Cluster Swap - Second Generation Forum

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Cluster Swap
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 12:43 AM
I have a 1990 Cavalier 2 door 2.2 base coupe and I was wondering If it is possible to just swap the cluster out of a 1998 or even 87 z24 with the electronic cluster??? I am hoping I don\'t have to swap the entire dash

Re: Cluster Swap
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 1:49 AM
I\'m not 100% sure, but I think you will need to change a few things to get one to work. One for sure would be the sending unit for the oil pressure. Maybe the EPROM in the ECM too. And I doubt the connectors the cluster plugs into would be the same.

Maybe somebody that has more experiience with this type of change will list everything you will need. If not, you could try asking over at v6z24.com. I know the suject of swapping clusters has been brought up before. Ones I recall were analog gauges to digital though, I believe. Anyway, there are a few folks there that can probably help answer your question.

Good luck
Re: Cluster Swap
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 12:42 PM
First of all, you have to change the whole dash pad to one from a Z24 or RS, as the clusters are completely different size and shape. This also involves replacing the heater controls and associated wiring and vac. harness, as they are different too. You would also need the housing and bracket to mount the radio and heater controls for an RS, otherwise you have to replace the console too. The wiring is also completely different and the plugs for the harness on the cluster are different, again you would need the complete wiring harness from an RS, for both engine and dash.
When I replaced the 2.0 in my 89 wagon, with a 2.8 from an 88 Z24 I also changed the dash and instrument cluster at the same time. I had saved everything from the Z24, so swapped out all the wiring harnesses, and I was able to find the mounting bracket and bezel for the RS to mount the radio and heater controls.



Re: Cluster Swap
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 8:14 PM
WOW - Amazing results there FrankD!!

Very Impressive!!

Any more photos of your wagon?



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Re: Cluster Swap
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 8:23 PM
Without trying to sound like a dick, ignore both of those responses.

Unless you typed it in wrong, you have a 1990 (2nd gen). You're asking if you can put a 1998 (3rd gen) cluster in? No. Not without a complete custom dash, a piggy-backed ECM, and a boatload of extra wiring (since the 3rd gen cluster will only take signals from the ECM, and the ECM is OBD2) Next, you're asking about using a digidash from an 87 (1st gen)? Short answer- not without swapping the entire dash, dash wiring harness, and re-pinning the ECM, and more wiring depending on engine/trans combo.

Swapping dashes between generations is pretty rare. It takes too much work. You can use pretty much any 88-90 cluster without a major hassle. Anything outside those years is going to take some doing.



Re: Cluster Swap
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 10:50 PM
Omg sorry yeah I meant 1989 didn't realize I but 98 on there...
Re: Cluster Swap
Friday, October 31, 2014 3:01 AM
Matthew Edgington wrote:

Omg sorry yeah I meant 1989 didn't realize I but 98 on there...
I figured that is what you meant, especially since you also said an "87". I didn't know the dash was different on the base Cavalier, so the information Frank posted should be what you are looking for. Good luck with the swap, if you decide to do it.
Re: Cluster Swap
Friday, October 31, 2014 4:56 PM
I new what you meant and having 4 '88's, 3 '89's, and a ,90, I am familiar with what you wanted to do. your original cluster is like the one on top and what you wanted to replace it with is on the bottom (in this picture a digital, but the analog dash is the same size and shape). You notice that yours has only one electical plug, while the other unit takes two.


Your base dash looks like this

While the one for the RS and Z24 is like this. You notice that the opening for the cluster is a lot higher.

As you can see it is a tight fit for your existing cluster in your present dash

Your base dash has the radio to the right of the cluster and the light switch and heater controls are below it.

The other dash has the light switch in the opening to the left of where the cluster fits and the wiper switch/ rr defogger control to the right. You can also see that the heater controls and radio have no place to mount, they are located in a section that hangs down from the dash.
The cover on the lower left is where the fuse panel is located, as oposed to the drop down under your current dash.
these are all things that can't be transfered from your existing dash, and is why I said you need all the wiring to go from one to the other, and in your case, it all has to come from a 4 cyl RS.

Re: Cluster Swap
Sunday, November 02, 2014 12:34 AM
Thank you! I just really like the analog cluster it looks better and actually has all of the gauges
Re: Cluster Swap
Sunday, November 02, 2014 5:40 AM
Here is a thread I posted many moons ago when I was interested in the full gauge package on the 1st gens.

Have heard you can install these in place of the basic setup but I had more trouble than luck with my own and gave up on it.

I'm sure it boils down to simple patience and determination.


http://www.j-body.org/forums/read.php?f=28&i=13421&t=13421


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Re: Cluster Swap
Sunday, November 02, 2014 5:52 AM
I Love the old Rotary Phone in your last photo Frank!!

Here is another oldie but goodie that also covers those early model 2nd gen speedo heads if anyone has a need.

http://www.j-body.org/forums/read.php?f=28&i=13101&t=13101


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Re: Cluster Swap
Sunday, November 02, 2014 3:10 PM
I actually have a brand new speedometer head with the trip meter in it, I originally intended to put in the wagon, before I swapped the dash and cluster.
Re: Cluster Swap
Sunday, November 02, 2014 10:43 PM
Just be glad you do not own a a buick Skyhawk.I myself dug into one 1987 this summer for soley the cluster with a FULL gauge cluster.I literally had to remove the whole dash just to get the cluster OUT! It is by the design or how it it is installed with the dash and to discuss being wiped out is not good tonight.Cav/birds are easy the buick is a whole different beast.1st gen stuff obviously.



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