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Cleaning up gauge faces?

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  • Speedo / Tach / Gauges: Cleaning up gauge faces?

    I can hardly read my speedo because it's so dirty. Has anyone come up with a safe way to clean them?
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  • #2
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ID:	1858521 I have the same problem on my ' 50 Champion. On other cars of that era I take the guages apart and then polish the faces gently with a mild polish and then wax them. Clean the glass with the best glass cleaner you can find and reassemble. On my '50 the numbers are quite sunburnt and have lost their luminescence. I will try to sand the faces very lightly with 2000 grit to get rid of the dead outer layer of luminescent paint.
    Last edited by Ross; 09-27-2020, 08:34 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ross View Post
      I have the same problem on my ' 50 Champion. On other cars of that era I take the guages apart and then polish the faces gently with a mild polish and then wax them. Clean the glass with the best glass cleaner you can find and reassemble. On my '50 the numbers are quite sunburnt and have lost their luminescence. I will try to sand the faces very lightly with 2000 grit to get rid of the dead outer layer of luminescent paint.
      When you're talking about polish and wax, you mean automotive right? If so how did you apply it?

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      • #4
        There were some NOS 50 Champion speedometer faces for sale a few years back. Have you checked with major and minor Studebaker vendors?
        RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

        17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
        10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
        10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
        4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
        5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
        56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
        60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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        • #5
          That's an option, but I was hoping to restore what I have.

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          • #6
            As Ross alluded to, these gauges use a photo-luminescent paint for the markings and needles, which glows under blacklight... Once you get inside cluster, you'll notice that all of the lights that illuminate gauges have a deep purple glass filter over the bulb that only allows a tiny bit of purple glow through; this was enough to make just the painted numbers, markings, and needles light up that glow-in-the-dark green color, seemingly floating on the glass and gauge faces. The effect is quite pleasing, and is a feature of all 1947-52 Studebaker cars... I understand that it was derived from cockpits of WW2 aircraft.

            Sadly, the phosphorescent paint degrades badly over the years, and gradually cooks into a dingy brownish yellow color that's hard to see in the daytime, and glows barely or not at all at night. There isn't much you can do to revive it anywhere near its original state, and I'm guessing even NOS components have degraded to a certain degree. The best solution is to bite the bullet (it is a '50, right? *haha*) and repaint the gauge faces with the correct materials. I haven't done it on an instrument cluster myself, but have seen the results. It is well worth the effort!

            --Son of VIRGILX

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            • #7
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              Originally posted by Matt N View Post

              When you're talking about polish and wax, you mean automotive right? If so how did you apply it?
              Soft cloth and and my fingers using standard automotive products. Most Lark faces come up really well and I paint the needles with day-glo orange model paint or flat white model paint (NOT gloss) depending on application.
              Last edited by Ross; 09-27-2020, 06:02 PM.

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              • #8
                I've pulled the gauge clusters apart on my '64's and cleaned with Q tip and rubbing alcohol. Repainted with paints as Ross has used. Your assembly looks more involved than my late model cars. I have yet to tackle any GT gauges or Lark tachs. Good luck and use patience!
                Rob in PA.

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