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Thread: Gauge Choices

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    Gauge Choices

    Ok gang, we're twin-screwing an e36 S52 here and adding meth injection, so we've got some new info to keep track of and need to choose gauges/locations.

    The short question is "what do you think provides the best balance of critical information and non-flashy, OEM appearance?", but if you wanna hear my thoughts so far, read on:

    I'm trying to keep it as oem-looking as possible and don't like "racey" looking gauges with bright colours and such but prefer the classic look of VDO and similar things, however neither VDO nor Innovate make meth-flow meters so here are my choices:

    A) Matched set of 3 AEM gauges in the sunglass box with Boost, AFR and Meth Flow and forego oil pressure and oil temp gauges. FTW except the look's a lil "track" and Innovate seems to make a better AFR monitor. Still it seems to be the path of least resistance and hey, Hollywood Speedometer will make any gauge face look any way ya want if it comes down to that.

    B) Innovate G2 set in the sunglass box with Boost, Oil Pressure and AFR. Innovate apparently has the best AFR meter going and the more understated look i prefer, but would have to lose the Meth Flow meter or mount an AEM on the column or pillar, which i'm not really up for. A more sano alternative would be the above but with a warning light for when the failsafe kicks in in lieu of the gauge. Plenty of room for those lights on the console but would have to be custom and not sure it's possible.

    C) VDO set in sunglass box with Boost, Oil Pressure and Oil Temp and no gauges for either AFR or Meth Flow and just set really tight failsafes for those systems that kick in automatically but don't let me see the show. Alternative would be the above but with warning lights in lieu of both AFR and Meth Flow gauges, if that's possible.

    C would be my choice appearance-wise, but i feel that both AFR and Flow are more critical in-the-moment, decision-influencing things than the Oil situation and form must follow function, which leads me to the money question:

    Is it safe/advisable to run a SC with Meth but have no gauges for either Meth Flow or AFR?

    Bear in mind that although these gauges provide valuable forensic info in the form of logging and such, i'm not a tuner and that info is logged with or without gauges if you have the systems, and most people that work on my car will have their own diagnostic gear and won't need to depend on my gauges. So for these gauges to earn that real estate in the sunglass box, i need to have a reason why i need to monitor the gauges real-time and be able to be more helped by that than by the failsafe(s) alone.

    And finally, i recently saw a thread about a "Stealth" system that hijacked some of the gauges in the OEM cluster for another series, which would solve my problem if i could hijack say the MPG needle with an AEM Meth Flow function - that would actually be the ultimate location right under the tach - but know of no such thing for the e36, so if anyone knows of one please do share.

    Remember: No Mouse Ears or pillar mounts - we're slugging it out over the console space, that's it. What would you do in my circumstances?
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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    Since this is going to be more of an electronic/wiring and just general gauge question moved to the 3 series -> E36 section.

    BB vendor EAS has a variety of gauges and they may be good to ask. I don't know too much about gauges but we'll get you the answers to your questions.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    Since this is going to be more of an electronic/wiring and just general gauge question moved to the 3 series -> E36 section.

    BB vendor EAS has a variety of gauges and they may be good to ask. I don't know too much about gauges but we'll get you the answers to your questions.
    Sounds like a plan!

    EDIT: Is there a place on the site that lists all the sponsors? I see their marketplace area but no sponsor list as such.
    Last edited by susan28; 04-22-2011 at 04:24 PM.
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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    Of those who run Meth injection, if you had to choose between an oil pressure gauge and a meth flow gauge, which would you choose as more critical to monitor real-time?

    As discussed on another thread i've the option of using one or more idiot lights on the console to indicate things like meth system activation/overdrive, and while our cars have oil-pressure idiot lights on our OEM clusters, they don't go on til 25psi or so and i'd like a lil more warning than that, hence my considering substituting the warning lights for the meth gauge to make room for an oil pressure gauge.

    What do y'all think of this reasoning?

    Also, any thoughts on why the Euro cluster uses oil temp instead of oil pressure gauge? Do they fulfill similar function? I've always considered oil pressure to be a pretty critical thing and never understood why BMW never included a gauge for it.

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    You should get the AR design gauge holders mounted on the steering wheel. Sunglass holder is useless for gauges.
    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by GG///M3 Click here to enlarge
    You should get the AR design gauge holders mounted on the steering wheel. Sunglass holder is useless for gauges.
    ::nodding:: yeah yer prolly right GG. The logistics of all this is catching up to me, hehe. I mean i do wanna keep things as stealthy as possible but not to the point of uselessness.

