John Hedenberg
November 7, 2002
Contributers: John Hedenburg

Step By Step

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0212mm_20zoom 2001_Ford_Mustang_GT Front_Side_Driving

0212mm_01zoom 2001_Ford_Mustang_GT Interior_Gauges
The factory gauges in the '01 GT are simple and effective, but are rather uninteresting and not too enjoyable to look at.
The Auto Meter Lunar Series gauge set installs in the factory location in a few hours with basic hand tools. The Auto Meter gauges are a ton more accurate, look awesome and utilize electroluminescent light, ala the 2003 Cobra and other SVT products.
0212mm_03zoom 2001_Ford_Mustang_GT Interior_Gauges_Surround_Removed
We started off by removing the stock plastic cover that goes around the instrument bezel.
0212mm_04zoom 2001_Ford_Mustang_GT Interior_Dash_Gauges_Removed
With the plastic cover out of the way and the two harness connections disconnected the instrument panel can be removed from the dash.
With the two panels side by side you can really see the differences between them. The gauges are in the same location as stock but are a ton nicer looking.

It is a pretty common fact that 80 percent of what is sold through the aftermarket today has something to do with speed. Making a car faster is what we all live for. When the funds are available the excitement of purchasing a killer nitrous kit or a big honkin' supercharger are, more often than not, unmatched.

But what are people supposed to do about the smaller things in life? What is the easy answer to our automotive appearance dilemmas? Sometimes big things come in small packages.

We at MM&FF were wondering that ourselves and were looking into ways to spice up our latest project car, known by our readers as the Ice Box. It is a white '01 GT that has been treated to a Vortech supercharger, a Cervini's Auto Designs Stalker body kit, BBK Performance long tube headers and a host of other go- fast hardware. Hot shoe and tech editor Evan J. Smith pushed Ice Box to a conservative 12.65 at 108 mph on Nitto 555 radials and we're sure it will go much quicker with slicks and a sick 6000 rpm launch. Editor Jim Campisano is the man who has the title rights to the keys on this awesome ride and drives it to and from work every day. He was explaining to us that while going fast is fine, the stock interior was rather dull. We felt the same way and began thinking of ways to up the cool factor of the rolling office.

Auto Meter Products in Sycamore, Ill., is known for producing some of the best gauges in the business. The folks there tackled the problem of the stock cluster on the newer Mustangs and came up with a fantastic solution. Using its new line of Lunar Series gauges, it designed a kit that installs in the stock location and takes the place of the factory instruments. It can be installed in a matter of hours and will significantly add to the overall effect of the otherwise boring GT dash.

"Our Lunar Series gauge kit is a big seller for us and lists for $450," explained Cyndie Nelson of Auto Meter. "We are hoping that a lot of the '99-'01 and up Mustang owners like our products and install them on their cars." At first glance the Auto Meter Lunar kit looks rather involved, but the truth of the matter is it couldn't be any easier to install. At night, the Lunar gauges glow in an electroluminescent green similar to that on the '99-up SVT F-150 Lightning, '02-present SVT Focus and '03 Cobra.

The first thing that we did was to remove the black cover that surrounds the panel and, with the four T-10 Torx screws out of the way, the factory instrument panel can be lifted out of its place. With the panel on the ground the conversion to the Lunar setup can happen. The only thing that needs to be done is to switch the circuit board from the stock panel to the Auto Meter cluster. This must be done carefully with eight T-8 screws, but before the circuit board can be placed on the new panel the factory speedometer chip has to be swapped over. The speedometer chip converts over to the new panel with two Phillips screws and, because you are using the stock unit, the exact mileage on the odometer will stay with the new panel.

With the circuit board and the speedo chip swapped over, the instrument panel can be reinstalled in the dash with the four Torx screws and the cover panel snapped back in place. Within seconds the appearance of the Auto Meter dials put a big grin on my face, as they are extremely pleasurable to look at. At night, they light up with a cool shade of green light and the accuracy of the instruments have true Auto Meter quality built into them. The Auto Meter Lunar gauge kit is a very easy way to spice up the stock and sometimes plain-looking dashboard of the Mustang and what's even nicer is that we don't have gauges placed all over the car. These gauges are all located in the stock location and can be seen in a matter of seconds.

Tools Needed To Do The Job:
Phillips head screwdriver
T-15 Torx driver
T-10 Torx driver
T-8 Torx driver
7mm nut driver