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3/31/15 4:48pm - Original Message: '68-77 Dash Pad Sag'
Vman73
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Gig Harbor, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1973 L82 4 Speed Coupe - Very original, well documented driver/survivor. 2016 Bend Regional NCRS Top Flight.

Joined: 10/2/2014
Posts: 401
Got a call from a friend of a friend this weekend that was struggling to get the interior of his '72 coupe back together. Stripping out the interior, replacing carpet and a bunch of other interior parts was his winter project this year. Overall he had done a great job but had some serious issues when it came to re-installing the console and e-brake cover. The console was way out of alignment and the e-brake cover seemed about a 1/4" too long - nothing was fitting and he was about to go all Bubba with a drill and other cutting instruments. Not sure if anyone else has run into this one, but I thought I'd post my findings from this experience and several other C3 interior make-overs. Sorry - no pics, but I'll walk you through with the following description.

If you look at the design of '68 to '77 dash assemblies, all of the weight of the entire dash and instrument panel is supported by the dash pad, the two screws at each door jamb and most of all, the center console frame. When the console frame is removed to replace the carpet and other work having to do with the interior, all of the weight is hanging on the dash pad. If the console is out for any length of time, the dash pad will sag down from the weight. It might not be noticeable to the naked eye, but has a major impact on getting things back where they belong. 

As the dash sags down in the center it forces the console backwards when to try to install it. The first clue is the the four screws anchoring the console will not line up with the metal tabs on the tunnel. This is where most people get out the drill to elongate the holes or install the screws at a major forward angle. It all looks okay until you get to the e-brake cover. The cover will seem too long and it will ride up over the back of the console causing all kinds of alignment issues with the cover itself and the little filler section that is installed in front of the e-brake handle. I've seen many C3's at car shows with this condition and it's not pretty. Adding to the dilemma, this guy was installing a new e-brake cover, so he was convinced that the new cover was too long from the vendor.

So now for the fix. First off I asked him how long the console had been out of the car - about 6 weeks. In my mind, that was plenty of time for an unsupported dash panel to sag down and I knew exactly what we had to do. Step one - remove the e-brake cover and loosen everything from the console up through the dash. This includes the three screws at the top of each driver and passenger side panel, the two screws at each door jamb, the five screws holding in the center gauge cluster and the two nuts up underneath the console, below the radio. The only other things I remove completely are the wiper switch panel with the AC vents and the two small filler panels forward of the console. Step two - with everything loose and the console in place, have someone straddle the console and gently lift up on the center of the dash pad. It doesn't take much, an 1/8" to 1/4" max is all your looking for. Once the dash pad is lifted far enough, the console will move forward and the four crews anchoring it to the tunnel will line up properly. Anchor the console but leave everything else loose until you try to fit the e-brake cover. If it fits properly, anchor the e-brake cover and work forward aligning and tightening everything. Leave the screws at each door jamb for last. I've been successful with this method a couple of times, you may have to remove rather than just loosen a few screws to get enough movement, the key is to be careful and take your time.

This whole procedure took about an hour including the description of what I was about to do to his car, but everything went in and aligned properly. No cutting, no drilling and no Bubba required. The guy was amazed !!

I've had similar experiences with '78 to '82 cars but all of the components are much lighter and the single piece dash is easier to work with. The key is to install the fasteners but leave as much as possible loose until you get everything aligned. Hope this helps a few folks out with their current or future C3 projects. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.


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John Sigmund
valkman57@sbcglobal.net
NCRS Member 61302
NW NCRS Chapter Member



Duct tape is the new Black !!
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3/31/15 9:17pm - Reply: 'Re: 68-77 Dash Pad Sag'
Adams' Apple Lifetime Member
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Duncanville, TX - USA

Vette(s):
#1-1974 L-48 4spd Cp Med Red Metallic/Black deluxe int w/AC/tilt/tele./p/w-p/b/ Am-Fm/map light National/Regional/Chapter NCRS "Top Flight" #2-1985 Bright Red/Carmine Cp.L-98/auto Member: NCRS, NCRS Texas, Corvette Legends of Texas

Joined: 11/8/2003
Posts: 19542
    
Thanks for posting that!! Thumbs Up

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Joel Adams
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4/3/15 1:54pm - Reply: 'Re: 68-77 Dash Pad Sag'
persico Gold Member
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Long Valley, NJ - USA

Vette(s):
1972 454 Coupe, 4 speed, Targa Blue with blue interior, luggage rack

Joined: 3/21/2007
Posts: 266
I'm just about to embark on this very thing from e-brake cover all the way to the guage bezel - everything has been out for years during rebuilding.  I also noticed the angle of the dash panel on the drivers side (with the speedo/tach gauges) to the steering column and the center bezel looks wrong.  (See pic in my other post on steering column alignment)  I had my work checked by a Corvette specialist and he said the column is installed per the AIM.  Could this be a similar alignment issue since all of these components have been out of the car for several years?  




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Mario
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4/3/15 5:12pm - Reply: 'Re: 68-77 Dash Pad Sag'
Vman73
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Gig Harbor, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1973 L82 4 Speed Coupe - Very original, well documented driver/survivor. 2016 Bend Regional NCRS Top Flight.

Joined: 10/2/2014
Posts: 401
Mario - its been a while since I've worked on a car with a standard column. The angle in your pic does look tight to the seat but if you've got it bolted in right I don't know of anything else that would affect that clearance. The steering column is bolted to the firewall and up into a bracket that is fastened to the bottom of the birdcage right below the windshield. Im sure your drivers side instrument panel is sagged down at the center where it meets the console, but that won't have anything to do with the clearance between your wheel and the seat. If you follow the procedure I noted above you should be able to get the panel back to where it belongs. Take you time and be careful, make sure you get the console lined up properly with the tabs in the trans tunnel. If your e-brake cover fits, your all good !!! I'll keep my eyes open for pics of a standard column car to compare. Good luck !!

____________________________________
John Sigmund
valkman57@sbcglobal.net
NCRS Member 61302
NW NCRS Chapter Member



Duct tape is the new Black !!
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4/3/15 6:02pm - Reply: 'Re: 68-77 Dash Pad Sag'
Vman73
Standard Member
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Gig Harbor, WA - USA

Vette(s):
1973 L82 4 Speed Coupe - Very original, well documented driver/survivor. 2016 Bend Regional NCRS Top Flight.

Joined: 10/2/2014
Posts: 401
Mario - just for grins, I tried to get a pic of mine at the same angle as yours.

 

I adjusted the tilt to be straight out and the tele to be all the way in. From the bottom of the wheel to the top of the seat, I've got 6" of clearance, how does that compare to yours ?? 

Prices on 69-'75 t/t columns have gone crazy, $400 for junk to $800 for anything decent. A friend of mine just bought an entire '75 coupe for $4500 just to get the t/t column out of it. He'll put his standard back in and probably sell the car for the same $$.


____________________________________
John Sigmund
valkman57@sbcglobal.net
NCRS Member 61302
NW NCRS Chapter Member



Duct tape is the new Black !!
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