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Torino_1976 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Instrument Housing
    Posted: 05-July-2010 at 1:36AM
Hi -- I am the proud owner of a 1976 Gran Torino.  I went to replace some dash light bulbs and the voltage regulator yesterday and removed the instrument cluster.  I was shocked (perhaps horrified is a better word) to find that the white plastic housing is literally turning into to dust.  It is far too cracked and brittle to reinstall--many of the bulbs will not fit into their sockets or there are no sockets left! Cry

I did a lengthy search on the net and found that this is a VERY common problem for cars of this era; however, I have not been able to find reproductions.  Is there a source for reproductions?  I could search for a used housing but I'll just run into the same problem. 

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Chris


Edited by Torino_1976 - 06-July-2010 at 2:21PM
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gpd294 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-July-2010 at 7:10AM
I ran into this same problem. I thought it was because my wagon has been a Texas car all her life and the Texas heat did the damage, but the more I research the more I think it's just a across the board problem.
 
Has anyone found a permanent fix???  
Carlos....1975 Gran Torino Squire Station Wagon restored to look like a 1973 Torino Station

Wagon my Dad bought new from McAnary Ford on June 6, 1973 in Gary,Indiana
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-July-2010 at 7:32AM
Find a cluster from up north, I've never seen this problem to the extent you guys describe. 
Paul
77 XR7 460/C6/3.00:1 *SOLD*
78 XR7 523/C6/3.5:1
79 F100 460/TKO500/3.25:1
'I also have some left over potatoes-I understand you can generate electricity from them'- Foote500
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-July-2010 at 10:51AM
That's what I intend to do. A friend of mine is moving to North Dakota in the spring. Her husband-to-be said if he sees a 75-76 Torino base cluster with 95K-99K on it he'll send it to me for cost. I figure it's the way to go. If you go to car-part.com and search for something like a trunk lid, you can find which yards HAVE Torinos and go from there. They don't always list the cluster as available and they will probably price it from $50 to $100 or more.

But seeing as it is easy to take out, heck, one of the northern members here on the board could probably make a mint pulling clusters from a self-service yard then trading with us southern members for clean metal bits.

I do the same thing when I have discretionary income. I go to the South and South Central Dallas Pick 'n' Pulls and get ECU's from BMW's and Volkswagens. Anything Bosch or Siemens seems to sell WELL on eBay. I can pay $32 including core charge, tax, environmental fees, and the $2 admission cost for a computer, take it home, upload a few pictures, sell it for $75-$200 depending on the model. The E36 BMW's from 92-94 had water damage problems because the ECU sits right under the cowl and if you use a high pressure washer to wash the outside of the car at a self-service wash, or run through an automatic wash, you can fry the computer because it gets wet. I check those for water damage and get $150 each EASY for those.

edit: on car-part.com, don't search by "instrument cluster" there's only one listing in the USA. Search for "speedometer" and they are out there from $15 up to $200 or so. With or without tach, years back to '72, some are from northern states. I'll be making some phone calls in a few weeks and maybe my friend's husband won't have to look.

edit two: 73-79 Ford pickup owners have it EASY. They have this problem, see, but all they have to do is grab a cluster from a newer Econoline van (through 1991). All they give up is the 100mph speedometer since the vans are 80-85. Creative guys with Dremels and the patience of Job are able to get the old 100mph unit in there anyway.

Edited by occupant - 05-July-2010 at 10:59AM
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-July-2010 at 12:42PM
You must have been very lucky, PSquare.  My car spend most of its life in IL, but has resided in Florida for less than a year.  All other plastic in the car is fine except for this housing; it is very bizarre.  The housing almost has the consistency of chalk and crumbles when touched--it is extremely brittle.  I read online that Ford changed its plastic "formula" for the housing in 79 or so.  The problem seems fairly well documented, so I don't know why we don't see reproductions on the market.

 

Edited by Torino_1976 - 05-July-2010 at 12:56PM
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-July-2010 at 2:19PM

my stock 73 michigan housing is crumbly, but i bought one from a junkyard in AZ and it is solid, not crumbling.  i dont know about the north/south thing.  its just a inconsistant mixture issue in the resin probably.

