Custom Dash For My Fairmont Squire

Discussion in 'Station Wagon Projects' started by Stormin' Norman, May 14, 2008.

  1. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    I waffled and dawdled, but finally decided to do it. Here's why. I don't know when Ford started to make these molded plastic casings for the gauges, but they also started to use a flexible plastic film printed circuit, which is a bit intimidating, even for me. I used to repair our Army tanks, as well as build a couple of fuellers.

    Well I found a guy on line who did it on his 1987 T-bird coupe (even more circuits and idiot lights) and was generous enough to post the whole process and schematics. He made a paper template, laminated a metallic finish and rewired the printed circuit. And posted the schematic wiring diagram. Lucky for me that its not all that different from mine (the circuit). The rest is a bit trickier.

    JR's 1987 T-Bird Turbo Coupe Custom Instrument Cluster link:
    http://jr.rustecat.com/articles/cluster/index.php

    At the bottom of that index page is a direct link to all the pictures and the wiring diagram (schematic.jpg).
    http://jr.rustecat.com/articles/cluster/images/

    I'll post my dash as it is tomorrow, but this is kind of where I want to get, without the plastic frame. Luckily I have the old one from the 1978 donor sedan to play with. I have a 3-spoke Futura steering wheel, and a rare 'On-the-tree' Cruise/Signal control. I've also got the variable/intermittent speed wiper control.

    1980mustanghatchdash.jpg

    This is his (Jr's 1987 T-Bird Turbo dash) result:
    turbocoupedashcluster.jpg

    I have to tinker with the Transmission Indicator between the big dials and the turn indicators, AND the two adjustable AC vents. The Donor didn't have the right hand vent.

    I'm using some cheapie gauges for now, Volts, Water temp, Oil, and a new Vacuum gauge (unless I score one from a Torino or Cougar at the JY).
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  2. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    I'm probably going to have to make a mixed wood/plastic panel to use the angled bezels for the speedo/fuel gauge and tranny/signal indicators. Although the site in the previous post does a good job of modifying a plastic dash (templates, cutting, etc.), doing the base dash panel in wood needs more detail. Guess what, the old Stinson aircraft had them and another brave soul restored his plane, including the Dashboard!

    http://www.hangar9aeroworks.com/108woodwork.html

    AND Here's a Wood selector site:
    http://www.nwfinewoodworking.com/wood_types/ash.htm
     
  3. tbirdsps

    tbirdsps New Member Charter Member

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    As long as you were looking at the Junk Yard you do know that all Fox dashes are interchangable. Mustang-Fairmont, Cougar to Mustang etc. Why not change out the whole thing?
     
  4. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    There's a nice LTD-II up here, but the guy has a bad rep with the other yards. Absentee operator, too. You call a number, and some deep-voiced wheeler-dealer tells you what he wants, PERIOD. You can't even get on the property to look at it. Just gawk from the roadside. He's got a few nice GM wagons too, but same deal. No deal. Other than that, the rust melts them into the scrap barges to Asia, up here.
     
  5. FamilyTruckster

    FamilyTruckster New Member

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    t bird dash with floor shifter and matching console would be different. Better than the usual mustang swaparoo.
     
  6. wagonmaster

    wagonmaster Administrator Staff Member Moderator

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    That would be a neat project that I know you'll execute with great success. :)
     
  7. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    Promised Dash Status Pics

    These Fairmont dash structures are lightweight styrene. Mine was faded and cracked here and there, so I repaired it. The first two pictures just show the LH (driver) and RH dash panels. The top dash is mine, the bottom instrument panel is from the 1978 sedan. Mine has the extra adjustable AC vents.

    LH:
    may15dashlh.jpg

    RH:
    may15dashrh.jpg

    Instrument Panel without dash panel plate:
    may15dashcavity.jpg

    That's the 100 MPH/ 140 KM speedo from mine. Canadian 'Monts go to 80 MPH (I think). It's stock for Mexican Squires.

    The instrument panel without the RH cover:
    may15dashcavityrh.jpg

    These are the Dash plates from the two cars from the back side. I can determine the thickness and obstacles to fasten the new panels.

