Article by Matt Spiece.
Many of the base model XJs come with a dash that has a large speedometer, a large gas gauge, and warning lights that are supposed to let you know if something is wrong. These lights are not very reliable. In this article I will cover how to swap in a gauge cluster in place of the “idiot lights”, so that you can better see if something is not right under your hood. You also get the addition of a tachometer and a trip counter.
Specifically, I will cover the install on my ’96 Cherokee SE. There are many changes that happened to the XJ’s gauge package over the years. I will try to cover differences so this article will be useful with any year.
|For mine, I also needed a new oil pressure sending unit, and a new coolant temperature sending unit. This is necessary for all ’84-’96 XJs. ’97+ will work with the original senders. You can go to a Jeep dealership and get Mopar original replacements (what I did), or go to your local auto parts store for aftermarket replacements.|
Installation: NOTE: this applies for ’84–’96 models with the 4.0L engine. 97+ models or other motors may be different.
1. Remove the dash. There are four Phillips head screws, all facing up. There are also some clips around the dash, including by the radio, and the heater vent on the right. Go around and pull straight out. If you have a ’95 or newer, you also need to remove the steering column cover to remove the dash bezel. To do that you need a T15 Torx driver.
|2. Remove the gauges. There are 6 Phillips head screws holding it down, all easily visible. After you pull it away, unhook the 2 connectors, and the speedometer cable (if applicable).|
3. Install new gauges. Do exactly what you did to take the old one out in reverse order.
|4. Install new senders. The oil pressure sender is located above the oil filter. Just unhook the wire, unscrew the sender, and install the new sender. NOTE: several people who have done this have had problems with the old sender breaking off. It would be a good idea to have an extractor handy.|
|5. The temperature sender you need to change is located in the back of the engine block, beside the valve cover, to the driver’s side. Just remove the connector, unscrew it, and install the new one. It is not necessary to change the sender on the front of the engine, because this one is for the computer, and does not affect the gauges.|
After you’ve done all that, your new gauges should work.
|Since you are installing a new odometer with your gauge package, you should find a local speedometer shop to change your new one to match your old one. The shop I went to changed it in 5 min (I removed it for him), and only charged me $10. Some other places charge more, and do the legal paper work stating that there was a change. I was not concerned about that, since I will probably run this Jeep until it is dead.|
The only other problem I had was after I put in the new gauges, I realized the plastic panel that covers the gauge mechanics was gray, while my dash was black. I didn’t like the difference, so I took the plastic cover off the old package, and placed it in the new one. I had to drill a hole for the trip meter reset switch; otherwise they are exactly the same.
Good Luck and enjoy your new dash!22 comments