Tip of the MonthIt was time to fix the rare optional dash-top clock on our ’65 Chevelle. The clock was installed some 12 years ago, and worked for about five years. The original clocks in 1965 were of the electromagnetic type. In other words, they worked just like a windup clock of the day, but using an electrical solenoid to rewind the clock when it wound down. A set of points would close when the clock was almost wound down, energizing a solenoid to rewind the spring for about three minutes. After a few years, just like ignition points, they’d either wear out or seize together and stop the process. Sometimes you could disassemble the clock and file the points, but the repair didn’t last long. Most of the time, it would fry the electromagnet. Back then, the only option was to send the clock for repairs or buy a wristwatch.
Today, a few instrument companies will repair the clock or convert the works to a quartz movement. The quartz option will last a long time—up to 20 years or so. In our case, the quartz movement was our choice, and was available as a do-it-yourself kit. The thought of removing the clock myself scared me a little, considering the original clock was probably worth $500 to $1,000. Even shipping it to a repair company was fraught with risk. Finding a good replacement if it’s lost is almost impossible. So we ordered a conversion kit from Instrument Services out of Roscoe, Illinois. We even paid a small charge of $5 for the instruction video, which was well worth the price.
After watching the video, it was apparent the job was simple, and it only took about 45 minutes to install the quartz conversion. You can see the old clock cartridge in the picture. The new quartz cartridge is an exact replacement; the only thing you have to pay attention to is the order of assembly. For the purist, the conversion results in a sweep second hand compared to a sequential second hand for original. If you are into an exact correct restoration that will be judged, Instrument Service offers a repair service that will keep your clock to exact factory specifications. Since our ’65 is primarily a restomod, the quartz movement meets our needs. Instrument Services carries do-it-yourself kits for most Chevy clocks carrying the Borg clock logo. Give the company a call for other brand units at 815-623-2993, or check out clocksandgauges.com. Instrument Service also offers a number of other automotive gauge services.
Quarter TimeI’ve been a subscriber to your magazine for what seems like 20 years, and love it. I have read from your readers about doing a full quarter or a skin (and I get this question a lot, as I am a bodyman). The skin may seem like a cheaper way to go, but that is far from the truth. It takes a lot more time to install, and the price for labor will outweigh the price to have a full quarter installed. The biggest reason for this is there is a lot more welding and fitting involved—and no matter what, the panel will warp during the welding process. That adds up to a lot more hours just to straighten it. For a full quarter install, there is only a small cut in the sail panel, which is a very strong area that stays straight during welding and grinding. Also, the factory spot weld is drilled out to remove the panel. In the end, you have a better fit, a factory look, and much less labor time. Hope this helps out.
A few issues back, a reader asked our opinion on the difference between a replacement quarter-panel and just the quarter skin. Scott Krall wrote this spot-on assessment of the difference, and a comparison of the repair procedures involved. We totally agree with his information, and couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thanks, Scott, for taking the time to write us.
Got a restoration question that’s been puzzling you? Send it to:
[ m ] Super Chevy, Resto Tech, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619. [ e ] firstname.lastname@example.org [ f ] 813-675-3557