1969 Chris Craft Roamer Refit: Shiny Gauges Installed in the Dashboard

It’s been 2~3 years since I pulled the gauges from the helm dashboard. Kocian Instruments* did a good job making them nearly like new, and they’ve been sitting in a padded box in my basement ever since. With the starboard engine installed and the port engine up next, I need to get the gauges back in the boat and start figuring out the wiring–getting 1960s vintage SAE gauges to work with my Cummins 6CTAs (which I believe use non-SAE senders) will take some work.

  • 2016 Update: Dale Kucian sold Kucian Instruments in 2014, and the company under new management is not one I can recommend. The full story from July 2016 is here: Trim Tabs & Gauges

Back in 2007, the dashboard was in rough shape but all original

2015 update: we sprayed the textured dashboard a lighter grey than the original

2015 update: we sprayed the textured dashboard a lighter grey than the original

Wires roughly indicate position on the gauges

Wires roughly indicate position on the gauges

Nice!

Nice!

Like-new Chris Craft Oil pressure, Temp, and Amp gauges

Like-new Chris Craft Oil pressure, Temp, and Amp gauges

Tach pods painted with metallic black Awlgrip, to match the windshield frame

Tach pods painted with metallic black Awlgrip, to match the windshield frame

Test fit the OE tachometer

Test fit the OE tachometer

I had Kocian Instruments recalibrate the tachs from 0-5,000rpm to 4,000rpm, since the boat was originally gas powered but now has Cummins 6CTA diesels. By coincidence, the engines came with mechanical tachometer drives, so I decided to keep the tachs old school cable driven.

What a bear it was hooking up the drive cables!

What a bear it was hooking up the drive cables!

Next connect the light

Next connect the light and install the bracket

Attach the ground and tighten the bracket bolts

Attach the ground and tighten the bracket bolts

Then slide the tach home and tighten the screw at the back of the pod

Then slide the tach home and tighten the screw at the back of the pod

Mess o' spaghetti

Viewed from under the dash, it’s a mess o’ spaghetti

I now know what every single wire in there does. 🙂

Binnacle light wiring needs replacing

Binnacle light wiring needs replacing

For such a low powered circuit, the compass light wiring sure took a beating. But the rest of the wiring looks surprisingly good, and the copper is bright.

Control cables will need replacing

Throttle and shifter control cables will need replacing

Three of the old Morse control cables had very smooth operation, which was surprising given their age, but one of them was pretty sticky. I could have just replaced the one, but the throttles on the injector pumps of my Cummins 6CTAs and ZF280 gear shift levers are in different locations than the old Super SeaMaster 534ci turbocharged and intercooled gas engines that were in the boat when I got it. So I’ll order a full set of new cables that are the proper length for this application.

For now, the dashboard is looking good!

For now, the dashboard is looking good!

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer Refit: The Curse of the #&*%^)! Helm Windshield

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10 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer Refit: Shiny Gauges Installed in the Dashboard

  1. victor says:

    Not sure if you illuminated the gauges yet to see what they look like at night, the wattage on the bulbs are usually small because of the heat generated subsequently a dim amber light, I swapped out my yanmar panel bulbs with the sylvania leds $10.00 each, but wow the gauges are crisp and sharp and no heat either, like night and day only problem for me was 40 bulbs but well worth the new look

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      That’s a good point, Victor. One thing I learned about LED lights is that the technology is improving rapidly and prices are falling through the floor. I bought some West Marine LEDs for the scorching hot price of $50 each back in 2010…now you can buy much better ones for less. But you got me interested, so I checked ebay and found 20-packs of dashboard LED lights for…don’t cry…$5, with free shipping.

      • victor says:

        The ones I use are the license plate sylvania led bulbs, they are supposed to be made very well for moisture and vibration, plus they are very bright amazon still sells them around $9 each , they get good reviews compared to the phillips that are assembled poorly and seen to fall apart, 2 for $9 ,

  2. Zoneone says:

    Do these comments get moderated before posting? I wrote a novella, and it didn’t show up.

  3. Zoneone says:

    Awesome work, Q! I especially like the comment about knowing what the function is every wire. And like the above commenter said, I agree that it’s great you went the extra mile to keep the original gauges. I checked the box for email updates, looking forward to seeing more. Will have to read back through to see what else has been done. I can’t believe you started that in 2007?? (According to dashboard caption). Where does the time go??

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Time’s flying, indeed, my friend. Although, I lost almost a year to the theft loss and 2~3 years during the paperwork SNAFU. Still…gotta get this thing out of the boat yard. I’m losing 8hrs every long weekend just to driving back and forth. It adds up.

  4. alloyed2sea says:

    Kudos, kudos,…, for KEEPING the original instruments/helm station.
    Not sure about the lighter gray dash, but I’ll have to consult my CC interior decorator.
    Grreat werk as always.
    Cheers!
    -Eric
    67 CC Riviera 37 (AL)

  5. Marty Molloy says:

    That’s a great funky retro look…It’s no Starship Enterprise console, but it sure recalls that bygone era. Nice job. ;0)

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