View Full Version : How To: Add gauges to your Sportster

Dr Honda
04-22-10, 08:35 AM
Hi All,

I was asked by a few members about the gauges in my boat. I made a post in the past... but I thought I would make a new post with the info needed to do the conversion.

First... SeaDoo was nice enough to include most of the wiring needed to add a few different gauges to our boats. You can add a Tach, or speedo as an option, so adding a nice looking multi gauge from the XP is a relatively simple thing to do.

From the factory, the Sportster only had a fuel gauge with an oil light. While that is the minimum info needed to operate safe... it's nice to have a few more options. In my Sportster project, I decided I wanted more.

The multi gauge from the XP looks nicer, and it also gives you a few more "Idiot lights." This includes an engine temp, and low voltage. There is still an oil light, and a redundant fuel light.

Along with this, I wanted a tach. The one in my boat is an early XP tach, but any of the 2" gauges will work.


You might have noticed that I put the tack where the fuel gauge originally was. The reason for that is, the XP multi gauge is physically too long to fit into space above the steering wheel.

The tach is easy. Just put it in the mounting hole, and plug it into the wires provided. The colors wont match up, but you will find a single connector, and a 2 pin connector taped together.

The Multi gauge is simple, but it will take a little more work. The first thing to address is since you are mounting it in to the hood... the wires are going to be too short. You can either find the factory XP hood wiring harness, or, just cut the wires, and solder in about a 2 foot extension. I recommend soldering, and using heat shrink since this will get wet. If you use crimp connectors, they will eventually corrode, and fall apart.

Once your wires are extended, you will be able to plug in the main connector. That will take care of the same functions as the stock gauge. (fuel level, fuel light, and oil light)

To get the Battery light to work, you need to connect the red/purple wire from the gauge to a switched 12v source. Lucky for us, there is an extra 12v plug under the hood. (it has an orange and black wire) just connect it to the orange wire. You can either solder it, or add a plug to it, and plug it in.


To get the temp light to work... you need to get it hooked to the sender on the engine. Lucky for us... the buzzer is hooked to that same sender. Just solder the Tan/Blue wire from the gauge to the negative lead of the buzzer.


If you soldered everything corecty... your gauge should now be working. BTW... the buzzers in these boats are always dead. The buzzer in the picture is a Radio Shack buzzer. It will fit perfectly into the hole in the helm, and it cost about $9. Just cut the old one loose, and solder the wires on. (negative goes to the CONST lead)

A final FYI... to make your life easy, you should get a SeaDoo pin tool so you can pull the plugs apart. That will make it easier to rout the wires. Just remember what wires went into which plug sockets.


05-26-10, 10:37 AM
Great Post I'm installing a tach today in my 97. I'll let you now how it comes out :)

05-26-10, 02:25 PM
Hey could show me where I can find a wiring diagram for all the gauges on a 97 sportster? I am installing my aftermarket tachometer right now and I need the following 4 wires
-12v ignition
-Battery 12v
-Tachometer Signal Wire
I'm sure they are all there just need to know which ones are which. The manual i downloaded does not have any wiring diagrams. Thanks for any help.

Dr Honda
05-26-10, 06:51 PM
If you join this forum, you can down load the manual for that boat. (or one close to it)

But... the power wire in my pictures above will give you 12v switched and a ground. You can tap the hot side of the blower motor switch for 12v const.

As far as an aftermarket tach... our boats don't have a "tach lead" in the system. The seadoo tach picks up a pulse from the stator, and since the engine uses a CDI... there isn't a place to tap the ignition. what kind of tach is it?

05-26-10, 07:07 PM
Ok thanks, I will use all of those for the wires I need. The gauge is just a cheap automotive electrical tachometer gauge I bought off of ebay. What kind of hook up would I need to pick up the rpms? Some kind of sender or something? Thanks for the help.

05-26-10, 07:12 PM
It says the tach wire gets connected to the ecu but that's for a car. Does a sportster even have an ecu lol?

07-07-10, 05:29 PM
Would really like to know where can I get tacs for my 98 speedster other than factory. Way to expensive!! Actually all gauges are needed!

07-14-10, 05:01 PM
Thanks Doc, I just finished doing this conversion with the multi-gauge and it worked out great! I just need to find one of those tachs that you have. I believe I found the plugs for it.

Dr Honda
07-15-10, 07:32 AM
Thanks Doc, I just finished doing this conversion with the multi-gauge and it worked out great! I just need to find one of those tachs that you have. I believe I found the plugs for it.

Any of the 2" tachs will work. The older black ones go cheap on ebay. ($30 or less) The newer white tachs can go as high as $60 if they are in good shape. The only difference between the 2 is that the back one goes to 7000, and the white one goes to 8000, but, since the 720 engine hits it's rev limiter at 7000... the black one worked fine for my project.

07-15-10, 03:51 PM
Ok, I will be looking for one I'm glad to know the whites ones will work. While we are talking gauges I got a 97XP hood with the mirrors and it came with a trim gauge that I can't use but also a speedo that I would like to hook up. Any suggestions on that. I was looking at the used senders with the wheel but don't know where to hook it up or where the wires would come through the hull. When I get the boat out of the garage (replacing the cylinder base gasket tomorrow) I will take some pics.

07-15-10, 04:33 PM
I need a speedo and tach for my 97 speedster, which pwc gauges will work?

02-24-11, 12:16 AM
good article

11-01-11, 05:09 AM
Thats a wonderful piece of work to add gauge to a speedster, this picture says a lot and it could be very much beneficial to many people who are not a mechanic but still can carry out such work easily.

11-02-11, 11:30 PM
Closing thread for now. If you have some info that you think should be added to this thread please PM me!