman Group (Manufacturers for the gauges) and am on hold for 45 minutes. I finally get the tech guy, and while he is knowledegable on the product, and jovial, tells me his hands are tied, and the warranty is out. I figured as much, and was willing to pay to have them repaired etc... Well it seems they have since changed the gauges, and can not repair them or update them. They will not even offer a replacement set at a discount! Piss Poor customer service, and a piss poor product to boot! The only reason I went with the Aurora gauges is you can design your own faces for them and customize them. I know I should have known better, and stuck with Autometer or VDO. I am just diong a PSA to warn others before they buy any of this crap.
  2. Zerk
    Joined: May 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,418


    Are the gauges made to be used with a voltage stabilizer, like Fords and some others?
  3. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 539


    No straight 12V, according to the joke of an instrucion sheet they give you

    Actually I believe they are designed to work in my Garbage can! That is where they are going to end up for sure..
  4. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton

    Every gauge being dead sounds kinda sketchy. One or two, yeah. But all of em?

    Time to investigate your wiring, the fact some are pegging in different directions is the big hint here. Sure you're not mixing senders or ground wires?? Triple sure???

    Good luck!

  5. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 539


    Quadruple sure, I wire industrial control panels for a living, and checked out my dads work, everything is up to spec. The only thing that works is the dash lights. The tech support guy even stated that there were problems with the "Early" gauges, and recommended Dolphin brand gauges to me. The LCD display on the speedo never lit up.

    The tech guy even had me swap the ground and sending unit wires, as some were manufactured with the terminals crossed?!? The terminals are clearly marked + - and S, pretty hard to mix them up.
  6. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 539


    Another funny thing, the instructions show the Volt meter with 2 terminals on the back, + and -, the gauge I have has the same 3 terminals as the other gauges. I have tried to wire that particular gauge in every possible combination of the 3 terminals with no success.
  7. gearhead1952
    Joined: Dec 17, 2006
    Posts: 304

    from Arvada, CO

    I agree with shifty, given my electronics background it would be a rare event that all the gauges are bad. I would take maybe the temp gauge out of the wiring harness and run separate wires to test it. If they are not digital gauges the only thing that will hurt them is voltage over 12v. If the temp gauge pegs the opposite direction with power applied then voltage polarity or the sender is at fault. I'm guessing your gauges are fine or it is something else.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  8. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton

    Maybe + and sender are mixed up. Maybe + and -.

    Did these gauges come with a mini loom?
  9. WhiteDevilsCC
    Joined: Aug 8, 2009
    Posts: 385

    from Spring Tx.

    Thanks for the heads up on that brand when i need some gauges ill definitly look at a different brand
  10. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 539


    No loom, just crappy instructions that don't match what they have online now. I tried all 9 possible combinations on all 3 terminals on the fuel, temp, and Oil Pressure gauges as well.
  11. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 539


    I am a BSEE myself, and this is also what I thought, I tried every possible combinantion, cheating the senders with resistors and potentiometers as well since the Hoffman group told me I was Chit Outta Luck back on Dec 1st. The gauges either Peg to the max or min, no matter what I have tried. Honestly the Tech told me it was fairly common with the old style gauges they offered, just that mine were too old for the limited lifetime warranty they offer. I have no problem with the tech, he did all he could.
    6inarow likes this.
  12. Maricopa
    Joined: May 18, 2007
    Posts: 45


    I know I should have known better, and stuck with Autometer or VDO.

    I have some very pricey Autometers on an OT car and currently the fuel gauge is dead (that may change though, it's 'died' before) and the needle fell off the OP. Very disappointing to hear about your case. Seems like I've had bad luck with anything but Stewart Warner.
    Joined: Jun 8, 2005
    Posts: 895


    funny how that works....lifetime warranty...only limited to....well lets see...five minutes ago...I feel your pain brother
    6inarow likes this.
  14. lstwsh
    Joined: Jun 4, 2008
    Posts: 440

    from Dayton,Oh

    I wired some gauges for a friend a while back.I believe they were TPI or possible Dolphin.One gauge had a bad sender and another gauge was just bad.He thought i had wired them wrong.He sent back the bad parts and put in replacement parts and the gauges worked.I will not use cheap gauges or reccomend them.I know the same guy had more trouble later with the gauges.My old car has Classic gauges in it that are 20 years old and they still work perfect today.
  15. CharlieLed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2003
    Posts: 2,459


