Paint and Polish

The clock pod pieces, waiting for reassembly--in the right place an correct order.
The clock pod pieces, waiting for reassembly–in the right place an correct order.

Since my last post, I’ve finished up the final bit of welding on the passenger side floor pan. There’s normally a little smoke after welding, but when I finished up the plate on the tunnel, smoke continued a little too long. Investigating, I found a nice fire going up by the transmission. Apparently, there was quite a lot of grease and oil built up in the transmission tunnel. and the heat from welding was enough to light it up. Luckily, I had the foresight to keep a bucket of water handy. A wet rag quickly doused the flames.

Completing the floorpans was a huge milestone. A day or two after they were done, I was able to pick up the dashboard, clock pod and other miscellaneous parts from the body shop where they were painted. They did an excellent job with the paint and even though the vinyl shows its age, the dash looks relatively fresh and new.

Restored Clock pod
The finished clock pod. Upside down, but you get the idea.

I set about reassembling the clock pod first. I have two of these, so I used the best parts from each, polishing and cleaning as I went. The best chrome pieces on hand still have a bit of pitting, but the finished product is far better than the original.

I was very pleased with the way the instrument cluster and speedometer came together as well. Again, it’s not perfect, but with the restored numbers, new paint, decent chrome, and  unobtrusive upgrades (like repainting inside the pods), the finished product has the feel of almost, but not quite, like new.

The speedometer and instrument cluster mated together again.
The speedometer and instrument cluster mated together again.

This week’s challenge will be removing the wiring harness from the old dash, restoring it (there are some cut wires and other issues) and installing it in the new location. After that, I’ll need to figure out what to do about the defroster ducts, which were made from cardboard. They were very fragile and were damaged while the dashboard was moved around my shop. I don’t think they are reproduced, so I will need to fabricate some kind of replacement.

At this point, it appears that I am about three weeks away from my first drive in months.

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