-Pete
1972 montego GT
1970 Torino cobra SCJ
1970 mustang mach 1
1965 Falcon futura



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-July-2010 at 6:18PM
Huh, weird. Also, the ford truck guys can get a new housing for $60 or so from several online places. 
Paul
77 XR7 460/C6/3.00:1 *SOLD*
78 XR7 523/C6/3.5:1
79 F100 460/TKO500/3.25:1
'I also have some left over potatoes-I understand you can generate electricity from them'- Foote500
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-July-2010 at 8:56PM
Read through the following link to understand the differences between the gauges from one year to the next in the Gran Torino/ Ranchero, as you will need to fine a used one to replace your broken set. If you are just looking to replace the housing I do have a good set of standard gauges from a 1972 model that I think uses the same housing for the 1976 standard gauges.  If you have GT gauges the standard set I have will not help you.
http://forum.grantorinosport.org/info-72-79-gauge-clusters-and-wiring_topic2933.html
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-July-2010 at 5:31AM
On the material make up of the cluster:
The white plastic of the clusters are from my understanding made with some sort of binder {I sware someone said cornstarch, but correct me if wrong} as part of the material which is a huge reason the white plastic just crumbles.
My GTS was in a barn for 17 years. I can assume this is why mine is solid and not falling apart.
I have seen different years 72-79 with the problem, cars that were left outside for long periods will ultimately probably have this issue.
I had a car I bought, a 1976 Elite, that was damaged by an engine fire, but only had less than 67k miles. I was going to save it, but had problems with the law, and it ended up getting parted out.
That dash was unhurt, just the firewall bulkhead connector that got damaged.
When I pulled the dash out of the car for a guy, the cluster while at first looking good, broke into three, and showed no viable damage.
That car was always garaged, from the history I had on it, but yet it was left outside for 2 years, unprotected.
Hard to say, just luck of the draw.
I know I don't have any 75-76 sport clusters, I only have a spare for my GTS, and that's a 1972 specific tach cluster.
 
Keep a look out for any of the 70's midsized fords, they all interchaged if the sport dash, as the walk through points out.
 
 
 
Andrew
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-July-2010 at 2:07PM
I have a couple of the standard clusters sitting around looking for new homes.  all the plastic is in good condition, one form a 73 4dr northern car for half its life,  and one from a 73 gts, that was a southern call all its life
-kevin-
Brown 72 gran torino 351c 2v
Black 73 GTS FB 302
Red 73 GTS FB 351C C6 trans
73 GTS FB Parted
73 torino 4dr, 302, FMX parted
97 F250 crew cab 7.3 diesel

http://kverschtorino.blogspot.com/
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-July-2010 at 3:24PM
Man, who of use here DOESN"T have a couple standard clusters? Stern SmileLOL

Well...then again, I used to have this sort of mild affliction...

Andrew
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-July-2010 at 4:56PM
i like the lincoln wheels on that blue 4dr.   thats a sharp combo.
-Pete
1972 montego GT
1970 Torino cobra SCJ
1970 mustang mach 1
1965 Falcon futura



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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-July-2010 at 7:42PM
16" mark 7 wheels. I really liked them a lot. I could not run them on my GTS, so they went to a good cause, a guy with a 74-75 Ranchero. He liked them, because he could get the 2256016 the Crown Vic's use cheap as hell.

Andrew
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-July-2010 at 9:52PM
I am using those rims on two of my Rancheros



Both sets I picked up from the parts yard on half price day and paid $50 for each set. The Black centered rims I have only seen one other set.




Edited by SquireCJ - 07-July-2010 at 9:54PM
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-July-2010 at 2:18AM
I appreciate the replies.  I secured a used instrument cluster on E-pay from a 1975 Torino.  The wiring information on this site was extremely helpful to determine the capability of clusters from different years.  The cluster I received was in great condition--no cracks to the normally brittle white housing.  I'm going to clean the housing and perhaps protect it with paint (plastic primer and an expoxy paint).
 
Chris
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-July-2010 at 5:58AM
I saw this post pop back up, and I was thinking, How hard would it be to do a mold off an original housing, then do a fiberglass cast?
 
I can't see someone really trying to do a new injection molded housing, as the tooling to do this would require some machine work to make it right...let alone the cost involved.
 
 
Andrew
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