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Author Topic: Cluster Restoration.  (Read 101559 times)
HITMAN 149
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« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2007, 01:05:56 AM »

OMG!!!!!!!!! i've died & went to mopar cluster heaven!!!!!!
great job bro!!!!!!!!! thanks!!!!!!!! i'm in the middle of re-doing my 68 cluster... but really only the front bezel..as i've got brand new autometer gauges i'm poping in....
i'll finish it one of these days!!! hahahaha i was 99.99999999% done spraying it.... BUT NOOOOOOO  brickwall i had to give it a lil shot up close to try & build up a light area... and i sprayed it too close & that spot  got all shiney!!! sojust as wendal said... "you become an koi fish expert after you kill a couple hundred koi fish"!!! LOL (that's an awesome line!!!)
soooo back to the drawing board...with my can of easy off in hand...i'll start all over!!! hahahaha
 cheers
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68 Charger R/T, SOLD =/ sniffle sniffle
01 BMW 740i SPORT  
01 Hot Rod Harley Dresser, SOLD =/ =/
lilwendal
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« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2007, 01:14:40 AM »

Headlight switch rocker....WARNING  Most will look at this and say no way.  Dont look at the pics till you read this!!!I've explored many ways to try to get the rocker switch off for replating on the Charger style headlight switches.  They do not repop them.  If you find a decent original it can usually be buffed out nicely.  Problem is most are flaking,pealing, have worn chrome or bubbling chrome.  I dont know if the pic below shows the surface conditon but heres a functional switch in below average driver condition.  Spots of missing chrome and heavy bubbling.  Not usable for a reto cluster.
All the other rocker switches have a roll pin or tension pin that slides in from either side with openings on both sides.  No problem just use a small punch and lightly tap the roll pin out and send to the replaters.  Unforunately with the vacuum arm on the charger style switch the factory installed a tension pin that went in and does not have a way through or back out. So how do you get the rocker off for replating shruggy
I'll add this.  I've never had one break.  I have 4 at the replaters now and the 6 or so before those came back beautifull.
Here we go. You need only two # 48 drill bit or smaller.  Thats smaller diameter not smaller #.  A drill and a hammer.  Oh and a work bench with vice.  Mount the switch in the vice with the vacuum arm up. Now you are going to drill down the length of the arm towards the tension pin.  Be sure you have not been drinking before attempting this. The plastic drills like butter so very light pressure and very slow speed.  Continually check your angle by looking at all sides as you drill.  Stay straight!!!You will know when you hit the pin.  The drill will stop digging. Pull the drill bit out.  Use your other drill bit as a punch.
Hold the shaft of the vacuum arm and apply a very light tap to the bit and the tension pin will start to protrude from the rocker. Pull your bit out then grab the tension pin with some pliers and pull. Viola!  The pin is not very tight in the rocker.
Now you have a small #48 hole in the shaft. The first ones I had replated just like that and the chrome covered the holes but since I've been injecting epoxy into the drill hole for added strength.  Small syringe with big tip from any Walgreens or your local drugy.  Fill with a flowable resign style epoxy and inject into the cavity. Once its seen coming out the other end apply some tape to the hole to keep it in while it sets.  Once set, sand the excess epoxy and off to the platers.  15.00  later you have a perfect rechromed charger style rocker.
I know most are thinking this is a dont try at home kinda thing but it actually works out very good.


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lilwendal
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« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2007, 01:16:51 AM »

Too Easy!!!!!  Right!!!!!


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HITMAN 149
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« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2007, 01:20:32 AM »

paging DR WENDAL.... paging DR WENDAL...
you have cluster waiting for you in operating room #6!!!  yesnod
sweeeeet stufff!!! cheers
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68 Charger R/T, SOLD =/ sniffle sniffle
01 BMW 740i SPORT  
01 Hot Rod Harley Dresser, SOLD =/ =/
lilwendal
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« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2007, 01:23:48 AM »

Damn this is taking alot longer than I expected. Tongue  I'll get the dimmer wheel tomorrow.  Most all dimmers I get do not work. They all get a full rebuild and I'll dive into that then.
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resq302
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Whats black and white and red all over.......


« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2007, 02:24:36 AM »

 notworthy is all I can say.
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Brian
1969 Dodge Charger (factory 4 speed, H code 383 engine,  AACA Senior winner, 2008 Concours d'Elegance participant, 2009 Concours d'Elegance award winner)
1970 Challenger Convert. factory #'s matching red inter. w/ white body.  318 car built 9/28/69 (AACA Senior winner)
1969 Plymough GTX convertible - original sheet metal, #'s matching drivetrain, T3 Honey Bronze, 1 of 701 produced, 1 of 362 with 440 4 bbl - auto
lilwendal
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« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2007, 04:48:42 AM »

Slow at work tonight so I'll add a little more.
Replating Versus Repop....... Pros and Cons
I'm going to disclose my trials with the various replaters I've used and also the repop bezels that are available. I also know the shops that do there own replating and those that advertise they do but actually ship the work out.
I will not name my replaters because  I still do buisness with three different replating operations but the results are always mixed.  One batch will be just beautifull then the next batch I have to return again for replating.  I've done a bit of research on the vacuum replating process and there are a lot of variables that can effect the final finish. I'm trying yet another now and am awaiting the bezels to return.  After having over 20 of these bezels replated at various places I still get mixed results.  Maybe I'm too picky about the quality of the bezels and 40 year old plastic is just that.  The pros here are you have an original piece that has the correct grain for concourse type judging.  The cons.. finding a defect free piece let alone the entire dash set for replating.   risk of receiving a poor rechrome job. and time.
If you are going the route of replating send your stuff off soon.  It will take a couple months to get it back.
Repops... I believe several companies do these but I have only purchased fromPeter at  PG Classic.  I've gotten 2 or 3 of each year from them and compared to originals.  The repops are very nice and do not show the 40 year old age like an orignal. The grain for the 69/70 though is noticable different than original so if absolutely correct is a factor for your car then pass although I believe not many could tell the difference.
And as previosly mentined you cannot mix pieces originals with repops as the difference really shows between the panels when side by side.
So my recomendation with bezels is the repops.  If you already have a nice set of originals you will spend 350.00 to 400.00 getting them repaired and rechromed.  If you have to buy any pieces to make the set you are in even deeper.  The repop sets are not much more than that.  Plus if you did go that way you could sell your originals on Ebay to recoupe the cost of the repops. Next pro..One call and you have them a few days later.  No two month wait.
Honestly My last two cars I used the PG bezel sets.  Only because it seems I am always one piece shy of a original full dash set for a car.
69 radio bezels if you got one I'll take it.  Yes! use the repops and sell me your original 69 radio bezel yesnod LOL
But in closing when I look at the two side by side and add all the factors in my OPINION the repop makes more sense.
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six-tee-nine
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'69 R/T white - red stripe


« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2007, 05:17:11 AM »

Lilwendal...... you rock and bigtime.

I'm into restoring my cluster in one of the upcoming months and i can say the calibration stuff is really great and so far I can't come up with a question i haven't found an answer to here...
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Greetings from Belgium, the beer country

NOS is nice, turbo's are neat, but when it comes to Mopars, there's no need to cheat...

lilwendal
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« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2007, 08:29:38 PM »

I recieved a batch of rechromed switch rockers today and just wanted to show the difference it makes.   If your switch's finish is sound then usually a good polish does wonders but for around 15.00 per rocker or wheel...75.00 will get all nice shinny blemish free switches for your cluster.
The pic of the charger headlight switch is the one from last night now with a rechromed rocker installed.
One note on  this. The finish is noticably different from the  old originals and the fresh rechrome so its best to do all or none or you could possibly see the difference.  Specially with switches that are adjacent to each other.  The only exception is the thumb wheel for the dimmer.  I always reinstall a rechromed in all the clusters because they are rarely in decent shape but due to the knurls in the wheel you don't notice any difference with other switches polished or rechromed.

Still killing koi......Remember to install the chrger style rocker switch with the arm on the correct side of the switch. brickwall brickwall :brickwal


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lilwendal
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« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2007, 11:20:06 PM »

