You know how gauges make your car more sporty. Racing cars have to have gauges – the more, the better.
I was always fascinated by the additional gauges of 80’s turbo-charged Audis, especially the pressure gauges for the turbo. However, what I still don’t get is the use of voltage or current. No charging voltage? There is an indicator light for the alternator! Over-current? Fuses! Oil temperature and oil pressure, that makes sense. Well, there is an indicator light for that too, but it still makes sense.
It’s RPM that matters!
But what is actually the most important information a driver needs? Speed? Pffff! It’s RPM – Revolutions Per Minute! That’s what one needs to care about. If you know the characteristics of your engine, you know where power and torque peaks. You also will be aware of not over-turning it. That’s the reason why race cars have big rpm-meters starring right in the driver’s face.
Since my “Neue Klasse” is just a standard 1800 it lacks a proper RPM-meter. However, the sporty TI variants have a nice rpm-meter right in the middle of the dash – the most perfect place. My 1800 has a time clock there, which always loses. So I didn’t mind replacing it anyway. I went through the Internet and researched original as well as contemporary and new after-market parts that would blend in flawlessly. Finally I came over an ad for a supposedly genuine TI rpm-meter. The price seemed right, so I bought it.
Voltage really doesn’t matter?
When it arrived, I realized it is a 6 Volts device, but my car runs on 12 Volts. Right, TIs run on 6 Volts – me stupid. But no problem at all. I ordered a little solder-in DC-converter and fitted it to the rear-end of the housing. It looked kind of bizarre, but no one would ever lay an eye on it. So far, so good.
I went to the garage and hooked it to the ignition coil and to my surprise it worked right away. Since I didn’t want dismount the whole dashboard, I nearly broke my hands off unscrewing the big speed-meter to have more space for the actual job. Removing the clock was even worse. But after an hour of minimally invasive, but utterly painful surgery, I got it out.
If you are familiar with the “Neue Klasse” you already know what’s coming. It didn’t fit, of course. The rpm is too small AND too long. I was stunned. I felt the shameful feeling of defeat creeping up my back. All the money, all the work, for nothing? Not yet! There must be way.
I headed for an “interim” solution. By drilling a 3mm hole in a hose clamp it was able to mount it to the cover next to the air vents. I used the original screw and thread. I promised myself to never alternate the car in a way I can’t backdate it later. I did the same with the cabling harness. I extended the wires of the clock with self-made Y-splice connectors, but I really made a huge effort to hide the extra wire for the ignition coil in the engine bay. I am actually proud of that.
See the result below. It doesn’t look pretty but it fits surprisingly decent. Of course, it’s covered by the wheel and I can’t read it properly while driving. Anyway it doesn’t really matter, because it only shows the right rpm at constant speed.
But hey! I got a rpm-meter.