Friday, February 22, 2013

Dash Cluster

Here is our 63 dash cluster shortly after the gauges were removed.

Everything below was done twice.  The first time I used rattle can paint which had ugly results.  The paint was too thick, too shiny and the masking tape left marks.  I sandblasted everything off then started again. 

The bezels, simulated leather backing, outer trim, switch receptacles and lettering are one piece of aluminum.  There are no pieces.  In this picture I taped off the simulated leather backing then spray painted the same House of Kolor 2 part epoxy primer I used on the car.  

All the bezels were sanded smooth.  You can see where the primer filled in the pot marks and blemishes.  This gets another coat to make sure all the metal has primer.  But first...

I need to prep the back side for paint.  This area was painted light green at the factory.  I believe this is what gives the gauges a green glow at night.  The color is close to our primer so I'll just use that. 

This is after the second coat of primer.  It has already been sanded smooth.

Next is two coats of primer sealer.  This will keep the final color from turning dull over time.  

The backside turned out very nice.

To simulate chrome I used House of Kolor silver striping paint with a hardener.  I also used a reducer so I could shoot it with an airbrush.  3 full coats were used then allowed to dry and harden.

The masking tape was removed from the simulated leather backing then I masked everything that I wanted to stay silver.   I taped over all the openings so that the back side wouldn't get painted.

The semi-gloss paint I used previously was too glossy.  I tried some satin black but it also was too glossy.  I decided on Eastwood's Rust Encapsulator, the same paint I used on the frame.  The finish is perfect and it should be able to stand-up to a lot of key abuse.  I airbrushed around the bezels to insure good coverage up against the silver then I used a regular HVLP spray gun to insure uniformity.  The texture and gloss is exactly what I wanted.

Before the black paint dried I used an eraser on the raised lettering.  That removed the black and exposed the silver beneath.  It turned out very nice.  Click on the picture and check it out.

Now all I have to do is stuff the cluster with this.

Thanks for watching.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Firewall, Steering Column and Grounding

The firewall insulation on our heater delete Corvette is 3 pieces.  The largest piece shown required the removal of the steering column, clutch rod and the hood release.  The fuse box did not have to be removed.

The second, or middle piece, is the smallest and the third piece covers the heater delete opening.

Not many heater delete options were sold so I was surprised to find this piece available new.

All pieces are held in place with these rubber push plugs.  A T-handle allen wrench worked great as the installation tool.  A dab of white lithium grease helped too. 

This is a view of the heater delete block-off panel as viewed from inside the engine compartment.  You can see the pointed rubber fasteners from this side. 

New topic.
On the inside of each of the door openings are 3 clips that hold down a long 1" wide cover for the wiring.  All 6 had to be replaced as they were either gone, rusted or broken.  This one is broken.

Here is the new one.  I used a steel taper headed rivet to fasten it.  It's strong and lays flat.

New topic.
About 6 months ago I bought a Flaming River tilting steering column.  This weekend is the first time I was able to test fit it.  I wanted to check out the blinkers, however...

The steering column electric plug in my hand does not fit the plug on my new wiring harness.  I called Flaming River and they recommended I cut the plug on the harness and wire it to their plug.  I don't think so.  I then called Lectric Limited, the people that supplied the new wiring harness.  They were very familiar with this issue and they have an adaptor that connects each.  It's in the mail.

New topic.
Grounding.  Because the Corvette's body is fiberglass the car requires special grounding.  Three in total.  This one is viewed from below the motor looking up.  It connects the motor to the frame at the passenger side motor mount.  That's the fuel pump on the left.

This one connects the frame to the bird cage.  It's located inside the engine bay below the brake master cylinder.

(Jim Q.  There's the O2 bung I welded to the exhaust.  I'll use it to adjust the air/fuel mixture.)

This is the third ground strap.  It connects the throttle linkage to the engine block.

And finally.
Here's a picture I thought was worth sharing.  Early Saturday morning I found a ray of sun light sneaking through the mini blinds shining on the car.  It gives you a good idea how the Cobalt Candy over Lapis Blue paint changes color with various light sources.  Click on the picture, check it out.   

Thanks for watching.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday

Preparations for Super Bowl started a few days before the game.  It included starting the car as part of its routine maintenance.  I did a 360 walk around while it was running.  Check out the video here:

Jan and Anna M. were the first couple to arrive.  Both were extremely pleased with the Corvette.  Jan was speechless with the quality of the paint job.  I kept trying to get him to say great or pretty.  He finally spoke and said, "It's stunning."  I like that!

Dennis K. and Dewayne J. spent time talking about the car too.  Dennis sees the car frequently, but it's been awhile for Dewayne.  Dewayne was very pleased with the progress.

About 25 people showed up for the game.  All had to take a look at the car and all were impressed.  It's interesting to note that I asked everyone what color the car was.  Half said blue, half said purple.

The garage worked great.  It was meant for overflow but the guys spent most of their time in the Man Cave.  Who could blame them?  My Harley was the back drop for the TV, the Corvette was eye candy, ice cold beer was plentiful and the garage smelled like solvent and gasoline.  It can't get much better than that.  Oh yeah, the game was pretty good too.

By the way, the video gives away what the next post will contain.  Did you pick up on it?

Thanks for watching.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Wiring Harness

The wiring harness arrived and it includes 4 major pieces, bulbs for the dash, glass fuses and a laminated wiring diagram.  This is a complete set purchased from Lectric Limited, Inc. which has been supplying quality reproduction wiring harnesses to members of the National Corvette Restorers Society for years.  It's correct down to the smallest detail.  Lets get started...

Once again I am reminded of the wisdom behind Ty's insistence that I not throw anything away, including the old wiring harness.  The old harness is in the foreground and I used it as a templet to pre-bend the new harness before installation.  You can't imagine how valuable that was.

After I had the dash wiring harness in position it was time to identify each of the wires.  This is a tedious exercise that still isn't complete.  In this picture you can see I am using the GM Assembly Manual, Corvette dash cluster and the laminated wiring diagram to help with the identification.

It's amazing how many wires go to the dash cluster.  I am labeling each with green masking tape.  Notice how the harness floats in the air.  It gets positioned up and underneath the dash pad.

The dash wiring harness includes the fuse box which is authentic right down to the glass fuses.

The next harness runs along the firewall and over the passenger inner fender.  It serves the coil, alternator, voltage regulator and the horns.  I've circled some of the clips used to hold the harness in place.  The white clips along the firewall were used on early 63 Corvettes only.  The color changed to black later in the year and continued for several years.  Special clips were used on the inner wheel well too.  The car never had zip-ties.

This harness runs along the drivers side wheel well and powers the headlights and headlight motors.  To make these connections the front bumpers and grill must be removed.  I'll wait until I get the correct horns before I do that though.

The last harness powers the rear blinkers, stop lights, gas gauge and license plate light.  This is a picture of the backside of the left side brake light, looking up.  The connectors, including the dust boots, are correct for our car.

The only thing I actually wired up so far is the license plate light.  The wiring harness installation, including all the connections, will take a lot of time and research.  I have to determine the correct harness routing (above, under, through, behind), research the proper clip types and clip location.  After that the testing begins.  I'll verify everything is wired correctly before I actually start the car.

Switching gears, the brackets for the drivers seat needed to be replaced due to rust.  The passenger side was fine and only needed to be refurbished.  

The results are great.  Click on the photo and check them out.

Here's a current picture of the car.  We're having 25 people over for Superbowl and the garage will be used for overflow.  I'll post some pictures later and let you know what everybody said about the car.

As always, thanks for watching.