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Ok, I have had alot of questions on how I converted the floor shift console into a gauge panel in the wagon. So I picked up an extra shifter plate and just for those who want to see, here is a step by step procedure to try this at home.
1) Find any old floor shift console at you local junk yard and remove the shifter plate. This is the only part you will have to modify to use the console.


2) Once you scrub all the crud and dirt off of it, you will want to prep the shifter plate for paint and final finish right away, this will make it easier when your done to blend everything in. After scrubbing it, I "sanded" the plate with a fresh sheet of green scotch brite. This will take off the shine and some minor flaws.

I also used the scotch brite to scuff up the inside edge under the plate. I also scuffed about 1/2 inch around the inside edge, this will give the fiberglass resin something to bite into.



3) Next I used a small center drill, you can use any small drill to put some "divots" all the way around the inside edge of the opening. They dont need to be deep, just something for the resin and fiberglass to grab onto along the inside edge. After this, I washed the whole plate down with windex, it removes all grease and dries without a residue.


4) Next I outlined the top of the opening with paintes masking tape, all about 1/4 inch away from the opening. This will help stop resin run-off onto the rest of the plate. From there, I put a larges area of regular masking tape so the other tapes have something to stick to. This will help in clean up if you have any resin or fiberglass run off.


5) Take the shifter plate and lay it UPSIDE DOWN on your fiberglass matting and trace as close as possible along the inside edge of the opening. You will need 3 pieces of fiberglass mat cut out like this with 1 piece about 1/8 inch pigger than the other 2. I cut just to the outside of the line on the first one and on the line for the last 2.



6) Take a zip-lock freezer bag or any heavy duty THICK plastic bag and start at one point and stretch & tape the plastic across the top side of the opening. This is what you are going to be laying the fiberglass on for a base from the underside. Get the plastic bag as tight as you can, and with as few wrinkles as possible, use alot of tape to hold this down.

Once the plastic is streched as tight as you can get it, layer over that some strapping tape or duct tape for support, again from the outside of the shifter plate. The tighter and smoother you get this, the less sanding you will have in the end.


7) Lay the shifter plate UPSIDE DOWN on a hard flat surface, the fiberglass work will be done from the inside (underside) of the plate. Test fit your large cut out, this will be your first layer and you want it to fit into the radius of the opening as tight as possible, trim as needed. When ready, paint your fiberglass resin directly onto the plastic covering the hole, also paint some along the inside edge and fill the small "divots" along the edge as well. Lay your first layer of fiberglass into the opening, fitting it into the opening and against the plastic sheet. Work the resin trough the fiberglass until it is all covered. Layer the next 2 cut outs into the opening and painting resin into the matting, working the stray fibers into the edges of the shifter plate and forming the fiberglass along the edges. At this point I just cut some random shapes and made one more layer of matting, again, working the fibers up and over the edges of the opening with a small paint brush.


8) AFTER the fiberglass resin dries, remove the tape and plastic sheeting. You will have some wrinkles and you will have some high and low spots, DONT WORRY about that, its going to happen.

At this point, I used a small 2 inch sanding pad in a drill motor, nothing high speed, to sand down the fiberglass to the level and contour I am looking for, again, you will have some low spots and some open spots along the edge of the fiberglass.



9) Now I put a layer of bondo across the complete fiberglass filler. You dont need alot, just fill your holes and low spots, working the bondo with a straight edge the best you can. LEAVE EXTRA to sand down for a better finish.
Again, I used the 2 inch sanding pad to work down the bondo. You may need to add more bondo, depending on how well you layered your first coat, if you have any air bubbles or low spots. Once I rough sanded the bondo, I used fine grit sand paper and scotch brite to finish down the bondo and fiberglass for the best finish.


10) At this point, your on your own, finish it from here with paint in the color of your choice. You will need to prep the bondo and the fiberglass for paint from this point as you would any other repair. Finished with just my light switches mounted.


Finished with a digital volt meter first, then a digital trans temp gauge, followed by the light switcheds.


It is possible to install 3 gauges. I used 2 1/16 dia. gauges. You have a nice size area for just about anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

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Discussion Starter #5
Yea, thats cool. The wagon is right down the street from you now, at Mike Bass Ford. Thats where I picked up my new '12 taurus. And I work in Lorain, make the drive from Parma every day.
 
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