Latest update December 28th, 2016 1:27 AM
Jun 24, 2015 Abel Longoria Vanagon 21
Fellow TexasVanagons member Kevin came out to our Houston Area campout with his 1987 Vanagaon Westfalia camper and this gave me a good opportunity to take a few photos of what I think is the cleanest gauge pod available on the market today. I’ve searched high and low for gauge pods for the Vanagon and even pods for all other makes and models looking to adapt them to our Vanagons. Nothing really caught my attention.
Then I stumbled across a dual gauge pod made by Brickwerks that pops right into the existing ashtray opening of the Vanagon’s dash. Score! You just remove the ashtray and drop this pod in its place and it looks like it was meant to be there. The manufacturer was located in the UK so I contacted them so I could order one (or five) and I find out they will not ship to the United States. Ugh. Bummer. Back to square one.
A few weeks later I posted the photo of the dual gauge pod I found online in the UK and Chris from T3Techniques.com chimed in saying he actually worked out a deal to become a US Distributor! Awesome. Now they’re available here in the US! You can find the gauge pods for sale HERE.
Well the more and more I looked at my own setup the more I realized I needed more than 2 gauges since I wanted to also monitor my water temperature as well as my automatic transmission fluid temperature. I chose not to get the pod for my own Van but recommended it to Kevin and since he only wanted 2 gauges it worked out perfectly.
Kevin chose some really good looking gauges as well. The Prosport Oil Pressure Gauge and the Prosport Oil Temperature Gauge. These gauges are very low profile and have a minimal bezel around the perimeter of the face which works nicely with the gauge pod. It is worth noting that gauges with thicker bezels may not work with this pod so keep that in mind when shopping for gauges. I know the AEM gauges I chose to use will not fit in this dual gauge pod. The bezels are just too thick.
Once you have your pod in place and your gauges selected, the easiest way to install the oil pressure and temperature senders is by using a GlowShift Oil Filter Sandwich Adapter. This adapter plate mounts in between your aluminum oil cooler and your oil filter. The senders simply thread into the adapter plate. The photo below is of my own sandwich adapter on my Vanagon with my two (unwired) senders for my AEM gauges.
The sandwich adapter plate screws into the oil cooler much like an oil filter does then the actual oil filter screws into the adapter plate. You have to make sure you get the Glowshift Adapter Plate that is sized for our Vanagons. The size required for our 2.1L engines is 3/4 unf-16. The correct sized adapter plate you will need is HERE.
So if you’re in the market to add a couple of gauges to your Vanagon in order to keep tabs on things this is one setup I highly recommend. Once installed you’ll be able to monitor your oil pressure and temperature easily. This is, in my opinion, the best setup you can go with if you’re only needing to add two gauges to your Vanagon. The dual gauge pod fits perfectly and doesn’t look out of place at all. It’s nice, subtle and even looks stock!
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Hi Abel! We met at Syncro Solstice as you were leaving to go home. Were you able to get out to Dead Horse Point?
Thanks for the info on the gauges!
I have an 84, 1.9l
Do you know if this Oil Filter Sandwich Adapter fits on the 1.9 with no oil cooler?
Hey there Patrick… Yes I remember! The sandwich adapter listed in the article will work with your 1984 1.9L. The oil filters are common for 1983-1991 model Vanagons so if the filter fits, then so should the adapter. With or without the aluminum oil cooler. Hope that clears it up for ya.
Wow, great write up. I really like the solution. Do you know if the sandwich adapter listed will work on an 82 air cooled Vanagon?
Hey there… I wasn’t sure that it was or not and a friend with an 82 Vanagon just spoke to Glowshift themselves and said the Sandwich Adapter I listed will also work for 82’s as well. Sweet!
Would this system check the high pressure system or the low pressure system? I have a 1990 Vanagon that I am thinking of using this for.
This checks the higher pressure portion of the system, coming from the oil pump through the oil cooler and filter. Average pressure is in the 35-40’s range. Hope this helps.
Do you have any documentation on wiring the gauges? I’m just curious where you tapped in for power and how you physically ran the wires.
Hey there! I used Ancor 18WG Duplex wires to route my wiring from the rear of the van up to the front for the signal to the gauges. Some people I know have used trailer wiring which comes with 4 colored leads and can be purchased from the auto parts store. So you can route the wire up front and have enough signal wires for 4 gauges. Another friend I know uses Sprinkler Wire that you can get from the hardware store. Sprinkler wire comes in either 4 wire or 7 wire configurations so you can choose which is best.
As for powering my gauges, I tapped into the GREY/BLACK wire coming from my ignition switch since this is a SWITCHED power wire. You can tap into the fuse block into a slot that’s a switched connection and add a fuse to it. I plan to one day go back and do that since that’s the cleanest way to do it.
Awesome post! I’d love to add a coolant temp gauge in there instead of oil temp. Did you end up winning one up? Any tips? Thanks!
I added a Water Temp sender to my system. It’s very easy. First buy a 28mm Inline adapter like this one that I used. http://amzn.to/1S6VmNO Simply cut the hose that comes out of the right side of the thermostat housing and add this adapter there in line. Easy Peasy.
Awesome, thanks! Did you find a nice gauge that fits in the Brickwerks?
Thanks Abel – I’ve mirrored your approach for my 1982 Air Cooled Westy, GlowShift says its the same adapter – 3/4 UNF-16, and I’ve gone with two Dakota Digital gauges, a CHT and a multi-gauge for Oil Temp and Oil Pressure + volts and fuel. Should be sweet once it’s set up. Thanks a lot for the write up – so nice to be able to do this in an unobtrusive, clean way. Keep up the great write-ups!
where did you source the multi-gauge (oil temp / psi)? I have been looking at Glowshift gauges but I have not found a multi-gauge.
Matt, sorry for long wait. I got it from Dakota Digital, in their individual multi-function gauges. You can see it here: http://www.dakotadigital.com/index.cfm/page/ptype=product/product_id=471/category_id=252/mode=prod/prd471.htm
Thanks for sharing this DIY Abel. I am curious about the sensors you are using on the sandwich plate. Which ones are they? They look like GM sensors. But they also could be late audi/vw sensors….. anyway TIA. Also i take it you will be using the respective harness plugs ?
You write above that you, “wanted to also monitor my water temperature as well as my automatic transmission fluid temperature”. Are you monitoring your transmission fluid temp? I found your post seeking a way to monitor my transmission fluid
what’s the best source for the “ancor 18wg duplex wires?”
Sorry I’m late to your comment… I just added the link to the wiring in the post. You can find it here on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/2bjQq80
How accurate are the gauge in the article. Amazon reviews are terrible.
The Prosports I’m not sure. I know a couple of our members use them. I use AEM guages myself in a different gauge pod. These http://amzn.to/2cMZhS
I guess if the Temps are off a little from actual temp you can use that as a baseline in order… I don’t think guages can be all that accurate. Just so long as it doesn’t fluctuate…