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Galant VR-4 Forums » Galant VR-4 » How To and Info Archive » How-To "Repainting Gauge Cluster Needles"
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How-To "Repainting Gauge Cluster Needles"


cheekychimp Galant VR4.org Moderator
Director of Housing and Urban Development, and carbon/kevlar balls


Galant VR-4 org Post #: 236623 posted 07/15/05 05:02 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
A few weeks ago, I posted that I had done this and a number of board members PM'd me asking how it was done. Since I had another gauge cluster lying around, I decided to do the whole thing again and document the process.

For this you will need:-

A small flathead screwdriver,
A small and medium sized philips head screwdriver,
A razor blade,
A toothbrush,
A couple of small coins,
A couple of "Post-It" notes,
Some poster paint or nail polish.

About an hour and a half ... and some patience.

Okay once you get the gauge cluster out of the car, it should look something like this:-



To get the perspex cover off, look on the side of the cluster for the black plastic tabs holding it on, here:-



Whilst pushing the black tab against the white plastic casing, insert the small flathead screwdriver between the perpex cover and the white plastic casing and twist, so that the tab is forced down into it's locating hole:-



As this is the first tab, as soon as you remove the screwdriver, the tab will most likely click back into place. To prevent this you can insert a dollar coin or anything else small enough to fit in the gap to hold the perspex cover open:-



Then go round to the other side and repeat:-



With the tabs on both sides unlatched, very very gently start to pull the perspex cover away from the rear white plastic casing, move your way around the casing, paying very careful attention to gently unlatch all the tabs around the edges until the cover comes off. You will then have the gauge cluster looking like this:-



This is a good point to note the position of your needles. Speed and RPMs should be zeroed but you should note the position of your fuel and temperature needles and mark them with "Post-It" notes like this:-



Start with the large speedometer and RPM needles. Hold them at the base and gently but firmly pull them straight off the surface of the dials. You can wiggle them slightly in the process but try to avoid any side to side movement that might damage or bend the spindles on which they are mounted. You need to pull quite hard but with a little persuasion, they will come off:-



On each side of each of the spindles there is a small philips head screw holding the celluloid dial in place. Remove them. Then remove the two screws below the fuel gauge and temperature gauge needles. You will then be able to carefully remove the celluloid dials, revealing two transparent plastic backing spacers which look like this:-



These just pull out:-



Turn the cluster over and starting with the temperature gauge assembly, remove the three philips head screws holding it in place:-



The assembly drops straight out:-



And it looks like this:-



Turn the cluster back over and do the same with the fuel gauge assembly:-



Don't worry about mixing up the two assemblies. If you look at the positions of the three screws holding each assembly on and the backs of the units, you will see they can only be installed one way:-



It isn't strictly necessary to remove the fuel and temperature gauge assemblies but it is much much easier to pull the needles off the spindles undamaged with the assemblies out. You can try it without removing them but in my opinion there is a serious risk of damaging the spindles due to the fact that it takes far more force to remove the smaller needles than the larger ones ... you have been warned !!!

At this point you will have four transparent needles with a yellowish orange paint on the back of each one. The colour of the paint will probably be badly faded like these:-




In order to remedy this we need to scrape this backing paint off using the razor blade:-



Don't be afraid, but just remember to scrape and not gouge !!! The paint comes off very easily, you can actually scrape it away with your fingernails but the razor blade will do it faster and cleaner:-



You may find a small knife useful for scraping away the paint from the confined area at the base of the needle, after loosening the paint you can clean the area with a toothbrush:-







You can then reapply fresh paint in the colour of your choice. I chose to use nail polish on this occasion as it can be removed easily if required.



The original paint shared an uncanny resemblance to kiddies' poster paint and if the needles don't illuminate well, I may well try poster paint in the future.

After this you can reassemble the gauge cluster whilst the paint is drying, reaffix the needles in the correct orientation and click the perspex cover back on ... voila !



Edited by cheekychimp (07/15/05 05:51 PM)

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DongeR
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 236629 posted 07/15/05 05:18 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Post deleted by Hertz

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Paul Mc369
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 236631 posted 07/15/05 05:28 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
I wonder what a "creative" paint from a hobby shop would look like. Maybe something that glowed or had some metal flake.

