The one thing we as drivers stare at the most has got to be the instrument cluster. This is the window into our truck's soul, showing all of the vital information we need. So why not make this something worth staring at? That is exactly what we intend to do with the very black factory cluster in our art director's truck. Andy, the guy who turns our pictures into these pages, has an '01 Dodge Dakota that is in need of some more custom touches. We already lowered the truck and slapped on a set of 20s. Now it's time to bring some custom into the interior, and the gauge cluster is the perfect place to start.
We contacted Stylin' Trucks for one of US Speedo's stainless steel gauge faces. It features all of the same markings and such of the factory unit, but it looks much better. Besides the face, we also ordered a set of needles with a silver hub to complement the stainless. The install is pretty straightforward but can go horribly wrong if you don't pay attention to the instructions. Because the needles have to be removed from the gauges, it's necessary to make a diagram of where each one points. US Speedo prints a blank diagram on the back of the instructions to help with that.
We dragged Andy away from his computer and made him install the parts. Should you decide to install one of these gauge faces in your truck, you'll need a screwdriver, a knife, and a pen. One piece of advice we can pass on to make the job a little less stressful is to fill up the gas tank and let the truck cool completely down before starting. That way those needles will be easier to reposition.
What's In The Box?
Here is what we got from Stylin' Trucks: a US Speedo stainless gauge face and a needle kit. Not only does the face have that high-end appearance, it still features the same blue/green illumination so it will match the rest of the dashboard when the lights are on. US Speedo also includes a needle tool and a great set of instructions. Stylin' had the face to us three days after we ordered it, and it set us back $130.32 with shipping.
1.Here is the functional but very plain factory gauge face in the Dakota. Since the truck
2.To start, Andy ripped into the dashboard like a mad man. He had to remove a few little s
3.On the back of the US Speedo instructions is a line-art diagram to help you mark the pos
4.The only thing holding the cluster in the dash is a few Phillips screws. After the screw
5.The clear lens and gauge bezel are held on with a few more screws that have to come out
6.The little tool that comes with the face pops the needles off perfectly. This tool will
7.Andy slowly peeled off the factory face (inset) and used a knife to remove any little bits that might have stayed on the cluster. You want a nice smooth surface to stick the new face to, so make sure to get all of the factory stuff off.