By far one of the hottest modifications to the personal boating market is a dash or instrument upgrade. With the ability to mix and match modern carbon fiber dash panels, new switches, knobs, and of course the latest in custom gauges, the options are limitless. The instrument leader in the aftermarket is CP Performance, the marine industry’s “SUPER STORE” for all things aftermarket. We had the good fortune to connect with them regarding the details of a recent install they performed, and we found out just what’s involved in taking your boat from Antique to Awesome.
The CP Team points out that one of the hottest restoration-modifications, recognized by its slang name as “Resto-Mod,” is to replace older 2″ standard gauges with the likes of larger 2-5/8″ competition breed gauges also known as “Monster gauges”. The larger gauges are commonly found in all of the latest performance boats and provides a larger instrument face for easier viewing.
The challenge is that many earlier boats had the gauges spaced in a location that’s too tight to just remove and replace the gauges in the same spacing arrangement. The CP Team demonstrates that with a little ingenuity and some preparation also know as measure twice and drill once, the task can still be accomplished successfully.
This install happened to be on a 30 year old California Performance Hull. A boat sporting all the latest in mechanical hardware but with a dash long dated. The original Medallion instruments along with the old liquid filled speedometer made us feel like were in a time warp.
For this install, the CP Performance team’s first choice was Autometer’s Marine Platinum Series Pro-comp Gauges. Their conventional wiring makes for a simple installation and also due to the fact that no additional plugs is required. Autometer has been the leader in all motorsports when it comes to precision monitoring of any engine’s vital signs.
For this install they also chose to rid themselves of over 20′ of rubber hosing and the pitot tube water pick ups that are dragging in the water by installing the state of the art Marine GPS Multi function gauge with precision speed monitoring and 100 times per second data input.
In the following images we re-cap some of the step by step operations required to make the install go smoothly. First, removal the original instruments while marking and tagging all of the wiring for easy re-connection.. Next a layer of masking tape is placed over the dash to provide clean slate to make all marking of the future spacing of the gauges as well as to keep the hole boring clean from chipping the surface . CP then clamps a virgin piece of 1″x 4″ pine wood to the backside of the dash. This clean new surface provides the ability to use the pilot drill of the larger hole saw, to not be effected by the uneven surface caused by the existing holes from the previous gauges in the dash. After the new holes are bored and the fresh surface is prepared, the new gauges can then be installed.
We think the results are stunning a quick glance shows this boat just ditched all of the “OLD” for the latest in “Bold”