This is easily one of the coolest products I’ve seen yet, for the Mk3 platform. It had been in development for quite some time but based on my initial experience, I’d say the wait was definitely worth it! What you’re looking at today is the new Kaiser Engineering Digital Dash, a plug-and-play, bolt-in replacement for the OEM ST/RS auxiliary gauge pod.
The factory pod that the ST and RS models received was a wicked feature, and definitely helped them feel more special when sitting in the driver’s seat by having a few extra parameters displayed including the all-important boost pressure. However, if the physical gauges could be replaced with a screen one could then have the choice as to what was displayed and – especially in this day and age when more and more cars are receiving fully-digital clusters – it certainly wouldn’t look out of place.
That, then, is where Kaiser Engineering comes in and at last the first batch of their new digital dashes has been sent out, received, and installed by the new owners around the world. Excitingly, Ruzz was able to claim the very first unit for all of Canada! He promptly threw it in Pepper and when he was over recently to pick up some parts from me, took me for a spin so that I could see it in action.
The unit is heavily customizable not just in appearance (you can select different colours to match the factory cluster of the ST or RS for example) but in functionality as well. You can select which parameters you want monitored when it’s on the three gauge screen, but one of the really neat features is that you can also set it up to instantly switch to a full-width display for one item in particular, when it hits a certain value. In Ruzz’s case, when the RS hits 10 pounds of boost the display switches over to a giant boost gauge, and reverts once the car drops back below the threshold.
All of the options and setup are handled via wi-fi, and you really could spend a lot of time going through all of the choices provided to get one of these set up exactly as you wanted. A lot of us, myself included, run AccessPorts as auxiliary gauges but this is considerably more discreet and considerably more customizable. It also tracks minimum and maximum values, dims along with the factory gauges and screens, and has pop-up warnings.
And again, it’s a straight replacement for the factory gauge pack. We didn’t pull Ruzz’s out again when he was over but I grabbed my own spare ST pod to show the mounting points underneath. Pop the housing out of the dash, unplug the single connector, remove the two screws, and the original gauges are out. Reverse the procedure to install the new one and you’re done!
The only bad news here – well maybe the two bits of bad news – is that the display is currently sold out, and whenever another batch is ready to go it won’t be an inexpensive upgrade. This does cost a decent amount but considering the time behind it and what it offers, it’s really not crazy if you ask me. This is a piece I’d personally love to have in Mustard but it doesn’t have an ST dash harness as we didn’t do the firewall-and-back harness swap, so I can’t run it. Hopefully in the future Kaiser Engineering can offer a unit that doesn’t require the ST/RS dash harness to operate? We’ll see.
Anyway, you’ll surely want to see this thing in action and that’s what this week’s video shows. It was a moderate challenge to keep the camera steady – even though I was bracing it against the dashboard – since Pepper does pack quite a punch, but I was able to capture a few clips showing it switching between the screens as well as a quick look at some of the customization options. Thank you again to Ruzz for bringing the car by!
Kaiser Engineering: https://kaiserengineering.io/