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Old 03-24-2021, 03:11 PM   #1
Kiurty
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Default Setting up a tach

What would be the process for installing a tachometer on a 142 that didn't come with one. I'm thinking of building my own gauge cluster for my 142 in the near future, and want to install a tach on it.
Just wondering if anyone else has done this before what are some of the steps and maybe hints on what I should avoid?
All advice is much appreciated! Cheers!
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Old 03-24-2021, 04:20 PM   #2
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It's very simple to connect a tach on a 140.

Do you have your heart set on fabricating your own cluster?

Are you familiar with the 2 alternate bolt in clusters, both of which have individual gauges including a tachometer, or the add-on stand alone tachometer that Volvo offered for early 140/164?
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Old 03-24-2021, 06:56 PM   #3
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You can just buy an auto gage or auto meter tach and screw/ziptie it to the dash, or right down on the steering column.
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Old 03-24-2021, 07:03 PM   #4
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Tachs tend to come in two flavors, voltage sensing (the most common) and current sensing (like the original Volvo tach's supplied by Smiths). If you purchase a modern tach, it will almost certainly be voltage sensing and the sensing line just connects to the negative terminal of the ignition coil assuming you are using the original 140 ignition coil and distributor. If you manage to find a current sensing tach the signal lines have to be connected in series between the coil negative terminal and the points so that coil current flows through the tach sensing circuit.

Planetman is correct about there being two drop in versions of the Volvo Rally cluster for the 140. The more elaborate one with 4 gauges, speedo and tach is rather rare and quite expensive when it is in good condition. The sensors for the cluster are specific to the cluster and hard to find if not included with the cluster. I searched around for a 4+2 gauge Rally cluster and the cost for nice refurbished ones with all the parts was significantly more than the cost of building my own cluster using SpeedHut gauges. The SpeedHut speedo was a GPS unit which eliminated all the hassle with drive cables and dealing with different final drives and tire sizes.

If all you want is a tach, I bet Planetman could fix you up with an original dash mount Smiths / Volvo tach.
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Old 03-25-2021, 01:52 AM   #5
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Planetman, that was my concern - is the cost. I know about the Rallye and GT clusters, but all the ones I found for sale cost north of $700. I feel like I could build my own gauge cluster/full dashboard for that price. I drew up a cool cluster in a CAD I want to try and build.
Oooh, I didn't know tachs were voltage sensing - for some reason I always thought they were cable driven to the transmission (maybe I'm thinking of something else or just wrong all around).
Yes, right now I have the original B20B in the car - albiet with my carbs in NY at Joe's for a rebuild.
Has anyone tried plugging in a modern Volvo gauge cluster in? Like one from say a '06 S60 into a 142
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Old 03-25-2021, 01:20 PM   #6
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Oooh, I didn't know tachs were voltage sensing - for some reason I always thought they were cable driven to the transmission (maybe I'm thinking of something else or just wrong all
You were probably thinking of the speedo sensor.
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Old 03-25-2021, 01:30 PM   #7
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Yes, the original clusters can garner some high amounts and that's for used ones.

But occasionally you can find deals on the GT clusters with 4 gauges. I suggest you avoid the Rallye clusters with 5 gauges as the 2 senders for the fuel and water temperature gauges are special and are almost never included. While the GT clusters use the stock senders.

There's a GT cluster with a speedometer in kilometers per hour on Tradera right now for less, but the seller won't ship to the USA and the auction will end in less than 2 hours.

https://www.tradera.com/item/302203/...strument-67-72

You easily can make your own cluster cheaper especially if you use cheap gauges. But with cheap gauges comes lower accuracy and durability. We recently installed a cheap triple gauge set(water/oil pressure/voltmeter) on a customers 142 and he's complaining about the accuracy of the water temperature gauge and it is reading high according to my non-contact thermometer.
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Old 03-25-2021, 02:51 PM   #8
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fatcat - I think you're right, probably.
planetman - I caught the auction before it ended, but don't want to trouble my friends in Sweden for shipping me parts. I think I'm going to build my own cluster. Seems like a fun learning project. I'll probably opt for something in middle of the price spectrum to get a bit better reliability and durability
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Old 03-25-2021, 04:32 PM   #9
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I installed tachometers in the ashtray space on a few early 140s. This way I could keep the ribbon speedometer.

[IMG][/IMG]

Yes, they were small and not in an ideal location for performance driving, but it worked.
Got them from J.C.Whitney and they were cheap. Not sure if JCW even exists anymore.
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Old 03-25-2021, 05:43 PM   #10
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You were probably thinking of the speedo sensor.
or another car... MG, Triumph, Austin Healey, Austin Mini all used a smiths cable driven tach at some point in their generations.
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Old 03-25-2021, 07:25 PM   #11
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I've seen cable driven mechanical tachometers that were connected to the distributor or generator.

In fact the P1900's came with a cable driven tachometer run off the generator.
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Old 03-26-2021, 01:37 PM   #12
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I'm really liking that tach in the ashtray to keep the ribbon speedo!!
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Old 03-26-2021, 01:39 PM   #13
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I've seen people install a small tach in their engine bay so that tuning carbs is easier
Don't think I'll go that route, since eventually I want to swap in a either a 16v or a 20v engine in the 142
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