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-   -   How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster (https://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/showthread.php?t=562983)

theastronaut 01-09-2013 01:45 PM

How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
After restoring a couple gauge clusters I had a request for a "how-to" post to show the process and products I use. The cluster I'll be restoring is from a '66 parts truck, and I'll be adding a tach and air gauge. The block off plates are missing, which is okay since they'll be replaced by the tach/air gauges.



This is the starting point. The lens will need to be replaced since it's scratched and the lettering is faded, and one of the harness wires is cut.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1166.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/297.jpg


I took these pictures to have a reference for reassembly. This way I know that all of the wiring goes back exactly where it should without guessing.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/377.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/460.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/558.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/652.jpg



This is one of my finished clusters.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/743.jpg

theastronaut 01-09-2013 01:54 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
To disassemble the cluster, remove the screws that hold the individual gauge mounts and pull the units out.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/835.jpg


There are 7 screws around the outside edge of the cluster, they hold the bezel, intermediate plate, and lens together.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/929.jpg


There are three screws that mount the speedometer, remove them and keep the rubber grommets- they're not reproduced.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1026.jpg


Note that there are rubber cushions around the edge of the lens that will need to be reinstalled to prevent rattles.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1177.jpg

theastronaut 01-09-2013 02:05 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
2 Attachment(s)
To restore the housing, I use 80 grit glass beads to strip the old clear coat from the outside and the green paint from the inside. After all the old paint is off, I change out the glass beads in the cabinet to new beads and lightly blast over the outside for an even, polished finish. The outside will be cleared only, so don't let the housing scrape against the inside of the blast cabinet- any marks will be visible. Don't touch the housing with bare hands or it will rust under the clear coat.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1232.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1335.jpg


Clean the housing with compressed air only, then spray a couple coats of satin clear. I like Krylon satin clear.

Attachment 1049036

Attachment 1049035

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1427.jpg


After the outside is completely dried, mask it off and spray the inside green. I use Krylon Satin Jade.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1523.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1625.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1720.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1819.jpg

theastronaut 01-09-2013 02:13 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
For the bezel, I smooth the rough edges with a DA sander then bead blast it and prime it with Rustoleum high build. On some clusters the center bottom mounting hole area is warped and needs to be straightened.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/1918.jpg
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2015.jpg



Guide coat the primer and wetsand with 500-600 grit until all the guide coat is gone. Use a grey scuff pad to smooth the primer in the ridges.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2115.jpg


I use SparVar S120 Silver paint. Silver is correct for 1966 bezels. This is what it will look like with smoothed edges after priming and painting. The original edges are very rough from the casting process.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2223.jpg


64-65 bezels were painted satin black.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2314.jpg

theastronaut 01-09-2013 02:18 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
To restore the individual gauges, remove the screws and nuts that mount the gauges onto the gauge mount.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2412.jpg


Remove one at a time so you can keep up with which parts go with which gauge.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2511.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2612.jpg


Put the screws/terminals back on the gauge so they don't get lost.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2711.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2811.jpg


With the gauges loose, clean the faces and needles with a light solvent like 3M Adhesive Cleaner.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/298.jpg


I use a pinstriping brush and Florescent Red model car paint to repaint the needles. The color match is very close. It usually takes two coats depending on how faded the needles are. No need to mask the gauge faces since I'll use decals to cover the original painted faces.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/303.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3112.jpg


I use decals made by Jason Wilson at Greenback Decals. They're a 100% copy of the original gauge faces and include the optional tach, vac, or air gauge decals. He also includes both 64/65 and '66 style water temp decals so you can correctly restore either style gauge.

Here's his website.
http://parklane410.wix.com/home

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3212.jpg



To apply the decals, lightly wetsand the gauge face with 1000-2000 grit to remove any roughness or embedded dirt/dust. On the speedometer you'll need to bend up the tabs that hold the "bright" indicator filter and remove it.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3316.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3411.jpg



Clean the face and spray it with glass cleaner so the decal can be positioned.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3511.jpg


Apply the decal and use a soft rag as a squeegee out air bubbles and excess glass cleaner.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3610.jpg


Once it's dried cut X's in the odometer and bright lights indicator openings and fold the decal over to uncover the opening.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/378.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/384.jpg


On the small gauges, you'll have to cut a slot to clear the needle.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/394.jpg


Ready to install in the cluster.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/402.jpg


The decal on the air gauge (and probably a vac gauge too) will have to be punched for the needle stem and stop pin, and slit to fit around the needle's stem.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4113.jpg


Clean all the hardware and terminals with a wire brush.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4212.jpg


And reassemble the gauges onto the blasted and painted gauge mounts.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4311.jpg


The gauge mounts bolt back in the main housing.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4411.jpg


(Aftermarket tach, wiring is different than stock)

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4510.jpg


To reset the odometer, take the speedo face off by removing the two screws at the bottom of the face, and the inner silver colored plate will come off too.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/464.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/475.jpg


Remove the brass clip.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/483.jpg


Slide the odometer roll all the way to the left.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/495.jpg