    It just seems like some of the measurements, like AFR and Meth Flow, though useful diagnostics, aren't necessarily things you need to have your eyes on while driving but are more things you'd wanna check now and then to make sure everything's cricket. To this end, i thought maybe if i did invest in a Meth Flow gauge it could even go in the trunk by the unit, to be checked periodically along with the fluid just to make sure it's not losing pressure due to a clogged line or whatnot, since the system has failsafes for the real bad stuff. Just have a friend run the engine at WOT and give the PSI a quick eyeball if i had concerns.

    It's for those reasons i'm leaning toward Oil Pressure over Meth Flow if i had to choose - Or get over my aversion to column-mounts and put the Boost and Meth PSI there, and the more static stuff like Oil Pressure and AFR in the console, with Oil Temp thrown in for good measure.

    I'll go give our friendly sponsor's rig a gander..
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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    I'll +1 column mounts for gauges. I have oil temp and pressure down in my console, and had boost and AFR on the column. I think AFR is important to have in plain sight, I try to peak down at least every now and then to make sure the engine is running correctly, and if the engine starts to run rough the first thing I check is AFR to see what the tune is doing.

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    CORRECT
    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

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    Also worth noting. I've been looking at a ton of gauge and digital dash options lately (while waiting on E39 parts I bought an RX7 as a track car) and noticed that most of the digital dashes don't display all the sensor readings at once. They depend on idiot lights to a certain degree (which is all you have time for when pushing the car hard). So things like oil pressure and temp would be better suited for idiot lights - edit to finish thought - near your sight line, and gauges you can check should the light come on.

    You can run a thermostatic switch to make your own temperature based idiot light, and a hobbs switch to make a pressure based idiot light, independent of the BMW cluster, should you want to pursue this.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Bimmerdude Click here to enlarge
    I'll +1 column mounts for gauges. I have oil temp and pressure down in my console, and had boost and AFR on the column. I think AFR is important to have in plain sight, I try to peak down at least every now and then to make sure the engine is running correctly, and if the engine starts to run rough the first thing I check is AFR to see what the tune is doing.
    Thanks Bimmerdude, that's what i'm trying to sort out and seeing some vids of AFR gauges in action shows alot going on. I saw one vid of the HPF mirror mod with 2 AEM gauges inside, AFR and Boost, which most people seem to pair up, and i can see why, as it would make it easier to tie in boost levels with what the AFR's doing like that.

    Also checked out JG's mirror setup with a PLX Multi Gauge but that was a lil more crowded. I'm pretty much leaning toward AEM gauges wherever i put them due to their cleanness and resolution and they were very readable in the mirror, which is about eye-level to me as i'm tall. Not as intuitive as the column but at least as glance-able as pillar mounts.

    Really partial to analogue faces tho, so that's another point for the column if i wanna use those.

    Another thing i wanna do is maybe move the obc to the bottom of the sunglass holder and move the latter up, to raise the console gauges a bit, whatever they end up being. Heck i gotta good mind to yank the thing altogether, all i use it for is taillight-out warnings and it lies about that half the time hehe.. Rather have some nice truthful EGT and injection-pressure readings or whatnot down there with the oil gauges than that wolf-crying obc!
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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    If you use analog gauges clock them so normal position is up, and make sure the needles are high contrast so you can check them at a glance. if needles are pointed a different direction than up then something isn't right (or approaching not right).

    I hate gauges in plain view, the setup for my console is super concealed/clean for displays, and I still gave in and ran the column mounts just because everywhere else I looked away to see. Stack has really nice looking stepper motor gauges, but I like digital displays.

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    I got AEM gauges
    Current: 964 WB, 993, Panamera Turbo

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Bimmerdude Click here to enlarge
    Also worth noting. I've been looking at a ton of gauge and digital dash options lately (while waiting on E39 parts I bought an RX7 as a track car) and noticed that most of the digital dashes don't display all the sensor readings at once. They depend on idiot lights to a certain degree (which is all you have time for when pushing the car hard). So things like oil pressure and temp would be better suited for idiot lights - edit to finish thought - near your sight line, and gauges you can check should the light come on.

    You can run a thermostatic switch to make your own temperature based idiot light, and a hobbs switch to make a pressure based idiot light, independent of the BMW cluster, should you want to pursue this.
    That's the kind of thinking i'm trying to employ here. The tach is the main "driving" thing and everything else is basically warning systems. I've actually talked to AA (who's installing my sc) about well-calibrated warning lights for the emergency systems, but you've taken it a step further and posed them as visual flags to get you to check gauges which you'd otherwise rather not be too distracted by (which is my main issue with the column). I like that idea alot, best of both worlds.
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Bimmerdude Click here to enlarge
    If you use analog gauges clock them so normal position is up, and make sure the needles are high contrast so you can check them at a glance. if needles are pointed a different direction than up then something isn't right (or approaching not right).

