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Converting 1086 dash to mechanical gauges - anybody done it??


eddie

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Hello All

I have the entire dash out of my 1086 to correct years of corrosion.  Lots of green from chaff resting on the connection points and imparting moisture.

At this moment I thought to myself: I have a number of older tractors and every one of them has a mechanical gauge for oil pressure, amps, temp, fuel, etc.

As the tractor is a manual start/start stop it does not rely on any electrical component to run.  I actually replaced starter then hard wired to a single 1150 amp battery to get it started.  Worked perfect and tucked in barn for winter.

I see no reason I cannot make an aluminum dash plate and put mechanical gauges in the tractor.  Has anyone done this? Is there anything about the tractor that I need to understand for operational purposes in making a conversion like this?

The electrical for lights, etc., is a piece of cake.  I can get all the switches I need to make the lights work.  Actually going to add turn signals because we do a lot of road driving to customers.  

Thoughts?

 

Ed

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1086 has turn signals already.

If you kept the cab clean and A/C and heat working, you shouldn't have any corrosion on the connections inside the cab, or at least very little.  Dirty leaking cabs with no HVAC are always the ones with trouble. 

No, I've never seen anyone do this, but there are a lot of farmers and farmer fixes out there.  I'm sure someone has hacked away at an 86 series dash. I'm sure you won't be the first. 

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Mechanical gauges will work fine in fact I've installed a couple on tractors a couple different times for various reasons. I didnt go as drastic as you are by replacing the whole cluster, in my case it was because the gauge was faulty and the farm wanted to just replace it with a cheap one rather than buy the correct replacement. I also added a set of three gauges to a 50 series John Deere because the gauge cluster on that tractor would not work. I plugged one in from a different tractor so that's how I knew it was faulty. I added those to the corner post and it made a real nice instalation. The only gauge that might be tricky would be the fuel gauge because usually you have to change the sending unit also. In every case i added gauges in such a way that it the owner wanted to fix it so the original gauge worked it could be and mine removed with little to no trace.

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Hard to control what previous owners have done, or not done, to the tractor, how it was maintained, etc.. All you can do is make lemonade with the lemons you've got.

Unless you're going for an absolute original showpiece, there is no reason to not do what you are doing. If you do a nice job, you won't even hurt the value of the tractor.

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5 minutes ago, Matt Kirsch said:

If you do a nice job, you won't even hurt the value of the tractor.

That's incredibly debatable....

I'd avoid it.  First thing that would run through my mind: "What else has this guy "fixed" or "modified"?"

I would be far more likely to buy a tractor with those cheap Autozone triple cluster gauges screwed to the top of the dash, but all the original gauges still in it.  At least then I could fix it and not have to buy all the parts that were missing. 

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58 minutes ago, eddie said:

Hello All

I have the entire dash out of my 1086 to correct years of corrosion.  Lots of green from chaff resting on the connection points and imparting moisture.

At this moment I thought to myself: I have a number of older tractors and every one of them has a mechanical gauge for oil pressure, amps, temp, fuel, etc.

As the tractor is a manual start/start stop it does not rely on any electrical component to run.  I actually replaced starter then hard wired to a single 1150 amp battery to get it started.  Worked perfect and tucked in barn for winter.

I see no reason I cannot make an aluminum dash plate and put mechanical gauges in the tractor.  Has anyone done this? Is there anything about the tractor that I need to understand for operational purposes in making a conversion like this?

The electrical for lights, etc., is a piece of cake.  I can get all the switches I need to make the lights work.  Actually going to add turn signals because we do a lot of road driving to customers.  

Thoughts?

 

Ed

If you pulled the gauge cluster you could easily make a nice plate to go in place. It’s your tractor do what you want. I would do as others and Mount gauges to side post or dash top.

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17 minutes ago, J-Mech said:

That's incredibly debatable....

Depends on where you are. Around here the small guys still eeking out a living up in the hills are so hungry for cheap horsepower that they would see it as an upgrade over the typical non-working gauges. 