And pull the roll out sideways.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/503.jpg


There are metal "legs" that fit in a channel in the speedo housing, hold the first (left) leg and rotate the second wheel around until the "9" is facing up. Work your way down, holding the next leg over until all the wheels have 9 facing up. It's easy slip and let a digit roll over one too many so it may take a few tries. With all the digits and legs aligned you can apply the decals to each of the wheels then put it back together.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/...hp?photo=36143

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/5212.jpg


Put the face back on the speedometer, put the rubber pad on the back, and install the speedometer in the housing using the three longer screws that have rubber bushings.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/5311.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/5411.jpg



That finishes the gauge restoration.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/559.jpg

theastronaut 01-09-2013 02:19 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
The intermediate plate needs to be painted. Sometimes they're in good enough shape that you can just clean and scuff them with a gray scuff pad, but this one had paint that was flaking so I had to strip the whole thing.


I used a scuff pad and lacquer thinner to strip it (wear gloves!). You can't blast these since they're very thin aluminum and will warp badly.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/565.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/573.jpg


I use Krylon Satin Black after cleaning with prep solvent and wiping over with a tack rag.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/584.jpg



The turn signal lenses can be lightly sanded with 600-800 grit and sprayed with satin clear to restore the faces if they have scratches or are chalky.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/594.jpg


I had a pair that are in near perfect shape so I didn't have to fix the original pair.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/602.jpg


On warning light models, the lenses can be made from sheets of translucent plastic from a arts/craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michael's. You'll have to stack a few layers together to make them dark enough, and lightly wetsand the top layer with 1500-2000 grit to knock the shine off and make them dull like the original lenses.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/6111.jpg


You can use the same translucent plastic for the "TAND'M LOCK" and "OVER SPEED" lenses. I made decals using Avery translucent adhesive backed printable sheets, with the font printed in reverse to apply to the inside of the decal as the factory did.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/6212.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/6312.jpg


Installed on the intermediate plate, bend the tabs open to get the old lenses out and trim the new peices to match before installing them.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/6412.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/653.jpg

theastronaut 01-09-2013 02:20 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
2 Attachment(s)
To clean and detail the wiring harness I like to remove the wrapping and clean the connectors and wires with 3M Adhesive Cleaner. That removes all the grime and stains and makes the new electrical tape stick better.

Before cleaning:

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/666.jpg


Make note of the way the factory tied the end of the wrap and also how they wrapped the tape around the clip.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/678.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/685.jpg


Sometimes there will be cuts or modifications that will need to be fixed. I have a spare bulb holder from another junk harness to take care of this. A crimp-on butt connector can be used to fix cuts like this.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/692.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/702.jpg


Wrap removed, wires and connectors cleaned.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/7113.jpg


After cleaning, rewrap the wiring with electrical tape, starting at the end away from the harness plugs. To make the knot at the end, clean the adhesive off the last few inches so the knot won't stick to itself.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/7211.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/7310.jpg


Some harnesses had cloth friction tape instead of electrical tape. I like this better than electrical tape since it has more of a vintage/classic look. It goes on the same way as electrical tape does, except you can't remove the adhesive for the knot. Use glass cleaner as a lubricant when tying the knot.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/744.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/752.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/762.jpg


For the final detailing, I like to use Duragloss on the wires and connectors to bring out the color and add a slight sheen. It isn't alcohol based so it won't dry out the material.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/775.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/784.jpg


If you have any other wiring you can also wrap it for a more detailed look. There were three wires for the aftermarket tachometer so I braided them first to make them easier to wrap. I tied one end to mimick the factory wrapping style. I'm just a little OCD if you haven't noticed by now. :lol:

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/792.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/801.jpg


To clean the bulb holders take 0000 steel wool and Nevr-Dull wadding and mix them together. The steel wool will cut the oxidation off without scratching the plating much better than polish alone will.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/8111.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/8210.jpg


Before and after.

Attachment 1049134


Ready to install back on the cluster with new bulbs.

Attachment 1049133

MalibuKasey 07-09-2013 09:46 AM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Amazing! How much time did this take?

theastronaut 07-09-2013 03:51 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Thanks Kasey, I didn't keep up with it but probably around 16-18 hours. That's with having the tandem lock/over speed decals already printed and ready to apply. Took awhile to get those figured out the first time around!

chuckmc8 07-09-2013 04:45 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
That's very nice work. I enjoyed reading about the process; thanks for sharing.

low_life96 03-05-2014 10:08 AM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Wow

68panelman 03-06-2014 12:23 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Looks awesome!!!,Very impressed. What a perfect indoor winter project.

morethanstock66 03-20-2014 03:20 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
That is very impressive. Nice job.

Ronw435 04-05-2014 06:52 AM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Great post. Thanks for sharing. It looked great, probably better than original.

ChefCy 05-13-2014 03:48 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
now i want to do this to my 60-63, 64-66 and my 2 gmc 63 gauges

rocknmeowt 06-22-2014 11:14 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
looks great!

