Disassembly Complete

I picked up a tank of Argon/CO2 gas for the MIG welder this week and yesterday hooked it all up. I did some welding on some old sheet metal with the new setup, and while I have a little ways to go, practice-wise, the results were pretty decent for the first time out.

The "new" dash, stripped, cleaned and ready for paint.
The “new” dash, stripped, cleaned and ready for paint.

I dragged out the dashboard yesterday and started cleaning it up . . .remember the dashboard? (This is a project about the dashboard!) It came out looking pretty nice, but not quite nice enough. The clock pod, with its fresh coat of paint, looks positively new. Next to the older paint on the dash, it has a slightly different sheen, texture and color as well.

Talking with the body shop that did the work on the pod, the only real solution is to scuff and spray the rest of the dash to match. Of course, that means more disassembly. I had originally thought the the other painted panels were attached to the framework of the dash. In fact, they are part of the dash itself.

The Instrument cluster, exploded view.
The Instrument cluster, exploded view.

I removed the Thunderbird logo and the trim pieces with some hesitation. These a clipped on and were never meant to be removed. I don’t know how well re-assembly will go. With those off, I also removed the instrument cluster, which has a small painted panel as well. The only real difficulty here was removing the plastic speedometer number panel. The plastic was very fragile and was partly broken. I may have to use the original from the old dash on reassembly–provided it’s in better shape.

The next trick will be getting the entire dash to the body shop tomorrow.

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