Refinishing your gauge needles

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Refinishing your gauge needles

Postby ViciousDelta » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:39 pm

So my old needles looked like crap so i decided to refinish them. Heres how to go about it:

You will need:
-1 Phillips screw driver
-10mm socket. (on a St165 not sure about other models.)
-fine paintbrush
-fabric paint (its somewhat opaque and lets light through.i used Tulip Brand)
-razor knife or blade
-rubbing alcohol
-q-tips
-some type of trim removal tool or small pry bar. I have a really small precision style pry bar.

-Start by removing your gauge cluster with the phillips and 10mm. If you own an Alltrac you have most likely done this before.

-once you remove it set up your work area. i laid down a blank sheet of printer paper to catch the dust and keep my work space clear.

-Remove your clear plastic cover and the black gauge bezel carefully. Dont break or stress your trip reset knob.
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-Very very very carefully remove your needles. Some come off very easy, some like to hang on. Mine came out easy on my 165 but on an old ST162 i had years ago they were stubborn and i accidentally broke a needle.Image

-once you have them removed. flip them over and very carefully begin to scrape the old orange paint off of the needle. Be careful not to gouge or take too much plastic away. Just lightly scrap until all the paint is gone.Image

-After the paint has been removed put some alcohol on a q-tip and clean the needles thoroughly. Let them air dry and prep yourself some paint.Image

-I used Tulip brand fabric paint as it is somewhat opaque and lets light through it and comes in a billion colors. Shake it very well!Image

- This paint is very thin so a few coats will need to be done. Dont worry about getting it on the sides of the needles they can be cleaned once the paint has dried. Take your time and do this right the 1st time it will save you headaches and will produce and awesome end product.Image

-Let the paint dry for about 45 minutes to an hour. You can blow dry it too but be careful not to overheat the old plastic needles. they are pretty brittle after almost 30 years inside the cluster of one of the finest vehicles to grace the world. :D

- Hold the needle up to the light and make sure it has laid out evenly. Otherwise your needle will look blotchy and weird. Add paint as needed to even it out.

-After the paint has dried clean up the sides of the needles with the razor and a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a q-tip. Get pissed if you jack something up. Its alright, let out your anger.Image

-Once everything is good and dry you can reassemble your needles. Make sure they get set to where they belong.Image

-Now reassemble and go out and rip through the gears in style or until there is some Danger to Manifold!Image
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1988 AllTrac, 1st Gen 3S-GTE
1991 Celica GT Liftback JDM 3S-FE
1979 SR5 Corolla Liftback, 2-TC
1968 Mustang GT Coupe w/ 351 Cobra Jet
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1988 Toyota Celica

Re: Refinishing your gauge needles

Postby celica_gtx » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:53 am

Sweet dude. Maybe one day when I'm it there I'll mess with it n switch everything to led
transformation has BEGUN!!!
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Re: Refinishing your gauge needles

Postby underscore » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:41 pm

It looks like you did the speedo and tach only, have you tried doing the others as well?
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Re: Refinishing your gauge needles

Postby ViciousDelta » Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:13 pm

Yeah, I just used the speedo and tach for the write up. The others are a bit more delicate. I had to remove the gauge assembly for each one to do the needles
1988 AllTrac, 1st Gen 3S-GTE
1991 Celica GT Liftback JDM 3S-FE
1979 SR5 Corolla Liftback, 2-TC
1968 Mustang GT Coupe w/ 351 Cobra Jet
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1988 Toyota Celica

Re: Refinishing your gauge needles

Postby klue » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:11 pm

cool man thanks for the write up! I did the same thing years ago with a blue sharpie :)
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Re: Refinishing your gauge needles

Postby Il_Barone » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:22 am

Nice!

Should be moved to the "How To" section :)
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