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Discussion Starter #1
The faces on the instrument panel have seen better days. I am sure that the years have caused the black background to fade to gray. Still they are not as legible as I would like (particularly since I don't wear my reading glasses while driving!).

Is there a way to restore them? Does anyone make aftermarket gauge faces?
Any other ideas (that don't cost a fortune)?

Thanks,
Bruce
 

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Something like this may work?

White Face Guages

UPDATE: This is a link to the zip files if you don't want to hunt through the posts to find the good links. Need Power Point to view the dash files.

http://www.suzukiinfo.com/sierra/dashguages.zip (Search for "white gauge".)

After printing a set in photo paper to ensure proper fit, I'd probably then have a set printed in vinyl at a local printing shop. I would also paint the gauge needles bright red to match!

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Very creative---and inexpensive, too. But wouldn't these render the instruments useless at night?

Bruce
 

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It depends on the thickness of the paper. I have seen these face prints around for about 10 years now and I have seen different levels of transparency. Can you believe folks actually sold these on Ebay as files? Now you can get them free by just searching the net.
But without replacing the gauges themselves, this is the closest you will come to a 'new look'.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, guys.

I hate the idea of replacing perfectly good gauges when the only thing wrong is that the faces are harder to read because they are showing their age.

I wonder if there are any new gauge faces available for another vehicle that would fit the Sammy's instrument panel and would be close enough so that they would be accurate with a minimal amount of recallibration.

Bruce
 

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I thought some of you might find this interesting. Amazing what you can find on eBay.

1986-1988 Suzuki Samurai white face gauges 86-88 : eBay Motors (item 380159011943 end time Feb-12-10 10:11:36 PST)


Bruce
$24 for a sheet of vinyl. :confused: They do look good. Too bad there is not a night time before and after photo. When I get a chance to pull out my gauges I am going to check if the bulbs in there can be replaced. The light is very yellow and dim. I think those white gauges with a brighter white bulb(s) would look great.
 

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I looked and that same guy sells "glow lights for gauges". It looks like a long strip light, probably for the purpose of seeing your gauges at night since you probably wouldn't be able to otherwise, using his product.
I haven't taken a good look at my dashboard since you posted this, and I'm guessing the numbering isn't raised or embossed which would make my idea easier to not screw it up. But are you looking to make the background blacker again, or make the numbers stand out more? I have, in the past, used either a silver or red (any color depending on what you need) Sharpie on embossed emblems that need touching up. If it's a wider embossed piece, like say the Samurai nameplate I just go to the toy section or a hobby store and buy the Testor's paint marker. It has a wider point for larger areas like the nameplates. Might be something to consider for your dash numbers with a fine point Sharpie and if you have a steady hand.
 

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... I am going to check if the bulbs in there can be replaced. The light is very yellow and dim....
My late model instrument cluster uses four of the #168, T10 wedge-base bulbs. When I pulled them. they looked somewhat silvery from the evaporated filament tungsten on the interior glass surface, which reduces the light output -- it's past time for new bulbs. The #168 is the brightest of the three common sizes that will fit (158, 168, 194), but it's also the hottest at almost 5W.

The nine colored (5-red, 3-green, 1-blue) indicator bulbs are E74, which is a European #74 and a bit smaller than the common US #74. I could not make the common #74 fit the OEM twist-lock holders, and ended up ordering a 10-pack of E74s. I may now replace those with LEDs already in new holders from superlumination.com. They also have LED substitutes for the 168-size bulb, and I'm considering those as well. I'll choose amber, I think, 'cause my dash faces are stock, and amber seems the closest to stock. I've already tried some end-fire 4- & 6-LED 168/194-sized LED drop-in clusters, but the light is too directional and causes uneven gauge illumination I need to find a more wide-angle solution, and I'm now thinking that something like a single, 120° wide-angle end-fire SMD LED [WLED-AHP from superlumination.com] might work.
 

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A bit of history on those gage faces:

They were originally created by Art Lilley, a founder (if not THE founder) of Zuhwarrie.com. Art served in the US Army and lost his life in combat.

It does not seem right that someone is making money off something that was freely-given to the Samurai community by a great American. They should, at least, publicly attribute the source of their product's design.

I'm just sayin'...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ack,

I could be wrong but I don't think these are the same gauge faces. The graphics and design of the gauges looks different. Also, they are being sold by a company that offers such gauge faces for tons of different cars, so it may not in fact be a ripoff of the free online Sammy gauge faces.

Bruce
 

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Ack,

I could be wrong but I don't think these are the same gauge faces. The graphics and design of the gauges looks different. Also, they are being sold by a company that offers such gauge faces for tons of different cars, so it may not in fact be a ripoff of the free online Sammy gauge faces.

Bruce
My apologies.

I stand corrected.

Heck, I even sit corrected!

...at least in regard to the the eBay gage faces...
 

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My late model instrument cluster uses four of the #168, T10 wedge-base bulbs. When I pulled them. they looked somewhat silvery from the evaporated filament tungsten on the interior glass surface, which reduces the light output -- it's past time for new bulbs. The #168 is the brightest of the three common sizes that will fit (158, 168, 194), but it's also the hottest at almost 5W.

The nine colored (5-red, 3-green, 1-blue) indicator bulbs are E74, which is a European #74 and a bit smaller than the common US #74. I could not make the common #74 fit the OEM twist-lock holders, and ended up ordering a 10-pack of E74s. I may now replace those with LEDs already in new holders from superlumination.com. They also have LED substitutes for the 168-size bulb, and I'm considering those as well. I'll choose amber, I think, 'cause my dash faces are stock, and amber seems the closest to stock. I've already tried some end-fire 4- & 6-LED 168/194-sized LED drop-in clusters, but the light is too directional and causes uneven gauge illumination I need to find a more wide-angle solution, and I'm now thinking that something like a single, 120° wide-angle end-fire SMD LED [WLED-AHP from superlumination.com] might work.
Whoa Merlin! Are you related to Edison or are you an engineer? Getting pretty deep on those lights. I was thinking about finding something that looked like it had the same connector and giving is a try hoping not to see smoke after 15 minutes to call it a success. LOL. I think I'll wait until you have it figured out down to the exact wave length and copy your solution.
 

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hey guys i purchased the white face gauges from ebay and im very happy with them they were about 25 bucks shipped to my door easy to install and they work at night. i will post a day and night picture tomorrow i will take the night photo tonite .
 

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they do look nice, but the white looks too sports car style for my liking. guess im just used to the black and orange...
 

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mine look fine backlit at night..i changed the 194 bulbs on the back of the cluster and they shine through an amber color even though the lights i put in are a bright white or also caled a hyper white which is a blue bulb...i agree that the white is a sports car look, but the sports car white gauges are a lot better than the ugly black/orange stock look...I love suzuki samurai's but the only thing i cant stand on them are the ridiculously large and hideous steering wheel and the gauges. Now that i replaced both in one happy guy..i love the feel of my wannabe ferrari steering wheel and lamborghini gauges..:D
 
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