Installing Dakota Digital VHX Gauges in a 1965 Chevelle: An In-Depth Guide

Gauges in a car’s dashboard are not only functional but also captivating with their dancing needles and flashing lights. They offer real-time insights into your vehicle’s performance and add to the overall driving experience. As technology has evolved, so have gauges, and the installation of modern, reliable gauges in classic cars has become commonplace. One such innovative solution is the Dakota Digital VHX gauges, designed to seamlessly integrate modern features while preserving a classic appearance.

Dakota Digital

The Necessity for Modernization:

Classic car enthusiasts often encounter challenges with traditional gauges, which can be inaccurate and prone to failure. Early tachometers, for instance, relied on cables that weren’t terribly precise or reliable. Furthermore, these gauges weren’t standard on all vehicles, adding to the complexity. However, contemporary digital stepper motor-based gauges controlled by microprocessors offer unparalleled reliability and accuracy.

Choosing Dakota Digital VHX Gauges:

For those seeking a blend of modern functionality and classic aesthetics, Dakota Digital gauges present an ideal solution. The VHX gauges promise advanced technology within a traditional framework. When confronted with a malfunctioning original gauge cluster on a 1965 Chevelle housing a potent LS2 engine, the owner threw in the towel and wanted new gauges without compromising the classic feel of the car’s interior. The hunt for a suitable solution led to Dakota Digital.

Selecting the Right Fit:

After contacting Dakota Digital, they recommended VHX gauges with a black alloy background and white needles. This choice retained the classic color scheme while incorporating modern internals. These gauges boasted features such as 0-60MPH speed, quarter-mile time and speed, max speed, and programmable warning lights. There are many options available, it depends on your preference, the look, style and set up you are going for in your ride.

Installation Process:

Starting the installation in the engine bay, the existing oil pressure copper line, temperature sending unit, and speedometer cable were replaced. The LS2 engine allowed the oil sending unit to be placed in the back of the engine valley, the temperature sending unit at the rear of the passenger side head, and the speedometer unit to be integrated with the electronic output of the transmission. This process took less than an hour to swap in the new sensors. 

Inside the cabin, removing the dash bezel and factory gauges facilitated the installation of the VHX gauges. Wiring, typically a daunting task, was simplified by Dakota Digital’s thoughtful design. Connecting the necessary wires was intuitive, as the computer featured clearly marked spots for each wire, minimizing confusion.

Installation and Calibration:

Mounting the small computer was hassle-free, utilizing zip ties for quick and effective placement. Dakota Digital’s well-laid-out instructions aided in wiring and setting up the toggle buttons, essential for navigating between setup and display screens.

 

The rest of the installation included attaching the gauge cluster to the factory bezel and mounting the computer. Calibration of the speedometer followed a straightforward process of measuring one mile and setting up the system accordingly.

A Successful Transformation:

The final outcome was a triumphant one. The Dakota Digital VHX gauges not only look awesome but also perform seamlessly. The installation process took roughly five hours and was smooth and rewarding. Proudly manufactured in the USA with a limited lifetime warranty, these gauges are a compelling addition to any classic ride.

If you’re looking for Dakota Digital gauges for your ride, hop on SS396.com or give our friendly techs a call at (203) 235-1200!

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