In your case you probably wouldn't even consider buying a tractor like this anyway. Too many much better examples where you are to waste your time with something like this.

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It's only a tractor,everything is mechanical and save your original parts so if you want you can put it back the way it was. But if it's only connections,green,

dirty or rotted and you have no problem with electrical wiring which sounds like you don't maybe that would be easier. 

Mechanical is nicer in my opinion then lights,warning buzzers etc,because you can see it before it becomes nuclear.

Either way it's your tractor and not the Mona Lisa 

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I've considered this for my 4 post 1486. I don't think it's ever seen the inside of a shed. The Guage cluster is shot. I could get a cluster from a 14 or 16 series combine but it lives outside so I doubt it would last long.

How long do the 86 series Guage clusters last outside?

If not I have considered making a professional looking conversion to mechanical Guages with a black painted steel plate and waterproof Guages like i use on my irrigation engines.

Thx-Ace 

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For full transparency, I only picked the tractor up in April.  It sat this summer because we did not have time to mess with it.  Now we are going to get it back together and I have full intention of keeping it until I pass....then the boy gets it.  I was not considering keeping all the original stuff I strip out because it is nasty.  Tractor was outside under a lean for years used to run a grinder.  We only make hay so there is no heating the cab.  A/C has no belt on compressor, so not going down that path.  We are in Wisconsin.  I think we had 1 or 2 days over 90 this year.  We are close to Lake Michigan, so we are never exceedingly hot.  Still hot - just bearable.  I need to get a good look at the dash and make a decision.

 

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1 minute ago, eddie said:

Yeah - that is what I am thinking.

 

If you get a later 815 , 915 they have a diamond plate polished aluminum dash. You can order custom gauges though through auto sites. I would just make a cover and install them. Or gauges from a old versatile you would have a Murphy setup to buzz you. If you wired it right instead of shutdown.

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47 minutes ago, Jacka said:

I

Either way it's your tractor and not the Mona Lisa 

Full disclosure. I've got a tractor with a toggle switch for the lights. 

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What will make or break this is how you do the conversion.   A plate neatly milled with quality gauges and a neat wiring job with properly terminated heat shrink connections will outlast the OEM.   A half ass job with cheap guages & nylon butt connectors crimped with a $5 tool ain't worth even putting in.    You can make this scary or a real gem-- spend some time & do it right--- then post pictures!!

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8 minutes ago, Jeff-C-IL said:

What will make or break this is how you do the conversion.   A plate neatly milled with quality gauges and a neat wiring job with properly terminated heat shrink connections will outlast the OEM.   A half ass job with cheap guages & nylon butt connectors crimped with a $5 tool ain't worth even putting in.    You can make this scary or a real gem-- spend some time & do it right--- then post pictures!!

That is why I mentioned a 815,915 they use mechanical with murphy warning. as in piped and mercury tube gauge, mechanical cylinder tach and some had engine techs. Plus they had a snazzy looking plate. 

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3 hours ago, 1466fan said:

Full disclosure. I've got a tractor with a toggle switch for the lights. 

X2. I switched the work lights over to a toggle switch on our 66 series. Going to put a rocker switch for worklights in the 86's like what the 88's have. Much easier on living ght switches that way

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Yes but the fuel gauge will still be electric so......by time you figure out how to make that work and espec if it has 2 tanks are you really any farther ahead than just getting a good 86 cluster in it an working? 

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 Concerning the fuel gauge if you have two you can always use the thump method. That is thump the back tank, when it sounds hollow fill it up. 

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It sounds like a great plan. 

As a disclaimer we have only 3 out of 13+ tractors have working fuel gauges. Around here they put calcium on the state dirt road and the dust has the calcium in it and this corrodes the wiring especially on the boxcar magnum fuel gauges. We have instead of waisting time and money to fix these gauges constantly have just decided to fuel the tractor every day and then it doesn't run out .

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