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Installing gauge faces in a 1964 Plymouth

Brightening and whitening an A-body’s gauge pod

Story Scott Lachenauer - May 01, 2011 09:00 AM

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Image1 Even after cleaning up the bezels, polishing up the pieces and freshening up the chrome with Eastwood’s Liquid Chrome, the old yellowed dash gauges made this dash look dated.
Image2 The kit arrived within a few short days and contained everything I’d need to refresh my cluster. In all it set me back less than the price of two pizzas...
Image3 The ’64 bezel is held to the dash frame by the four large screws around the perimeter. My dash is already out, but you can find the four screws holding the unit in the dash around the perimeter of the bezel.
Image4 Next, remove the four screws on the backside of the cluster. This will release the bezel from the gauge cluster housing.
Image5 Before you can remove the bezel, twist off the metal ignition bezel. This would also be a good time to get out the chrome polish and give it a good buffing.
Image6 Once removed, the bezel comes off without a hitch. Be careful not to bend or break the needles! Now we are ready for the faces.
Image7 I took a damp paper towel and lightly cleaned the surfaces of any dirt or contaminants that might have collected on the gauge faces, to better promote adhesion with the new white face decal.
Image8 The kit comes with easy-to-read, well-diagramed instructions to make this operation a snap. What I liked is that they are all tailor-made for each vehicle model and dash type.
Image9 Remove the decal from its backing. Be careful not to fold it over on itself as it’s already covered in a strong adhesive.
Image10 Next, fill the bottle included with some tap water and a drop of dish detergent. This will give you the lubrication needed to move the decal into position once it’s set on the gauge face.
Image11 To get the face on, thread the needle through the center hole. DO NOT REMOVE THE SPEEDO NEEDLE! After it is through, line the decal up correctly on the face. There are placement holes cut into the white face which line up with placement nodules on the original gauge unit. Whitegauges.net made it hard to do this step wrong.
Image12 A small squeegee is included to push out any air or water bubbles that might form while placing the decal on the face. Gently work from the center out, pushing bubbles towards the perimeter.
Image13 Repeat the process on the other decals. Like before, they all contain match-up cut outs, which line each one up flawlessly with its corresponding gauge face.
Image14 Once again, use the squeegee to push out any air bubbles. A pin can be used to lightly pop any bubble you can’t work out. I try to keep this technique to a minimum.
Image15 All four decals are on. Let’s do something about those faded needles.
Image16 I picked up a few artist’s brushes from the dollar store and then combed my paint shelf for a color that would really stand out. Red, pink, no … HEMI ORANGE! I placed a piece of paper towel under the needle just in case I couldn’t stay in the lines and lightly coated the needles in the bright hue.
Image17 Before I put the whole thing back together, I buffed out the lenses with a soft cotton cloth and some Autosol from my Eastwood Headlight Refinishing Kit. The plastic lenses were nice and clear when I finished, with no swirl marks.
Image18 After reversing the tear down process, I’ve created a Mopar masterpiece. This is going to make the dash really pop when it’s back in the car. Now about that dash pad...

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Well, I’m getting pretty far along on the hard, dusty trail of a full-blown restoration on my little A-body Barracuda.

Now since a lot of the big work is done, it’s that time where the bits and morsels of the arduous task at hand become more relevant … those smaller effects that make a restoration stand out from the other restifications in the car show parking lot.

The first thing I did was take out the dash frame for a complete restoration, as it was something I could do during the winter months in my little work space. I removed all the plastic bezels for a complete makeover, blasted the frame and polished up all the metal trinkets and knobs that make up a mid-’60s dash setup.

After restoring all the pieces, and coating the frame in a nice blanket of blue, I reassembled the gleaming parts back into their respective places, stood back, and admired my handiwork. But something stood out as just not belonging in my newly-freshened dash set-up. While everything looked new and relevant to a high-end project, the yellowed out numbers on my black-faced gauge clusters stood out like a punk rocker at a James Taylor show. It just didn’t belong.

Heat and UV rays did a number on the original off-white numerals on the speedo, and it also dulled out the print on the smaller gauges as well. And since I was doing more of a resto-mod than a numbers matching gold medal restoration, I felt I could take plenty of liberties with the overall styling of the project at hand.

Luckily, I heard there was an easy fix to this issue that was easy on the pockets as well. Since I was ready to get the cluster and dash back into the car, it also had to be a quick solution.

I called up the guys at Whitegauges.net and talked to them about redoing my cluster. Luckily, they were just putting the finishing touches on a new set of replacement faces for my ’64 dash setup. The difference in the look of the newly restored dash is mind blowing. Take a look at how it all went down.

For Your Information:

WhiteGauges.net

(866) 935-6200

www.whitegauges.net

The Eastwood Company

(800) 343-9353

www.eastwood.com

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