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Installing a factory tach


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22 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_judland_*

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Posted 22 February 2001 - 07:02 PM

I looked through the last few months of boards and didn't find this topic addressed:

My '97 Legacy Brighton wagon is great, but to cut costs Sube left out the tach. There's a gaping blank space where the tach should be. I want to know if anyone has been able to put a factory tach in there. I'm thinking of finding a wreck in the salvage yard, pulling out the tach, and putting it in my car. Is this insane? or has it been done? I kind of had the instrument pod apart to install Sube fog lights, but this seems to go to another level. Where does it hook into the engine, etc?

BTW, this board has really helped me out since I found it.

#2 Guest_Frag_*

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Posted 22 February 2001 - 08:22 PM

I did it with instructions from Dan Katz. Wait a while and if he's away and does not come forward, I mightght be able to help you.
Gilles

#3 Guest_judland_*

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 01:34 PM

Frag - did Katz post the instructions on this board and might they be in the archives? Glad to hear that this has been done.

#4 Guest_ShawnW_*

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Posted 23 February 2001 - 04:25 PM

If anybody gets these written up would you mind emailing me the instructions for the online manual page?
USRM..

Thanks
Shawn

#5 Guest_Frag_*

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 09:56 AM

Here's the message I got from Katz at the time:

«This was actually not too difficult. First, you have to get a tachometer
and a special set of screws. I got one from my local Subaru dealer becuase
he said that they would take
it back in case it didin't work. It was $100, but Liberty Subaru
(www.libertysubaru.com; located in NJ) said that they would sell one
to me for $75. You also will need the screw set which is $10 at my local
dealer, cheaper at Liberty. Liberty's number is 1-888-782-9493 in case you
want to check with them. You can also try going through junkyards
www.car-parts.com andcheck with them. Also, you will need a bulb
because the Brighton is missing one of the back lights that you'll need for
the tach. This is the only tricky part because Subaru doesn't sell this
bulb separately, so I ended up going over to a car parts store and getting
an equivalent bulb. I can check the number and let you know (I think bulb
number 74). The only tool you'll need is a very short Phillips screw driver
and a piece of cloth to cover your steering wheel. It would be more
convenient with a short screw driver.
Now, first I lowered my steering wheel to the lowest position. Then, I
unscrewed 4 screws that kept the padded plastic around the instrument
cluster bezel (two holding the top and two the bottom) and disconnected two
electrical connectors (one if for the rear defogger and one I think is a
dummy one). I removed the
instrument cluster bezel and unscrewed another 4 retaining screws that kept
the instrument cluster in place and pulled the cluster towards the steering
wheel. There are a number of electrical connectors in the back of it (I
think 4 including the speedometer cable) that you will need to unplug.
To connect the tachometer you will need to remove the clear plastic cover
and then a black plastic piece that holds the speedometer and other
instruments in line. The tach is connected physically and electrically via
three special
screws that are provided in the kit (they are kind of long and smooth at the
end). You have to make sure that the screws are aligned so you can thread
them all the way in. The acrews connect the tachometer to the circuit board
in the back of the instrument cluster. Make sure that the screws are
tightened and touch the circuit board - this is where the engine speed
signal comes from. Once attached, connect the electrical connectors back to
the instrument cluster and assemble in the reverse order. Make sure the
tachometer is flush against the black plastic surrounding the tach and
speedometer, so that no light comes through from the side when you turn your
lights on and also make sure the red and orange plastic window (for the
warning lights when you turn your car on) is in place before screwing
everything in.

This whole procedure only took me an hour and it is the first time I did
anything with any car. It requires a bit dexterity, especially removing the
cluster past the steering wheel, but I think anyone can do this with a
little care not to scratch the plastic around.
I didn't find the Haynes manual particularly useful for this (which is a
bummer since I specifically bought it for this), but the pictures for
removing the cluster bezel are somewhat useful. If you don't have the Haynes
manual I could scan the picture in and send it to you. Good luck!»

Like Dan, I used a new tach but got the three mounting screws and bulb from the same dealer. I you get your tach from another car you just have to get the screws and bulb at the same time.
Unlike Dan, I had to lower the steering column holding bracket a bit (about three turns) in order to slip the instrument "box" out of the dash. Easy to do after you have located the two bolts holding the bracket on each side of the steering column. You will need a ratchet and about 8 inch extension.
When the "box" is open and when you are ready to install the tach, put the instrument bezel face down on a table and put the tach in its place also face down in order for the tach face to fit on the two registering tabs. Afterwards you put the circuit board on top and secure the tach with the three screws. These screws not only secure the tach but make the necessary electrical contacts that drive the tach.
Hope that helps,
Gilles

#6 Guest_dankatz37_*

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 09:57 AM

Hi Guys, sorry I have been busy with exams.
Frag, I remeber that you had a few useful comments to add to my instructions. I added them in the beginning. Feel free to comment or modify. We do need them posted in the archive once they are finalized.

