BRE Instrumentation Package
One of the truly wonderful things about having a high performance engine in your Coupe is knowing how it's running. Sure, you can hear every cylinder firing and after a few hundred miles even have a gut feel for its performance level, but really being able to read its vital signs is one of the most interesting aspects of ownership.
If you're building your own Coupe this is an instrument package to consider or if you have one of the Superformance Coupes, as one of the Superformance Coupe's basic shortcomings is lack of really accurate instrumentation. Without any idea of what the fuel pressure is you can't tell if that miss coming off a hard corner might be fuel or ignition related, or have you noticed that when you really want to wind the engine into its best power band that it seems to hit the rev limiter before the redline? That's because the standard Stewart-Warner tachometers, as delivered in the SPF Coupes, have a reputation for being a couple of hundred RPM behind the engine's actual speed. Accuracy is not one of the hallmarks of their SW gauges.
You've probably also noticed all the rest of the SW gauges on the panel have just 90° of needle sweep. There's so little indicator movement between increments on the face you have to really squint to see if the indicated water temp is actually 160 or 200, or if the oil pressure really did drop 20 lbs on that last corner! Not a good situation for a really high performance automobile like the Coupe. SW does make some better 270 degree needle sweep "mechanical" gauges, with matching faces, that can replace the less effective stock "electrics" in the Coupe and we've replaced and used these types of instrument in SPC073 for a couple of years.
I've always favored these older style "270" SW mechanical gauges, as that's what was used in the six original Daytona coupes, but lately technology has surpassed these old reliables. Tom Kirkham of Kirkham Automobiles, the finest builder of alloy bodied replica Cobras on earth, recently showed me what they are now using in their roadsters. I was really impressed as these new instruments had everything I'd previously admired in the old SW mechanicals, but found these new units were electric and of the finest accuracy and quality. The transducer (as opposed to a less accurate resistive type sender) in the pressure gauges for oil and fuel, for example, are within 2%! (even the best I'd seen previously were about 6% accurate) and with instant reading these new gauges easily surpass the performance of the old style mechanical ones I've long been using.
The new faces still retain the neat white lettering on a black background we're so familiar with on the SW type but somehow these are much cleaner and nicer. In addition to the improved accuracy these new units are lighter and require about half as much space behind the panel. (If you've looked back there to fix your wiper motor rod you know what I'm talking about *shudder*.) BRE evaluated these instruments, selected the best combination for the Coupe and created a BRE Instrumentation Package especially for Coupes.
The BRE Instrumentation Kit includes:
Tachometer: 0-8000 RPM. The new BRE tach has integral shift lights so as you approach the engine's redline (you can easily set this where you want) a series of LEDs light up in yellow before you hit red. Cool! Want to know how much RPM you pulled on that last run through the quarter? Press the recall button and voila!.. there you have it, the needle retrieves your exact peak RPM.
GPS Speedometer: 0-180 MPH. This new speedometer is pretty trick as well, as it is a GPS Speedometer (w/turn signal and high-beam LEDs) which does not require a transmission sensor to operate making installation very easy in vehicles which lack an electronic sensor output or for individuals wanting the simplest installation process possible. Additionally, a fuel gauge can be found in the face. The major advantage of placing the fuel gauge in the speedo' is that it now conveniently leaves a hole open on the instrument panel that was previously filled with the not-so-trustworthy SW fuel gauge. This vacant hole can now be utilized for an important monitoring tool, a fuel pressure gauge. Note also that we've recalibrated the new speedo's face at 0-180 MPH instead of the 200MPH unit that had the increments so close together it was difficult to tell whether you were running at 80 or 60 when you went by that cop car. Oops! If you insist on the bragging rights of having a 200MPH speedo' in your Coupe you can now patiently explain to your breathless admirer that the actual speed on that last blast in top gear was actually recorded on the tach and that it can be recalled with the press of a button! "Let's see here now, mumble, mumble, yes! '7800 in top gear with the diameter tires I'm using right now and my 3.46 rear end gear is just slightly over 260 miles per hour!"
Fuel Pressure: 0-15 lbs (carbureted engines) 0-100 psi gauge (fuel injected engines). With the BRE unit installed in the vacant fuel level gauge hole (as a result of placing the fuel level indicator in the new BRE speedometer) this opening can now be filled with a 0-15 lb fuel pressure unit for carbureted engines or a 0-100 psi gauge for fuel injected engines. The advantages of a fuel pressure gauge are numerous, but the most important is that it gives the driver an instant readout on fuel flow to the engine, eliminating any guesswork as to a possible problem that could be diagnosed as something else.
Oil Pressure: 0-100 lbs. This vital gauge is the key to understanding the engine's vulnerability to heat and G loads. With its 270° needle sweep it's easy to determine even the slightest variation in pressure as the Coupe is pushed to its limits. If you look in SPC073 you'll notice we've mounted our oil pressure gauge closest to the steering wheel so it can be monitored out of the corner of the driver's eye. You'll also note that it seems to be mounted at a strange angle. In fact most of the instruments in my Coupe are "clocked" so that the needles all point straight up when everything is at optimum pressure and temperature. That way you don't have to analyze each gauge when you're in a hurry. Sweep your eyes across the panel and if all the needles are pointing straight up you know all is well.
Oil Temp: 140-300F. The Coupe's cooling system is one of the best we've ever encountered for all around street use, even in the deserts of the southwest. The integral oil/water heat exchanger for the oil (mounted on the left side of the water radiator) however is performance limited. After about three laps at speed on most racing circuits, under average ambient temperatures, the oil temp is headed over 280 degrees. Oil temp is critical to long engine life and peak performance. If the oil is too cold it tends to sludge up over time (due to entrapped water vapor) and if it's too hot its lubricity deteriorates. Keeping the oil's operating temp just over the boiling point of water insures that water vapor is automatically dispersed. Having an accurate gauge will help any Coupe owner make any necessary modifications to the Coupe's oil cooling system to keep it in that sweet 200-220F range in whatever manner the Coupe is used.
Water Temp: 120-260F. The heart monitoring system of any water cooled engine is its water temperature. Note that the needle on this gauge doesn't become operative until the engine warms to 120F, a good warm up point to begin moving. A good portion of any engine's wear occurs on warm up, so it's a good idea to bring it up toward its optimum operating temperature before moving. The upper limit on this gauge is 260F. Certainly engines can and sometimes have to operate above this temp in racing conditions, but we don't recommend it. We think this 120-260F gauge is the ideal range for a water temp unit. Note: If your water temp does rise over 260F you better keep an eye on the oil temp gauge instead!
Volts: 0-18V. A battery is strongest when its cranking capability is at maximum potential and its life is longest when it isn't too stressed. Having the Volt meter handy will give a good indication of the battery's condition, especially if your Coupe has been stored for a while.
Trust us!... these are the best instruments you can buy. Note: Our foreign clients can order these instruments with metric and centigrade faces if desired.just give us a couple of extra weeks.