electrical system => gauges => Topic started by: 8683jb on January 16, 2018, 12:35:38 PM

Title: Speedometer restoration results
Post by: 8683jb on January 16, 2018, 12:35:38 PM
I recently refurbished my speedometer and in case someone else is considering it, I wanted to post what I learned in the process and the results.

As expensive as they are, thinking about having to pry the speedometer apart was a little intimidating but getting the bezel off was a lot less trouble than I thought it would be. It wasn’t crimped so tightly that I couldn’t get a small screwdriver blade under it fairly easily, lifting it a little at a time and working around the edge several times until it would clear the flange on the housing.

The innards were pretty clean and I got away with just separating the large parts, then I flushed everything with brake cleaner. There are some delicate parts in there, including a fine hair spring for the needle so I just sort of dribbled the brake cleaner around those instead of blasting them with it.

I knew Rod Shaver had done these before so I called him to see if he had any tips. He advised against trying to disassemble the odometer or trip meter, so instead I marked the “0” locations before I stripped the paint and then just cleaned and flushed them as whole units.
To lubricate the movement and the meters I used "Liquid Bearings" synthetic oil that mkoloc/Mark Koloc recommended (besides owning an incredible untouched M16 half track and several other military vehicles, Mark repairs clocks and other intricate mechanisms).

After using one on my oil pressure gauge and being pleased with the result, I wanted to try Darryl Lennane’s decals on the speedo. I cleaned off the face plate and then scuffed it with Scotchbrite before painting it. I was pretty sure I’d screw up the face decal if I tried to set it freehand, so I made a fixture using a flat board, setting short pins in it for the face plate center hole and for both of the screw holes in order to center and correctly clock the decal. Before I peeled the backing, I punched holes in the decal in those locations. Then I set the face plate over the pins, peeled the decal and set it in place over the pins and onto the face plate. The fixture did help, but the decal is so floppy and sticky that it’s hard to set in place without it grabbing everything else along the way and it took a couple of tries to get it set without any wrinkles. If I had to do it again, I’d punch the holes and then carefully cut and peel maybe a ½” strip of the backing just down the middle so the whole decal wouldn’t be sticking to everything else. Then after the middle is located and applied, peel the rest of the backing a little at a time, working from the middle out. I think it’d be hard to mess it up that way.
After degreasing the surfaces of the odometer and trip wheels with acetone, I set the assemblies in the lathe chuck and starting the number decal at the “0” marks I had made, I rotated the chuck by hand, peeling the backing off as I went and aligning and applying the decal around each wheel. That turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would be!
After repairing one broken stud and then painting the housing, I used spec4don/Don G’s idea for the light window and got a green-colored transparent file folder, cut a ½” strip out of it and used AN470AD3 rivets, cut down to just barely protrude through the strip and housing. With the rivet gun turned down to almost nothing, a couple of taps on each one set them without destroying the plastic strip and the shop heads are thin enough to clear the face plate.

Now I could start the reassembly!

Don G. said he greased the gears on his with white lithium grease and so I did the same.
I reinstalled the guts in the housing, mounted the face plate and installed the needle by lightly pushing it onto the shaft using a pencil with an eraser for a cushioned pushing tool (thanks again Mark K.). The original black paint on the needle looked good, so all I had to do was clean it.

I couldn’t find gaskets for the ring and bezel and I think making them was the most time-consuming and tedious part of the whole job. The first few attempts looked like a therapy project by a reformed ax murderer! But I finally made ones good enough to use.

I assembled the bezel, lens, gaskets and ring and then used smooth, parallel-jaw pliers to re-crimp the bezel. I just opened them enough to reach the edge to be crimped and then rolling the jaw of the pliers inward, “pushed” the crimp back over the flange, hardly squeezing the pliers. I think you could dent the bezel if you just try to squeeze the crimp down. I found it doesn’t have to be crimped very tight to firmly hold the bezel and gaskets. After assembly I painted the bezel OD green.

Well that was it! It’s in the half track, looks good and runs smooth as silk. The whole process, working off & on, probably took 5-6 hours total time. Or 6-8 beers if you prefer that unit of measure.

Thanks to this website (thanks Steve-O) and the help and advice of its members, it turned out to be a fairly easy and inexpensive sprucing-up, and I think it’s plenty presentable and worth doing.
Title: Re: Speedometer restoration result
Post by: Outsider on January 16, 2018, 02:10:30 PM
Awesome work!

Title: Re: Speedometer restoration result
Post by: Tapper02 on January 16, 2018, 02:17:59 PM
Fantastic job...and nice write-up! 

Title: Re: Speedometer restoration result
Post by: vj on January 16, 2018, 02:53:53 PM
Looks great, I did my gauges, but  they sure don,t looks as great as yours  :)
Title: Re: Speedometer restoration result
Post by: yd328 on January 16, 2018, 05:15:44 PM
Thanks for the write up. Very nice work, the speedometer looks great. 8)
What material did you use to make the gasket?

Title: Re: Speedometer restoration result
Post by: 8683jb on January 16, 2018, 05:30:39 PM
Thank you guys for the kind comments! I hope the post will help someone else who’s considering doing theirs. I have more pictures if anyone needs them. Just send a PM.

Gary - I just used the low-weight card stock from the back of a note pad. It was around .025"- .030" or so.

Title: Re: Speedometer restoration result
Post by: big44maghunter on January 17, 2018, 11:21:58 AM
That's great Jon.  I plan to go through mine soon also, I'm sure this will help.

Title: Re: Speedometer restoration results
Post by: steve1973 on January 17, 2018, 05:44:19 PM
Great job on the speedometer and the write up! Absolutly fantastic! ;D Thanks for posting.

Steve A.
Title: Re: Speedometer restoration results
Post by: spec4don on January 18, 2018, 09:29:52 PM
Glad I could help, awesome job!

Don G s
Title: Re: Speedometer restoration results
Post by: Tapper02 on June 07, 2019, 09:54:06 PM
  What brand of paint and color did you use on the faceplate?  What about the housing?

Title: Re: Speedometer restoration results
Post by: 8683jb on June 07, 2019, 10:33:59 PM
Tom -

I used Duplicolor T229 silver for the face plate and I don't recall what I used for the housing, but I think it was another Duplicolor product. I think any good gloss silver enamel would be suitable. I think I have some of the green file folder material left and I have scads of rivets if you need any to attach it.

Title: Re: Speedometer restoration results
Post by: Tapper02 on June 10, 2019, 09:58:49 AM
Thanks Jon.  They've changed the code, so for anyone else taking on this challenge, the new one for that color is BGM 0340.

I just got my speedometer back from rebuild and talking with the speedo repair shop, they just clear coated the can after media blasting, giving it the natural metallic color.  The material they installed for the light window is blue, but I'm on the fence on if I want to change it out.  I'd have to remove the bezel/glass and pull the guts to get the rivets out and reinstall.  Might not be worth it...

I sent a repro faceplate for them to use in the restoration, so I'm going to give a shot at redoing my original faceplate with the decal I got from Darryl...hope it turns out as good as yours.