Here is the original e-mail I sent Gilles. The only thing that I know he
did differently is loosen the two bolts that hold the steering wheel in
place so that it can be lowered more. Once lowered it was easier for him to
get the plastic housing that holds the gauges out. Though, I managed
without, I agree that it is probably easier to do what he did.

This was actually not too difficult. First, you have to get a
tachometer and a special set of screws. I got one from my local Subaru dealer because he said that they would take it back in case it didn't work. It was $100, but Liberty Subaru (www.libertysubaru.com; located in NJ) said that they would sell one to me for $75. You also will need the screw set which is $10 at my local dealer, cheaper at Liberty. Liberty's number is 1-888-782-9493 in case you want to check with them. You can also try going through junkyards www.car-parts.com and check with them. Also, you will need a bulb because the Brighton is missing one of the back lights that you'll need for the tach. This is the only tricky part because Subaru doesn't sell this bulb separately, so I ended up going over to a car parts store and getting an equivalent bulb. I can check the number and let you know (I think bulb number 74, a Sylvania bulb from Pep Boys). The only tool you'll need is a very short Phillips screw driver
and a piece of cloth to cover your steering wheel. It would be more
convenient with a short screw driver (the stubby 3" or so total length
screw driver). Now, first I lowered my steering wheel to the lowest position. Then, I unscrewed 4 screws that kept the padded plastic around the instrument cluster bezel (two holding the top and two the bottom) and disconnected two electrical connectors (one if for the rear defogger and one I think is a dummy one). I removed the instrument cluster bezel and unscrewed another 4 retaining screws that kept the instrument cluster in place and pulled the cluster towards the steering wheel. There are a number of electrical connectors in the back of it (I think 4 including the electronic speedometer cable) that you will need to unplug. To connect the tachometer you will need to remove the clear plastic cover (a number of layers) and then a black plastic piece that holds the speedometer and other instruments in line. The tach is connected physically and electrically
via three special screws that are provided in the kit (they are kind of long and smooth at the end). You have to make sure that the screws are aligned so you can thread them all the way in. The screws connect the tachometer to the circuit board in the back of the instrument cluster. Make sure that the screws are tightened and touch the circuit board - this is where the engine speed signal comes from. Once attached, connect the electrical connectors back to the instrument cluster and assemble in the reverse order. Make sure the tachometer is flush against the black plastic surrounding the tach and speedometer, so that no light comes through from the side when you turn your lights on and also make sure the red and orange plastic window (for the warning lights when you turn your car on) is in place before screwing everything in.
This whole procedure only took me an hour (could take up to two if you are extra careful and are not fighting the cold as I was :) )and it is the first time I did
anything with any car. It requires a bit dexterity, especially removing
the cluster past the steering wheel, but I think anyone can do this with a
little care not to scratch the plastic around.
I didn't find the Haynes manual particularly useful for this (which is a
bummer since I specifically bought it for this), but the pictures for
removing the cluster bezel are somewhat useful. If you don't have the
Haynes manual I could scan the picture in and send it to you. Good luck!


Frag: you beat me by a few seconds there... :)

#7 Guest_Frag_*

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Posted 24 February 2001 - 10:06 AM

A few more infos:
1) About the bulb: Toshiba with "2v"
inscribed on the but of the plastic base and rated at 14v and 3w.
Brown plastic base and a
translucent blue covering over the clear bulb.
2) The steering column bracket bolts head are 12 mm.
Gilles
P.S. Hi Dan! The tach still working great. Thanks again!

#8 Guest_judland_*

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 12:59 PM

Hey, thanks much for this info. Don't know how soon I'll get to this, but I'll surely let you know how it goes when I do.

#9 Guest_judland_*

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Posted 26 February 2001 - 01:02 PM

Just thought of one more thing for those who are reading this and contemplating it. I'm told it's very important when working with a steering wheel containing an airbag to disconnect the battery before beginning so the airbag doesn't deploy in your face. I will be sure to do this.

#10 Guest_dankatz37_*

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Posted 27 February 2001 - 12:49 AM

Yes, I agree it is important. In retrospect I didn't do this. I was aware of this risk, but for some reason decided to take a short cut and not disconnect the battery. I think in the future I would.
Dani

#11 Guest_judland_*

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Posted 05 March 2001 - 12:27 PM

OK, so I called the local sube dealer and they list a tach for '97 L, GT and Outback, and also list a tach for a '95 Brighton, separate from the other models. No part number for '97 Brighton separately. Can any of you who did this clarify?

