Act 1: Introduction
After seeing my oil temperature readings during normal summer driving, I decided that I wanted an oil cooler. I installed a 25-row Setrab core that I got as a kit from Z1 motorsports. With the oil cooler being being the first real work I’ve done on a car besides brake pads and rotors in the past, I wanted some peace of mind in case something went wrong and I lost all my oil along the highway. I needed an oil pressure gauge.
At the same time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much of a waste the stock triple gauge is. The oil temperature is useful, but there is no reason to have a voltmeter and a clock(!) as the other two gauges. Such a waste! I decided to stick with an oil temperature gauge, and swap the other two out for oil pressure and water temperature gauges.
I was originally looking into AEM gauges, and they make some decent products, but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted something that looked as close to stock as possible. I have a friend who is pretty heavy into Subarus, and he suggested that I look at Defi gauges. I really like how close their Advance BF gauges look to the stock Z gauges. It has almost the same illumination color, and a very similar font.
These Defi gauges are part of what they call their “Advance” system. With this system, the sensors do not plug into the individual gauges. There is a control unit that all of the possible sensors plug into (boost, egt, oil pressure, fuel pressure, etc…). There is a four-wire bus output line that all gauges are daisy-chained to (there are actually two outputs). I believe that they say each line can support up to seven gauges. This makes connecting the probes easy; the control unit can be mounted anywhere inside the cabin, and all probe wires go into a single location, while only a single wire has to be run to the collection of gauges. The only disadvantage is that you have to buy a separate control unit in addition to the gauges that are not cheap to begin with.
My Subaru friend recommended that I get my gauges from a shop called Oakos Automotive. I was able to get a good deal on the gauges. I bought the control unit on Amazon because it was significantly cheaper.
Here is what I am running