How accurate are dakota gauges? - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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How accurate are dakota gauges?

I was thinking of a new Gauge set. Wanting to get rid of my idiot lights. Can they be adjusted/calibraided?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 01:19 PM
 
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I’ve installed several sets of dakota digital gauges in different customer cars. You can calibrate the speedo and the fuel sending unit. For the speedo i like the additional GPS unit. Reads satellite info along with an accelerometer for extremely accurate speed display. Its around $150-200. If you dont go with the gps box... they should include a speed sensor adapter you plug into the trans and outputs a voltage signal you can plug into the controller box. Then to calibrate it you drive one measured mile and hit set. The oil, temp, and voltage dont need calibration. The oil and temp will come with their own sending units calibrated for the dakota gauge set. You will need to add them to the motor or replace your factory sending units and replace with the dakota ones if you dont care to keep the factory dummy lights. You cant however splice into your factory sending units and run it to the dakota box. They wont be calibrated correctly. For the fuel sending unit, they include several different calibrations with difference resistance value sets. If you cant find one that gets close to the correct calibration, you can manually set the calibration with the sending unit out of the car. You basically have to tell the dakota box where empty, 1/3 of a tank, 2/3 of a tank, and full are. Takes a couple minutes and you’re all set. Here’s the last set i installed in a ‘72 cuda... image attached
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2006 GTO M6

Motor - Stock with Vararam
Bunch of suspension
Bunch of brakes
Stock tune

365/368 std
12.81 @ 110.6 2.03 60'
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by GTO44 View Post
I’ve installed several sets of dakota digital gauges in different customer cars. You can calibrate the speedo and the fuel sending unit. For the speedo i like the additional GPS unit. Reads satellite info along with an accelerometer for extremely accurate speed display. Its around $150-200. If you dont go with the gps box... they should include a speed sensor adapter you plug into the trans and outputs a voltage signal you can plug into the controller box. Then to calibrate it you drive one measured mile and hit set. The oil, temp, and voltage dont need calibration. The oil and temp will come with their own sending units calibrated for the dakota gauge set. You will need to add them to the motor or replace your factory sending units and replace with the dakota ones if you dont care to keep the factory dummy lights. You cant however splice into your factory sending units and run it to the dakota box. They wont be calibrated correctly. For the fuel sending unit, they include several different calibrations with difference resistance value sets. If you cant find one that gets close to the correct calibration, you can manually set the calibration with the sending unit out of the car. You basically have to tell the dakota box where empty, 1/3 of a tank, 2/3 of a tank, and full are. Takes a couple minutes and you’re all set. Here’s the last set i installed in a ‘72 cuda... image attached
Thanks for the info. I take it the rpm will also be calibrated? How difficult was the first install?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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So direction does not mention. But I take it I remove all the dasbulbs and tape everything up. Then plug dash in and install. Not a electrical guru but we will see what happens.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 11:32 AM
 
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Rpm doesnt need to be calibrated. Either give it a tach out signal from an msd box or go to coil negative on a factory style setup. For the dash, if the dakota digital doesnt have provisions for the factory light bulbs... cut them out... then run the positive wire to the dakota digital box. ie... left signal positive to left signal input, right signal positive to right signal input, high beam positive to high beam input, and brake light NEGATIVE to brake light input (parking brake switch or master cylinder brake switch). This will allow the dakota digital gauge set to display the signal markers when you use them. For the Cuda i just did (previous attached picture) it actually had provisions to use the factory style dash bezel signal indicators via LED’s built into the gauge set. I cut the old lights out and routed them to the box like i described above but also spliced in the LEDS on the dakota digital. That way the factory indicator locations on the bezel work as well as the indicators on the gauge face. Pretty cool setup.
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2006 GTO M6

Motor - Stock with Vararam
Bunch of suspension
Bunch of brakes
Stock tune

365/368 std
12.81 @ 110.6 2.03 60'
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by GTO44 View Post
Rpm doesnt need to be calibrated. Either give it a tach out signal from an msd box or go to coil negative on a factory style setup. For the dash, if the dakota digital doesnt have provisions for the factory light bulbs... cut them out... then run the positive wire to the dakota digital box. ie... left signal positive to left signal input, right signal positive to right signal input, high beam positive to high beam input, and brake light NEGATIVE to brake light input (parking brake switch or master cylinder brake switch). This will allow the dakota digital gauge set to display the signal markers when you use them. For the Cuda i just did (previous attached picture) it actually had provisions to use the factory style dash bezel signal indicators via LED’s built into the gauge set. I cut the old lights out and routed them to the box like i described above but also spliced in the LEDS on the dakota digital. That way the factory indicator locations on the bezel work as well as the indicators on the gauge face. Pretty cool setup.
If you have or not done a Gto. Where are you mounting the box? not much room under the dash. ALL I could think of was on/underneath the glove box.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 07:29 AM
 
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The last 2 i did which was the cuda and a 93 fox body mustang i hid the box under the passenger seat. The fox body we mounted on a piece metal under the seat. The cuda we used heavy duty velcro to the carpet under the seat. The 69 camaro i did before that we hid the box and BIM-01-02 module interface (LS3 car) in the glove compartment area (picture attached).

Inevitably i always end up buying a longer cat 5 data cable to reach the gauge cluster. The one they include in the kit is only like 2 or 3 feet.

I attached some of the examples of the referenced above...
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2006 GTO M6

Motor - Stock with Vararam
Bunch of suspension
Bunch of brakes
Stock tune

365/368 std
12.81 @ 110.6 2.03 60'
GTO44 is offline  
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 02:27 PM
 
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Hi Folks,

I installed a VHX setup in my '38 Chevy street rod and it went nicely. Just read the instructions, take your time, and you'll be rewarded. GTO44 is correct regarding the calibrations. I did, however, encounter one problem with the temp sensor.

The Dakota Digital temperature gauge sender comes in a 1/8” NPT style only. Installing it in the 3/8” NPT holes found in a thermostat spacer or typical intake manifold requires the use of the included brass adapter. In my case, using any adapters shrouded the sensor probe excessively, and resulted in false readings as much as 15° above that of the adjacent EFI temp sender (a standard 3/8” NPT Delco unit), which functions normally in that location. I discovered via infrared thermometer gun aimed at the upper radiator hose, that the EFI temp sender was within a few degrees of the reading taken there.

My solution was to install an inline sender hose fitting with a 1/8" NPT port. Doing so exposed the sender to the coolant flow more completely and had the Dakota gauge reading within 2 degrees of what the EFI controller and thermometer gun were reporting. I got my fitting from Steiger Performance It can be found under /Products/General Automotive.

Hope this helps.
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Last edited by LarryK; 08-23-2019 at 02:34 PM. Reason: additional picture
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