The one for '95 Brighton lists at $110 and the '97 tach lists for $65. I went out on a limb and decided that maybe the one for Brighton was a stand-alone unit (outside the instrument pod), and that accounted for the higher price. I also figured that the one for the other models ought to work in a Brighton, since the dash and instrument cluster is the same - just a big hole where the tach should be on my car.

I ordered the one for '97. I'd like to hear if it isn't going to work.

BTW, any wrecked '97 Sube is worth a fortune here in Oregon, so I couldn't find one that they'd give me the tach off of.

#12 Guest_dankatz37_*

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Posted 05 March 2001 - 03:06 PM

Hmm...I would think that the two would be the same. As far as I know, my dealer didn't even have the tach listed for the Brighton because you could not even order one on them. So, a replacement didn't exist. I just ordered the one for the L model. I think you did the right thing to order the cheaper one. Just make sure you also have the three special screws that connect the tach to the circuit board - I think that they were under a separate part number and cost $10 (MSRP for the set of screws). Also, if you have any problems they should be able to give you a refund without a restocking fee or a minimal restocking fee.
Let us know how it works out,
Dani

#13 Guest_judland_*

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 10:28 AM

Did the tach Saturday, and it was no problem. I took apart the instrument cluster to get the bulb so I knew exactly which one to get. Auto parts store didn't have the bulb, so I went to a you-pull-it wrecking yard and correctly assumed that Sube used the same bulbs on earlier cars. My bulbs came from a '91 Legacy (mine is '97)and they're the same. (BTW, instrument clusters are lots easier to get apart if you don't plan on re-assembling :-)).

Thanks again for the instructions. They were very complete and useful.

#14 dromond

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 10:09 AM

I'm about to do this myself. Questions:

Does anyone have the part number for the screw kit, or know what it's called, exactly?

Any more info on the bulb? Has anyone found anything that works at a Napa or somesuch?

#15 frag

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 10:44 AM

I'm about to do this myself. Questions:

Does anyone have the part number for the screw kit, or know what it's called, exactly?

Any more info on the bulb? Has anyone found anything that works at a Napa or somesuch?


At the time, I bought the factory tach from the dealer (around 100$ Can then) and IIRC the screws came with it.
Good luck with the install.

#16 dromond

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 07:19 PM

At the time, I bought the factory tach from the dealer (around 100$ Can then) and IIRC the screws came with it.
Good luck with the install.


Cool. I ordered the factory tach and screw set. Is this the right bulb? It's a sylvania #74 I picked up:

http://img33.imagesh.../img32139mt.jpg

(And yes, it's very tiny, just shot with a macro)

#17 TheBrian

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 10:06 PM

I installed a factory tach in the large blank spot in my Brighton's instrument cluster, and it's the best thing I've ever done to the car.

I took a slightly different, and slightly less expensive, approach. I went to a U-pull junkyard (though it was difficult to find one that had Subarus) and removed the instrument cluster with the short screwdriver that came with my car. $40 later, I had a used instrument cluster out of a '95 L wagon with 155k on the clock. The cluster is very modular, and the tachometer screwed neatly in to place. As a bonus, I got about twenty used bulbs and three gauges, should I ever need them.

It's my impression that any factory gauge clusters, 95-98, with the right color needles and the right redline, should work.

#18 dromond

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 01:16 PM

Not to be a broken record, but does the bulb look anything like the bulb I have? (Pictured above.) I just want to find out before I have the cluster in pieces and find out it's not the right one.

#19 frag

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 01:28 PM

Not to be a broken record, but does the bulb look anything like the bulb I have? (Pictured above.) I just want to find out before I have the cluster in pieces and find out it's not the right one.


For my part, I just dont remember (4 years ago). Hope you'll have better luck with others who have done the job more recently. Sorry!

#20 dromond

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 03:11 PM

For my part, I just dont remember (4 years ago). Hope you'll have better luck with others who have done the job more recently. Sorry!


Thanks anyways :)

#21 TheBrian

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 10:35 PM

Not to be a broken record, but does the bulb look anything like the bulb I have? (Pictured above.) I just want to find out before I have the cluster in pieces and find out it's not the right one.

I just looked at one of the bulbs in my spare cluster... yep, that one looks about right, though mine have blue "bulb condoms" which you may be able to duplicate with a blue magic marker.

#22 dromond

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 08:40 AM

I just installed the factory tach yesterday. It works like a charm! I couldn't find the stock Subaru bulb so I used an equivalent one. It was actually even a bit too big and it still worked fine. I also didn't have the little blue bulb condon for it and that also made no difference. Can't tell on the display at all.

Thanks everybody!!

#23 danspanno

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 06:38 PM

great info, I want to try this - anyone know if the tach from a 93 legacy work in my 96 legacy brighton wagon?




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