I imagine too flashy would look tacky, but I bet there could be a tasteful way to make the gauges "pop".

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mistaVR4
Rest in Peace
484/1000


Galant VR-4 org Post #: 236633 posted 07/15/05 05:34 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Nice Paul! This is great, I'm going to do this soon....moved to "how-to" section.



SteveW
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RayH
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561/1000


Galant VR-4 org Post #: 236638 posted 07/15/05 05:51 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Nice job. Now I wonder if they make any black light bulbs that small. That and some fluorescent paint could be interesting especially if light leaks out the tip of the pointer and you were to use a light coat of fluorescent paint on the markers and numbers, they could get highlighted as the pointer sweeps over them. That could be very cool at night.

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14u2nV
Resident Pedobear


Galant VR-4 org Post #: 236643 posted 07/15/05 06:07 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
I took my needles (all of them) off without taking the cluster all the way apart. A small screwdriver with some electrical tape around the end of it, can be used to pry them up, without scarring the gauges. Just do a little on one side, then the other if they feel stuck.



~Kenneth Brian
"Censorship offends me" ~Author Unknown


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3Diamond
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 236686 posted 07/15/05 07:44 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Soo? How does it work? Does it glow well in dark? Did you have any problems setting needles back on?

Looks good!



Stupidity should be Painful ! http://dsmetc.com/forum/images/smilies/rant.gif

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Garfield Wright
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 236691 posted 07/15/05 08:05 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Good work Paul. My needles (nohomo) are faded as I'm sure everyone else's. I like the colors in the VW Jetta's but red would be more time period correct.

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marvinmadman
Senior Member
136/1000


Galant VR-4 org Post #: 236729 posted 07/15/05 09:56 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Temperature looks off a little.



1982/2000 sold
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LT4mula
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 237006 posted 07/17/05 12:07 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
yea it does... I'd really like to see some night time pics... I want to go in there and do that and take the green socks off of the lights.

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cheekychimp Galant VR4.org Moderator
Director of Housing and Urban Development, and carbon/kevlar balls


Galant VR-4 org Post #: 237117 posted 07/17/05 09:31 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Quote:

Temperature looks off a little.




Yeah I know, I'll have to check everything properly when I put the car back together. To be honest it was three in the morning when I put this back together and all I was really interested in was taking the last photo and getting to bed ...

I'm still not sure how well the needles will light up. I might have to try and borrow Yiuwa's car to try it out whilst mine is down. Someone who has done this put up a night time pic please and tell us what paint you used.

Paul



Getting old sucks ... but it sure beats the alternative !!!

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Hertz Galant VR4.org Administrator
OneTitle to rule them all.
77/2000


Galant VR-4 org Post #: 237242 posted 07/18/05 09:10 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
A fork works well for removing the needles, also.



Ryan Hertz

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V8EATER
still thinking pink


Galant VR-4 org Post #: 237280 posted 07/18/05 10:57 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
I used a red sharpie instead of paint, and I've had it on for over a year. Lights up well and hasn't faded at all. No pics, my camera is broken (stupid camel!).



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Rice Killer
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 280712 posted 11/30/05 03:36 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
Well I tried to use a blue Sharpie on the needles and now I can't see them at night. I'm going to take it apart again and try some finger nail paint.

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JDMgvr4
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 304416 posted 02/09/06 02:07 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
the best way to put the temp needle on is let the car idel with the gauage cluster in the car NO SCREWS. and NO PLASTIC piece on. then when the car is warmed up put it on right in the middle of the temp. That temp guage needle is a pain or at least for me it was.

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Rice Killer
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 304503 posted 02/09/06 09:47 AM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post      
The temp needle is definitly a pain to get back on in the right place, I suggest putting it on while the car warms up too. I used some Model paint on the needles it seemed to work the best. I tried, Nail polish, Art paint, then Model/Hobby paint and it looked much better then the other 2 options and stuck to the needles easily.

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JDMgvr4
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Galant VR-4 org Post #: 304612 posted 02/09/06 01:10 PM     Remind Me!  Send Private Message   Edit Post   
I used white-out on the needles and it looks great. In the day time it matches the number perfect and at night it looks good too.

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