After removing the instrument panel I just let all the gauges suspend by their very substantial wires while I addressed various issues. The ammeter was removed with the intention of replacing it with a NOS unit that came with the car (box and all). I found that the needle on the old meter was fused to the meter face where the face had warped. Rather than mess with repairing that I decided to just put in the new one. While removing the gauges I had the battery disconnected. Each time I wanted to test something I reconnected the battery for the duration of the test only. I installed the new ammeter, again attached the battery ground lead, and tested the ammeter. It worked great! When I started the car the meter moved to the plus side indicating that it was charging. Then it slowly returned to center position as the battery was fully charged. After the test I turned off the engine and began to remove the temperature gauge. Unfortunately I forgot to disconnect the battery. As soon as I moved the instrument panel sparks flew all over the place from the area of the ammeter. I was startled so badly that my hands immediately flew upward and in the process I knocked the needle right off the new ammeter. After hours of trying to solder or glue the needle back on I gave up. I got out the old meter and pried its needle away from the face so it could move freely and then reinstalled it. At least it looked better. To my surprise I found that the old meter now worked showing a little charging on startup and quickly going back to center.
What about the “One Thing Leads To Another” part? Well I broke one pushbutton on the radio while reinstalling it. A complete set of new knobs will cost $100 unless I can find some nice used ones. The heater hose under the dash fell apart when I moved it. I need to order that since it is a specialty item (not at your local NAPA store). Now that the instruments (except the clock) are sorted out I needed a new wiring harness. I ordered the harness from RI Wire and received it in about 3 weeks time. I have not installed it, though. Why? My engine compartment is looking a little messy with all that green paint worn away. The plan is to mask the engine parts and spray paint the firewall and other areas in the engine bay. That means I have to get some paint mixed and put in rattle cans (there is an auto paint shop in Coventry that will do this) and apply it in the springtime when it gets warm again. The usual morning temperature when I started this project was about 75°. Now it is 25° F.
I have labeled the wiring harness and have a good idea where everything goes. Springtime is going to be very busy.
Too many words? Oh well.