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Restoring Faded Gauge Faces by Irrationable
Started on: 12-16-2014 11:56 PM
Replies: 8 (557 views)
Last post by: Irrationable on 12-17-2014 10:17 AM
Irrationable
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Report this Post12-16-2014 11:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for IrrationableSend a Private Message to IrrationableEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I stumbled across this fix and thought I'd share.

I recently installed a sunbird turbo tach that I purchased on ebay from a gentleman who was parting out his old 87 junker. The pictures on the listing weren't the best, but it wasn't a bad deal considering that I'd be getting the entire gauge cluster, so I went for it. Unfortunately, once I got the cluster I saw that the faces of the gauges were pretty faded from sitting out in the southern sun. The speedometer got it the worst, but the tach was faded to the point where it had begun to turn light grey/white toward the center.

I initially toyed with the idea of printing a gauge overlay to hide the fading, but my results just weren't quite what I was looking for. It was at this point that that the lightbulb came on. What about putting a coat of clear satin/semigloss paint on the gauge to revitalize the faded colors? After testing my idea on the speedometer with some krylon gloss clear that I had lying around, I was happy enough with the results to clearcoat the tachometer.

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"The Twins"
'87 GT 3.4 pushrod daily driver
'88 GT 3.4 DOHC swap in progress

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Irrationable
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Report this Post12-17-2014 12:04 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IrrationableSend a Private Message to IrrationableEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
While the gloss clear on the speedometer revitalized the color, I wasn't quite happy with the super-glossy finish. After driving around town trying to find a semigloss or satin clearcoat I found this at the local Michael's for six bucks.

This acrylic clearcoat is intended to be used over art projects like paintings as a protective barrier, so you don't have to worry about it containing any solvents that could damage the printing on the gauge face. The best part is that it's also UV resistant, so future fading shouldn't be an issue either.

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"The Twins"
'87 GT 3.4 pushrod daily driver
'88 GT 3.4 DOHC swap in progress

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Irrationable
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Report this Post12-17-2014 12:16 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IrrationableSend a Private Message to IrrationableEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Here you can see the fading on the sunbird tachometer, especially when you compare it to the fiero speedometer and accessory gauges.

Prior to painting, I pulled both the needles from the tach (only do after the tachometer has been calibrated for a V6) and wiped down the face with windex to remove any dust/oil/fingerprints. I wasn't brave enough to use anything stronger than windex out of fear of damaging the printing on the gauge. I would also recommend wearing latex or nitrile gloves when handling the gauge once you've cleaned it.

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Irrationable
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Report this Post12-17-2014 12:30 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IrrationableSend a Private Message to IrrationableEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Once I had the needles and needle stop pulled and the gauge face cleaned I cut an index card in half, rolled the halves up tight, then placed each half into the holes in the gauge face to protect the inner workings from getting gummed up with overspray. I taped off the sides of the gauge to keep overspray from getting anywhere else that it didn't belong, then took it out to the garage and applied a light coat of the satin clear. Once I was sure that I wasn't going to get any surprise fisheye, I laid out a nice heavy coat and brought it back inside to dry.

[This message has been edited by Irrationable (edited 12-17-2014).]

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IMSA GT
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Report this Post12-17-2014 12:49 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IMSA GTClick Here to Email IMSA GTSend a Private Message to IMSA GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Is your cell phone in a protective case? You may need to enlarge the hole around the lens to reduce flare from the flash. Just sayin'
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Irrationable
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Report this Post12-17-2014 12:50 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IrrationableSend a Private Message to IrrationableEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The clearcoat laid out nice and flat. At first I was afraid that it had come out too glossy, but after an hour or so the shine died down while retaining a nice deep black and revitalizing all the colored portions of the gauge face. In fact, the finish of the satin was exactly the same as the fiero speedometer. I opted to paint my needles yellow while I had them off the gauge as well. With everything back together, you'd never guess that it was the same gauge as before.

So there you have it! Next time you're out in the junkyard and you come across a set of slightly faded gauges, don't pass over them so quickly!

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"The Twins"
'87 GT 3.4 pushrod daily driver
'88 GT 3.4 DOHC swap in progress

[This message has been edited by Irrationable (edited 12-17-2014).]

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Irrationable
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Report this Post12-17-2014 12:58 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IrrationableSend a Private Message to IrrationableEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by IMSA GT:

Is your cell phone in a protective case? You may need to enlarge the hole around the lens to reduce flare from the flash. Just sayin'


It is, but these pictures were taken with the flash off. The flare is from the overhead dining room lights. I really ought to invest in an actual camera, as my phone doesn't take very good indoor/low light pictures

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"The Twins"
'87 GT 3.4 pushrod daily driver
'88 GT 3.4 DOHC swap in progress

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seajai
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Report this Post12-17-2014 08:53 AM Click Here to See the Profile for seajaiSend a Private Message to seajaiEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I used a similar product when I made my own gauge faces for my dash swap. I was worried about regular clear spray not protecting the faces and yellowing over time. It's held up well so far.

http://www.krylon.com/produ...stant-clear-coating/

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Irrationable
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Report this Post12-17-2014 10:17 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IrrationableSend a Private Message to IrrationableEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Yup, that's the same stuff I used. It looks as if they slightly changed the design of the can label so that the gloss/satin/matte/flat is on the label rather than the cap.

I found that this stuff also works really well for clearcoating a painted dashboard. The satin finish that I used on the gauge was also the perfect finish for my dash (which had initially came out a little too glossy IMO). It leaves just the right amount of shine; not too dull, but also not so glossy that you get a reflection on the inside of the windshield. Plus, the UV protection on the painted dash ought to help out immensely when it comes to fading.

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"The Twins"
'87 GT 3.4 pushrod daily driver
'88 GT 3.4 DOHC swap in progress

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