The previous installment of this long, drawn-out saga hinted at what I was planning to do to the dashboard of my ’64 Chevy II. Mission accomplished. All it took was some time, sandpaper, elbow grease  and a couple Dupli-Color black lacquer rattle cans. And I think it turned out okay:

dash painted2_700

That gaping hole in the center of the dash where a previous owner butchered in a newer stereo will be covered by a factory radio-delete plate if I can track one down. If not, then a reasonable home-brew facsimile. To the best of my knowledge that plate is not currently being reproduced and while original plates are out there, they’re not really budget-friendly. Thus the urge to fabricate. The rest of the dashboard, given the proper drying time, will be massaged with some fine polishing compound and a couple coats of wax. Then we put the gauge cluster back in, re-mount switches and re-start “job interruptus”: standing on my head connecting wires under the dashboard.  And did I mention, that’s not my favorite thing to do?

But, onward we slog. Wires are now connected to the back side of the gauge cluster:


All new sockets and pigtails were included in the American Autowire kit, though there is “some assembly required”.  And there was also some improvisation needed to fill gaps in the printed instructions but that’s done. If you do this job, here’s a small hint about something that may be easy to miss: the crimped-on spade terminals that go in the “Gen”, Hot” and “Oil” warning light sockets are a precision fit. Almost too precision, in that mine were hard to insert all the way in their plastic (insulated) sockets. There’s a horizontal slot in the terminal that’s designed to accept one of the alignment pins on the base of the bulb. And the terminals weren’t fully inserted into the socket so that one pin wound up riding on the tip of the terminal rather than fitting into the slot as it’s designed to do.  In this photo you can see how the pin-slash-nub should align with the spade terminal that fits into the socket:


My spade terminals did not slide in all the way, thus the bulb didn’t seat properly in the socket. So I took a small straight-blade screwdriver and gently pushed the edge of the terminal in, toward the bulb opening, to be sure it was fully seated, allowing both pins on the base of the bulb to be captured by the corresponding slots in the socket.


The gauge cluster, assembled and ready for installation:


The two wiring  bundles and plugs you see are a nice feature of the American Autowire Classic Update kit: they allow the gauge cluster to be unplugged from the main harness. The factory wired the harness directly into the gauges- thus, no gauge removal unless you unplugged every light socket and every instrument connection first. This setup would appear to be much more user-friendly.

Some peeks at a couple of other new things that have found their way into the picture: Here’s a closer look at the freshly-painted 15″ early-style rally wheels at the rear of the car. They’re coated with a darker charcoal color rather than the normal argent/silver. I like the darker hue as it seems to me to accent the center cap and trim ring more. To clear the yet-to-be installed front disc brake calipers I’ll be digging up a pair of 15-inchers for the front as well.

rally wheel rear_700

And this, from the folks at Classic Industries: a “305 Turbo-Fire” factory style air cleaner emblem. Trivial though it is, I had to have it! Gotta advertise my mediocrity!



So as I mentioned earlier, next project will be dash re-assembly and then it’s back to stringing wires under the dash and throughout the rest of the car. Stay tuned, and to get to the next segment CLICK HERE.


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