PowerdbyChevy79 08-24-2014 08:12 AM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
great work...this motivates me to do my guages... thanks

grs 09-11-2014 11:01 AM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theastronaut (Post 5845865)
To restore the individual gauges, remove the screws and nuts that mount the gauges onto the gauge mount.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2412.jpg


Remove one at a time so you can keep up with which parts go with which gauge.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2511.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2612.jpg


Put the screws/terminals back on the gauge so they don't get lost.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2711.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/2811.jpg


With the gauges loose, clean the faces and needles with a light solvent like 3M Adhesive Cleaner.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/298.jpg


I use a pinstriping brush and Florescent Red model car paint to repaint the needles. The color match is very close. It usually takes two coats depending on how faded the needles are. No need to mask the gauge faces since I'll use decals to cover the original painted faces.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/303.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3112.jpg


I use decals made by Jason Wilson at Greenback Decals. They're a 100% copy of the original gauge faces and include the optional tach, vac, or air gauge decals. He also includes both 64/65 and '66 style water temp decals so you can correctly restore either style gauge.

Here's his website.
http://parklane410.wix.com/home

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3212.jpg



To apply the decals, lightly wetsand the gauge face with 1000-2000 grit to remove any roughness or embedded dirt/dust. On the speedometer you'll need to bend up the tabs that hold the "bright" indicator filter and remove it.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3316.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3411.jpg



Clean the face and spray it with glass cleaner so the decal can be positioned.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3511.jpg


Apply the decal and use a soft rag as a squeegee out air bubbles and excess glass cleaner.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/3610.jpg


Once it's dried cut X's in the odometer and bright lights indicator openings and fold the decal over to uncover the opening.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/378.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/384.jpg


On the small gauges, you'll have to cut a slot to clear the needle.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/394.jpg


Ready to install in the cluster.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/402.jpg


The decal on the air gauge (and probably a vac gauge too) will have to be punched for the needle stem and stop pin, and slit to fit around the needle's stem.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4113.jpg


Clean all the hardware and terminals with a wire brush.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4212.jpg


And reassemble the gauges onto the blasted and painted gauge mounts.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4311.jpg


The gauge mounts bolt back in the main housing.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4411.jpg


(Aftermarket tach, wiring is different than stock)

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/4510.jpg


To reset the odometer, take the speedo face off by removing the two screws at the bottom of the face, and the inner silver colored plate will come off too.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/464.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/475.jpg


Remove the brass clip.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/483.jpg


Slide the odometer roll all the way to the left.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/495.jpg


And pull the roll out sideways.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/503.jpg


There are metal "legs" that fit in a channel in the speedo housing, hold the first (left) leg and rotate the second wheel around until the "9" is facing up. Work your way down, holding the next leg over until all the wheels have 9 facing up. It's easy slip and let a digit roll over one too many so it may take a few tries. With all the digits and legs aligned you can apply the decals to each of the wheels then put it back together.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/...hp?photo=36143

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/5212.jpg


Put the face back on the speedometer, put the rubber pad on the back, and install the speedometer in the housing using the three longer screws that have rubber bushings.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/5311.jpg

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/5411.jpg



That finishes the gauge restoration.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/gallery/data/1093/559.jpg

Why do you paint the inside of the cluster green? Would the lights be brighter if it was painted white?

theastronaut 09-11-2014 11:29 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Green was the factory color for the inside, no other reason than that. I personally don't like bright gauge cluster lights, too bright and your eyes will adjust to the brightness of your gauges instead of your headlights at night. I usually have mine dimmed down just enough to see where the needles are so that the headlights are the brighter of the two and my eyes don't have to strain over the glare of bright gauges.

grs 09-12-2014 07:50 AM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theastronaut (Post 6839778)
Green was the factory color for the inside, no other reason than that. I personally don't like bright gauge cluster lights, too bright and your eyes will adjust to the brightness of your gauges instead of your headlights at night. I usually have mine dimmed down just enough to see where the needles are so that the headlights are the brighter of the two and my eyes don't have to strain over the glare of bright gauges.

Thanks

Kenfuzed 10-23-2014 05:21 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Do you have a new source for the Greenback decals? His site has gone dark or they are no longer selling through that website.

theastronaut 10-23-2014 05:47 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenfuzed (Post 6889996)
Do you have a new source for the Greenback decals? His site has gone dark or they are no longer selling through that website.


Try LMC, they have been selling his decals.

TBONE1964 10-25-2014 10:21 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theastronaut (Post 6890025)
Try LMC, they have been selling his decals.

Thank you John,

I have been trying to contact Jason for a while. I hope all is well with him. I appreciate the information for LMC. I use Jason's decals a lot and glad there is still a source to buy them.

Take care,
Tom

Grizz1963 11-19-2014 04:31 AM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
What an amazing resource.

I am about to start restoring my spare cluster as the one fitted when I bought the truck, was butchered.

18 hours for a practiced hand.......

Looks like I have a few nights booked in the garage. :waah:

Lokin4AReason 11-19-2014 02:32 PM

Re: How To Restore and Detail an Original Gauge Cluster
 
neat informative thread .... thanks


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