    I hate gauges in plain view, the setup for my console is super concealed/clean for displays, and I still gave in and ran the column mounts just because everywhere else I looked away to see. Stack has really nice looking stepper motor gauges, but I like digital displays.
    Stacks are very tasteful and clean and would be my choice except they don't make a couple things i want and i wanna keep continuity, but YES you got it, clock those things for easy deviation-spotting, excellent idea.
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by GG///M3 Click here to enlarge
    You should get the AR design gauge holders mounted on the steering wheel. Sunglass holder is useless for gauges.
    What do the AR Design gauge holders look like?

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Reputation: Yes | No
    Here's the AR, as OEM-looking as you can get:http://www.ardesign.info/store/bmw-1...epod-52mm.html.

    And here's another one i've been checking out, Rally Road, more minimalist with hinges for width adjustment:http://www.rallyroad.net/content/e36...ted-gauge-pods

    Here's a pic of the latter installed:Click here to enlarge

    And the AR: Click here to enlarge

    Couldn't find a pic of the AR installed but i do like how the RR lets you get the gauges out of the line of sight of the cluster but would let you bring them front and center when desired. It's the best compromise i've found yet.

    I have to say though that in my experience - speaking personally here - low console-mounted gauges aren't useless as long as there's nothing obstructing them, IF they have clear markings and good contrast. Given that, i can catch what i need in my peripheral vision or a quick glance, especially when "clocked" as Bimmerdude suggested. Still, always room for improvement.

    I'm really tempted to use that nice DIN slot and put the stereo in the glove.. i never listen to it anyway, can't hear the engine. Seriously, it only goes on when some passenger wants tunes, i don't touch the thing. And that goes double for the OBCl; give me an idiot light for burnt taillights and i'm golden.
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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    I'm impartial to the rallyroad setup, the AR design stuff is nice, but I really like where the rallyroad pod places the gauges (nice and low to the column).

    They are a bit more out of site, but don't obstruct the cluster near as much.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Bimmerdude Click here to enlarge
    I'm impartial to the rallyroad setup, the AR design stuff is nice, but I really like where the rallyroad pod places the gauges (nice and low to the column).

    They are a bit more out of site, but don't obstruct the cluster near as much.
    Yeah that's my thought as well, plus it looks like you can move them up and in for more serious driving, which meets my criteria of not being in my face for daily driving but "there" when i need them.

    What would be extra cool would be a plug-n-play column mount with a harness that you could easily remove and replace for track time, and have some redundant console gauges for daily driving. The redundancy would only look funny at the track and that's not a beauty contest.

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    I do like the AR setup but I think whatever way you go you will be satisfied. I don't know if I would want to relocate anything but that is your thing. Smart to get gauges so you can monitor your setup.

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence Sticky!

    I intend to have fun with this, probably experiment a bit, who knows my little obsession may even produce a new piece of e36 kit goodness.

    This thread has really helped me sort things out tho, i'm over the gimmicks and down to the bare necessities now that GG has given me the smackdowns where appropriate Click here to enlarge

    I'm gonna follow my original plan of starting at the bottom for now, in the least obtrusive location i can see 'em.. IOW imma start in the sunglass holder and end up on the column, hehe.. but for now lemme try some clocked, custom-angled AEM's and see how i do. Peripheral vision is surprisingly accurate, you just have to train yourself to it, like point-shooting. I have a hunch my eyes will naturally twitch anytime one of those bright red needles breaks formation, but time will tell!

    Those RR mounts are cheap btw, only like 60 bucks i think. Not much to them, really. Not a column replacement like the others, just some bars welded together -- very moddable! Very makable for that matter.. the wheels are turning already Click here to enlarge

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    My advice, get gauges that look the same. There is nothing uglier than 3 or 4 different gauge companies and backgrounds of gauges that looks like a toys r us in your car.

    Second, oil pressure, boost and water or oil temp. I dont think youll need AFR because you tune the car once and thats it. Engine vitals that vary greatly are temps and pressures. If you can afford room for meth flow and AFR then go for it but I would prefer in my car to know more about oil pressure and temperature.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
    My advice, get gauges that look the same. There is nothing uglier than 3 or 4 different gauge companies and backgrounds of gauges that looks like a toys r us in your car.

    Second, oil pressure, boost and water or oil temp. I dont think youll need AFR because you tune the car once and thats it. Engine vitals that vary greatly are temps and pressures. If you can afford room for meth flow and AFR then go for it but I would prefer in my car to know more about oil pressure and temperature.
    Thanks, and yes continuity is a virtue.

    I initially had your take on the AFR, but my tuner swayed me toward it saying bad AFR is an early symptom of trouble. So i viewed it as a diagnostic tool - something to tell me when i need to have it looked at - which is why i figured i'd just get an Innovate logging system hooked up to a mere numeric display stashed away in the cabin somewhere unobtrusive and if i was getting bad "numbers" then i take it in and let the log tell the tale.

