Step by step of the building, conversion and installing of a Dakota Digital Dash in a 73-79 Ford Truck

Well I decided to bite the Bullet and buy the Dakota Digital Dash for my dually project

My reasons to buy it are as follows.

1. The Dash looks cool.

2. I converted the dually to EFI and used 1994 OEM ford tanks and senders thus a fuel reading problem with the 1979 Gauges'.

3. This dash has a Check engine feature for EFI systems.

4. This dash just looks Cool.

Below is a write up on setting up this Dash using a 1979 Truck Gauge cluster

Tools needed

1. Typical Hand tools

2. Cutting blade (hacksaw Blade)

3. Tin snips

4. RTV silicone

Lots of Pictures give it time to load

How it showed up at my door

Typical damage from shipping hope it is okay

What is in the Box?

Lots of packing this is good

Even has bubble wrap around the components very well packed good job Dakota Digital

This is what was in the bubble wrap

Inside the Static bag was my Gauges

Contents of the Box

Owners manual, instructions, catalog and advertisements

everything needed for conversion except tools

My adapter plug for the OEM harness plug so I don't have to cut my harness

I have a few bezels laying around so I decided to use a base black with no Chrome for this conversion yours may vary

Templates showing the minimum material to remove

I found it just easier to cut long straight lines I took out all but about a 1/8" from the trim border

Dakota Digital Lens fit really well

View from the back side  not as pretty but it was cut freehand

Not so bad from a distance

Bezel is all cut and ready to receive the new lens

Trial fit to verify clearance of the gauges don't want damage from interference.

Verifying all lens fit good

I like this I get at least a 3rd more clearance on the back side for more room to fit

RTV Black  silicone to secure the lens in the bezel I prefer the ultra Black seems to work better.

laying a thin bead on the speedometer hole this one has no lip to set the height of the new lens special attention is needed

The lens even has protective plastic on the back side remember to remove before final install

I laid a larger bead of silicone on the back side of the speedometer hole to help support it

be careful not to get any silicone where it doesn't belong it would really suck to try and clean without scratching

The two side lens are easier to do as they have a lip to rest on

laying a small bead in the lip

This side is ready to receive it's new lens

All lens is now glued in

note the protective film on the front side is still on

I used a couple of large sockets to hold the lens down just to be safe

All clean up and protective film removed

Outer lens reinstalled

Bench tested to verify the Dash is in working order before installing in truck

Test fit to the Dash showed a problem with the Dakotas gauge Can and the dash

this tab on the dash requires trimming a pair of tin snips will do the job pretty clean

you may need to trim both tabs on the dash for desired fit.

Now the gauges and dash fit together

Trial fit of dash and dash bezel plus I found a good spot for my two Buttons under the brake controller

yours may vary for location

The controller fits real nice directly behind the new cluster

Pictures behind the cluster as it is installed showing ample clearance.

Mounting bracket template securing it to Original mounting holes for the dash

This is how it will sit behind the cluster (Note this truck has A/C and Cruise without one or both options

you will have more choices to mount the controller

Controller on the mounting bracket template.

As seated in the truck view

Buttons are easy to reach

Control module mounting plate

As it looks mounted in the dash

Few pictures showing the clearance between the gauge cluster and control module

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