“Trust me, this is way better than a Mazda 3”, #378 (Steve)

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Re: “Trust me, this is way better than a Mazda 3”, #378 (Ste

Postby 378S2 » Sat 16.01.2021, 02:36

Hello Cliff - excellent to meet you, we sound like we’ve stolen each other’s identity!

I do love those in-line splices, I recommended them to Matt of the Rosie fame a little while ago. That being said I don’t have any myself, whenever I sit down to fix something I’ve forgotten to order a box and the roll of solder I’ve been using since around 1996 still has another 200 years left at this rate.

I hear you on the problems fixing bodge jobs and I separate them in to the excusable pile of things done at home (not everyone has a background in electronics) and the ones an unsuspecting owner has paid a ‘professional’ to do. In the case of Steve the fuel cut of bypass was an appallingly bad job in execution but outright dangerous in design. Similarly the radio installation was pretty inexcusable. I’ve got the invoices for both jobs I don’t have much time for the garages who did the work. I’m grateful the fixes play to my stronger areas, and that I haven’t had to take he head off or anything like that (yet!).

I’ve been really lucky with Steve, just a couple of mechanical gremlins in the cooling and brakes, apart from which I’ve really struggled to find anything wrong at all.

I’m using it as our second car, so that means a few trips at the weekend and one or two drives to work each week.

On the white dials... I’m replacing my faded dash dials with new Lockwood’s but I could only get black. They are backlit in white which I much prefer to the red, but my ‘three sisters’ will not match so I need to solve that problem. Actually I must get round to putting in the new Lockwood’s but I keep putting it off. It’s working, messing with it seems high risk!

Nice to meet you
I need to get round to installing these. Does anyone know where I could source a set of accessory gauges to match?
Last edited by 378S2 on Sun 24.01.2021, 03:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Trust me, this is way better than a Mazda 3”, #378 (Ste

Postby 378S2 » Sun 17.01.2021, 08:05

They’re faded, cluttered, and the main scale is in the wrong units so it had to go.

Cliff - you motivated me!

With the cover removed you can see the fading, not sure why the Speedo has faded the most.

Disassembly included some scope creep, not sure if I did it or it was broken already but I had to epoxy the Mount back on. I put some metal reinforcing in there too.

I don’t like the bubbles... and it didn’t turn out as neat as I would have liked but it is strong as an ox and it’s the sort of thing you’d have to be very keen to find.

The connectors were in a mess, particularly the long one. I used double sided tape to glue it back down and then kapton tape on top, cutting out the contacts to redo it.

In a bad way...

Stuck down

The finished connector - not perfect but solid and will last for a good few years I think.

Cutting out the masks - love kapton tape.

I used acrylic polish to refresh the cover glass

My Lotus Easter egg!

Looks much better I think.

Top tip if you’re doing this job - you’ll need to go for a test drive to check you got the Speedo and tachometer needles in at the right angle as they are not keyed. However, inserting and removing the cluster involves so much swearing you won’t want to do it. What worked for me was to put it back in without the black plastic top and glass assembly - that is very quick and easy. I went for a drive like that, recalibrated my main gauges using my GPS (and a bit of guess work for the revs) and then put it all back together.

Top tip #2, it’s a right pain putting LEDs in as you need to know which way round they go. I figured out the pinout of the three connectors and then used a 12V source to check each one on the bench. The copper tracks are old and easily damaged so I don’t recommend mucking about with them if you can’t see what you’re doing properly, as you have to when it’s on the car. If you want a copy of that pinout let me know.

With it all done I think I looks great. Very simple, and uncluttered. The LEDs are very noticeably brighter than the old bulbs and the backlight is now a very pure white rather than a dirty yellow. I’m not a fan of the red on black, so this is a compromise for my otherwise completely stock S2.

Now - I have one hundred trillion Zimbabwean dollars for whoever can help me source a set of the 3-sisters to match. Lockwood don’t want to print them. :-(
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Re: “Trust me, this is way better than a Mazda 3”, #378 (Ste

Postby TorqueHorse » Fri 22.01.2021, 16:04

Nicely done! My contacts looked about the same condition and you mean I shouldn't have shoved it all back in there? :oops: That job may actually have been one of my lowest points because it was a million degrees out and I could not get the geometry right of how to get the instrument cluster back in there and attach the speedo cable. I admit I will probably need to get back in there to do a proper fix like you have (with the same broken piece of plastic - was it me who broke it :roll: ) and I didn't think of calibrating the speedo needle at the time. Nice tip!
'90 FED M100 -mid resto
Chassis Exterior FrSus RrSus Engine Trans Wheels Steering Brakes Cooling Fuel Ventilation Exhaust Interior
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Re: “Trust me, this is way better than a Mazda 3”, #378 (Ste

Postby 378S2 » Sun 24.01.2021, 03:25

Hi Matt - personally if you’ve got it back in there and it’s working then I’d leave it alone until you need to fix it. The work I did on the connector was purely to prolong its life and really that just means the number of times it can be reconnected. If yours has gone back as it should then the spring pressure of the connectors will hold everything where it should be. The Speedo isn’t very accurate anyway... almost seems nonlinear based on my measurements so I set it to be correct(ish) and 60 and 100 and that’ll do. You’ve got bigger fish to fry!

The step in the WSM that tells you how to remove and replace the unit are laughable. I am 99% sure I broke mine and scratched it getting it out. I had the same experience as you, it was hot as hell here that day and obviously as soon as I got it stripped out I needed to use the car so it became a stress to get it back in. Such a smart choice for a second car! :-)

While I had it apart I took the photo of the felt pad / heater switch mod that I promised...
This was the best photo I could get, sorry!! Self adhesive felt pad stuck to the heater valve flappy thing so it makes better contact with the vacuum micro switch and closes the valve when not in use.
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