AMC dash Gauge Restoration Made Easy
Want to make your AMC gauges look NOS again? It's easy to do. Since 95% of the gauges in your AMC are obsolete, chances are your speedometer needle, tachometer needled, oil, amp, fuel, temp are faded with time. If they were original fluorescent bright orange, all you will need are following items to bring them back to life. A small bottle of Model Master Fluorescent Red paint, commonly found at any Michaels, Hobby Lobby or hobby shop. The # is FS28915 Model Master. It shows 'red' but make no mistake about it, it is bright orange, just the name says red. You will need a small paint brush, preferable type is for models, thin, and narrow. Dollar Stores sell bags of them, but if at model shop to get the paint, can get better quality one there. A index card, matchstick, screwdriver, needle nose pliers also.
The screwdriver and needle nose pliers are to remove the gauge cluster from dash, not all models will need the needle nose pliers to remove the clear faceplate however, some have pins, others plastic plugs. You do not have to remove the gauges from their circuit board, nor cluster with this method.
Make sure the gauges are steady and immobile on desk, work bench. Slide the index card under tachometer needle. Place a matchstick under tachometer needle if you have tack. The tachometer needle is fragile (not that the others are not, just more so with tach!). Use two light coats, brushing one down, letting dry for about 5-10 minutes, then second. On the speedometer, slide card under needle, and give it two swipes of paint also. You may opt to use matchstick under oil, amp, fuel and water temp gauges, I don't, just the index card under them, and use soft touch, again, two light strokes of paint and done. Do NOT put too many coats as it could affect calibration! Two is fine.
The AMC Police cluster shown here took about 10 minutes to do. I let it dry between strokes in bright sunshine. The difference is striking. If you have multiple AMC vehicles you might opt to do a assembly line technique with multiple gauges like I did one day, lining up 5 different clusters.
Be sure to clean the inside of your clear gauge face while it is out, be careful using chemicals like Windex as it could take the black out paint off. If you have black out paint that has come off, you can use semi gloss black to paint over imperfect areas of the inside of the face while it is out. Same small brushes, and Model Master, along with other brands, like Testor's is readily available.
If your 68-70 Go Pack gauges backing plate needs freshening up, there are some excellent decals for the 140mph/8K tach setups, along with the 68-70 clock, one can use to put a new face on it while apart.
Be sure not to down any Starbucks or Red Bull before attempting to freshen up your gauge clusters! The total cost was under $10; the Model Master paint is $3.98, bag of paint brushes $1.00; index cards free, matchsticks of various sizes, $1.00. Having 40+ year old gauges look showroom...priceless!