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Old 01-09-2013, 02:18 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Anderson SC
Posts: 3,456
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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

Ready to install in the cluster.

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.

Clean all the hardware and terminals with a wire brush.

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

The gauge mounts bolt back in the main housing.

(Aftermarket tach, wiring is different than stock)

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.

Remove the brass clip.

Slide the odometer roll all the way to the left.

And pull the roll out sideways.

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.

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.

That finishes the gauge restoration.

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