And the dimmer switch.  What a joke of a design that thing is.  Most I get are inop.
I'll give a quick rundown of its operation. There are two designs for the dimmer.  The earlier inclosed and the 70 and later style.  I'm not sure if the books list one as rallye dash and the other standard but all the specs are the same for the two. On the back you will notice three terminals lettered I , R, and D.  Heres a easy way to remember whats what.  Think of D for Dome.  This terminal is a ground for your dome light.  When the wheel is rolled to its upper detent this terminal is grounded through the switch body. I is input. Your 12 volts coming into the dimmer.
R for resistance.  This is the contact that rides across the resitor coil and is the output to the bulbs.
The resistance coil has a value of 20 ohms so with the wheel at full bright the R terminal contact is on top the I terminal contact resulting in 0 ohms full 12 volts to your dash lights. As you roll the wheel down you increase the resistance there by dropping the voltage as you continue to roll the wheel down  The full dim position is 20 ohms.
Below is a pic of a completly disassembled dimmer.  Notice that the resistance coil has come free from the porcelin wheel.  Very common and any nonconductive epoxy will do fine to reattach it once clean. Just keep the coil surface even.
Several reasons why these do not work and its usually a combination of them.  First thing you can try is a good douching with contact cleaner folowed up by a light lube like WD40.  You might get lucky and find that it will work in spots.  Next thing to go for is the silver contact that rides against the coil off the R terminal.  Second pic top right the little silver square on the copper terminal . Fold a small piece of 400 paper and place it between the coil and contact and slide it back in forth in hopes of cleaning up that contact.  So far your dimmer is still intact.
Here is where most of the problems are though.  The resistance coils input end is the copper disc you see on the porcelin wheel. It is crimped onto the resistance coil.  No solder just pinched on.  Same story as the crimped circuit boards corrision builds over time specially with an open switch design and you loose the connection between the two.  If the coil is loose from the wheel as seen in the pic you can clean it like crazy with etch and contact cleaner then give it a light recrimping.  This will get continuity again.  If its still boded inthe wheel you can still clean like crazy then there is still enough room to crimp it a little.  You can try a bit of solder across the wire and the crimped contact but due to the nature of the wire it conducts the heat away too rapid to ge a good solder.  The last thing and is fatal for the switch is if the coil is broke.  I find this more on the later models but as mentioned you cannot solder this coil. No other way of linking the coil will work either because the I contact still needs to be able to ride across it.
If your break is somewhere in the middle you can still use the switch it just will not go as dim as it was once capable.
If your switch works in full bright only then you have a coil issue.
Opening the body is as simple as drilling or grinding the head off the two rivits but be aware the rivits are not available to my knowledge and the dimmer will have to be reassembled with standard hardware.


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lilwendal
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« Reply #35 on: January 01, 2008, 04:27:52 AM »

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm just about finished with this just some notes on reassembly that can cause problems. If you had the can off the back off the tach be sure to use your ohmmeter to verify you do not have continuity between either stud and the case.
More importantly do the same with the amp gauge.  Very important!!!!!!! It doesn't really have anything to center the terminals well and I think we all know what happens if either terminal touches the case.  Once the gauge is installed I like to clip my meter on...One lead on the case one to a amp stud and wiggle the gauge to be sure its not close to touching. Switch studs and repeat.
Lots of chatter on the should or should not of bypassing the amp gauge but I always utilize the gauge in my cars.  Leaving it intact on a 40 year car with unknown factory wiring condition might not be wise but if you are restoring a car and are certain all your harnessess and the notorious bulkhead connector are new or sound with clean connections then it will not be a problem.  The problems with the amp gauge is when A. you add accesories and large alternator that overwelm the capacity of the barely minimium factory wiring system, or B. The wiring or its connections is deteriorated.  But enough of that topic.  Its a  horse

I've recieved a couple requests on the removal of the cluster from the car. So just a brief run down. Others that might have tips here post up!
A. Disconnect battery.
B. Check to see if you disconnected the battery.
C .Pull the radio bezel.  Not doing this is a sure way to loose the lower right corner of the cluster bezel.  Ever notice how many Ebay bezels for sale are missing that corner??
D.Next I like to slide under the dash and disonnect the speedo cable.  It gives more room for getting the cluster aft to disconnect the wiring.
E. Drop the steering column. You can just loosen the bolts to the end of thier travel and that will give enough room to get the cluster out but I prefer to get it completely down and out of the way.  You might also have to loosen the 4 bolts where the column passes through the firewall to get it to come down fully.
F.Now remove the 5 screws that hold the cluster to the dash. The ones visable through the bezel.  Now the only thing that has it is the wiring and the charger vacuum hoses.
G. I start from the left side of the cluster.  Pull it aft just enough to get a hand in there to disconnect the vacuum fitting from the headlight switch.  I often do this when I'm under the dash undoing the speedo cable but it depends on how well you 'fit' under there.  There is a small metal clip,often missing, that holds the rubber fitting on.
H. Now start disconnecting the wiring from that left side.  Each time you unplug a switch or light the cluster will come a little further out from the left side allowing your hand to go a little further right to unplug more. When you get to the terminal board be carefull.  Do not bend or wiggle the connector up and down.  This will weaken the already problematic pins. Do your best to pull it straight off. The last thing to go is the amp gauge wiring that is attached with two 3/8 nuts.
I. That should be it.
If you need to put power back on the car you can simply use a screw and nut to connect the amp wiring terminals.  Then wrap with electrical tape.  Now you can still use the electric and even start the car if desired. Of course you have no way to monitor engine conditions but I do this just to get a car to move around the garage.

The connectors for the switches are all idiot proof where they will only go on thier assocaited switch but it would be a good idea to mark the bulb socket.  That way your high beam indicator doesn't flash when you use your turn signal.

I do alot more cluster rebuilds then I installs so again if anyone has other ideas on the removal please post up for others.

Well thats a wrap.  Questions.... Feel free to ask and I'll help if I can.
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Tilar
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« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2008, 10:14:37 AM »

Awesome...