    LH:
    may15dashbacklh.jpg

    RH:
    may15dashbackrh.jpg

    Both pairs in one shot (it's my 15th photo in my whole life, so the cropping is so-so: :slap:


    may15dash7978.jpg

    Tomorrow, I'll collect the cheapie gauges together and make a template with dimensions.

    My plan is to use the stock setup while I get the setup made on the donor instrument castings. I want a vacuum gauge and a tach, a temp gauge, oil pressure, volts/amp unit and room for a Turbo pressure gauge.

    And I want to keep the two extra AC vents. Gonna be fun. :idea:
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  8. FamilyTruckster

    FamilyTruckster New Member

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    Vacuum/boost gauges are usually one guage....So, you don't need extra room for a boost guage, jsut swap out the vacuum guage when you get boost.

    Looking good... will like to see the finished project...
     
  9. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    I'm way behind the times on that... Same gauge does both? Can you point me to a mid-priced gauge or Would Stewart Warner carry that?
     
  10. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    I'm playing with the idea of really changing the whole thing. The gas gauge is the same size as the Speedo. There's a couple of idiot lights and a clock in there. On a Mustang, that would be the Tachometer option spot. But I can get a smaller speedo and matching tach and then cram my other gauges around them, IF I can handle the circuit board laminate differently.

    I looked at mine this morning and they don't look too bad, but I could make them prettier. I did touch up the needles and the background, but I found a neat Tech Article on the H.A.M.B. that explained using Dry Letter Transfer (any Stationer has them):
    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8253&highlight=Dash

    One link that didn't work right is down here, for the LetraSet corp. They've got two types of these - Black or White, as in the Lettering... item OR some foil and colored Letter styles in the 'Custom Transfers... category on the following page link:
    http://www.nutty.com/threadrepair.shtml

    So I could get some smaller Gauges from another model and finish the gauges in a pearlescent Ivory with black and red lettering. Now that sounds like fun!
     
  11. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    And just to make it more interesting, a H.A.M.B. member from up here posted a Tech article (Sticky here) about making your own decals on special decal paper through any Inkjet printer, and where to get the paper in colors, plain white OR TRANSPARENT! Gauge faces just got easier!

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8313

    Here's the Water transfer inkjet paper sources too.
    http://www.decal-paper.com/inkjet.html

    http://www.lazertran.com/

    Take the gauge off, the glass and needle and put it on a scanner. Put the picture in MSPAINT or some Picture Editor (PhotoShop, Corel Print House) or just take dimensions and draw your own! It doesn't get much easier! :evilsmile: (y) :2_thumbs_up_-_anima :Woot::party3:
     
  12. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: May 17, 2008
  13. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    As the resident Link Fester (christened by the Rev), I kept working on my Reputation, and scored a real gem for us Fairmont, Zephyr, Cougar and LTD II folks. As the FamilyTruckster pointed out lots of other Fox-bodied dashes will fit, even some of the 1979 to 1983 Stangs.

    Well, I mentioned above I was thinking about White dial faces, dry transfer and all that stuff... It just got easier. How about downloadable white dial faces and the instructions to print them - maybe even on Pearlescent ivory paper?

    Check this out on the Coolcat's forum!

    Instructions:
    http://www.coolcats.net/tech/advanced/140speedo.html

    Dial faces (Black or White) for both the 95MPH and the 140MPH and the 220 KMH Speedos, and different tachometers and all the smaller dials!
    http://www.coolcats.net/media/index.html

    If you really want to go crazy and modify the later Cougar's Electronic gauges (flat panel display), have a look on this page:
    http://highshirts.ifrance.com/cougar/digdash/

    Which came from the Coolcat's Gauge customizing page:
    http://www.coolcats.net/modifying/gauges.html

    Now that the Info gathering stage is done, I've got stuff to start the planning with!
     
  14. wagonmaster

    wagonmaster Administrator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thats an excellent link Rev ! I love white faced gauges!
     
  15. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    We don't look like the Bobbsy twins do we? :yahoo:
     

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