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73 Dash Replacement Project


KenFirch

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Got the gauges ready, clock converted, and right dial in the tach, and tested.  I had a small paper gasket on the back side of the speedometer dial, around the needle shaft, that came loose, and it dropped down slightly covering part of the odometer, so had to take speedo apart to remove that.  Cleaned lenses with Meguiar's PlastX, which worked good.

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As I was putting the clock back in the new dash, I noticed the dash holes were a bit tight, and had to pry the opening a little while pushing the gauge from the back.  I didn't like the idea of prying on a new dash, even if it was a plastic tool.  So, I found a plastic bottle, just the right size to fit through the dash hole, and fit around the gauge bezel rim, after cutting at a matching angle. 

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And it was slightly tapered, smaller at the ending I poked through the dash hole first, wider at the gauge end.  Once the bottle is shoved halfway through the hole, I put the gauge up inside the open end of the bottle and pushed gauge up against the back of the dash, and pulled bottle off. Worked great, plus no messing around the front of the dash gauge opening.  I think it was a Clorox wipe bottle, but I'm keeping it!  I'll bet the factory had something similar, but better.

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Gauges are mounted.  

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Moved the old clock wires over to the new clock wiring, and have an adjustment switch ready to mount somewhere, not sure where yet.

I also have this leftover part, that white spacer that fell out while removing the gauges.  Can't for the life of me figure out where it goes, or even if it's needed.  If anyone recognizes it, please let me know.  🤔

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Now the fun part, connecting wires back up.

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Just a note, connect amp gauge wires before installing gauge.  Much easier.  And, route the wiring harness above the tach and speedo before installing those two gauges.

Also, what is this thing circled in red?  The ground wires for the lighter and hazard switch connect to it.  And it has a light socket (I assume the gray light goes there). 

Looked in FSM, 73 wiring diagram, Goggled it, etc., no luck.  Still tracing out wires for the tach.

Thanks!

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15 minutes ago, KenFirch said:

Also, what is this thing circled in red? 

I believe that is the "light box" for the cigarette lighter illumination lamp. The bulb is in there, and they use a fiber optic cable (the black cable on the left side in your pic) to transfer that light over to the cigarette lighter.

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7 hours ago, Captain Obvious said:

I believe that is the "light box" for the cigarette lighter illumination lamp. The bulb is in there, and they use a fiber optic cable (the black cable on the left side in your pic) to transfer that light over to the cigarette lighter.

It also lights up the hazard switch 

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Okay, finished tracing out the tach wires.  The feed was correct, goes through black/gray to coil negative.  The plastic power connector was removed in the past, so the + to tach was wrong.  I added the green + wire, spliced into green to hazard switch.  If I need to add a resistor for the tach feed, I'll deal with that later if needed.

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Took all the heater control cables off and oiled them up.  The little threaded brass inserts that hold the lever panel to the back of the center console had broken off, so I JB welded them back in place.  Hopefully they will hold.

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Quick question, what's the best way to reconnect the two power feed wires to the cabin?  

When someone else removed the dash in the past, they spliced in a short piece of red 10 gauge wire with 4 crimp butt connectors.   It would be handy to have something I can easily disconnect if the dash ever has to come again. But obviously these need to have good quality connectivity.  I'm not even sure how the factory did it.  Any ideas of what the best way is, please let me know.

Thanks

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Posted (edited)

I'm going to try to reinstall the dash with everything connected behind the new dash, wiring, vents, glovebox, etc.  So all I'll need to do is connect the harness at the right side relay area, fuse box, center console, and ignition switch.  I'm not sure the new glove box can be folded like origami to fit through the front opening.  But it was nice not having a glove box in the way when I removed the dash.  I'm going to try installing it this way, but plans may change.  I mounted a small push button and bracket (circled in red) to adjust the new clock when needed.

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I think I need to hunt up another person to help me get it in place, it is fairly heavy.

