Winter Projects 2016-2017

The car show season for 2016 has ended and I have put the car away for the winter. That means it is time to start on some projects to address some nagging issues with the car. Two things I know I want to address right off the bat are the non-functional rear quarter window and the tachometer that only reads 500 RPM. If I have more time and energy I’ll look into the noises I sometimes hear from the front end of the car.

My first order of business was to remove the instrument cluster so I could send the tachometer and speedometer out for a rebuild. There are only about 6 screws and one nut holding in the instrument cluster, so it came out fairly easily. Then I disassembled the cluster and removed the instruments to send out for a rebuild. I had previously contacted the tachman about repairing my tachometer and rebuilding and calibrating the speedometer for me. He said he would be able to handle the job, so I packaged the two items up, sent them off, and waited for him to contact me with an estimate. In the mean time, I cleaned up the cluster and replaced all of the bulb covers, since some were melted and the rest were cloudy.

A few days later the tachman called to let me know that the meter in the tachometer was beyond repair. He gave me two options: replace the meter with a known good one he had in inventory or convert the tachometer to a 3-wire design. The 3-wire conversion was significantly less expensive than the used meter, so I chose to convert mine to 3-wire. For the speedometer he said he would restore the odometer wheels and replace the face plate with a good one he had since mine was faded. All of the work could be done in the next day or two, and then he would send everything back to me. That was a much faster turn around than I was expecting.

In order to make it clear what the 3-wire conversion on the tachometer means I need to lightly touch on how the factory tachometer is connected. The majority of tachometers connect to the negative side of the ignition coil in parallel with the points. The tachometer I had was designed to connect in series to the positive side of the ignition coil. Since the tachometer is connected in series, a failure of the tachometer could potentially result in the the car’s ignition being disabled. that means that the 3-wire conversion had an added benefit for me. The down side is that I needed to make some minor changes to the wiring to accommodate the converted tachometer.

While waiting to get back my parts from the tachman I ran a new wire from the negative side of the coil through the firewall and up behind the dash. I was able to run the wire through the firewall where an existing wiring harness was. I pushed the wire into the center of a bundle of wires that went through a grommet at the firewall. Then I pulled the wire through from the interior side of the car. I added a wire from the ignition switch to supply 12 volts when the key was on and an additional ground wire. Then I installed a factory style 3 pin connector on both the newly refurbished tachometer and my new behind the dash wiring.

For the broken rear quarter window I took the entire mechanism apart and cleaned everything thoroughly. There was a lot of new grease since I had soaked everything with white lithium grease in my past repair attempts. I cleaned all of that off and also scrubbed off all the 50 year old dried up factory grease. The window glass was badly scratched, with scratches so deep I could catch my fingernail in them. The trim around the window was also badly scratched. So I decided to replace the window and trim. CJ’s was having a sale and I got the window at $100 less than the regular price. After reassembling the mechanism and installing the new window I spent quite some time adjusting everything to make sure the glass fit right. I found that if you follow the procedure in the shop manual the adjustments aren’t really that bad. I had to go through the procedure multiple times since each adjustment can affect the others. But in the end I’m very happy with the results as the window alignment is good and it rolls up and down smoothly.