    BUT GG's video showed how wildly AFR varies realtime, and how it can hit dangerous peaks that i'd really like to know about when they happen. So that's how the analogue AFR gauge earned its place in the rig and my tuner concurred.

    The gauges so far are: Oil Pressure, Boost and AFR in the bezel and an Oil Temp gauge from an Evo cluster i just scored in the dash. I'd like to just swap out the clusters but the Twinscrew doesn't like 7500 from what i understand, so the stock tach is closer to my spec.

    I wanted a Meth gauge so i could see when it activated and to look for diminished flow, but tuner (AA) sez their system would catch that before it became significant and will give me an idiot light somewhere just to show activity. This is one of the reasons i was looking to evict the AFR gauge from the bezel and put it elsewhere, which led to compromises in its function so i had to forego the dopemeter.
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DBFIU Click here to enlarge
    My advice, get gauges that look the same. There is nothing uglier than 3 or 4 different gauge companies and backgrounds of gauges that looks like a toys r us in your car.

    Second, oil pressure, boost and water or oil temp. I dont think youll need AFR because you tune the car once and thats it. Engine vitals that vary greatly are temps and pressures. If you can afford room for meth flow and AFR then go for it but I would prefer in my car to know more about oil pressure and temperature.
    Thanks, and yes continuity is a virtue.

    I initially had your take on the AFR, but my tuner swayed me toward it saying bad AFR is an early symptom of trouble. So i viewed it as a diagnostic tool - something to tell me when i need to have it looked at - which is why i figured i'd just get an Innovate logging system hooked up to a mere numeric display stashed away in the cabin somewhere unobtrusive and if i was getting bad "numbers" then i take it in and let the log tell the tale.

    BUT GG's video showed how wildly AFR varies realtime, and how it can hit dangerous peaks that i'd really like to know about when they happen. So that's how the analogue AFR gauge earned its place in the rig and my tuner concurred.

    The gauges so far are: Oil Pressure, Boost and AFR in the bezel and an Oil Temp gauge from an Evo cluster i just scored in the dash. I'd like to just swap out the clusters but the Twinscrew doesn't like 7500 from what i understand, so the stock tach is closer to my spec.

    I wanted a Meth gauge so i could see when it activated and to look for diminished flow, but tuner (AA) sez their system would catch that before it became significant and will give me an idiot light somewhere just to show activity. This is one of the reasons i was looking to evict the AFR gauge from the bezel and put it elsewhere, which led to compromises in its function so i had to forego the dopemeter.
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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    Yeah, if you are running boost or nitrous AFR isn't really an option.

    What I want as far as gauges for any type of FI (nitrous included):

    AFR
    Boost/vacuum (of boosting)
    Water temp
    Water pressure (head cracks/lift)
    Oil Temp
    Oil Pressure
    Fuel pressure

    All of these are things that something needs to be monitoring. Given that fuel pressure isn't static a simple dummy light won't work. The water pressure isn't really critical, and given the factory weighted coolant temp gauge you can get away without coolant temp as well. The others I find to be pretty much required because if something goes wrong (it will) these will make diagnosing the issue 10x easier.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Bimmerdude Click here to enlarge
    Yeah, if you are running boost or nitrous AFR isn't really an option.

    What I want as far as gauges for any type of FI (nitrous included):

    AFR
    Boost/vacuum (of boosting)
    Water temp
    Water pressure (head cracks/lift)
    Oil Temp
    Oil Pressure
    Fuel pressure

    All of these are things that something needs to be monitoring. Given that fuel pressure isn't static a simple dummy light won't work. The water pressure isn't really critical, and given the factory weighted coolant temp gauge you can get away without coolant temp as well. The others I find to be pretty much required because if something goes wrong (it will) these will make diagnosing the issue 10x easier.
    Yeah, that all makes sense, good explanations too, nice.

    So i did some more driving around today sussing out natural gaze paths and realised: one looks slightly toward the center of the windshield not str8 ahead, and i kept having to consciously look toward the cluster to get my eyes where column gauges would be, and found when i tried darting my eyes quickly *downward*, they fell down and center, not down and toward the cluster, though the natural peripheral vision ended at the climate control, below that it required a more conscious glance downward.

    But there was one area where my eyes almost always were, which was resting just above the rightmost area of the gauge cluster's hump, where i've seen some custom setups mounted. Not exactly discreet but then neither are column mounts, and if i was gonna "commit" to function over stealth with no holds barred, that's where i'd put the boost and AFR, with your full complement of pressure/temp gauges arranged in the console.
    ​"For the most part, it was pretty quiet all night long in gold and silver, but I'm sure the bullion banks are still lurking out there somewhere." -Ed Steer

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