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'41 dash panel removal


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i was fortunate enough to stumble across a pair of '41 turned dash panels that had been restored by Doug Seybold but never installed at a good price.  One of mine looks great but appears to be a decal and the other looks like a bad amateur attempt at turning.  This wasn't high on my priority list but I've learned it's better to strike when the opportunity presents itself so I pulled the trigger. The clock side looks very straight forward to install but I'm not certain about the instrument side. Couldn't find relevant info on the forum, anything tricky about removing/installing the driver-side panel? Thanks.

Peterbuickturneddash.jpeg.85fda8714177425d5cd6353746038460.jpeg

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Hi Peter:

 

Congratulations -- your new glovebox door looks gorgeous!  As you say, that side's a piece of cake.

 

However, I'm sorry to say that removing the instrument panel side is a major undertaking.  I did it when installing a new wiring harness last year, and, for what it's worth, these are my recommendations based on what I learned during the operation.

 

1.  I strongly suggest starting by removing the front seat.  You are going to have to spend a lot of time on your back trying to stick your head up into a very narrow space under the dash, and I frankly can't imagine doing it without the seat out (but it might be possible).

 

2. I also suggest taking out the radio and the panels that support the radio because it will give you a much easier access to the nuts that have to be removed on the right hand side of the panel.  (I, of course, was doing the wiring on the entire dash so I had to do this anyway.  It might not be strictly necessary.)

 

3. Get at least one and maybe two of those powerful LED flashlights that have a strong magnet mounting bracket attached.  Getting light on the subject is half the battle so you can see the nuts you are trying to remove (and replace).

 

4.  As you can see, the panel is held in place by five studs.  You can reach most of them fairly easily with a socket and extension, but the upper left-hand one is the hardest.  You will need a deep socket and a U-joint, but it can be done.

 

5.  The gauges are held in place by smaller nuts on studs that are also challenging to reach.  Once the panel is free and pulled back, you can access most of these by reaching into the narrow space between the panel and the dash, but the wiring harness is pretty tight.  You may have to access some of them from behind.  When it comes to putting it back, you will definitely have to access some of them from behind with a socket driver.

 

6.  Like most things, you will have an easier time getting it off than putting it back on.  To get several of the nuts back in place on the studs on the reassembly, I had to use a flexible hose pick up tool to hold the nut and get it started on the threads.

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-24-in-Lighted-Mechanical-Pickup-Tool-70396H/206264355?source=shoppingads&locale=en-US&mtc=Shopping-Husky_Hand_tools_BT3_Smart_Shopping&cm_mmc=Shopping-Husky_Hand_tools_BT3_Smart_Shopping-71700000074196197-58700006428347897-92700058269432290&gclid=CjwKCAiAr6-ABhAfEiwADO4sfS4XKNSrzGGTTQ1aBj3P7eR-ZsQXw_gek6xqhJ_uhyyJ5p4-xXGJKhoCqdMQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

I hope I haven't put you off the job completely -- just trying to prepare you for what's involved.  And when you have it apart is a good time to replace the dash and directional signal lights with LED's -- it will make a big difference.

 

Good luck and feel free to ask me any questions you have.  The part on my thread where I did this job starts about here (but I didn't go into much detail about the panel removal and replacement).  (Click on arrow in upper right-hand corner.)

 

 

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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Fuuuuudge. How much will it take for you to come out here and help me with this? Good example of be careful what you wish for. I’m going to give it a shot though, the panels are too pretty to keep on the shelf. 
I sure do appreciate your help Neil, thanks so much. 

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Is it possible to remove the 5 panel nuts first, pull out the panel with the gauges still attached, then remove the gauge nuts? Or do you have to remove the gauge nuts from underneath? No more questions until I get into it...

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Yes, it is possible and much better to remove the panel nuts first and then remove the gauge nuts.  Even with the panel out, I think you still might have to get to some of the gauge nuts from the back.  I just can't recall exactly how I did it.  My memory is that the wiring harness is pretty tight so even when you get the panel nuts off, there's not a lot of space between the dash and the panel with all the gauges in place.

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This is pretty picky but does anybody know the correct color of the backside of the glove box panel? I need to paint the one I want to install. My existing panel is a weird industrial violet on the backside.

B660939C-4370-423F-B11E-DD83A2CF3C7F.jpeg

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Peter:

 

First....BWAH-HAHAHA! You are in for some fun!

 

Second. Neil is right on. And I can tell you that seat is *heavy,* I did it this summer with myself and one other person, but 3 people might be better. I did my panel without removing the seat, but probably will not do it that way if I have to go in there again. One additional suggestion: pull the steering wheel, it gets in the way. And cover up the steering column or it'll get marked up. And yes, that top left stud is a witch!

 

Since I was repairing/rebuilding my wiring anyway I added extensions on all appropriate wires to make panel remove/install *much* easier. If you want to keep original you will just have to grin and bear it, although when you are trying to put it back in and the lights pop out of one side while you are installing on the other side you may question this decision!

 

All gauges are easy to remove once the panel is loose, but I did not remove the temp gauge from the car since I didn't want to chance damaging the tube. You may want to remove and lube the speedo cable "while you are in there"  (the five most costly words in the old car game).

 

Give me a call when you are ready to proceed, maybe I can help.