    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  16. FritzTownFord
    Joined: Apr 7, 2007
    Posts: 1,020


    Call Classic Instruments. They may offer you a small trade-in for your POS gauges. They do cost more than some but they are the best products and best customer relations in the business. I have their stuff in two cars with no issues at all.
  17. bulletproof1
    Joined: Feb 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,080

    from tulsa okla

    i have some of the gauges in my car.not to happy with mine either.they look cool.but cant depend on them to work ,
  18. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,801

    from California

    I had the needle fall off my autometer oil PSI gauge. everything is about the dollar bill and quality and pride in the products companies sell is non existant.

    it's the (new) American way
  19. Reminds me of the fellow I heard about who asked about the lifetime warranty on something, only to be told, "We didn't think you'd live this long."
  20. 54 savoy
    Joined: Jan 10, 2009
    Posts: 424

    54 savoy

    thanks for the heads up,apparently from another post,s.w. is junk too,guess like every thing else on my car i'm gonna have to make the originals work but thats cool,anyway check your grounds,make sure your dash is grounded.
  21. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    X2 and I believe they are made in the USA. Based out of Boyne, MI.
  22. Garbage can? naaah.....
    Find out who the CEO of the company is, and mail them attn: to him with a nice little letter explaining just how pissed you are, how he might as well have 'em cause they don't work for you, and how you just finished posting your experience on an internet forum of 100k car guys. :eek:
    All you're out is shipping , plus you get a chance to vent to the head man ;)
    Friend of mine did that with a broken out-of-warranty cell phone several years ago, and damned if he didn't get a new one a week later.
    6inarow likes this.
  23. superbeeme
    Joined: Jan 9, 2009
    Posts: 245

    from georgia

    I've got an Idea: Buy the Dakota Gauges I have listed and they'll fix the problem.
  24. MengesTwinCustoms
    Joined: Oct 16, 2009
    Posts: 279


    If EVERY gauge doesn't work then i am guessing something is not wired up correctly...
  25. just make sure when you send the CEO that letter tell him the tech guy did what he could and make sure the letter is registered.
  26. 63Compact
    Joined: Feb 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,178


    X 3. Had a faulty temp gauge in my Dads coupe, couple of emails back and forth all sorted. I think they are also Alliance vendors.
  27. I'm still baffled as to why all of the gauges would fail simultaneously. Although the best of us sometimes overlook something (Many electrical gremlins on the '38 Ford pickup went away with the tightening of the bolt attaching the ground cable to the engine block), it sounds like you know what you're doing and have checked and rechecked wiring and grounds.

    FWIW, I have thus far had good experience with the Dolphin gauges in my truck.
  28. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 539


    I have gone as far as wiring each gauge up individually on my workbench with my 12V regulated power supply, and either the sending units, or resistors and potentiometers to get the gauges to do something, anything. It is not that difficult, there are 3 terminals, and the gauge housings are plastic. so there is only 9 possible combinations, I have tried all 9.

    As to the CEO, the tech Actually told me he was sending an E-mail to the CEO and had me hold while he did it. I gave it a week before I posted here as I understand CEOs are usually pretty busy people. It is a funny thing too, as I have a garage business, and my main Warehouse Distributor just picked up Hoffman products as a new vendor, and I was going to order a couple of linear actuators ofr another OT project. I will NOT be using Hoffman for that I'm sure.
  29. unkledaddy
    Joined: Jul 21, 2006
    Posts: 2,864


    Jump on this;
    Earl Schieb's idea sounds like a winner. Along with the gauges include a letter asking why
    they're offering free gauges to anybody but you.

    Sounds like the "Lifetime Warranty" is only for the lifetime of the gauge(s).
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  30. ??? How can something be too old for a lifetime warranty? do they mean the gauges have a limited lifetime, and after that you're SOL? That's what I'd be asking.

    Personally I've never seen an aftermarket gauge I liked the looks of better than most any factory setup, so I wouldn't use this product anyways, but that's just me.

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