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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just looking at my first posts before I bought the car this summer. It's like reading the words of a naive 16 year-old. As a remorseful man once said, "If I knew then what I know now..." It's been painful occasionally (finding rust spots here and there and a welding patches), but FUN (turning heads at every stop light and seeing a 69 every time I go into the garage to take out trash)!

I see a lot of folks going to after market gauges and interiors, but I found far fewer conversions (read: none) from after market to OEM. So, even though I hardly have a clue what I'm doing, I thought I'd post my progress here... If anyone wants to critique, I'm all ears!

The PO built this with his teenage kids, thus the resale red paint job, racing seats and gauges. The price was right though and it's very drivable (350, powerglide, 2.73s, aftermarket air) so I pulled the trigger.

Seats before:



Seats after:



Cluster before (forgot to take pics before I pulled, but here it is presented on the bumper of my 77 Cj7):



After pulling and swapping/selling the old cluster -- what a mess:



After figuring out that once I started replacing the speedo cable from the electronic back to the OEM, I might as well get some of the clutter out of there. I basically just unclipped the harness portion that plugs into the gauges... If I find out that I could have used this to install a console cluster later, I'll be disappointed.



Forthcoming cluster replacement. It's dirty, but getting cleaner, an hour at a time. I swapped for my old set up plus some cash -- thanks to a great forum member! I've found some good tips here on the forum on restoring clusters. I failed to take a full pic of the cluster with the lenses and everything still assembled, but you can get a good idea for what I'm starting with.

I'll post my progress and how (if) I get the cluster cleaned up and the gauges up and running. Till then -- thanks for looking!





 

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Congrats for going the OEM route! You should update your profile with your first name, easier to talk :) The cluster is looking good. I have used fusion paint on the pebbled areas (only) and plastic polish the flat area. Then used a brush to add 'Briliant metal" spray paint to the 'chromed areas'. FYI, you will have to fix the wiper switch mounts and the radio hole has been enlarged along the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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Yes, those are the ones Zac! :) Make sure you get the satin black fusion, not the gloss black. Tape off all the smooth plastic area and clean the pebble grain per the instructions. To brush the spray paints, just spray a little in a small paper cup. Then use a small artist sable brush, dip in the paint in the cup, its a little tedious :) I did a bunch of tests with various "chrome" paints and the valspar came closest to my NOS parts. Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I'm about to start painting the instrument panel, but before I do: Can anyone tell me what this strip of tape was used for? It's above the speedo and the fuel, where the lenses will go in.


I only found one other post on this; it was from two years ago and didn't have any replies. :(
 

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I'm sure you're smarter than I am, but go ahead and sand/paint the column while the gauge cluster is out. If you wrap it in something, you might even be able to keep from boogering it up putting the cluster back in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Getting it cleaned up and repainted, slowly but surely. Per Kevin W's advice, I used the Krylon satin black spray paint. I have four coats on right now, and I think that will be the last. The picture doesn't really do it just, but it's looking good!

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Even though I'm not finished yet, I just wanted to update this thread in case someone is like me and "crazy" enough to pull after market gauges out of their 69 to restore it back to stock.

One of the biggest problems I've had was figuring out how to get all my indicator lights and gauge lamps hooked up again. Since I didn't have these parts, I had to hunt them down. I'm here to tell ya, they ain't available just anywhere.

I had OEM lenses, and tried to restore... All I can say is, unless you have a very lightly worn set of lenses, just buy some OERs. Trying to get the haze off the lenses and getting the chrome highlighting proved to be more than I can do... Well, I did it, but they looked terrible. So, just bite the bullet, spend $100 and you're on your way.

Next I had to locate the gauge lamps and idiot lights. See my last post at this link to see how the gauge lamps worked out: http://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=185311. See this one to see how I ended up finding the indicator light plugs that go from the harness and then clip into the gen, oil, blinker, etc, lights that plug into the to the lenses: http://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=185408. The short of it is, find someone who will hack off the indicator plugs from a harness they're not going to use, and use side marker sockets for the gauge lamps. If you're building a show car, the side marker lights above the gauges are not going to win you points, but if you're building a driver, like mine, you're good to go with these. They use the same 194 bulbs that the original gauge lamos used, so no worries of over hearting/melting anything.

I'm actually reassembling and installing everything tomorrow. I'll post pics and progress. I ended up taking the entire dash harness out, so I'm hoping to get that area as clean as possible... We'll see just how picky I get after a couple of hours of messing with it.
 

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You can clean and restore the guage face by using an Armoral product on a Q-Tip. They will look like new. Buff with a cotton ball. Testors model car "orange" can be used on the needles of your guages. It will look like a new car when your done. The time and effort will be worth it as you will be looking at it more than anything else while driving. You might want to shoot the dash, "dry" to freshen it up as well.
 

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That piece of tape that you show in the pic of the metal plate is were the fiber optic for the ashtray light goes. On cars with out this feature the factory put tape over it to hide the hole. I think it's only in one plate too, but I haven't look at one for 20 years.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
4 coats? Hope they were light coats :) Only did 2 on mine and it covered well. Don't want to hide the graining. Looking good though!
Yeah, I kept missing tiny spots in the corners, so I had to go back and hit it a couple more times. The pic is bad, but the gaining still looks great... IMO, of course. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That piece of tape that you show in the pic of the metal plate is were the fiber optic for the ashtray light goes. On cars with out this feature the factory put tape over it to hide the hole. I think it's only in one plate too, but I haven't look at one for 20 years.

Jeff
Yeah, I'd been reading about this fiberoptic ashtray light and was thinking -- hell I don't smoke, what do I care!? I actually have ipod/auxillary jack in the ashtray... On second thought, a little light in there might not be a bad idea - for night time aesthetics, if nothing else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm just about ready to reinstall the dash harness, gauges and cluster panel. (Will post pics and how-to for future reference.)

Aside from taking my time (trying to just do this once), any tips on my order of operations? Right now I'm thinking that I will attach the harness to the gauges before I drop in the cluster panel, and then reattach all the connectors, grounds, etc.

Seems pretty straight forward but want to make sure I'm not overlooking anything obvious.

Thanks!
 

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I commend you on your choice to put the factory gauge pod back in. I personally hate most of those cheapo thermoformed ABS pods. the factory stuff is so great looking and the formed ABS stuff looks cheap and lacks styling.

Not sure how far you are but wanted to offer one tip: when cleaning the factory gauge faces be very careful or you can smudge/smear the lettering/numbering.

:thumbsup:
 
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