Home / Equipment / Gauge Pod and Cyberdyne Gauge Installation
Tacoma Auxiliary Gauges

 

Vehicle Expeditions West: 2004 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD
Vendors
Cyberdyne Gauges
205 Main Street
New Eagle, PA  15067
Phone: (724) 258-8440
Lotek, Inc.
715 - C2 East Geer Street
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 687-2762
email: info@gaugepods.com
Overall Rating
Payload Impact (1,395 for stock vehicle) Nominal
Installation Time : 2-3 hours
Difficulty: (easy, moderate, difficult) Moderate
Specialty Tools Required: 12v Electrical tools

While the Toyota Tacoma is a fantastically reliable vehicle, I have found that monitoring of critical systems is an essential detail of expedition travel. Auxiliary power systems create a constant drain on the battery and require greater output from the vehicle alternator. The Tacoma does not provide a traditional voltage gauge (it has a dummy light).

In addition, my Tacoma double cab was only available with an automatic transmission. Though known for their strength, every automatic must be monitored for excessive heating. Transmission life can be very closely attributed to maintaining low operating fluid temperatures.

The two gauges I selected for the Lotek gauge pod are the cyberdyne volt meter and transmission temperature gauges.
CYB-A200E060N: Voltmeter 8-18 volts
CYB-A221e061N: Transmission Temp. 70-260 deg.

Process
To install the gauge pod and gauges, it is first necessary to remove the Tacoma's factory grab handle and pillar trim.
The grab handle had two, flexible rubber screw caps on each end. Carefully pry back the caps using a flathead screwdriver or trim removal tool. With the caps removed, the 10mm bolts are visible underneath.
After removing the two grab handle bolts, the handle can be removed. The pillar trim is still being held by two molded plastic pins in the unit. With a trim tool, the pillar trim can be "popped" out of the retaining clips and slid out from behind the dash. This is a very easy process.
With the pillar trim removed the metal and wiring of the a-pillar can be seen. The wiring shown operates the cabin and map lights, and are not used for these gauges.
The next step is to prepare the gauge pods and gauges for installation. All of the wiring and gauge mounting can be done away from the vehicle to ease the process. Inspect the pods and verify the mounting hole dimensions. In my case, the holes needed to be trimmed slightly to fit the Cyberdyne 2 1/16" gauges.

Cyberdyne provided several gauges for the Tacoma project. The ones being used for the gauge pod are:

CYB-A200E060N: Voltmeter 8-18 volts
CYB-A221e061N: Transmission Temp. 70-260 deg.

The gauges are beautifully constructed, with thick plastic bodies and metal bezels. Fit and finish is exceptional.

I mounted the two gauges to the gauge pod using the supplied aluminum backing brackets. They are secured with captive bolts and plastic isolators, and allow for easy access to the gauge wires.

The wiring process:

There are several critical steps to the proper wiring of gauges.

The Voltmeter is pretty straight forward, with a red positive wire (which acts as the sender too), black negative wire, purple dimmer wire, and blue and black memory recall wires.
The Transmission temp gauge has a red positive wire, black negative wire, white sending unit wire, purple dimmer wire and blue and black memory recall wires.

These gauges have an option for a memory recall function, which when activated (via a small momentary switch) recalls the highest and lowest reading for that unit since the last activation (power on). This is very helpful for monitoring high transmission temperature reading, etc.

I used an ignition on (switched ignition) 12v power source from my Painless wiring auxiliary fuse block to supply power to the two units red wires. I also bundles the transmission senders ground return, both gauge ground wires and the recall switch ground wires into one circuit and extended a single ground connector for attaching to the metal of the a-pillar.

I also created a common circuit for the two dimmer wires and used an extension wire for connecting them to the Tacoma's dimmer circuit. This allows the gauges to dim at night. I tapped into the Tacoma dimmer circuit at the transmission ECT switch using the green with red wire as shown.
For the ground circuit I combined all of the black gauge grounds, the black recall switch grounds and the transmission sender ground return and connected them to the metal of the a-pillar. For two wire senders (ones that do not ground the body of the sender), it is critical to run the ground all the way back to the gauge for best performance.
Final Installation:
With the pod assembled and common circuits wired, the bottom of the gauge pod will slide in between the dash and the pillar, making a tight fit. Using an awl, I marked the location of the two mounting holes on the pillar. Rremove the pod and drill the mounting holes in the a-pillar. After sliding the pod back in place, use the supplied screws to mount the pod to the vehicle. The screws are finished with color matched caps to make for a clean appearance.
Impressions

The gauge pod is a fantastic value, and has good fit and finish. The pods have little negative affect on forward visibility, though I have hit the pod a few times with my hand while turning. Having these gauges at ready view is a great advantage.

The Cyberdyne gauges are of excellent quality, and have the benefit of the recall feature. The display is bright and readable during the day. I prefer the quick read of a digital display over an analogue one. The only negative is that the gauge is a little bright at night, even with the dimmer function. Though After the first long trip I was used to the brightness level.

Cyberdyne has also provided two air temperature gauges (for the fridge and outside air temp readings), and an air pressure gauge (to monitor the compressed air system). Look for that install and write-up soon!