View single post by Frank Schwartz
 Posted: 11-24-2006 07:57 pm
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Frank Schwartz


I have been trying, without success, to find some means to brighten the lighting in both my dauther and son's JHs.  Here is a partial copy of a post on the subject I sent to a few people..thought I would put it on this bulletin board as well.  Unfortunately, as I wrote, the instrument cluster warps with age and new ones are not available...and trying to replace the oval cluster with something a panel, does not work...(ideas and suggsstions, welcomed) here it is:

My investigation has been just trial and error.  I bought every type of lamp I could get, plus others that have a modern lamp holder and lamps that still fit....and with every one I tried I still found the lighting to be, at best, poor.  This was quite "scientific".  I have a 13.8 Volt  DC power supply and putting the test bulb in a couple of JH instruments, I turn out the lights,now in the dark,  and observe.  All hard to see. It is now very clear that the lighting bulb in these instruments must have been added at the last minute in the development of them and not much attention was given to actually getting light to the face of the bulb. Nothing so far to solve the problem.

So,  the obvious next step would be to replace the gauges with some more modern and better lit ones.  Stewart Warner has some very nice gauges, but the JH dash uses four 2 1/16  gauges and two 3 1/8 gauges.  SW does not make a 3 1/8 gauge.  Theirs are all 3 3/8 in diameter.   However, AutoGage does, and they have about five different styles that are of the correct sizes. And some very attractive ones as well, including some that have a very nice "vintage" look as well.  I will probably go with the AutoGage units, once my daughter chooses which style she prefers.  Only requirement would be to bypass the "voltage regulator" on the back side of the instrument cluster as it would not be needed, and to connect the new gauges lighting to the old instrument lighting wires (six red with white tracers...simple)
Also a new speedo cable made up that will fit to the replacement Speedometer...I can get this fixed up locally.  And a new oil pressure pipe run to fit the new oil pressure gauge. (included with the gauge). 

I "borrowed" a dash and an empty instrument cluster and have been trying to see if I could put in a wood insert in place of the plastic oval cluster, but found this would not work, either, as it would place the instruments facing downwards.   So I have to use the dash and cluster mount as it is in the car...and replace the instruments as I described above.

The cost for instruments that will actually fit properly would be about 300 dollars, but even at that price, the upgrade to better quality, more readable...and the better lit, totally readable at night instruments would be a major improvement.  Truly an astounding improvement!  IMHO.

The dash in the GT is better suited to changing out the gauges to any other type, as they are mounted flush and not recessed and angled as in the JH.   But, assuming I could find one,  the GT dash might not be a "bolt in" replacement in the JH as the defrost and air outlets might not match up with what the JH is set up for.....
So, this is where I am at this time...looking at replacement gauges.   And it is too bad that the original old oval instrument cluster must be used, as they warp and on both the JH's that we have they no longer fit as they did when new.  And new replacements do not exist.  There are simply none to be had.  We recently bought a JH5 for parts and the instrument cluster plastic actually fell apart in my hands as I tried to remove it from the dash.    So...comments and suggestions are most welcome.
Regards to all....
Frank Schwartz