When we got to the interior of the truck, one issue we knew we had to deal with was the inaccuracy of the gear shift indicator in the instrument cluster. Many years ago, the small tab to which the control cable attached became broken. It was not completely repairable and the small orange flag which slid back and forth behind the letters was always a bit off. We could have gone to a salvage yard and found a replacement, but we wanted something really unique and unusual. That's when we found Dakota Digital. Among the many awesome products they offer, is a universal LED gear shift indicator kit. Fortunately for us, Dakota Digital was willing to provide us with the GSS-1002.
We decided to take it one step further and integrate this kit with the factory instrumentation for a seamless, OEM look and finish. To that end, we started by taking the factory assembly apart and discarding all but the bracket and faceplate. Then, with a piece of white sheet styrene, we cut a small piece just the right size to fit behind the factory gear selector lettering. Next, we carefully measured the distance between each letter and number since they are not all the same. We then traced the measurements on the styrene and used a 1/8" drill bit to make the mounting holes for the led's. The led's fit snugly in the new mount.
The next step was to drill out the old mounting holes in the factory bracket so we could use small plastic screws to fasten all of the pieces together. The hard part was finding a suitable translucent white material to sandwich between the led's and the faceplate to evenly spread the light and give that factory look we were after. Thanks to a couple of sign companies that knew exactly what we were looking for, we were sent some Avery translucent white vinyl with an adhesive backing. The Avery product was absolutely perfect and we achieved the effect we were after.
Now came the hard part, getting the sending unit mounted to the transmission and connecting the actuator linkage. We were unable to figure out how we were supposed to use the supplied bracketry to mount and connect the components. It took us a significant amount of time to develop a solution to this dilema. First, we knew we did not want to use the supplied push on fasteners for the actuator arm. Once installed, they would be nearly impossible to remove without causing damage to the arm or the connections. To solve this problem, we used a #6 die and threaded each end of the actuator arm so we could secure the arm with #6 stainless steel nuts. Now we had a means of fastening the arm without making it permanant.