The thumbwheel in your bottom pic, The rivot still looks like the original. Are these available? In the one pic it looks like you have a screw inplace of the rivot, Or are you drilling the rivot and threading the screw into it?
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lilwendal
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« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2008, 02:45:41 PM »

Tilar, Yes you got it. Alot of my pics are props that are not complete but heres some pics that will help.  The one you questioned about the original rivit. I reuse it.  Drill half way down ,tap, then install -6 screw.  You cannot just tighten the screw too tight or the wheel will bind.  A small drop of lock tight on the screw threads will insure it does not back out.  See pic


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lilwendal
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« Reply #38 on: January 01, 2008, 02:52:55 PM »

And for the other style dimmer it goes both ways.  Sometimes I will drill and tap the housing for -8 screws. Other times I go all the way through and install nuts.  Tapping the housing gives a cleaner look but the nuts are an easier route.  If tappping the housing....again apply lock tight to the thread to keep it from backing out. The pic below shows the original hardware and what I use going back together.


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Shakey
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1969 Dodge Charger R/T SE - 440 AUTO


« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2008, 07:13:06 AM »


Amazing stuff there pal!  Really cool.   2thumbs
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The70RT
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« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2008, 09:17:27 AM »

 2thumbs...got it bookmarked!
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mopar67
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But WHY?


WWW
« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2008, 01:33:33 AM »

Thank you very much "lilwendal" for this link!.  cheers//Tommy

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bull
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'68 383/2bbl/4spd 1 of 74


« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2008, 10:16:12 PM »

Everything you have there looks so clean and spiffy. My cluster looks like it came out of a swamp. Tongue
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Chatt69chgr
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« Reply #43 on: January 07, 2008, 06:35:10 PM »

Hey lilwendal--------you recommended buying the repop dash bezel and associated dash plastic pieces because of problems getting originals replated.  You said that the grain or what I would call surface pebbling on the 69's was not precisely like the original but very close.  Could you post a close up of a original 69 dash bezel and a repop 69 dash bezel.  I assume your repops are from BEA.  I'am real interested to see the actual difference.  Thanks.
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gasoline_24
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« Reply #44 on: January 07, 2008, 08:22:38 PM »

Have you ever checked with Hanson Rivets to get the exact rivets?  I was told you could not replace the rivets on the grille, but after searching I discovered that Hanson has the correct rivets and tools to install.  I believe those are the same.  They are called tubular rivets and the tool and cup are around $40.00.  I paid around $6.00 for 100 rivets.  Just a thought.  Oh and mine is shipping tomorrow.  Hope you have it by Friday.  You will like the custom mods that were done on the HL switch.  The arm was broken so the rigged up some metal piece to make it work.  Do you have another HL switch?  If not I am in the market if anyone else does.  I have the vacuum portion just need a swith with an arm.
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lilwendal
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« Reply #45 on: January 07, 2008, 08:24:09 PM »

Chatt69... I'll get some pics tomorrow in the sun.  I'll show an 70 original rechromed and a 70 repop as close as possible.  I have a rechromed 70 radio bezel here right now but thats where it really shows when they are right up against each other...The joint between radio bezel and dash bezel or glove box bezel.
But again I think for most the difference would be tolerable but when your spending that kind money you want everything as perfect as possible.
My repops come from PG Classic but I believe they supply BEA.
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lilwendal
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« Reply #46 on: January 08, 2008, 03:43:18 PM »

Heres the pics showing the difference in grain.  I don't know how well it shows in the photo but it is a noticable grain difference with the repop grain being larger.  I can notice it from the drivers seat but further than that it starts to become unnoticable.The first pic is original bezel with original radio.
The next pic with the amp meter installed is the repop bezel with an original radio.


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lilwendal
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« Reply #47 on: January 08, 2008, 03:56:26 PM »

Yeah... Looking at the pics its hard to tell without them in your hands.  Anyways like I originally posted it would probably be fine for 90% of the guys that recieved them but just be aware there is a visible difference.

Gasoline....I've purchased the gauge rivits from Hansons before but the fastners for the dimmer are more like pins with a small tubular rivit to secure them.  1/2 inch head.... 1/4 inch body... with a 1/8 inch tubular rivt on the end.They can make them I'm sure but never researched the cost per unit to get them made. Also I'll be able to help with the charger switch.
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Chatt69chgr
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« Reply #48 on: January 08, 2008, 04:09:39 PM »

Thanks for the pics lilwendal.  I do notice the difference but have to say that the repops look mighty good.  Might have to talk to Mike about a repop set.
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lilwendal
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« Reply #49 on: January 08, 2008, 04:14:36 PM »

Repops are very nice. Its what I've used in the last couple cars. The full set.
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