Interior and Upholstery 85 -> 87-93 dash swap

NotTangler

Member
Aug 21, 2022
6
3
13
Hello there, I was looking for help on how to go about swapping a dash from an 87-93 into my 85. I've heard that you may need the newer wire harnesses so I've got one of those from an 88 and also some sheet metal for where the handbrake is mounted as I heard that was different as well. I also already have a newer Guage cluster and other parts but I just don't know exactly where to start. I'm pretty new to working on cars in terms of experience so I've wound up here looking for help. If someone could direct me to a guide anywhere that would be awesome as I can only find posts about people who say they've done it but nothing about how they went about it.
Thanks

Another quick question as well, would I be able to mount 87-93 quarter interior panels with no modifications in my 85? I like where those extra two speakers are mounted.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

7991LXnSHO

wanna catch the space herp
10 Year Member
Sep 1, 2010
7,388
3,090
194
I liked the 85-6 dash better than the 87 up dash but that's me.
I believe the steering column has to be swapped too.
I like the earlier dashes, too. I still do not know why they put the radio down so far in both.
@NotTangler i suspect you will need wiring diagrams for both cars to make the harnesses work. Have you thought about updating the under hood wiring to MAF EFI while you are at it? If it’s a 4bbl carb, I would not do it. But if it’s CFI, I’d consider it or a newer CFI aftermarket system.
 

NotTangler

Member
Aug 21, 2022
6
3
13
I like the earlier dashes, too. I still do not know why they put the radio down so far in both.
@NotTangler i suspect you will need wiring diagrams for both cars to make the harnesses work. Have you thought about updating the under hood wiring to MAF EFI while you are at it? If it’s a 4bbl carb, I would not do it. But if it’s CFI, I’d consider it or a newer CFI aftermarket system.
At the moment I have a couple options, I have multiple Edelbrock carbs that I could throw on there and I also have a FiTech EFI system that was on the car when I bought it. I have always wanted a Holley sniper EFI system but they're never for sale and I think the FiTech would work fine.
 

90sickfox

Wasn't a pretty sight...and I've got big hands
SN Certified Technician
Mar 2, 2015
6,464
5,539
203
You'll also have to swap the fuel level sender for the 87+ fuel gauge to work. It would be easier to swap the body and dash harnesses from the 87+ car into your 85. It would take all the guess work our. It's simple take 4 eye headlights work. I'd assume your car has a euro nose swap already though.
 

NotTangler

Member
Aug 21, 2022
6
3
13
You'll also have to swap the fuel level sender for the 87+ fuel gauge to work. It would be easier to swap the body and dash harnesses from the 87+ car into your 85. It would take all the guess work our. It's simple take 4 eye headlights work. I'd assume your car has a euro nose swap already though.
Yeah I assumed that, got a dash harness off of an 88 for that reason. I actually haven't swapped to an aero front end though, I'm a fan of the 4 eyes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

KRUISR

5 Year Member
Apr 16, 2015
1,364
608
133
I swapped the interior from a wrecked 88 4 cyl 5 spd hatch I had into an 83 V6 auto hatch that replaced it. It took me 1 week to completely strip two interiors and another week to put one back together. I used the wiring diagrams in the Haynes manuals (I did this back in 1994). I swapped the complete interior, panels console and all. Where needed I cut and splices the necessary connectors to make the switches work.

I forget what I did for the fuel gauge but don't think I swapped anything in the tank.
 

90sickfox

Wasn't a pretty sight...and I've got big hands
SN Certified Technician
Mar 2, 2015
6,464
5,539
203
83 to 86 fuel tank sender ohms range is different and it goes in the opposite direction. Full is empty and empty is full but because of ohms range difference it is way off, too. Half is not half. :shrug:

We are going through this now on Scarlet. Someone replaced the sender with a different one instead of the 86 sender.
 

Rdub6

So while I wait to figure out my rear end issues
Dec 29, 2017
3,262
2,488
143
83 to 86 fuel tank sender ohms range is different and it goes in the opposite direction. Full is empty and empty is full but because of ohms range difference it is way off, too. Half is not half. :shrug:

We are going through this now on Scarlet. Someone replaced the sender with a different one instead of the 86 sender.
When I ordered a new one for my ‘86 from Rock Auto my gauge was all wacky after installing the new one. Took it all apart again, and sure enough, the resistance readings were from the newer model. Sent it back and got the right one…… I will now check the readings first if I ever change another one!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Rdub6

So while I wait to figure out my rear end issues
Dec 29, 2017
3,262
2,488
143
lucky. Most do not take back "ele parts' once shot thru w/ele.
They listed that part number as an ‘86 unit.
I explained in the email about the resistance levels, and that they did not have the correct part # listed for that year. Never looked to see if they changed it on the website, but at least they did my exchange .