The factory dashboards in late Fox Mustangs leave something to be desired in terms of elegance and visibility, especially with everything stuffed behind a big glare-prone piece of clear plastic. So, responding to the needs of Fox drivers who want to keep tabs on their rides and have an instrument panel befitting of a race car, the folks at Classic Dash have developed a well thought-out panel that is a bolt-in replacement for the factory unit, which is made all the easier by virtue of a new wiring harness that simply plugs into the OEM Ford wiring loom and significantly reduces installation time. The harness also can accommodate new GPS technology speedometers that provides accurate MPH reading, regardless of tire diameter and gear ratios.
01. Classic Dash panels are manufactured in-house from UV-resistant ABS composite material and come in matte black, brushed aluminum and carbon fiber finishes. They are offered with some 14 different styles of Auto Meter gauges that range from classic muscle car designs to crisp black or white background competition-flavored instruments. The tach and speedo are 3-1/2” in diameter and the others are 2-1/16” size.
02. Installation can be done with common hand tools, adding in a multimeter or 12v testing device, as well as a soldering iron and means to heat shrink-wrap tubes. For long-term dependability it’s recommended to solder all wire splices instead of using crimped connectors.
03. Start by inserting the gauges in the panel in the order as shown. It’s the most popular arrangement and what the wiring harness is set up to accommodate. Use the aluminum U-clamps on the Oil and Volt gauges and the plastic brackets for the rest. Using the pre-drilled holes, insert (from the front side) the green LEDs in the right and left turn indicator locations, the red LED (check engine light) in the bottom hole between the tach and speedometer and the amber LED (high beam indicator) in the top hole between the speedometer and tach.
04. On those 1987-89 panels equipped with the four fluid warning lights (low oil, low coolant, low washer fluid and low fuel) insert the white LEDs from the front of the panel (they are barrel shaped and will snap into place). Straighten out the red and black leads. Then peel off the backing and attach the foam gasket to the warning light block. This prevents light from leaking into adjacent openings. Gather up the four black leads from the high beam, check engine and turn indicator lights and twist the wires together. Attach them to the black ground wire that is stripped and do the same thing with the four black wires from the white warning lights, connecting them to the warning light feed.
05. Now attach the harness to the gauges. Begin with water temperature. Find the green wire marked “water temp” and attach it to the appropriate blade (“S” for signal) on the gauge. If the big connector plug is not positioned at the bottom of the panel, rotate the harness 180-degrees. Attach the pink wire marked “ignition” to the “I” blade and the black “ground” wire to the “gnd” terminal.
06. The grey “gauge light” wire connects directly to those “Series 2” gauges with built-in LED illumination. For gauges with plug-in lights use the supplied grounding adapters. The adapter is attached to the “GND” blade on the gauge and the black ground wire attached to it. Follow the same procedure and attach the wiring harness to the remaining five gauges using the color code diagram as a guide. You will notice that there is an extra pink (ignition) and black (ground) wire left over; they are used if you employ a vehicle speed or GPS speedometer sensor.
07. Locate the red “high beam” wire and connect it to the lead from the amber LED light in the panel. Protect the connection with shrink-wrap and heat gun or electrical tape. Take the white with black stripe “right ind” wire and attach it to the right turn indicator light (which will be on the left side of the panel looking at the back side). Secure the connection with tape or shrink-wrap.
08. Connect the orange “left ind” wire to the left turn indicator light, which is on the right side looking at the back of the panel. Encapsulate the connection with shrink wrap or electrical tape. The black “Check engine light” wire is to be connected to the red Check Engine light. Protect with shrink -wrap or electrical tape
09. Disconnect the positive terminal to your battery. Locate the OEM oil pressure sending unit and replace it with the sender included in the Classic Dash kit. Re-connect the factory wire. Do the same to the water temperature sensor.
10. Remove the factory dash cover by unscrewing the two fasteners at the top of the panel and pulling it toward you. Stow the cover nearby. You may need to drop the steering column for clearance. If so, do that now.
11. Then you’ll remove the four bolts that secure the gauge bezel. Slip your fingers behind the panel and locate the two plugs that connect the panel wires to the loom. Squeeze the two tangs on the male plug and disconnect. Repeat on the second plug. Pull the gauge bezel toward you and disconnect the factory cable from the speedometer If you are using a mechanical speedometer you can re-use the factory cable. If you are using a GPS or standard electrical speedometer you will need to disconnect the factory cable at the transmission as well and remove it. Permanently plug the hole if you’re using a GPS setup. You will need to use a Ford Mechanical Speedometer Cable Adapter (PN 200-00-4000) to attach the stock speedometer cable to the speedometer. you are raising the car with a jack, use jack stands!
12. For a standard electrical speedometer install the Ford Speedometer Sending Unit (PN 200-00-1001) pulse generator using the original bolt. For a GPS speedometer refer to separate instructions.
13. Take the 10-foot lengths of pink, purple and black wires that came with the harness and twist the black and purple wires together like a candy cane. Bind the three wires together with tie wraps every 6 inches Connect the pink and black wires to the similar colored wires on the Classic Dash panel loom and plug the purple wire directly onto the gauge (SIG). Feed them through the route originally used for the speedometer cable. Be sure to trim the excess length of the wires coming from the panel so they cleanly mate with the wires on the transmission sending unit. The red wire on the sensor connects to the pink wire coming down from the panel. The white sensor wire connects to the purple panel lead and the black wires to each other. Solder the connection and use the supplied shrink-wraps to complete.
14. Trial fit the new Classic Dash panel and trim it if required. Pull the panel towards you and locate the factory loom plugs. Squeeze the tangs together and insert the male end into the female receptor on the Classic Dash loom. Make sure both plugs are secure.
15. Attach the new bezel using the four original bolts and replace the dashboard cover using the two factory bolts. You may need to cut small slits in your dashboard cover to reinstall dashboard cover. After you reconnect the battery you may need to re-activate the alternator circuit, which was interrupted when the battery was disconnected at the positive terminal. Use a 12-volt test light (or a multimeter) to identify a switched 12-volt source and jump it to the light green/red striped wire while the vehicle is running. This will reenergize the alternator.
16. Now you’re ready to hit the highway with your Fox ‘Stang and be able to keep accurate tabs on all important vehicle functions. Given that Classic Dash offers the panels in three finishes and some 15 different styles of Auto Meter gauges, the installation can be tailored to your taste.