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Temperature check and dash restoration advice

Jim Lee

Jedi Trainee
It has been way too long since I drove my Black Beauty TR3 but I did today and wanted to know if this is a 'normal' temperature. My needle went up to this mark and stayed there. There was a time when it was spot on the 6 o'clock 185 degree mark but I think it has been at this slightly higher temp since I installed a new thermostat.

Also, any advice on doing something with my dash? It is getting past a little worse for wear about now.


Thanks very much,
Jim Lee


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
Well, what thermostat did you put in? That's kind of high if it's a 180, but about normal if it was a 195 (as most modern cars use).

The 'right' way to deal with the instrument panel would be to remove it, take out the gauges, etc and paint it. But you could improve it a lot by just scraping off the loose paint and brushing on some flat black working around the chrome. A small artist's brush and a thin piece of plastic should let you paint right up to the chrome without getting paint onto it.


Jedi Knight
Country flag
I can't help you with your gauge, but you might want to buy a replacement center section and restore it. Then put it into your dash. It will keep the lay out fresh in your mind. Then restore the old center section and sell it. You should have enough wrinkle paint in one can to do multiple center sections. If you need to do the vinyl, you have a lot of work on your hands. Art did a good write up on that here on the BCF, which you should be able to fibd using the search function.

The buttons clean up with soap and water and the letters can be filled in with white crayon.


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
apbos said:
you might want to buy a replacement center section and restore it.
If you do go that way, be sure to get one with the small center hole (to match what you have). Some folks don't realize that the panel changed when the (optional on early cars) rheostat was installed.

Andrew Mace

Staff member
Country flag
Note also that you be opening the proverbial can of worms depending on how you approach this. I'm not even talking about "Shipwright's Disease," although that's also a possibility.

I'm thinking, though, that you might want to loosen the panel from the rest of the dash and -- as suggested -- remove the gauges and switches. Of course, there's no way to completely remove the temperature gauge without removing the sender from the engine. Unless you've done this in the last three days or so, I'd consider NOT trying to do that at risk of breaking open the capillary tube, at which point your gauge is done for. It could be a pain to work with it all inside the car, but you can probably pull the temp. gauge loose and far enough away from the panel to be able to work on it and even repaint it.

Just a thought....


Jedi Trainee
Are you headed to The Gathering in Dobson NC this weekend? If so please look me up as I have a refinished dash section you can have for a song! If you are not going drop me an e-mail @ ded32746@aol.com and I'll make arrangments to ship if you wish!


Jedi Knight
You've only got 98,872 miles on her and already the paint is peeling off the dash? They just don't make them like they used to.

I'd mask the gauges, switches and leather off with some of that wide blue masking tape, and paint away. Wrinkle paint can be finicky -check the archives for some great hints to get it to work.

I wouldn't chance messing up your working temp gauge but I would worry about opening a can of worms.


To clean up those knobs, I first clean and polish them using plastic polish or Flitz (my pref). Then I use some liquid correction fluid for paper in the recesses, then polish off the knobs again.


Jedi Hopeful
Country flag
Masking everything and painting in place worked better than expected for me. When I need to disassemble the dash for some other reason I'll refinish the panel. That was my judgment call (rationalization).
A white paint pen also works well on the knobs. I have a replacement knob that looked way to new so I used steel wool to dull it a little - fits in well now.


Jedi Knight
Country flag
Aloha Jim,

Regarding your temperature gauge, consider it may be correctly reading the coolant temperature. I would first check the coolant level in the radiator to make sure it is topped up. Look at the condition of the coolant, is it relatively clear or is it brownish indicating sediment in it. If so it might be time to do a flush and refill. Open the engine block petcock on the right side of the engine over the starter motor. If coolant doesn't flow freely, there is sediment build up in the block that needs to be flushed out. In my experience these things can account for a slight increase in observed operating temperature, particularly after the car has been idle for a time.
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