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Customs placement and order of gauges in dash

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by williebill, Jun 3, 2021.

  1. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,789


    After years of gathering gauges, I'll be cutting holes in my dash insert, and placing them, hopefully soon. Being stubborn, and patient, I've got volt, oil pressure, oil temp, water temp, vacuum, fuel, and a tach collected.
    What I'm wondering is in what order to install these, and where. I know personal preference, importance of what the gauge measures, etc., But I started thinking about this when I saw a discussion of this on one of the hot rod builder shows on Motor Trend TV, but I was passing through the room, and didn't listen to it. Not sure I would have agreed with their ideas, but it got me to wondering if there is a generally accepted order of this, if you have a bunch of matching gauges.
    God forbid if I commit a style crime on this, especially since the whole car is somewhat of one:cool:
  2. I like a tach staring me in the face. For the others, water temp, oil pressure, oil temp, volts. Never had a vacuum gauge and a rare car of mine with a working fuel gauge.
  3. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,845

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    most important in most direct line of sight, less important further away.

    My bucket has gas and oil right in front, speedo and tach, then water and volts. all easy enough to see.

    no real right or wrong as far as im concerned
  4. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,891

    from PNW

    Every car I ever built only had three gauges. Oil, water, and tach, right in my face, and the bigger the better. Autometer at one time had 3 3/8 oil and water gauges. Somebody even made a 7" tach (can't remember who, and can't find anybody who remembers 'em either). I used the shit out of those. Could read 'em from 20ft. away. If it didn't turn over, dead battery. If it didn't fire, checked the tank. Bottom line, do what makes you happy. You're gonna be the one lookin' at 'em.
    Cosmo49, Oldb, garage2small and 4 others like this.

  5. big bird
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 91

    big bird

    Also, gauges with a desired reading (Oil, Temp, volts, etc.) rotated so the needle is straight up at normal operation.
    See at a glance any problems.
    wraymen, Kiwi 4d, Terrible80 and 6 others like this.
  6. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,063


    Oil and temp close to each other, quick look gets them both.
    loudbang and williebill like this.
  7. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 5,071


  8. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,396

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    IT'S WHAT YOU want..!
    No one else cares.

    As has been mentioned, a direct, unobstructed, shortest line of sight for the most important gauges. This seems most obvious to me.

    kidcampbell71 and Jim Bouchard like this.
  9. Jokester
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 530


    Sit in the driver's seat with your hands on the wheel in normal driving position. Place the gauges where you can see the most important ones without moving your hands.

    my 2 cents.

  10. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,026

    from Wa.

    Usually the type of car and it's main use will determine placement of gauges. For instance a top fuel dragster might have NO gauges in the cockpit. Not enough time to observe when driving. In the slower classes of drag racing you want the tach and shift light up in your face. You are looking at it with periphial vision only, not direct. You should be looking at the track directly. A circle track car will usually have the gauges on the left side of the dash. Easier to read because you are turnng left all the time. You usually have the gauge oriented so normal reading is with the needle straight up. Here you are looking at the gauges with periphial vision also. If all needles are straight up, all is normal. A street driven car can have gauges anywhere as to suit the driver. Usually the most often observed in the easiest line of sight. They should be arranged so none are blocked by spokes of the steering wheel when going straight ahead.
    When you are making blank panels, make an extra one so you can modify things later if you want.
    williebill likes this.
  11. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,670


    If they're mechanical gauges in a straight line, it is good if you have the lines as straight as possible & not crossing over each other. For example, with a SBC, you might have the oil pressure line on the left & the water temp on the right, with the volts on the side where the battery is located, etc.
    Frankie47 and williebill like this.
  12. ProtoTypeDesignFlauz
    Joined: Jul 29, 2007
    Posts: 1,118


    How the gauges are arranged always comes down to personal preference. The oil pressure and water temperature are the most critical, so they get front and center placement. At one time I read, in someones H.A.M.B. post, that the speedometer needs to mounted into the floor, where you can slide your left foot over and cover it up. At times you really do not need to know how FAST you were going, when all heck starts happening. Or when the law enforcement officer asks you, that question - do you know how fast you were going .......
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
    williebill and Jim Bouchard like this.
  13. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,789


    Thanks, folks, these thoughts reared their head when I laid all my gauges out in a straight line, looked, moved them around a bit, and then said hmmmm.
    This question didn't have a thing to do with what other people thought of my dash layout ( Mike VV ), and I don't care what people think of MY shit, just wondered how others had done theirs.
    Thanks for the replies.
  14. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,912

    from Oregon

    I have them all installed inside the old gauge opening, but in a new aluminum panel I built. No room for tach, so it's mounted on the column separately. I also like a vacuum gauge, but have it in a pod like the tach, and on top the dash to one side.

