XR7 Dash Swap

Maybe I suck at searching, but I tried…

I have an awesome opportunity to purchase a 1967 XR7 dash setup but am wondering what all I’ll be facing to install it and have it work. I’ve got a 68 Cougar, standard dash.

The guy didn’t save any wiring, so I’ll also be harness hunting. Will I need a 67 or 68 harness? What harness(es) will I need? What will I need to hook up the oil gauge?

Am I getting ahead of myself- as in, just buy the thing and ask questions later?


You are going to need a 68 wiring harness. How much, Im not sure. My 68 was a standard and I got the whole wiring harness from a 68 XR7 to swap out to make everything work. There is also an overhead console that will work with the XR7 package. That is also a separate harness. Keep your eye out on Ebay, but you could also contact West Coast Classic Cougars and they will be able to get you what ever you need to make it work. Don and the team there are great to work with.

Thanks- I’ve checked out WCCC, hoping they might have an explanation on the website, since this is a pretty common swap (I think). I also hunted around the web for Mustang information (standard to deluxe). The prices on WCCC kind of scared me, but I know they’d be of the highest quality, something you wonder about when you buy off ebay.

Part of the deal includes the overhead console :slight_smile:

Parts for our cougars can be expensive and the cars are not as as common as the mustangs. WCCC, ebay and Johns Classic Cougars are basically what we have to work with. Im sure you can do better with the prices, but be prepared to wait for that par.

Hi Green Machine and welcome to the site. This is kind of a hot button issue. The people who have been around the longest will tell you that the best way to get an XR7 dash is to buy an XR7. And they are not saying it to be mean. They have just been through the heart ache so many times that they know what the conversion really entails. Since you didn’t find much in search, maybe it is time to rehash this again. And by the way, there are those that have competed the conversion and are very happy: anything is possible if you have the time. money, and talent.

The XR7 is more than just an option it was developed as a unique vehicle built on the same platform. The differences run so deep that the body style code (65A for standard and 65B for XR7) are different. More importantly even the body series code is different (91 for Standard and 93 for XR7). What this means is that from the very earliest stage of production there were differences (even in sheet metal stampings and hole locations) that had to be there to complete the vehicle. So XR7 wasn’t just another option that could be added on the assembly line.

Trying to draw parallels between Cougar and Mustang will just lead you astray. At Mercury they sacrificed having multiple body styles (Convertible, Fastback) in order to give the Cougar a more distinctively different sheet metal look and a longer wheel base. The Cougar was positioned to be in between the Mustang, and the Thunderbird. They decided they needed to further slice that market position in half, with an attractive yet affordable setep up from Mustang, and a sporty step down from the T bird. They really thought of the XR7 and the Standard as being two separate cars.

So lets get to the differences which is what you really need to know to attempt the conversion.

The forward wiring harness is different. One specific difference between the XR7 and the standard is the amp gauge wiring and the charge wiring for the alternator and battery. The two are not interchangeable. Most attempt to force the issue result in a burnt up wiring harness leading to the voltage regulator. Basically this means that you will need the wiring harness that runs from under the dash, up the left side of the engine bay and across the core support to the voltage regulator. I believe that the alternator harness is also different.

The sending units for the XR7 are different, in particular you will need to change the sending unit for oil pressure as the XR7 uses a gauge instead of a light. I beieve the engine wirinbg harness is also unique to XR7 to accommodate the difference but you could probably work around this by changing the terminals out.

The under-dash wiring harness is different. Very different.

You will need the harness to go to the overhead console and of course the overhead console and the brackets that support it. There is a cross piece that runs at the back side of the console that you will need to locate carefully as the mounting holes are not there. In most cases you have to pull the headliner to install all of this. The lights in the console are controlled by two of the switches in the XR7 dash.

Most likely you will need to get new wiring harnesses for your doors because you will need to have the wiring for the door ajar lights.

And you will also need the main body harness that goes to the gas tank, to connect to the sending unit for the low fuel light. (you can probably skip this step by using the ELFI electronic replacement, I have one and they rock).

Sp pretty much, you have to rewire the entire car to make everything work right. It can be done.

One suggestion. For the wiring harness, call WCCC and see what they have in a B grade harness. IT will have some splices and what not but it will save you a ton of money.

Last thought: Rocketman sells a really cool little tach that fits in the clock location in the standard dash. It seems like this is what a lot of guys are really after when they start thinking XR7 dash. Adding that tach is WAY less money and hassle.

I am sure that I am forgetting more than few things, but this should get you started. Good Luck!

Bill, your statement, "there were differences (even in sheet metal stampings and hole locations)?

Would you be able to share some details on this. My 68 is a standard as well, but I did get a full wiring harness, “I think” to go from the engine compartment to the tail lights. I also have the wiring for the over head console and also the brackets.

I think this is very good info, since there is so many times, individuals asking for advice to do this job.

There are a few holes for things like wiring harness anchor points and for the brackets that hold the overhead console that are missing. I am also under the impression that the dash mounting is slightly different. There are holes in the doors for the XR7 pull handles and for '67 at least the doors were different in that respect. I will think about it and see if I cam remember any other things. Royce could really help with this.

Use aftermarket gauges in the XR7 panel. Save yourself from a huge wiring problem. Sure you could find some cool uses for the toggles,…

Oil slick, rocket launcher, ejector seat, etc. :slight_smile:

As always here at the Classic Cougar Community, an interesting read. I didn’t realize that there would be so much to this conversion. Great information.

Here is something also to think about. Are the 67 and 68 XR7 dash board and instrument clusters different from one another and is the wiring different at all between the two years?
For example, I may have a 68 wiring harness, but the dash may be a 67 XR7.

Before I read all the latest replies, I went ahead and purchased the stuff. I got the dash, console, gear shift indicator, overhead console, padded radio/clock surround, and top console pad. The only part I’m missing -and wanted the most- is the metal piece that holds the radio behind the padded piece. I’m working on making a pattern, I think I can make one (or try before buying at least).

It’s not that I want an XR7, or an clone, I just like the dash more over the standard. I might not even keep the wood grain look, but use them for a pattern for painted pieces instead.

At worst, I can easily double or triple my money by reselling these parts!

xr7g428- wow, that was awesome. THANK YOU! I never thought about the differences in body series and the differences they would have in production. On one hand, I’m not really concerned with everything working, just the vitals. As 67.5xr7 said, I think aftermarket gauges are really my best friend here. I’ve seen that mini-tach before and I’d rather go a different route.

67.5xr7- I was already thinking it! I think Auto Meter came out with some really nice looking “old school” gauges that’d be perfect here. I wanted white faced gauges anyway, so it’s not a big deal.

Tmh- I like it :smiley: