Replacing Jeep CJ-7 Instrumentation Gauges
VDO is a leading international supplier of automotive and marine electronics and mechatronics - so says VDO’s website, and I believe it. Many of the high-end European automobile manufacturers happily use VDO gauges as their OEM instrumentation—albeit without VDO’s brand on the gauges.
VDO offers gauge designs that run the gamut of retro to futuristic and classic to modern. From VDO’s catalog I picked a design called “Vision Chrome.” To me, Vision Chrome offered the classic white-on-black lettering that I remembered from the street rods and custom Jeeps of my youth. It also had the six-gauge kit I was looking for.
According to VDO’s literature, “Vision Chrome features crisp black dials and polished chrome bezels. High contrast clear white graphics and red pointers make Vision instruments easy to read. VDO patented movements provide smooth and accurate performance and long life dependability.”
My 1982 Jeep CJ-7’s OEM gauges were not aging well. They were fading and failing; the gas gauge’s needle, in fact, only traveled from between quarter tank and slightly above three-quarters. The engine temperature gauge, also located in the large speedometer cluster, didn’t give any numbers – just a green line for an operating range.
The optional voltmeter and oil pressure gauges worked OK, although they were getting a bit long in the tooth and I wasn’t sure how accurate they’d become. Added into the mix was the fact that when I installed the Chevy 400 small block V8 and Turbo-hydro 350 transmission, and I also installed 4.56:1 differential gears and 35-inch Goodyear MT/R tires. Since lower gears and taller tires play havoc with the speedometer and odometer readings—in this case, producing an error somewhere between 15 and 20%—I thought it was time to upgrade the Jeep’s instrumentation with new gauges and a programmable speedometer.
VDO’s Vision Chrome speedometer is electronic, so it’s very simple to program. Following the kit’s instructions, I stopped the Jeep at a highway mile post. I pushed the proper button to turn on its program, drove slowly to the next mile post, stopped, and pushed the button again. Now the speedometer indicated correct speeds and proper mileage.
VDO Gauges, http://www.vdo.com/
Precision Automotive, Kingman, Arizona