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Thread: Gauge swap

  1. #1
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    Gauge swap

    While the Z8 was universally praised upon its introduction, one part of its design proved quite controversial: the tach and speedometer located in the center of the dash instead of the more traditional placement in front of the driver. While I love the symmetry of the centrally placed instrument binnacle, I have grown up watching the tach while driving in a spirited manner and find the view of the tach in the Z8 too far off line to be practical. I understand that the designers of the Z8 wanted to provide an unobstructed view while driving, and it is possible to monitor the engine's performance by "ear", but I prefer to have the option of monitoring the tach. Its far right placement makes it virtually superfluous. If you would prefer to have your tach closer to your line of site, please know that the 2 gauges can be swapped while retaining an unmolested "factory" appearance. The procedure is a bit tricky and not for the timid, but it is reversible if you want to return to the stock layout. I have done this on my Z8 and now find that watching the tach is much easier.

    What I did was swap the positions of the tach and the speedo so now the tach is closer to my line of sight. This required removal of the instrument housing, unplugging and rerouting (minor) the wiring harness, swapping the tach and speedo, then reinstalling everything. The mounting tabs for the tach and speedo are not the same so the swap required creating new mounting points on the back side of the dash for both instruments, but this was not that difficult. You also must insure that the tach and speedo are properly aligned to match the angle of the fuel gauge and temp gauge. When finished, it looks like it came that way from the factory. One more thing: when you reconnect the wiring harness, you will end up with the airbag warning symbol coming on and staying on. Apparently the airbag system interprets the disconnection as a problem in the system. Your dealer can reset this for you.

    While unusual, the Z8's gauge layout is not unique. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever built, the 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso is also one of the most desireable to drive. Interestingly enough, its gauge layout is similiar to that of the Z8, with the large speedometer and tach placed to the right of the driver towards the middle of the dash. I'm told styling was once again the motivating factor in this choice however Ferrari chose to put the tach closest to the driver and the speedo to its right. The Z8's layout is made possible because the rev limiter will preclude engine damage from over-revving while accelerating (the Ferrari did not enjoy this protection) and for most street driving in our crowded modern world, knowing your speed may be more valuable information than engine revs. Do remember that the rev limiter in the Z8 cannot protect the engine from over-revving when you are downshifting since its mechanical link to the transmission gears will force the rpms to rise even when the limiter is activated. This type of downshift, usually the result of skipping a couple of gears by mistake, can be very expensive! Quickly depressing the clutch pedal is the best way to try to save your engine from going ballistic.

    Grease Monkey

  2. #2
    For ease of visualization here is the tach in GM's car. If I have to remove my dash for any reason I'll certainly make this swap too, as it seems much more natural to me to have the tach nearer to my eye line too.
     
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  3. #3
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Dogsbreath's Avatar
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    Hey GM

    What was involved in "creating new mounting points" for the instruments ?

    Dave P

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    There is a lip around the back of the opening where the gauges are inserted into the binnacle that has threaded holes which mate up with flanges on the instrument housings. The location of those flanges is different on the tach and the speedo so when you swap locations, the flanges and the threaded holes do not line up. Once you establish the correct (angled) orientation of the swapped instruments, you can drill new holes in the lip to correspond to the location of the flanges. You just have to be accurate when drilling these very tiny holes.