I have a 97 thunderbird that I bought new in 97and my instrument cluster bezel broke when I was changing my wiper/directional control. Anybody have one or knows where I can get one black is the color I need thanks
Thank you for the info.The singular most important thing to do is to drop the steering column down. It’s a minor inconvenience but trying to twist and pull and shove around it is a good way to break or scratch it.
Remove all the screws, 3 on the bottom, 2 above the cluster(somehow people miss these a lot)
The rest is clipped on, use only your hands and fingers, don’t use any tools to pry between seams. I like to start from the right bottom corner and gently pull it away from the radio bezel, guiding my index finger up between the seam pushing against the bezel so it doesn’t bow until I get to the top, from there work your way towards the left, the clips along the way don’t have as much of a tendency to break so don’t be too worried here. The air vent above the headlight switch sometimes hangs up on the ducting/dash mold. Worse case scenario the vent assembly pops off the bezel but it’s a separate piece anyway and can be glued back on if necessary, if you have long fingers you can remove the vent put your hand down the opening and grip the very back of the vent assembly to help keep it together as well as pull from there to get past the hang up area.
One other thing I would add to the cluster bezel removal is to make sure you do it on a day when it is at least warm, if not hot. IF you do it in the winter, regardless of east coast or west coast, the possibility of breakage is probably 80% or better. Those old plastics get brittle. Consider that in advance.On that note, are there write-ups anywhere about how to properly & safely remove a 1997 Bird's instrument cluster bezel without damaging it, so that one can get in there to change bulbs or do other maintenance & repairs?
yeah, there’s no black paint that will match the original color unless you can find someone to mix and shoot it from a real setup. Next to SEM Landau black(or any rattlecan satin black) the factory finish looks more grayish charcoal with a hint of blue. I didn’t intend to do the door cup, cluster bezel or radio surround when I converted my interior to black, the mismatch forced me to.These definitely need to be reproduced. I need to find myself a 97 cluster. I have one from a Cougar, but it's not perfect. It has a couple broken tabs, and it's tan on top of that, so I'd have to paint it. And knowing me, I'd have to paint the rest of black trim pieces so it would match the console because I'm OCD like that, lol.
I had one that was perfect, but it was for a 94 - 96 which I sold, lol.
Thanks, Gordon. I'm always wary & careful with the plastics, especially in the cold, since interior parts are damn-near unobtanium these days. Surprisingly, all the plastics & rubbers on mine, even under the hood, are in remarkably great condition, probably because she's been garaged her whole life. Even the dash is still soft & supple...but I lotion the interior every month or two to keep things from drying out. But I know one of these years, I'll have to replace bulbs in the cluster, so I'm collecting all these notes & info now to be better prepared.One other thing I would add to the cluster bezel removal is to make sure you do it on a day when it is at least warm, if not hot. IF you do it in the winter, regardless of east coast or west coast, the possibility of breakage is probably 80% or better. Those old plastics get brittle. Consider that in advance.
I checked...my doors have no sag or play at all and are pretty tight. A light flick of the wrist and the doors shut completely. She only sees about a thousand miles a year, so much of this car has almost no wear & tear.That's a sign you need to replace the door hinge bushings. lift the door while looking at the hinges, you can see the play pretty easy.