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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had my instrument cluster out to install wipers.......so I am repainting it prior to reinstall. Color coats went on fine, but I've got some drips in the clear coat and want to find out how to get rid of them. I was going to wait until its completely dry, wet sand drips smooth with super fine (I think it's 1200) sandpaper, and touch up those areas with another coat of clear.....am I on the right track?

Thanks
Ace
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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I went through the same thing on my 57 cluster. It's real easy to get too much clear on in places , while trying to coat the bottom of the indentations. If you can sand them out, that will work, but scuff sand the entire cluster before re-clearing. Put on a number of real light coats of clear. I had to strip mine down to bare metal again, the runs were so heavy. :rolleyes:
 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Don, how did you re-strip yours......just in case I have to go there. (i've been trying to spot-touch up this thing and I might need to start from scratch)
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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Don, how did you re-strip yours......just in case I have to go there. (i've been trying to spot-touch up this thing and I might need to start from scratch)
Just used paint stripper. The fresh paint came off after a couple of coatings.
 

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Big Tip.

If you strip the cluster, do not just paint it base and clear it will peel off the pot metal cluster.

First clean after stripping sand and then use self etching primer, prior to base and clear..

Otis :bowtieb:
 

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Clear run

I had my instrument cluster out to install wipers.......so I am repainting it prior to reinstall. Color coats went on fine, but I've got some drips in the clear coat and want to find out how to get rid of them. I was going to wait until its completely dry, wet sand drips smooth with super fine (I think it's 1200) sandpaper, and touch up those areas with another coat of clear.....am I on the right track?

Thanks
Ace
Ace, if you don't sand all the way through the clear as you are removing the run, there is no need to shoot any additional clear on it. Try to remove the run only down to the level of the other clear coating around it. A paint stick edge works pretty good if wrapped in 800-1000. Once you've done that, sand the entire cluster with 1500-2000 and then buff and polish. Take your time and it will save you a lot of extra work. If you DO go all the way through to the color, I have found an air brush works miracles for very small touch-ups. Just scuff surrounding area with 1000, feather in the color, then feather in the clear. Sand, buff, polish and you're done. :anim_25: JIM.
 

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Sometimes you can cut down the run with a single edge razor blade or Xacto knife. Usually you just use the razor or knife blade at a 90 degree angle or close to that to the surface and scrape. A "nib file" works on flat surfaces but the cluster doesn't have many. The "nib file" is very short file embedded in a small wood block.
 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
great suggestions...my problem has been rushing and not allowing things to dry completely before I try to repair. These tips will be a great help. Thanks

Ace
 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The clear coat I used (off the shelf at the auto paint store) never hardened after 5 or 6 days. It remained tacky.....and even took fingerprints if handled!!!
Brand was TRANSTAR. What a disaster.

I'm having the cluster bead blasted, and will start from scratch. I figured it needed bead blasting because the original paint was probably 10 years old.

I bought some other clear coat that is an "epoxy" system....and will see how that goes. It is ALSTAR 2K Speed Clear. (Label is Killer Cans?) You activate the expoxy hardener from an internal nozzle on the bottom of the can...it has a shelf life of about 24 hours after that.

When I took the cluster to the media blaster.......they offered to Powder Coat the cluster for $90 and I was tempted. They had a red that was very very close to my Matador Red. But I was worried that imperfections in the metal would be transferred to the powder coating since they don't prime/sand before powder coating. Anyone tried powder coating interior parts???

Ace
 

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You didn't say it directly, but it sounds like yours was a rattle can paint job.

I think you have two reasonable choices here.

1. Take it back to bare metal and prep it yourself for powder coating. If you have pits in the pot metal, then the advice you got about powder coating is right, as it won't work if you have to use filler in the pits. The oven baking required for powder coat will ruin the filler.

2. Take it back to bare metal. Then use filler on the pits, and sand smooth. Then use primer surfacer and paint using real automotive primer and paint. If you're not set up to do this, carry it to a professional painter. It will probably cost more than the powder coat, but not much more - and it will last if done right.
 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes rattle cans. Call me stubborn, but I'm going to try it one more time & see how it works with the better clear coat. (since I already paid for color match spray, and bought all the other materials) If it doesn't work out I'll let a pro do it.

Could a '57 cluster be chrome plated? Might look pretty cool, and be indestructible (since these things come in/out more often than we expect)

Ace
 

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Could a '57 cluster be chrome plated? Might look pretty cool, and be indestructible (since these things come in/out more often than we expect)

Ace
Yes they can be chrome plated. About $150.
You can also polish the cluster. The pot metal is not as nice as all aluminum but it is OK.
 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, there you go....thanks Bihili......good to have options!
 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I ended up having the instrument cluster powder coated. Wow, did it turn out nice......They had a color that was "dead on" for Matador Red, and the price made sense at $90 for both cluster and column cover underneath. The finish is flawless, and rock-hard....should hold up well.

While I had the cluster apart, I touched up all needles with bright red paint, replaced black foam guage gaskets....I also installed the appropriate gear indicator for my new 700r4 transmission.

Thanks for everyone's input.

Ace
 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Rick....keep the good suggestions coming......even bone heads like me "see the light" on occasion and listen to the voice of experience.

Ace
 

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Bihili, i just checked out that cluster you polished for your car. Very cool man...that things got big class.
 

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1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible; ZZ4 w HEI ign; 700r4; 9" rear w/3:50 gears; pwr disc fr w drum rear
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update....thanks Don (Acardon) for the tips on how to install the mini tachometer in the cluster. It does look like it belongs there.

Ace
 

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