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November 8, 2017

Final Dash Install

[Click the pics for a larger view]

I wanted to get some of the wiring finished and tested before installing the last bits of the dash.  The steering column, glove box, and the ventilation air duct system all hamper access to the back of the dash, so I saved them for last.

The last piece of the electrical system was the steering column, so it was next.  I thought there might be an issue with installing the column with the wood dash already in place, but there wasn't.  Possibly if I were using the original ignition switch and lock, there would have been trouble.  I don't know--my spatial reasoning isn't good enough to figure that out.

So down came the rebuilt steering column  from the shelf where it's been collecting dust for over two years.  

The upper column assembly slid in place easily.  The sort of complex fixing bracketry behind the dash was not quite so simple, but eventually it all got tightened down.  It goes much better if the tach and speedo are removed.

The steering wheel is connected to the outer upper shaft.  An upper inner shaft slides inside it.  The two are locked together with a friction coupling that allows the assembly to telescope in the event of a frontal crash.  In that case a pair of special collars absorb crash energy by one riding up over the other.  

A rubber U joint connects the upper shaft to an intermediate shaft, which in turn is connected to the steering rack through a conventional U joint.

Next up was the glove box.  I got my pimped original down from the shelf and dusted it off.

There are various little widgets associated with the glove box.  The one on the left in the first pic is the catch for the door latch.  The one with the rubber button is a travel stop for the door.  I stripped and replated them.  I usually do a clear chromate on zinc parts, but in this case, I used a yellow chromate to recreate the original finish.

Then there is the light switch for the glove box door.  In my quixotic quest to eliminate the car body as an electrical return path wherever possible, I added an explicit ground wire.  It is soldered to a brass band that is a tight sliding fit on the barrel of the switch.

The glove box is a tight fit, especially since I eliminated much of the flex in the original cardboard part.  It finally went home, though I had to remove the bottom metal dash brace to pull the dash out a little.

Then the glove box door.  Here are the parts that go with it:  The hinges, the latch and bracket, and the limiter strap assembly.

The hinges cleaned up easily, and didn't even need painting.  The screws, though, looked pretty rough.

I tried to match the screws, but they appear to be something between a #1 and #2 wood screw.  A #2 screw has to big a head, and the #1 would be loose on the hole.  In any case, for small shallow screws like these, I always much prefer to use the originals since replacements won't necessarily have the same thread pitch, and will likely crossthread the already miniscule threads in the wood.  I cleaned up the rust on the screws, resurfaced the heads, and here they are ready for paint.

The latch was sticky, but some lube fixed that.  The bracket was in OK shape, but I replated it with some other assorted stuff.

The plastic check strap anchor to the door was broken, so that is a new one made from aluminum.  Faced with that problem today, I'd probably try to 3D print it.

Everything ready to go back together.

Then it was on to those infernal ventilation hoses and fittings.  It's already pretty tight behind the dash, but room has to be found for these and a few feet of largish hose.  One of the main reasons for prewiring the dash was to avoid having to contort under the dash, but to do the hoses, it's unavoidable.

So, after an hour or so of forcing myself into unholy positions, the hoses were all in place.  There aren't any pictures.  To avoid rattles, while I'm snaked in under the dash, I look for anything loose that could hit anything else.  Where I find such a situation, I apply one of these self stick felt pads to at least muffle the noise.

Next up were the lower crash pads.  These would have been a lot easier if I'd put them on before the wood dash.  The left one is the 40+ year old original.  The right one is the original recovered with new vinyl.

Finally, the DIY steering wheel.

This was  pretty big milestone for me.  In principle, I could bolt up the fenders, start the car and drive it now, but I'll try to restrain myself until next Spring, after the final bodywork and painting is done.

As a recovering woodworker, I love wood.  Nonetheless, I acknowledge that there can be such a thing as too much wood.  I might be crowding that line a little here, but I probably won't change it.  No more wood for this interior, though.

Commnets to Ed at

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