Cleaning up my SS and TI gauges

Update 11/23/09: I started back in on the SS so I thought another repost about working on it would be good. I am especially proud of my efforts on this post and the one that followed it.
I have spent a lot of time going through catalogs and making shopping lists so the GTV has to be sold soon to buy a bunch of the stuff I need. If you have any interest in a 69 GTV let me know. It wont be expensive. I am working on the SS rear end right now so look for another post about it soon.
Original post 6/27/09. I know it’s hard to believe but I did some work on my SS! The buyer of Market 1 SS, that had the incorrect earlier style gauges, bought the Italian/metric gauges that came out of my SS so I started cleaning up the US market gauges I had been contemplating using. Funny what a wad of cash can help you decide. The condition of the US gauges turned out to be one of those better and worse at the same time deals. Cosmetically they looked bad and the guts were in need of cleaning and lubricating, but the fundamental parts were presentable and most important, the plastic had not yellowed, so I could make a good set out of them with a little effort.

allgaugesThe fruit of my labor. Lot’s of spiffy gauges ready to tell me how I and my car(s) are doing. Still need to clean up the SS tach.

gauges beforeThis is where I started. That speedometer had spent some time under water. I have always considered the insides of gauges as one of those black magic areas best left to experts. That is about to change!

apartTaking stuff apart is usually easy. This was no different until I had to work on the odometers! Note the deposits on the plastic, also note that it is not yellowed at all!

frozen speedoThere is rust and mineral deposits in here and the odometers are frozen. Further apart this will have to come.

step 2 apartIt’s all screws, pins and clips. That brownish round thing is a magnet and it turns the indicator needle via magnetic eddy current acting on an aluminum disk with the needle mounting pin fixed to it. A gentle spring counteracts the eddy current force, so the faster the magnet turns, the larger the eddy current force is and the farther against the spring the disk travels. No eddy current force and it returns it to zero. The mechanism that turns the magnet also turns the odometer via a worm gear.

spilled speedo gutsThe plate that the mechanisms mount to is pressed together. Not knowing the best way to get the number wheels out I decided to just take the base apart. It wasn’t necessarily easy, but I cleaned up everything, touched it here and there with some grease, used a Sharpie marker to touch up where I wore the black off in a few spots on the odometer tumblers cleaning the mineral deposits off.

lens after baseHere the base is back together without the numbers. I didn’t dare disturb the spring as recalibration would be required and it seemed to be doing its job. The lens and inserts were wiped down with 3M hand glaze and then swabbed with IPA. Almost like new!

going togetherFast forward a little. The drive is back together, the rubber gasket has been cleaned, the water stains polished off the glass, the glass mounting ring repainted flat black and the case bead blasted to remove some tough deposits.

assembled backHere’s the back all assembled. Even the trip reset knob came out nice! Those trim ring tabs have to be very carefully bent over so as not to distort the roundness of the chrome ring.

two downVoila! Speedometer looks very nice. I couldn’t figure out how to zero the odometer but managed to add about 2100 miles while cleaning stains off the tumblers. Not bad for a first effort.

I didn’t have my camera the day I cleaned up the tri-gauge, but the basic idea was the same except it was in very good condition to start. The Super gauges just needed a lot of crap removed from the inside of the glass lenses. I’ll tackle the tachometer today and be a few hours closer to having these go from a static display to a dynamic.

If you have a set of gauges like this you’d like cleaned up send me an email, I’d be happy to do the same to yours and for very reasonable money. I don’t have any clear inserts but I think they can be had.

Click here to read the thrilling final chapter!!


3 thoughts on “Cleaning up my SS and TI gauges

  1. Thanks for taking the time to take the photos to illustrate the process. Great work.

    What would be interesting to know is where you found suppliers of necessary spare parts. Don’t know if you feel like disclosing this information but I’m sure it would be a help to others.
    I really hope you enjoy the fruits of your work when your car is on the road.

    Best regards,

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