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Author Topic: How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster  (Read 5726 times)

Offline Jay

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« on: 06:39:12 PM / 01-Apr-10 »
Note: This is a work in progress until I get my car out of storage. This is going off of memory as I did this a while ago. So until the car is in front of me. I'm taking the same steps I took before


If your like me, Your digidash is more of a headache than having no cluster at all. If your interested in doing an analog swap, I'll tell you flat out it's not that hard. but it is very time consuming once you get a figure for everything. and dissecting all of the wires and wiring colors to go to where.

Pro's to the analog swap:
Cluster is less likely to fail
Cluster is much easier to understand. and more familiar
Doesn't feel out of place like the Digi one did to me (Personally)
No horizontal tach. It's a novelty, but that ran out fairly quick for me.

Cons:
LOTS of wires!!!!!!!!
Kind of a pain/little overwhelming
MAY lose functionality of the cruise. But doubtful when properly hooked up
This may be an individual thing. But in my case everything but the fuel gauge functions perfectly. I checked, rechecked, orders brand new parts in, and did a lot of cross referencing to find out why my car did this. the Fuel level sending units between the two clusters have IDENTICAL resistance readings. Meaning my fuel gauge should have worked flawlessly, however. for some, random and strange reason, it reads a quarter tank low. I.E. Full is at 3/4, half a tank is 1/4, and empty is when I can no longer see the needle. This leads me to believe that my cluster is the culprit, but don't have replacement to know for sure. Besides, it works well enough for me. When I can't see the needle, I need gas!

Before we can begin with everything, I kinda need to tell you how the two clusters work.

   In the digidash. There are many computers to control the LCD readouts. This creates a lot of wires for the powering of the LCD readouts, and lots of wires for the illumination circuit. That's what most of the wires are. Fairly useless except in the case of the digidash. You will have a good 15+ wires who's services you will no longer require.
   
The digidash has a "Stepper style" Illumination switch rather than a turn of the dial style. This part does not need to be touched, you can use this stepper style one, and not need to dive any further into the wiring other than what is on the surface (At the cluster). Perfect!
 
 The two clusters use the same style of pulses for the cruise control. The only difference in the pulses is where they come from. In the case of the digidash, the pulses come from the Speed sensor to the cluster, and then from the cluster go to a wire behind the dash. In the case of the Analog cluster, the pulses are "sent" from the cluster itself. Therefore, this makes it easy for you to retain your cruise control as the very same wire is used at the harnesses. I put sent in quotes because it's not actually "Sending" anything, rather just grounding in pulses as the signal. Bonus!

  The two clusters use the same sending units for everything except the speedo. So everything (Including the tach) uses the same parts for the same signals
The turbo clusters and the non-turbo clusters are EXTREMELY similar according the FSM, in fact. It would be very easy to pull out a turbo digidash, and drop in a non-turbo analog to run something more accurate, and have the possible stealth factor. all while staying truer to factory condition

  In the case of the analog cluster. ALL of the instruments on it can share a common ground. Therefore all your hooking up is the signal wire coming from the engine bay, goes through the instrument, and then you can wire all the grounds down to one. Seeing as the cluster has 6 grounds. That's a lot less to deal with.  Making things sound easy peasy now! but the coup de grâce follows

  EVERYTHING IS LABELED ON THE ANALOG CLUSTER! This makes it SUPER easy to identify what wire are for what as all you need to do is trace the runners back to your pigtails, and BADA BOOM! There ya go! This means that the where the labels are, are the runniers you hook the signal up to. This is starting to sound easier isn't it?

In my case (An 84 MK1 digi car to a MKII analog cluster), I was extremely pleased to find out that most of the wires were of the same colors between the two clusters. I think all but two of them matched. The problem though, was they use the same color wires for other things too. This is where the multimeter came in handy



Parts you will need to do the swap:

Analog cluster of any vintage other than the VG (I'm not sure on that one, so stay on the safe side)
Speedometer cable of any vintage also (Analog cluster, of course)
Pigtails for your analog cluster
Solder, and a soldering gun for wire splicing (Or, wire splices )
Multimeter will probably come in handy
FSM for your particular year would be nice. But I will be covering most of the MK's here with photos
And, of course. a lot of patience. Your particular drug of choice for staying calm when overwhelmed will definitely come in handy here

Tools you will need:

Phillips head screwdriver.
Pliers
Wire cutters and wire stripper
Soldering Iron (If soldering)
Liquid solder (If you go that route)
Electrical tape (Don't skimp out. Buy 3m stuff)
Patience, and your drug of choice


More to come later. If anybody out there could Email me photos of the back of their analog clusters, digital clusters connectors, and images of the screws to take off the top of the dash to gain access (as in how to remove the cluster), it would be extremely appreciated. I'll host the photo's on one of my permanent image hosting accounts

Email is TurboJakesPartsPile@Gmail.com
« Last Edit: 12:56:28 AM / 08-Apr-10 by Jay »

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Offline Arro

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #1 on: 06:57:00 PM / 01-Apr-10 »
It's a REALLY good start. Alex, if you can, take out your digi-dash cluster and snap a pic of that. Also if you are able to, snap a pic of the connector in the dash.
-Jason Arro


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formerly,
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Offline Jay

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #2 on: 07:00:24 PM / 01-Apr-10 »
Quote from: Arro
It's a REALLY good start. Alex, if you can, take out your digi-dash cluster and snap a pic of that. Also if you are able to, snap a pic of the connector in the dash.

