Dashing Out Again…

I got the clock back in good working order so that meant one thing….out with the Dash Panel.

I set up a stand with rubber tube to protect the dash and then proceeded to rip it out.  Now that I have done it a couple of times, I did it in 20 minutes.

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I had a list of things in my head which I need to do while the dash is out.

First job was to try and sort out the sometimes variable Fuel and Temp gauges.  They work most of the time however every now and then one will fail to work.  The connections to the PCB on the back of the instruments were looking pretty average.


I removed the nuts and used a Dremel to clean up the threads and nuts.  I then put a star washer under each nut to give a good connection and tightened them up.  Hopefully that sorts them out!

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Next on the list was the Park Brake light switch.  It all seemed to work fine but the light never worked.  I removed the switch and found it was pretty dirty and rusty.  I pulled it apart, cleaned every metal surface and reassembled it.  I now have to wait until the dash is back in to see if it works.

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Next was the front speaker.


Once I removed it I could see that it was showing its age.  The paper cone had holes and cracks, and was brittle.

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In order to be able to use the new speaker (from Turn Switch) I needed to move the transformer onto the new speaker.  I removed the transformer and then drilled out the spot welds so I could remove the mount.

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I flattened out the mount to suit the new speaker and then very carefully drilled the new speaker frame so I could pop rivet the mount to the speaker frame.

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With this done I could attach the transformer and solder the positive wire to the speaker.  A blend of old and new….good to go!


I then moved across to the left hand side of the car and had a look at the Heating and Fan controls.  The heater core is new and I rebuild the heater box however the fan doesn’t work at all.  The fan does work when I apply power directly so I was sure the problem was in the controls.  I started by looking at the control switches at the rear of the mechanism.  It became clear that these were a problem when I got the multimeter out and tested them for continuity.  I removed the first one to see if I could repair it.



I pulled the switch apart by undoing the two screws.  As I pulled it apart I laid it out in sequence so I could get it back together correctly.  I cleaned each part to make sure the conductivity was good and then reassembled it.  To my pleasant surprise the switch worked perfectly.

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These switched are pretty cool.

I then opened up the fan speed control switch and found it was full of slimy goo….not good for conducting electrons.  I cleaned it up and put a small amount of grease on the sliding pieces and put it all back together.

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Again I was happy to find that the switch now worked!  I gave it a quick clean up on the outside (after i took the picture) and put it back on the heater controller.


I then proceeded to repair and clean the other switches.

While I was working on the heater I also checked out the rotary vacuum switches.  They all hissed (i.e. leaked) when I applied vacuum so I removed each one and used a punch to tighten up the centre retaining pin.  I also put a couple of drops of oil on each switch to help it seal.

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Once all this was done I connected a vacuum pump (an old fridge compressor) to test the operation of the vacuum control system.  All good.

The glove box lid was looking pretty crappy with spots of surface rust, so I took the opportunity to sand and paint it.  The grey is a little darker than the original, but it will look way better than what I started with.

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I have a glove box insert which has been waiting for installation for a long time…today was the day.  I eventually worked out that you need to bend along the dotted lines to create a step down into the glove box (which make sense so things don’t just roll out).  Once I had this detail sorted the rest was easy.

I also removed the globe box light mechanism which interestingly is almost identical to the park brake switch.  It didn’t take long to pull it apart, clean it all up and reassemble it.  A brand new globe topped it off.  Now I just need to clean off the grubby fingerprints!

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I then started putting the dash back together.  Along the way I remembered a couple more things that needed doing.

I noticed that the transmission selector has a bit of a rattle sometimes at idle lights so I took the opportunity to remove it and have a look.  It is a simple mechanism and it uses a bent piece of spring steel to stop it rattling.  I bent the spring plate so it had a bit more tension and then put it back on the steering column with some grease in the right spots.

I also remembered that the gear selector window light was brighter than the other lights at night.  Now that I know there are two different brightness globes used in the Cadillac instrument panel (the larger bulb is brighter) I replaced the globe for a smaller one.

Below are a couple of progress pics.

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Once everything was back together it was time to see how successful I had been at fixing things….

The illumination on the instrument cluster and gear selector window were all as they should be, and the clock works a treat.  🙂

The Fuel and temp gauges worked (time will tell with this one!)  🙂

I started the engine and let it warm up.  When the temperature gauge started to move I pushed the lower heater control lever all the way to the right to fully open the heater tap, and then moved the top lever to De-Frost.  I switched the fan on and to my delight there was warm air coming from the heater box.  I then pushed the top lever to De-Ice and the fan automatically went to full speed!  🙂

Next I connected vacuum and tested the Normal – Recirculate air flow switch.  🙂

The Park brake warning light and the Glove box light both worked  🙂

I switched on the radio and both speakers work great, however they sound out of phase when both running.  I reversed the polarity of the rear speaker which solved the issue  🙂

Overall the weekend was a great success.

Great Success!!

2 thoughts on “Dashing Out Again…

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