JR's Place - JoeCool's 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe - Motor Trend's 1987 Car of the Year

Build Your Own
Custom Instrument Cluster

Afterthoughts & Musings

Well, as promised but long delayed (my motto is "procrastinate later", grin), here's some further information for those that are still interested. I was commissioned late in 2005 to build a cluster for a fellow NATO member and good friend. I was able to preserve the flexible wiring interconnect (FWI) on this bad boy, which makes the installation pretty much plug and play with the exception of the oil pressure and water temperature sensors that must be installed.

To preserve the FWI, simply leave it in place on the rear "cover" of the instrument cluster (IC) before starting any structure mods but after removing all the other goodies. Then using a sharp Xacto knife, carefully trim the pieces that stay from the pieces that get discarded as shown. Be sure to leave too much extra rather than too little, you can always cut off more but it's darn difficult to add some!

Click for BIG pic - dialup beware!

The thin copper layer is sandwiched between two thin layers of clear mylar. Carefully peel back enough of the top layer to let you "tack" a small wire to each of the copper traces required. Clean the copper until shiny with some green Scotchbrite or similar abrasive; be very careful, the copper is very thin and tears easily. After cleaning, use a low wattage soldering iron to tack a small (22 gauge) wire to the copper. First tin the wire, then the copper trace, then tack the wire in place. It is vital that you get on and off the copper almost instantly or you'll de-laminate the copper from the bottom mylar which is not good. You also must hold the wire firmly in place after tacking it onto the copper or it will tear loose - ask me how I know. Then use some hot melt glue at the edge of the mylar to secure it and the wire securely to the back of the plastic cover as shown.

Click for BIG pic - dialup beware! Click for BIG pic - dialup beware!

That's pretty much it. Be very careful and you'll have success. Take your time with the point to point wiring, be neat (you get points for that), and enjoy your results. Here are a couple pix of the finished product. This one was done in brushed stainless steel.

Click for BIG pic - dialup beware! Click for BIG pic - dialup beware!

That's about it; feel free to email me with any questions you might have about the project, I'll try to help as best I can. Thanks for viewing.

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This article will be modified and added to as I have the inclination, so stay tuned!
Click HERE for a directory of all pictures and drawings.

Copyright © 2003-2017 by D. Joseph Frazier
- All Rights Reserved -

Please note that while I've been as careful as possible with this article,
it may contain mistakes. I assume no liability whatsoever for any
detrimental effects using this information may cause to you or your vehicle.

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