 

Cheers, Dave

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I also had to remove the instrument panel to replace it and to install new wiring. I wrote a couple blogs about my experience. They may be helpful to you. And all the advice from Neal and the other folks is very good. Regarding tools you may want to pick up nut drivers that have a hollow shaft and one of those short round socket drivers that are good for close spaces.

http://idlenot.com/?p=45301 Part 1

http://idlenot.com/?p=59410 Part 2

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Thanks so much you guys. Neil, looks like the paint is a reasonably close match to the inside of the glove box. I’ll try doing that. RM71, great write up and pics. Between you, Neil and Dave I  have a solid idea of what I’m in for, albeit intimidating. 

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I just noticed that I have the same tire pressure sticker on the back of the glove box door as Neil (see pics), so I think they are both original. I would really like to use my existing glove box door, if possible, as the backside looks original and is in great shape and the new one needs to be redone. Also looks like the patterned skins are just crimped on and one could conceivably pry them off and put the good one on the good door. Probably asking for trouble but thought I’d run it by you guys. 
here’s the back of the one I have to redo. 

8F806B9E-6A4F-4755-8C0C-2CF6D156703E.png

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A reproduction of the tire pressure sticker is available (and I would guess has been available for many years), so I don't think the presence of the sticker is necessarily an indicator of originality.

 

https://www.rubbertherightway.com/1941-buick-restoration-parts-tire-58644-prd1.htm?productFeedId=0&utm_source=googleBaseFeed&utm_medium=shoppingEngine&utm_campaign=Google&gclid=Cj0KCQiA0rSABhDlARIsAJtjfCdzH4UJZFXE9DnJ_NK1Em3vze80DwcQrcbAcMLLL8LQUewYMgCrdc0aAo2EEALw_wcB

 

However, your current glovebox door may well be original -- the paint certainly has a "factory" look to it even though the color is different than mine.  I also see that you have a gray interior with gray wood-graining on the dash (whereas my interior is brown), so they may have used two different colors for the back of the glovebox door depending on the color of the interior.

 

I agree that you are probably "asking for trouble" if you try to pry the front skin off and put the new skin on your old door.  If you're intent on using the refinished door, I think you will have to go with a repaint on the back (and you can buy a repro sticker to "prove" that it's original!).  😄

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I thought of that too (repro sticker) but who would choose that color to paint it? I bet you’re right that they used different colors depending on the interior. Wish someone had addressed the back side before Doug did his thing...I’ll try fixing it up, take the dents out, paint it and take it from there. Thanks for your opinion Neil.

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After a few minutes thinking more about it, I realized that the paint color on the back of the glovebox door on my car matches the color of the steering column.  I'm thinking the same is probably true of your car -- brown with the brown interior, gray ("industrial violet") with the gray interior.  Am I right?

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That’s interesting and most likely correct. My column IS grey but not the same beigey violet color of the glove box. But I strongly suspect my column  has been repainted. Probably should be the same weird industrial beige as the glove box. Learn something every day....maybe others can confirm your hypothesis! 

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Just spoke to Doug Seybold, just as nice as can be, and he notes that the backside of all ‘41 gloveboxs are brown like yours Neil. Mine was repainted in a leftover dollhouse color... 

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Had my steering column rebuilt by Doug and my instrument panel and glove box done by him also. Looks like a medium color brown for back of glove box and steering column. Neil's advice if right on. I have a flexible extension that I have used every time I go behind the dash to drop the instrument panel and I do pad my steering column, so no scratches. Good luck with your project. 

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I’ve beaten this issue to death but to try and put it to rest I spoke again with Doug and Bill Anderson. Both agree that the backside of all ‘41 glove boxes should be the same, a brownish, beigy toupe color as seen on Neil’s box and the one below. 
 

Bill notes that the steering columns are either dark brown or grey depending on the interior. That is consistent with my car with a grey interior and grey column while Neil and others have a brown column with their brown interiors. All circumstantial evidence, hope this helps someone down the road, over and out. 

F1F91875-324C-4546-855F-6F3B686460E7.jpeg

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Got the easy one on (glove box) and painted the backside with a Rustoleum satin finish (saddle tan I think). Came out alright and pretty darn close to Neil’s and Dave’s color above.  The gauge side dash panel in my car is actually very nice so I may leave it even though it’s not an exact match with the new glove box panel. I’ll change it out when something breaks and I have to get into the dash. 4EBEBDA1-0769-41A8-954D-E19E879ECC51.thumb.jpeg.7fd0359644dbab62897da263c8331f7c.jpeg

6569A1F9-43A7-4893-826C-EBB37527C54C.jpeg

Edited by valk (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, all of those are very good suggestions, but I might a couple more as I have taken my instrument panel out several times and this is what I recommend.  
1. First put low tack tape on the steering column before you begin. Nothing worse than to scratch that column with the panel.

2. I know your Roadmaster Coupe and it is easiest to push the seat all the way back and then simply remove the seat cushion. Word to the wise, if you are in the garage doing this, attach a blanket to your door using the handle as inevitably while on your back one might push too hard on the door and the door will find the car parked next to it or worse a wall.

3. The wires are as mentioned before are not long enough to pull it all the way out, but do so so you just have enough room to remove the small nuts holding the speedo and the gauge cluster.

4. Didn't read all the responses from fellow Buick Nuts but, the best advice I can give and what worked for me the best was to not put the nuts back on the studs attached to the panel, but to find "wing nuts" and that way you can hand tighten them and then adjust the panel for prober fit once you are done. If you ever need to fix something or change something, you will happy you had the wind nuts the second go round.

5. Small other tip might be, I am fairly agile for my 75 years, but no matter how old your are, I suggest you get something like a moving blanket and put it over the clutch and brakes pedal as it makes a "pillow" type of rest spot for you head for the time you are under there. 

 

Good luck and let me know how it goes, or you might have already done it and these tips hopefully might help someone else..

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