Sunday, January 03, 2016

Next on the major to do list involved body working the dash. To do that a fixture was fabricated from some pvc boards I had laying around to duplicate the cowl where the dash would be mounted. Flanged nuts were fastened to the backside using JB Weld, then threaded rod through some aluminum cross pieces with wing nuts held the whole thing flat. 2 of the nuts were actually welded in place which will be used as future ground attaching points for the wiring harness. Started out by sanding the entire surface with a disc grinder using 80 grit. Took a straight edge to find hi and low spots. The lowest area came in at about 1/16" around the gauge pods due to the welding which was expected. Began filling the low areas with short strand fiberglass filler, sanding, then switched to plastic bondo. More sanding. We were told not to use self etching primer over the filler because it might react with it. Dupli Color filler primer  was layed down first. This stuff is nice to work with for filling scratches, but found it does not stick too well to bare metal even after preping with Dupont Surface Klean It did stick to the filler but I could take my fingernail and scratch it off the bare metal. Not good. It was all removed, again by sanding, cleaned and a test area over filler was sprayed with self etching primer It had negative
reaction with the filler so the entire dash was sprayed. This stuff really sticks. The Dupli Color filler primer was then sprayed over the etching primer giving excellent results. Sanding continued with finer paper along with numerous resprays. A final coat of black filler primer was used to more or less give the affect of the black semi gloss that will be used to finally finish the dash and console. Previously a length of 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 1/8" angle was secured behind the dash where the grab bar would be mounted using flat head screws under the bar mounting surfaces, then holes were drilled through the angle and threaded for the bar eliminating the need for nuts. This angle serves a dual purpose, one to
strengthen the area for the grab bar and two to give a ledge to fasten the wiring harness. Gauges were mounted just as a final check for ease of reading, not that anything could be done about it now, but had to see how the final job would look. Location of the tac and speedo might be reversed depending on what is priority and also what steering wheel is used. Fastening the dash was eased by previously threading the mounting holes into the square tubing that was used to reinforce the cowl and used for the defroster duct. The two bottom bolts are threaded into glassed in steel inserts the same as what was used for the top mounting. The only two bolts that require nuts are the center two side location
 which can easily be reached by hand. In retrospect the whole dash project was alot of work with totally re-engineering the defroster ducting so that the gauges would fit, but it all turned out workable and unique in appearance.


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