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  #1  
Old 11-11-2017, 10:26 PM
1983 300CD's Avatar
Old Benz New Wrench
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Repaint Gauge Needles/Pointers in Place

I searched for a discussion on here specifically about repainting the gauge needles without removing them. I really wanted to skip that step.

I already had the gauges out because literally none of them worked when I got the car except the speedo. The combo gauge had one strike against it with a run of burned solder(repairable but still not a sure fix). The second strike was the fact that I could replace it with another gauge with standard markings(psi and Fahrenheit instead of bar and Celsius). I wonder if Mercedes marked the speedos in MPH only because they had to and the rest was not required. If I can get a little better feedback than 1 2 3 bar I'll always take it. Note the different combo gauge from pic 1 to pic 2. The replacement gauge did have a silver center button which I removed. The old adhesive crumbled and I replaced it with some new adhesive and a prefab black screw hole cover.

The paint job thing all started because the replacement combo gauge had a very different shade of faded yellow than my other gauges. I hit a hobby store and got Testors Model Master Fluorescent Red(does not actually fluoresce or glow) and a pack of their even smaller brushes. I cut up a plastic sandwich bag into a few odd squares and slid a fresh piece under each needle one at a time. It was easier than I thought it would be. On such a small surface the paint looked terrible when it was wet but when it dried the paint had evened out very nicely and turned satin.

The trick with getting the paint right up to the black discs without getting it on the black discs was to put paint on the needle just in front of the disc and push the paint up to it with the brush. What looks like paint on the face of the gauge in one of the photos is just paint on the clear plastic.

The best method seemed to be a fast sweep for a first coat which dried quickly and then a final sweep. Set yourself limits on how perfect it has to be right where the needle touches the black disc or you will eventually ruin it. The discs overhang the needle a bit so that general area is pretty forgiving. For the needles that rest on a post I saw a trick where someone put a piece of low adhesion Scotch tape on the disc and then turned the needle away from the post and taped it down to the gauge face to hold it. It worked great and later eased right off of both surfaces without a mark. If anyone in SA wants to try this I have 9 other brushes and 99.99% of the paint left.
Attached Thumbnails
Repaint Gauge Needles/Pointers in Place-1.jpg   Repaint Gauge Needles/Pointers in Place-1a.jpg   Repaint Gauge Needles/Pointers in Place-2.jpg   Repaint Gauge Needles/Pointers in Place-3.jpg  

Last edited by 1983 300CD; 11-12-2017 at 07:58 PM. Reason: clarify
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:57 PM
Diseasel300's Avatar
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I repainted the needles on my gauges pretty much how you did it. I used an artist's brush to do mine (a whole $1 at the hobby store!) and used newspaper strips below the needles to keep the paint off the gauges. I wadded up a piece of paper and stuck under the pivot on each needle to keep it from hitting the stop peg, if it hits with wet paint, it tends to stick in the summer (the SL does that from time to time). Letting the paint dry before letting the needle hit the stop won't cause that sort of behavior. The fresh paint really makes the gauges "pop" compared to the faded yellowish-white.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:04 PM
1983 300CD's Avatar
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Yes I let the needles dry before letting them back onto their posts. Good caveat.

Add a pic of your gauges if you want. It will show other styles and colors.
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:10 PM
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repaint gauge needles...

greetings earthlings,

I painted my needles white when I had my cluster out several years ago.
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:14 PM
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I never followed up with pix of mine. I replaced the gauge "binnacle" with a new unit to get rid of the white "cancer spots", but the gauge faces are original. Just cleaned and the needles painted.

Original condition:


Newly painted needles:
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'83 500SL Euro - "The Money Pit" 116K
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The Diseasel Thread - Everything You Didn't Know You Wanted To Know
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:40 PM
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grzpdlr
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I have done this on several cars and a funny thing happens. The speedometer needle gets stuck on the post. Tap the glass and it releases. It's not wet paint, it is still happening occasionally after several years.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:50 PM
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Make sure you're using enamel paint. Latex or Acrylic paints will always have a bit of "give" to their finish and can stick, even after several years. Enamel will cure hard and should not stick. If sticking is a continual issue, try wiping a tiny smear of silicone grease on the peg, the needle should never stick again and the silicone grease won't ever dry out.
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'11 Honda Accord EX - "The Daily" 60K
'83 500SL Euro - "The Money Pit" 116K
'86 300SDL - "The Diseasel" 184K
The Diseasel Thread - Everything You Didn't Know You Wanted To Know
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:26 PM
1983 300CD's Avatar
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Location: San Antonio, TX
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Good before/after pics. What a difference. Good insight on ENAMEL being ideal. The paint I happened to use was ENAMEL but that was random luck. I can't update the initial post so I'll stress the importance of using ENAMEL here for those who might only do a quick scan of this thread.
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  #9  
Old 02-15-2018, 02:14 PM
Shadetree
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Is binnacle what the gauge housing is called?

Both the 84SD and the 85SE had the white spots (cancer) on the black plastic inside the binnacle(s). It comes off easily with isopropyl alcohol. The corners are quite a challenge to reach but the alcohol does a fine job of removing them.

I used 303 areospace protectant to coat the black plastic and Plast-X to do the lens. One of the lens had the white cancer on it and the Megiare's Plast-X did ok but it's a real pain in the main to apply on the inside.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:04 PM
1983 300CD's Avatar
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I've seen it called different things. The most common seem to be instrument cluster housing, instrument housing, gauge cluster housing.
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