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Triumph TR3 - Gauge Panel Replacement

Ok...let's start with an easy cosmetic question. I'm replacing the instrument/gauge panel with one properly spiffed up with crinkle paint. However, having just installed a heater and wiper assembly last winter, I no longer have easy access behind the panel. Inquiring minds want to know:

1. Is it possible to remove the panel and gauges without dropping the heater out of the way?
2. What special considerations are there to removing and reinstalling (without leaks) the temperature and oil gauges? Is the oil gauge best disconnected at the gauge or the motor?
3. How does one keep dust off the inside of glass gauge faces once you've cleaned them?
4. How much beer or wine does it take to make crinkle paint look REALLY good?

Thanks for any and all help. I look at that crazy panel every day and it will be satisfying to see the scratches give way to crinkle.

Bill Stagg
1961 TR3A

Bill Stagg

Hi Bill - I assume you've got snow in Indianapolis by now.

1. Yes
2.Disconnect the Temp at the thermostat housing. Use lots of penetratrant on the pipe threads as well as the body of the "bulb". You can turn the hex on the pipe "nut" easily enough but be careful. The bulb will be stuck, glued and gummed inside and it will rotate with the pipe nut. Loosen the spiral tube all the way to the firewall and avoid torquing off the tube at the bulb fitting. Then, after a week of repeating all this, it will come loose. With the wires all off the back of the panel and after you have disconnected the Oil Pressure connection, you will be able to pull the panel towards you and draw it all through the dash from the "cockpit". Disconnect the Oil Pressure gauge down below the brake master cylinder, straighten out the pipe and draw it out all in one piece.

3. You twist off the chrome bezel about 1/6th of a turn and the bezel and glass will come apart. Don't drop the glass parts. They are hard to find with the correct domed curve. Clean them. Have the chrome re-done if not perfect. I re-did mine 14 years ago and again last year, I loosened the gauges from behind the panel, pulled them forward a bit, twisted off the bezel and cleaned the glasses again. Also if you keep off dusty roads, they should stay clean enough for TRA for about 10 years.

You can buy "Krinkle" of "Crackle" blact spray paint. After removing all traces of the old paint, spray the new paint and put it all in an oven at 200 F for about 20 minutes. The heat causes it to krinkle and it should look good for about 5 years if you don't use all your keys on a chain to re-scratch it. Or you can contact Fred Thomas in Virginia and he'll do it with black krinkle "Powder Coat" which is so durable it'll be good till you're 95, at which time you'll agree the TR3A was a good investment as you say to Mary Beth, "Let's go for a spin in the TR".

Contact Fred at:-

Fred has several TR's and send him all the other stuff you want to get done at the same time. Wiper motor case, thermostat housing, base for wiper motor, exhaust manifold, whatever.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

Hi Bill:
I removed my panel to krinkle paint it and it can be done removing the heater et al.
There are 4 wing nuts on the back of the panel the top 2 are in slots in the dashboard and the bottom ones are in holes.You only have to loosen the top ones,remove the bottom ones, pull out the panel at the bottom, pull downwards and the panel will come out.When putting it back make sure you have the wing nuts started on top because you will never start them once the panel is in place.If the capillary tube has some slack and the oil pressure pipe is disconnected you should be able to remove the instruments with some comfort while the panel is out instead doing unspeakable contortions under the dash.
My car is a'58 but I am sure the dash is the same in them all.

Chuck and Don,

Thanks for the very encouraging insights. When I brought my 3A home a year ago, it did not have a heater, wipers or glovebox installed. I got spoiled working behind the dash as I cleaned up all the guages and wiring. Once I installed all of the above it was a different story.

Best regards,

Bill Stagg

This thread was discussed between 06/11/2003 and 10/11/2003

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