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  • 1 Post By DanEC

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-01-2017, 10:11 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Santa Rosa Beach (the Emerald Coast), FL
Cobra Make, Engine: ERA; my other toy is a scratch-build McLaren CanAm replicar, with a twin-turbo 800 HP small block Chev
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Default Access to rear of dash

All,

Just re-registered after playing on this site as CanAm Man for 15 years.

I am doing some tweaking on my ERA 427, and want access to the rear of the gauge panel; my fuel gauge reading is inaccurate, and want to check wiring and resistance values. In addition the prior owner/builder was not "electron friendly" and I want do tidy things up a bit. (Yes, I'm anal about details.)

I have scanned the ERA construction manual, but have not been able to "reverse engineer" any info about dash removal in a finished car.

I have three stainless button-head screws visible (left one, above the driver's door hinge, one is the upper center of the dash above the gauges, and the third above the passenger's door hinge); I'm guessing I will have to remove these (and I hope that's all I need to do to access the back of the gauges and wiring). I'm also hampered with the heater/defroster box, and perhaps the steering wheel shaft. Also wondering if there are additional fasteners I will have to contend with........

Anyone have specifics on what must be done and in what order? Thanks....
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Old 08-01-2017, 10:33 AM
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Location: Little Rock area, AR
Cobra Make, Engine: ERA Street Roadster #782 with 459 cu in FE KC engine, toploader, 3.31
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Well, surprisingly at 66 I can still wedge myself in between the seat, the steering wheel, the transmission tunnel and the pedals and deal with a lot of underdash stuff. The trick usually is extracting myself afterwards. If I really need to spend some time under there I pull the seat out which actually makes it fairly comfy lying under there with my stocking feet laying on a towel over the rear deck (I don't have a roll bar.

The screw across the top and sides of the dash panel are primarily what secures it. I thought there were 5 from memory. To pull it out very far or completely, it would be advisable to first pull the steering column out which can be done by the connector in the footwell. Also the tubular braces need to be un-bolted from under the dash and removed and I would remove the seat also. The vent cables should be loosened from the dash panel since they don't have a lot of slack. There's a lot of stuff connected to it so it's best to put a support like a stiff cardboard box on the tunnel to pull the dash to the rear and set it on. On my more recent car the outer two dash screws are actually threaded phillip head bolts and you could get a couple short pieces of all- thread to screw into the body threaded holes to help support the outer ends. You can probably pull the panel out about 4 - 6 inches without much trouble and then you can work over the top and underneath to begin unfastening electrical connections, mechanical gage tubing and speedo/tach cables. The heater should not cause any interference in moving the dash panel out. Most of the wiring harness is feed to a few large connector plugs close to the firewall and they can be unfastened if needed.

If you have a glove box the panels for it on my car do not fasten directly to the dash but they do fit tightly to the dash and some coordination and care when reinstalling may be required to get them in the right place.

Hope this helps some.
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Last edited by DanEC; 08-01-2017 at 10:36 AM..
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Old 08-02-2017, 07:53 AM
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Dan,

Thanks for the detailed reply. Pretty much as I expected, for the work ahead of me....

As soon as I do some stretching exercises, I'll unbolt that seat and give it a try.

P.S....... You are a "youngster" at 66 years. I just turned the big seven-ohhh.... I was entranced by the original Cobras when I watched them race at Bridgehampton on Long Island, NY way back in the mid-60's......
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Old 08-02-2017, 10:31 AM
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I admire anyone who still tackles this stuff as they get older. It's not always easy. I've pulled 3 transmission and replaced two so far this year (still one to go). Got to stay busy or lose it.

By the way - I found some double sided Velcro tape at a Lowes (felt one side, grippers the other) that works well to bundle and tie up wires with, since it can be un-done and adjusted easily. Also a couple pieces of adhesive backed Velcro can be stuck to the firewall or underside of the dash to stick the Velcro wrap against to secure the whole bundle to if needed.

Good luck and a nice looking red ERA.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:40 PM
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Thanks again.....

After my wiring tidy-up, I suspect I will tackle the IRS. I'm running (I suspect) about a 3.71 ratio. Great for acceleration, not so good for highway cruising speeds.

As for "projects for the elderly", my biggest challenge for the remainder of this year is to get my twin-turbo'ed CanAm clone on the road. All the chassis and powertrain is done--and now it's down to the bodywork and (itchy) fiberglass stuff.....
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iluvspeed View Post
All,

... my fuel gauge reading is inaccurate, and want to check wiring and resistance values. ....
Smiths? We've had a couple of recent threads on whether or not the 10v Voltage Stabilizer helps the gauge or not (no definitive answer yet), and my VS has been sitting on a shelf waiting for me to install it for a few years now. My Smiths is reasonably accurate when the car is full to half, but not so much below half full. Bob P. says they're basically never that accurate because of the shape of the tank and the arc of the sender.
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:27 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2017
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Not Smith's here..... the prior owner/builder installed AutoMeter gauges, which I plan on correcting over time.

I've read the forum strings regarding the 10v regulator on the Smiths gauges, but I believe I'm looking at a different fuel gauge issue.

1. Without applied power (12v) my fuel gauge reads zero (no deflection), as it should.

2. When I start and run the car, the gauge needle goes to about 1/4 full, and remains there--regardless of the amount of fuel I actually have in the tank.

3. One of the reasons I want to pull the dash panel (besides to tidy up the wiring) is to put the fuel tank gauge on the test bench, with an adjustable resistor, and check the gauge swing. (That should also confirm the resistance of the gauge, as well as its functionality.)

4. If the gauge responds to the resistance check, then I'm looking at an original wiring error--or a "mismatch" of resistance ranges between the sender and the gauge--or a stuck sender..... In any case, if I get to this point I'm probably looking at emptying and dropping the gas tank to get to the sender. (I doubt if my ERA has an access panel lurking under the carpet in the Cobra's trunk. I'm not looking forward to dropping the tank, if it comes to that.....

5. Since the gauge isn't responsive to ANY change in the fuel level in the tank, I'm kinda thinking I have a bad sender, or one with a stuck/dead float on it.

Of course, I'm open to other "less-onerous" suggestions for fixing this problem. Again, dropping a gas tank is not typically on my "fun things to do" list....... Any ideas out there?

(Not to confuse anyone, but I'm attaching a pic of my "other project" that's waiting in the wings--loosely styled after a McLaren CanAm Mk8, albeit with a twin-turbocharged 800 HP small block Chev in it.)
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