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Old 04-30-2018, 07:59 AM   #1
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Year: 1986
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: Cat 3208/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 2 Humans + 2 Chihuahuas
Gillig Phantom Dashboard/Cockpit Rehab

In honor of this weekend's work, and crossing the 100 post count #thewordsundermyname, I decided it was time to start a separate dash thread to details the efforts, separate from my build thread.

The plan is to:
1) Demo the existing dash
2) Clean and restore the cockpit area
3) Figure out the flooring situation and do (or start) flooring in that area
4) Finalize dash redesign
5) Execute dash build with new gauges, switches, and dash lights, and a few flat panel displays for back up camera, GPS, etc.

I don't have many pics of the dash before I tore it out. It was a bit of a mess. There were unused switches, lots of "school bus light" crap, and several of the gauges were not working.


The location for the ignition switch is terrible. Its mounting orientation makes it easy for debris to fall inside the lock cylinder (like broken glass from a bird strike...)
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Old 04-30-2018, 08:14 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
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Year: 1986
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: Cat 3208/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 2 Humans + 2 Chihuahuas
So the first step was to demo the current dashboard, battery disconnected of course.

I did my best to label any wires I had to cut or disconnect. I also used electrical tape to tape off the ends of any wires that were not connectd to something. So in other words, every wire (or harness) should have either a label or a piece of electrical tape on it.


There are 20 idiot lights in the plastic housing in the below pic. The I gauges I chose have built-in, programmable warning lights, so I hope to reduce the idiot light count to 6.


Here are a few more pics after sorting thru the wires for a while. It may not look that that much better, but in person it is much cleaned up.


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Old 04-30-2018, 08:15 AM   #3
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I LOVE seeing dash re-do's!!! I need to totally tear mine out and do something with it, its cracked apart from the TX sun.
If you haven't already, check out all the big rig chrome shops for cool dash/interior bits.
https://www.raneystruckparts.com/interior/
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Old 04-30-2018, 08:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfortEagle View Post
So the first step was to demo the current dashboard, battery disconnected of course.

I did my best to label any wires I had to cut or disconnect. I also used electrical tape to tape off the ends of any wires that were not connectd to something. So in other words, every wire (or harness) should have either a label or a piece of electrical tape on it.


There are 20 idiot lights in the plastic housing in the below pic. The I gauges I chose have built-in, programmable warning lights, so I hope to reduce the idiot light count to 6.


Here are a few more pics after sorting thru the wires for a while. It may not look that that much better, but in person it is much cleaned up.


Don't you just love bus spaghetti??
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Old 04-30-2018, 08:24 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Year: 1986
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: Cat 3208/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 2 Humans + 2 Chihuahuas
Next came cleaning up the cockpit area floor including under the dash.

On the right hand side of this pic you can see a floor mounted panel with high beam and air horn switches. I decided to remove this panel and I will relocate the switches. The high beam switch will become a rocker switch on the dash and I plan to rig up a overhead pull down chain (rope?) switch for the air horn.




I cleaned this area and the rest of the floor with degreaser.


Here is what the underneath of that floor panel looked like.


And here it is cleaned up but before prep and paint.
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Old 04-30-2018, 08:47 AM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Posts: 225
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: Cat 3208/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 2 Humans + 2 Chihuahuas
Now on to floor prep and paint. After degreasing I used some POR-15 Metal Prep and a wire brush to deal with the rust. Once that was done and completely cleaned off with several clean rags, I wiped it all down with some acetone, and then painted two coats of POR-15 Rust Preventative Paint.

Here is a pic of the finished product. Most of the work will wind up under flooring, but I will top coat areas that may exposed with some satin black spray paint. POR-15 is fantastic for killing rust forever, but it needs to be top coated if the area will be exposed to light (no UV protection).


I got in and around this stuff as best I could.




Another shot of where the floor mounted switches used to be. Much better flat...
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Old 04-30-2018, 08:52 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
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Year: 1986
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: Cat 3208/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 2 Humans + 2 Chihuahuas
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I LOVE seeing dash re-do's!!! I need to totally tear mine out and do something with it, its cracked apart from the TX sun.
If you haven't already, check out all the big rig chrome shops for cool dash/interior bits.
https://www.raneystruckparts.com/interior/
Thank you for the link. I am starting to think that a new steering wheel may be in order.
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Old 04-30-2018, 11:27 AM   #8
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Love cockpit re-do's. the steering wheel?? nash thats one thing I would save! or find a way to incorporate the 'gillig' logo into the hub of your new wheel if you do swap the wheel.. but the placement they had of various things was definitely not good... cant wait to see this shape up into the new dash!!! you could always go GLASS like im working on for mine!!
-Christopher
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:36 PM   #9
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfortEagle View Post
Thank you for the link. I am starting to think that a new steering wheel may be in order.
I just LOVE semi truck interiors, and yeah a new wheel will REALLY make your skoolie stand out!
Plus- the stock steering wheels are almost always gross and partly destroyed by the time we get them.

I like the jeweled switches, chrome bezels, and all that stuff!
Big Rig Chrome Shop in Iowa are a place I've ordered from and was happy with their selection and prices.

Can't wait to see this bus all finished!!!!
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Old 05-01-2018, 04:46 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Southern Maryland
Posts: 225
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: Cat 3208/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 2 Humans + 2 Chihuahuas
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Love cockpit re-do's. the steering wheel?? nash thats one thing I would save! or find a way to incorporate the 'gillig' logo into the hub of your new wheel if you do swap the wheel.. but the placement they had of various things was definitely not good... cant wait to see this shape up into the new dash!!! you could always go GLASS like im working on for mine!!
-Christopher
The Gillig horn button on my steering wheel is serviceable but somewhat dinged up, and the wheel itself is cracked at each of the three spokes. Maybe the dinged up OE horn button with a new wheel would be a nice combination?

Glass? I do intend to have two 10 inch tablets running Android Auto for pilot entertainment, communications, GPS, back-up camera...

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I just LOVE semi truck interiors, and yeah a new wheel will REALLY make your skoolie stand out!
Plus- the stock steering wheels are almost always gross and partly destroyed by the time we get them.

I like the jeweled switches, chrome bezels, and all that stuff!
Big Rig Chrome Shop in Iowa are a place I've ordered from and was happy with their selection and prices.

Can't wait to see this bus all finished!!!!
"...jeweled switches?" "...Chrome bezels?" "...Big Rig Chrome Shop?" I will be keeping an eye on you (and Cannabus...)

There is definitely some dashboard bling in the works but in a different way.

I ordered a completely new set of custom etched and backlit rocker switches from RockerSwitchPros. These are beautiful switches, however note the spelling of the word "neutral" in the first switch in the middle row. I spelled it correctly when I ordered it. I contacted RSP, and they promptly sent me a corrected switch


It's been about four weeks since I ordered a complete set of new gauges, as in 10 (7 gauges actually, but one of the gauges is a 4in1).

I ordered from SpeedHut. They quote a 4-6 week lead time for custom gauges. The gauges I bought are the Revolution series and can be custom ordered with a lot of really nice options; below are some of the options I chose. Here is the speedometer I selected, build your own; its fun...

Colors: Day - Black dial // White font
Night - Numbers Red Glow
Font Style: Eurostile
Tick Style: Bar
Pointer: Standard Racer Red (Glows Red)
Bezel: Revolution Silver

Here is a mockup I did of the complete set.


Although I am not ready for the gauges yet, I hope they come in soon so can admire them, and hopefully have them inspire me.
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