Oh, I'm editing and saving nearly every minute. So what you read, isn't as complete as what it is now already.

I like saving work before losing it all

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Offline EternalSwap

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #3 on: 09:27:21 PM / 01-Apr-10 »
Quote from: Arro
It's a REALLY good start. Alex, if you can, take out your digi-dash cluster and snap a pic of that. Also if you are able to, snap a pic of the connector in the dash.
you never gave it to me! hahah

and i dont think it has a dash harness, so either sterling as it (not likely) or it didnt come with one (more likely)
-Alex

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Offline Jay

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #4 on: 11:53:22 PM / 01-Apr-10 »
Quote from: EternalSwap
you never gave it to me! hahah

and i dont think it has a dash harness, so either sterling as it (not likely) or it didnt come with one (more likely)

I haz the left-over digicluster, but I know it's pigtails are in the back of the S12. But once you cut them off it's nearly impossible to tell what wires went where. They used the same color wires so often
« Last Edit: 11:54:34 PM / 01-Apr-10 by Jay »

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Offline myth_S12

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #5 on: 07:15:15 PM / 10-Jul-10 »
is it possible to go from Analog to Digital?

Offline Jay

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #6 on: 07:57:16 PM / 10-Jul-10 »
Quote from: myth_S12
is it possible to go from Analog to Digital?

Sure, but it would be a very large undertaking. many more components needed for digital that are just abandoned and forgotten when swapping to analog. It would involve running many wires, and redoing a part of the SMJ.

Possible? yes
Easy in any way? not really
Worth it if you do? If you want it that way, without a doubt yes

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Offline cory matthews

How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #7 on: 08:18:33 PM / 10-Jul-10 »
Mine is analog, but I'm kind of wishing I had digital.  
My radio wiring was completely messed up when I got the car, so I went to the yard and pulled the dash out of another analog '85 turbo just like mine, disconnected the SMJ and other 2 connectors and took the entire instrument panel harness.  

Suppose I found a digi dash car and did the same thing(pulled out the dash and swapped the entire dash harness and cluster).  Would it work, or would I still have to modify my wiring?  I'm sure the electrical section of the service manual could tell me this after some studying, but I figured I would ask before I waste time!

And your problem with the fuel gauge...you say you can't see the needle at all when it's low?  I also can't see the needle on mine at all - ever.  That's also on my to do list.

Offline Jay

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #8 on: 08:48:16 PM / 10-Jul-10 »
Couldn't tell ya. So yes, you would have to dissect the FSM for many hours to locate everything you need.
« Last Edit: 08:49:07 PM / 10-Jul-10 by Jay »

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Offline cory matthews

How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #9 on: 02:15:07 AM / 11-Jul-10 »
I'll look into it.  Obviously you could swap complete wiring harnesses and anything could be plug-and-play, but  to just swap the dash harness and cluster and have it work would be sweet; it would save time and make for a much cleaner install.  It only takes about an hour to pull the dash, and undo a few zipties behind it.  I'm in the middle of it right now and I would much rather do this than splice even just a few wires.

Offline aux

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #10 on: 03:15:08 AM / 27-Jul-10 »
can we please have some pics of the digital cluster? i have searched all over hell to no avail. someone has to have something!!
originally quoted by baller status:
DONT: do intake, header, exhaust (you'll be disappointed) and then modify the fuel and ignition system (will get you nowhere at this point).
DO: raise compression (pistons) and upgrade the cam. Then do the things I told you not to.

Offline aux

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How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #11 on: 03:37:13 AM / 27-Jul-10 »
Quote from: aux
can we please have some pics of the digital cluster? i have searched all over hell to no avail. someone has to have something!!
well, found so i figured i'd do the honors.
originally quoted by baller status:
DONT: do intake, header, exhaust (you'll be disappointed) and then modify the fuel and ignition system (will get you nowhere at this point).
DO: raise compression (pistons) and upgrade the cam. Then do the things I told you not to.

Offline Breadboxxx

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Re: How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #12 on: 03:41:49 PM / 22-Sep-12 »
Can anyone give me more information on doing this swap? I don't see any picture or anything in the first post..

Offline silverton

Re: How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #13 on: 12:54:25 PM / 16-Oct-12 »
So what happened to this?  I think with no important information in it, it shouldn't be a sticky.
-Dennis

BoostedVG (in regards to people hating on the VG) - Me thinks they were not the mechanic they thought and blamed it all on the engine.

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Offline s12_200zx

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Re: How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #14 on: 10:40:50 AM / 15-Feb-13 »
Hey Silverton, there was a thread somewhere around here where some one documented the process step by step, but it does go into great detail.

OR.... it may have been lost during that one major server crash from about 6 or 7 years ago. I remember seeing it back then..who knows. I love analog, but an original digital dash is fucking bitchin....

Offline sick86s12

Re: How-to: Swap Your Digidash To An Analog Cluster
« Reply #15 on: 10:47:05 PM / 18-Feb-13 »
It'll be kool if some one did a 300 zx dash in a s12 200sx sweet idea I think