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M Series Truck Dash Gauges

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  • M Series Truck Dash Gauges

    What is the best way to get to the back of the dash gauges? It is impossible to get to them while installed, how do you remove them? Does entire dash come out?
    Last edited by JohnM15; 01-23-2011, 05:14 PM.
    1948 M15A-20 Flatbed Truck Rescue
    See rescue progress here on this blog:
    http://studem15a-20.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    If you need to work on the gauges and replace the wiring, it is much easier to do it with the whole dash out - but it's still a big job. You need to be a contortionist to do anything behind the dash otherwise. Assuming the steering wheel is off and the inside windshield trim is removed, the whole dash will come out with the main wiring harness. Among the things that need to be loose to come through the firewall is the temperature bulb and its capillary tube. Disconnect the oil pressure line and speedometer cable. Take the ignition lock out of the dash and let it dangle because the other end of the armored cable is attached to the coil. Take out the 4 screws holding the glove box in so that you can remove it and get to the wiper switch linkages and remove them. Disconnect the main wiring harness from everything under the hood, mark the wires with labels, and pull the wire bundle into the cab. Take out the cowl vent actuator. Disconnect the clamp to the steering column. As I recall, there are four #8 sheet metal screws at the top of the dash that hold the top of the dash to the firewall. The last thing to remove are 2 bolts on each side that hold the dash to some brackets. Easy, wasn't it?

    Once the dash is out, a few clips hold the instrument cluster in from the back side.

    Studebakers West will sell you a new wiring harness using modern wire. If you want original looking woven insulation, try Rhode Island Wiring or Y 'n Z, but it's a lot more money. The ignition switch and coil are a lot of work. You can bet that the insulation on the primary wire inside the armored cable is totally rotten at this point, a short circuit waiting to happen. Unfortunately, you have to pry the back off the switch to get to the wire and it's pot metal, so be very careful not to abuse it. You also have to bend back the 4 prongs on the top of the coil and they'll probably break off when you try to bend them back later. Unless you need 100% authenticity, this would be a good time to install a new coil and just run a wire to it without using the armored cable.


    Before you put the dash back in, be sure to replace the windlace around the door openings. Also, put a new glove box in now. Replace all the anti-squeek pads. Heck, you'll be done in a few months! Have fun.
    Gary Ash
    Dartmouth, Mass.

    '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
    ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
    '48 M5
    '65 Wagonaire Commander
    '63 Wagonaire Standard
    web site at http://www.studegarage.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Garyash!

      Good Gracious, man!!! I've always thought that dash on any vehicle is the one item called out with an asterisk (* = not replaceable...). What I am looking at is a half new wired M15A-20. Some one replaced some of the wiring (bypassing the amp meter and fuses) with their own. They did install a free hanging 30 amp fuse but they left all the old harness in that still powers the horn, generator, gas gauge and whatnot. I want to get the gas gauge working. At some point I figured that a new harness is in order but have contemplated making my own. So the generator does charge the battery, the horns work. The head lights, turn signals, brake lights, and the parking lights work on the new wiring. Someone cut the radimeter cable so I'm working out the best way to fix that. Maybe buy a meter/bulb and draft the bulb/tube to my old meter.

      One question, Can the dash be pulled out just enough to get to the back of the gauges?
      1948 M15A-20 Flatbed Truck Rescue
      See rescue progress here on this blog:
      http://studem15a-20.blogspot.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        The factory installed the gauge cluster from the back side of the dash, then wired it, then installed the dash. The cluster won't come through the front of the dash.

        You might be able to replace an individual gauge if you can get hands and screwdrivers in there. Lay an old white bedsheet on the truck floor first to catch all the screws and washers that will fall out. There is a chance that you could remove the four mounting screws and push the cluster in and down 90 degrees to get to it. Getting the screws back in later may lead to yelling, screaming, and hair pulling - that's why I have so little. Here are some photos of the back of the dash.
        Driver's left side:


        Driver's right side:
        Gary Ash
        Dartmouth, Mass.

        '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
        ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
        '48 M5
        '65 Wagonaire Commander
        '63 Wagonaire Standard
        web site at http://www.studegarage.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Gary for the help!
          1948 M15A-20 Flatbed Truck Rescue
          See rescue progress here on this blog:
          http://studem15a-20.blogspot.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS do this work with the battery disconnected!!!
            KURTRUK
            (read it backwards)




            Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln

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            • #7
              Good call! I can't recount all the times that shade-tree mechanics have brought metal watch wrist-bands into contact with live electrical circuits.
              You really DO NOT want to find out how that feels!

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