    Hamtown Al, catdad49 and williebill like this.
  15. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,086

    from oregon

    Go ahead and do it, I did!

    It made no sense to me to place half my gauges in front of the passenger.
    Like the one below.

    Frankie47 and williebill like this.
  16. hfh
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 322

    from Western MA

    I put a circle around the gauges that mattered most. 1C836E24-4485-436F-9E07-866A5310DAEA.jpeg B80E334E-2F26-4EB6-8730-784974831681.jpeg
  17. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,468


    I like the way mine is laid out, although a bit on the small side, I have the volts, temp, oil, and gas right in front and a big speedo right next to it.
    williebill and catdad49 like this.
  18. I only have oil pressure,vacuum.water temp,and voltmeter mounted in my 32 Henry cabriolet hot rod. Sun tach mounted on steering column/ dash in 32 is original right hand drive with no extra holes. I see no need for oil temp gauge unless you have a troubled engine or running low on oil/
    williebill likes this.
  19. Bert Kollar
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,044

    Bert Kollar

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that wanted a lot of gauges. I also have three on the firewall (for tune up ) So far this is my layout but that could change, I might move oil temp and pressure together

    Attached Files:

    williebill likes this.
  20. chopped
    Joined: Dec 9, 2004
    Posts: 2,063


    Eleven total gauges, might be some sort of record.
    Cosmo49 likes this.
  21. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,412


    Left to right, speedometer, tachometer, fuel, water temperature, oil pressure, ammeter, oil temperature, vacuum. I will probably loose the oil temperature and vacuum and put a clock in their place, when I find the right clock.
    Edit: I think the oil temperature and vacuum will go regardless, I'd rather have a blank space there than those two.

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
    Just Gary, 30tudor, mgtstumpy and 3 others like this.
  22. 4 pedals
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 784

    4 pedals
    from Nor Cal

    I like tach and speedo staring me in the face. Then in decending order, oil pressure, temp, volts, vacuum and fuel level.

    williebill likes this.
  23. Mario p herrera
    Joined: Aug 27, 2020
    Posts: 35

    Mario p herrera

  24. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,617


    Level of importance to you and not the rest of us is what counts.
    Paul's fuel level gauge next to the tach and first in order may seem odd to the rest of us but having seen that T a few times I doubt it has a very big tank. Small tank, knowing how much gas you have is seriously important. If you turn right at the end of my driveway it is 48 miles to the first gas station. In a T it is real important to know how much gas you have when doing that. A well built engine that normally has pretty steady oil pressure and maintains a fairly even temp may make those things seem less important. Volt meter/ammeter, few of us even check them all that often compared to oil pressure. Vacuum gauge, unless you are trying to keep the car in the speed range where it pulls the best vacuum in order to get the best gas mileage on a trip it is probably just something to entertain the passenger.
  25. a 36 P/U has plenty of room in the dash for a few........ wireing2.jpg
    Budget36 and williebill like this.
  26. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,080

    Joe H

    What I want to look at is front and center. The vacuum needs to go now that the carbs are tuned.

    Attached Files:

    williebill likes this.
  27. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,412


    The '27 actually has the fuel and water first, then speed, then oil and amps and last, the clock.
    to me that makes sense.

  28. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,537

    from Diablo Ca.

    I have my speedo centered behind steering wheel, the tach on the dash, and oil pressure, temp and volts left to right under the dash. Fuel gage is to the right of the speedo, but doesn't work.
    williebill likes this.
  29. fleetside66
    Joined: Nov 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,670


    This Moon model 760-E might be the longest factory gauge panel, holding the most gauges in a line.

    Speed~On, Shadow Creek and Paul like this.
  30. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,504

    jimmy six

    What gauges? Speedo is good. The rest can be warning lights, especially in a race car. Blue for water, red for oil, and yellow for a tach setting. Yes, there are gauges for in the pits and engine running prior to racing. It’s why companies like Longacre sell a panel with both.. low oil pressure will kill the engine, we have a bypass to start.
    My street car still has the factory lights with water temp and fuel. I like it that way. So what ever floats your boat.
    Flathead Dave likes this.

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