As I've discussed in prior issues, one of my projects that I've taken on over the past year or so is fellow staffer Eric Geisert's California Hauler Willys pickup. While a bit of a fringe element for many of us more traditional hauler aficionados, it has brought with it a fair share of tech stories that cross the board when it comes to typical things we all run across when building a truck. Steering and suspension items, engine placement, seat mounts; these are all things we run across when screwing together old trucks. And while the majority of our projects already have those boundaries sent in stone from the factory, those of us building truly custom vehicles encounter these problems without ready-made answers. That's exactly where we find ourselves this month with the Hauler.

The Willys body came with a dash, ready to drop between the A-pillars, only without any way to mount the thing. I sorted that out relatively quickly by adding a crossmember under the dash, drilled and tapped to 1/4x20-inch that allowed the ends of the dash to be held secure. I then fabbed a gusset plate to support the center of the dash and we were off to the races. Once the dash was in place, I was then able to mount the steering column, which allowed us to get rolling with the next phase; gauges and switches.

Since we were working with a basically flat dash and weren't tied down to using a stock cluster of any kind, we decided to go with an old standby when it comes to hot rod gauges; Mooneyes. Offering everything from single gauges to sets of three "engine management" setups to five and six gauge complete dash combos, Mooneyes has the truck and hot rod market sealed up with their timeless logo emblazoned on brand-new Classic Instruments-constructed gauges. We took a ride down to their shop in Santa Fe Springs recently to see what the latest and greatest was that they had to offer and were pleasantly surprised when main man Bob Kreizel brought out this five gauge set with a combo speedo/tach setup. Available in both black and white face, we managed to snag the first set off the production line for the Willys and decided to give you guys the first peek.

The set consists of all electronic gauges (so no more leaky oil pressure lines on that nice carpet!) with the aforementioned speedo/tach combo rolled into one 33/8-inch gauge. Of course the sending units are included for the fuel level, water temperature, oil pressure, and voltmeter gauges so there's no need to mix and match the old with the new. Coupled with the Ron Francis Wiring harness that we'll be installing in a later installment, their kit allowed us to wire up and install the dash before the rest of the system, making for easy completion at a later date.

Take a peek at the install and remember that if those dummy lights on that stock gauge panel just ain't making the grade, it's easy to install a couple of accessory gauges to really keep an eye on things, and they look the business too!

SOURCE
Classic Instruments
1299 M-75 South
P.O. Box 411
Boyne City
MI  49712
800-575-0461
www.classicinstruments.com
Ron Francis Wiring
200 Keystone Road
Suite #1
Chester
PA  19013
800-292-1940
http://www.ronfrancis.com
Mooneyes
10820 Norwalk Blvd
Santa Fe Springs
CA  90670
800-547-5422
www.mooneyesusa.com
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