There were several projects needing to be done in this area, so one day I decided to start knocking it out. The dash was disassembled, and the stripping process began. I highly recommend a good right angle air grinder and a "Roloc" attachment for a job like this. It took me a few nights after work to get the dash, both doors and the door jams down to bare metal. DuPont metal conditioner came next, followed by 2K epoxy primer. I was happy to find that the rocker panels were not bad at all.

While the dash was apart, I replaced the windshield washer pump. It's bad enough doing this with the dash apart, I wouldn't want to try it with a radio, a speaker, and defrost hoses in the way. The pump I got was an aftermarket deal with little adapters to make it fit several different vehicles. Not exactly OEM, but it works. New defrost hoses were installed before calling it a night.

Cluster restoration was next. After disassembly, the outer bezel was sandblasted and primered, then painted with rattle-can chrome.(one day this piece will be officially chrome plated) All gauges were removed, faces buffed and needles repainted. I went with "Model Masters" flourescent red FS28915. Odometer numbers were in bad shape, so in went a new set I got off Ebay. After polishing the inner portion of the cluster, and repainting the black backing, the cluster was assembled with a new crystal glass and reunited with the dashboard. A new wiper switch and cigarette lighter went in to make all my knobs original in appearance. (One day that choke knob will disappear)

The next hole to fill was for the heater controls. I replaced the (broken) original pot metal levers with some rather pricey "unbreakable" steel levers, cleaned up the fan switch and put it back in the dash. One day I'll put a light behind it for easier night visibility.

Now it was time for a real milestone in my restoration - the radio. I don't know why this seems like such a big deal, but it is. I guess if you are at the point of putting a radio in, you know you are making progress. It's just a cheapy little pioneer I got off Ebay, 25W/channel. There are no pictures of them here yet, but I have installed some plastic kick panel covers which house 6" speakers. And yes, I have cleaned up all the wiring you see hanging below the dash. For the most recent pictures, check the "what's been done" section.


JANUARY 2003 PROJECT SIXTY5SHORT ---1-
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