Edited by KenFirch
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9 hours ago, KenFirch said:

Quick question, what's the best way to reconnect the two power feed wires to the cabin?  

When someone else removed the dash in the past, they spliced in a short piece of red 10 gauge wire with 4 crimp butt connectors.   It would be handy to have something I can easily disconnect if the dash ever has to come again. But obviously these need to have good quality connectivity.  I'm not even sure how the factory did it.  Any ideas of what the best way is, please let me know.

Thanks

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I believe they should have connectors like the 1P (1 position) connectors on this page: https://easternbeaver.com/Main/Elec__Products/Connectors/312_Connectors/312_connectors.html

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While waiting for a few small parts, I decided to redo the Lighter and Hazard Switch mounting.  The rear mounting bracket made the hazard switch stick out about 3/8" of an inch too much, showing a lot of the brass threaded  stem above the spanner nut.  The lighter socket fits fine, but the switch bracket needs to be pulled back away from the dash to have a solid flusher mount.  I saw this link which talks about the same problem and fix.   First, I cut the bracket with some tinsnips, and after drilling a new hole for a sheet metal screw, and bolted the lighter half back in place and mounted the lighter socket.

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I rounded up some spacers for underneath the bracket, add added some washers to the stem so it seats against the back of the dash.  I also added a washer beneath the spanner nut so it doesn't twist directly against the new dash material when tightening.  Not sure if the factory had one there, and mine was missing, but it seemed like a good idea.  Used my snap ring pliers for the spanner nut, not the best tool to use, but it worked.  Got a longer M5 screw and drilled another hole for the sheet metal screw.

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Mounted back in place.  It does feel more solid too.

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Posted (edited)

I got the dash bolted back in place.  My wife was sporting enough to help me lift it into position, took all of 10 minutes at the most.

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Not sure if all year Z's have this, but this 73 had a pair of pins on the bottom dash mounting brackets that cradle into the tunnel brackets.  Once resting there, just tilt dash into position and get a bolt or two started at the top. Checked that wire bundles were routed where they should be, and tightened all bolts.  So that part was easy enough.  Now to get everything connected back up without having a smoke show later.

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Edited by KenFirch
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Finally got it all back together!  Had a few issues, nothing serious.  My horn and dome light aren't working, I'll try to fix those later.  I did have to run a new separate wire for the tach out to the coil, so tach works fine now.  

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And I broke my glove box door! 😡  While installing I latched it close without taking the time to adjust the latch correctly.  Of course it got stuck and I had to resort to prying it open with some plastic pry tools.  As soon as it popped open it promptly broke those plastic flex hinges.  I figure I could just get another off eBay, or order a 3rd party metal replacement inner door, until I saw the prices.  

My first thought was to use some small steel hinges to fix, but that seemed a bit heavy-handed.  So, I ordered some plastic flex hinges off of Amazon.  Original is also a flexible plastic hinge, which I'm surprised lasted ~50 years. I cut new hinges to approximate length of the original hinge.

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Used a utility blade to flatten out the area where the door side hinge adhesive will stick, 3 places.

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I pried open the channel so the hinges would fit inside, but not too far that it won't act like a vice when removing tape from adhesive and installed.  This will make the channel about 1/16" thicker than original, and I did use slightly longer screws when installing on the dash.

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I removed the tape over the hinge adhesive and assembled.  I did pry open the channel so I could slide hinge into position.  And I marked the horizontal alignment to match old position, then glued door in place.

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Here's the back side.  The old broken side of the hinge, which use to fit inside the channel, is not used, on the shelf.

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Side view of hinge.

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Installed.  Too bad those hinges don't come in black.

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One other thing I did was epoxy a washer on the back side of my new map light bezel, so hopefully it gives the screw something to push against and won't crack again.

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Done, except for the dome light and horn. I'm very happy with the way new da$h fit, although it was quite a project to install it.  Car has collected a lot of dust while sitting, time to go blow the dust off it!

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Edited by KenFirch
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