Project MKIV Supra: Part 11 – New gauges and instrument panels


With everything removed, the sight may prompt your spouse to ask if you’re in over your head with this.  But the panels go back on just about as easy as they came off.  Just don't forget to hook back all of the connectors, which only fit on the ones they're supposed to go on (thanks, Toyota!).  Anyway, this all looks much worse than it really is.  Someone with experience can get to this point in a matter of 10 minutes, and put it all back together in about 15 minutes.

Here is our instrument cluster as well as our HVAC control unit, both ready for packaging and departure.

The back of the instrument cluster looks like this.  There are about ten bulbs that can easily be replaced with LED units if a Stu Hagen makeover isn’t in your budget (because this can set you back over $750 if you decide on all of the bells and whistles, including Stu’s nifty shift-light feature).  There are plenty of people that have swapped these bulbs out and are satisfied with the results, considering the low cost.  Of course, the transformation is nowhere near as clean and bright as Stu Hagen’s.  Still, just doing the bulbs would definitely be an improvement over the stock look.

Ahhh, but this is why we went to Stu Hagen.  It's not just about the brighter LED conversion.  It's the overall look with brand new gauge faces.  The red needles now are brighter, and the speedometer reads to 220 MPH instead of the factory 180 MPH, and the tach now also reads up to 10k RPM instead of 8k RPM.  Mr. Hagen makes sure to calibrate each of the gauges to factory specs.  The TRD symbol is optional.  You can have it read “Supra”, if you want it to.  The numerical values on the water temp gauge is also new.  Before, it only read the “H” for hot and “C” for cold. 

The original plan included taking a chance on an aluminum-faced tachometer, with numbers in the color and positioning shown in this picture, along with the a 200 MPH speedo, not the busier 220 MPH we currently have.  The inspiration behind a different colored tach gauge was the Ferrari 430 and F458 (and the fact that we originally were going to change to a silver-spoked steering wheel), although now it's becoming much more common to see off-colored tachs in some of the newer sports cars.  In any case, it didn't happen (yet) because Stu Hagen’s supplier had accidentally sent him the wrong tach gauge, and also getting a 200 MPH speedo was going to take a few more weeks, whereas the 220 MPH unit was already in stock.  In an effort to save time and get us back on the road, we decided to okay a more basic combination for the time being, but we’re told he’s ready for us to resend the cluster for the original order when we’re ready!

We have a video of Project Supra ripping through a couple of gears on Page 8, and several more gauge combinations that some of Stu Hagen's customers have asked for on Page 9!


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