Bob's 73 Convertible Avocado Interior Project

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Joined
May 30, 2018
Messages
80
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83
Location
Stevensville, MI
My Car
73 Convertible Q code, Auto C6 trans
Just posted my Intro, and now jumping into starting/sharing my project to upgrade the interior of my 73 convertible. Of course it's NOT a black interior, that would be too simple. It's Avocado, and I plan to keep it as true to color as I can. So let the challenges begin...

I'm starting with a perfectly fine, daily driver interior that's 50+ years old, but several things have accumulated that no longer work right or at all. This past summer, my heater core ruptured so I bypassed it to keep enjoying it before winter. Related, the A/C system stopped working more than 20 years ago, long before I got this car. So I knew I had to either rebuild the Heater Box & restore the A/C & heater system or replace it all together with a Classic Air type system. I still haven't decided which way to go on that yet, and certainly open to experiences/thoughts on that.

Another issue that's not been right since I've had the car is a parasitic drain on the battery. I've not been able to find it after many, many attempts. But I did find that my fuse box has a broken corner and only a 15amp fuse holds it together.

So with these two issues, that require major under the dash work to gain access to remove, I decided to bite the bullet and go all in and just remove the dash panel and address all of the accumulating issues in the interior. These are mainly the following that I'll be thrilled to have finally fixed:

Console Clock - has never worked
Cigarette Lighter - socket has never worked
Dash Lights - extremely dim & severeal burned out
Gauges - Amp, oil, & Temp don't seem to work (oil is always hi, temp is always low, & Amps don't ever change)
Radio - Rough is all I can say, but hey, it's a convertible so sound quality has lower standards I suppose
Steering column - Tilt & ignition key doesn't move smoothly. Turn signals don't turn off after the turn & still has excessive steering play after all new front end parts
Horn - works but if you're hard of hearing you'd never hear it
Floor shifter - moves around loosely and backup lights have never worked
Emergency Parking Light - severly broken, non-functional and won't stay in the dash. Looks okay if parked from a distance though.

As of this moment, I have removed the dash panel, heater box and am sorting through the pieces to clean up & identify parts I want to replace. I have sent off my clock & gauges to Rocketman to take advantage of his skills and great reputation but I'm a long way from reinstalling once he's done. My harness is ready to send to Midlife once he's ready for it, but again, I have much to do in the meantime.

My introduction post shows what the interior looked like before I started, but here's where it is today.

I do have an inital question regarding sound absorbers on the interior. The underdash insulation was an absolute wreck so I pulled it down. Hopefully that wasn't an early mistake. So a question for others that have been before me, what did you do with this? I'm thinking that it's probably okay to just to leave it out but don't really know. Haven't ever seen any reproductions the Cowl Top Panel Sound Absorber. I've seen the firewall sound deadeners, but this for above that. Also, on the kick panels, the Right side as an insulation bat, that I can probably reuse. But the Left side has nothing and it doesn't look like it ever had insulation. The Factory Assembly manual clearly shows it should have. Again, is this something others have tried to put in place or felt it was unnecessary??

Thanks for reading/looking...
 

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I replaced my factory insulation up there with X-mat and painted the aluminum backing with black epoxy primer so you wouldn't see it if you looked up under the dash. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures before I installed the heater box, but you can see in the pictures. I continued the X-mat down the firewall and then I then added the factory firewall insulation pad over the sound deadener on the firewall before I installed the heater box. I applied the same sound deadener to the floor, wheel wells and the headliner X-mat to the roof after the dash was reinstalled. I also sprayed boom mat on the insides of the doors and quarters outer sheet metal. I probably over-killed as I tend to do, but I like to make my cars as quiet and insulated from noise/heat as I can.
 

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That’s a really great idea. Thanks for this and your great pictures. I wouldn’t have thought of using that but that’ll be perfect especially with the black paint.
My firewall insulation looks to be in really good shape, at least what I’ve seen so far. So I’m hoping to not have to replace that too but we’ll see. I still haven’t removed the steering column yet?

Another question about your beautiful work, did you end up doing anything with the very light surface rust supporting your column? Mine looks exactly like yours in your picture.

Thanks again for your help!
Bob
 
I was going to refinish it, but I thought that's how Ford intended it to be. It had been bare metal for 50 years when I took it out of the car, and it held up pretty well, so I left it bare metal.
 
Just posted my Intro, and now jumping into starting/sharing my project to upgrade the interior of my 73 convertible. Of course it's NOT a black interior, that would be too simple. It's Avocado, and I plan to keep it as true to color as I can. So let the challenges begin...

I'm starting with a perfectly fine, daily driver interior that's 50+ years old, but several things have accumulated that no longer work right or at all. This past summer, my heater core ruptured so I bypassed it to keep enjoying it before winter. Related, the A/C system stopped working more than 20 years ago, long before I got this car. So I knew I had to either rebuild the Heater Box & restore the A/C & heater system or replace it all together with a Classic Air type system. I still haven't decided which way to go on that yet, and certainly open to experiences/thoughts on that.

Another issue that's not been right since I've had the car is a parasitic drain on the battery. I've not been able to find it after many, many attempts. But I did find that my fuse box has a broken corner and only a 15amp fuse holds it together.

So with these two issues, that require major under the dash work to gain access to remove, I decided to bite the bullet and go all in and just remove the dash panel and address all of the accumulating issues in the interior. These are mainly the following that I'll be thrilled to have finally fixed:

Console Clock - has never worked
Cigarette Lighter - socket has never worked
Dash Lights - extremely dim & severeal burned out
Gauges - Amp, oil, & Temp don't seem to work (oil is always hi, temp is always low, & Amps don't ever change)
Radio - Rough is all I can say, but hey, it's a convertible so sound quality has lower standards I suppose
Steering column - Tilt & ignition key doesn't move smoothly. Turn signals don't turn off after the turn & still has excessive steering play after all new front end parts
Horn - works but if you're hard of hearing you'd never hear it
Floor shifter - moves around loosely and backup lights have never worked
Emergency Parking Light - severly broken, non-functional and won't stay in the dash. Looks okay if parked from a distance though.

As of this moment, I have removed the dash panel, heater box and am sorting through the pieces to clean up & identify parts I want to replace. I have sent off my clock & gauges to Rocketman to take advantage of his skills and great reputation but I'm a long way from reinstalling once he's done. My harness is ready to send to Midlife once he's ready for it, but again, I have much to do in the meantime.

My introduction post shows what the interior looked like before I started, but here's where it is today.

I do have an inital question regarding sound absorbers on the interior. The underdash insulation was an absolute wreck so I pulled it down. Hopefully that wasn't an early mistake. So a question for others that have been before me, what did you do with this? I'm thinking that it's probably okay to just to leave it out but don't really know. Haven't ever seen any reproductions the Cowl Top Panel Sound Absorber. I've seen the firewall sound deadeners, but this for above that. Also, on the kick panels, the Right side as an insulation bat, that I can probably reuse. But the Left side has nothing and it doesn't look like it ever had insulation. The Factory Assembly manual clearly shows it should have. Again, is this something others have tried to put in place or felt it was unnecessary??

Thanks for reading/looking...
I could never get my clock to work properly either, it has a strange point like shorting system to wind it. What I did was take battery operated clock apart and used the movement from that. The seconds, minutes and hour hands fit the new movement, not sure if that was luck or not. It has the stock look and I get about a year out of a AA battery. Just be careful, the hands are super dainty. As far as your turn signals, I could not find a good replacement back then, so I took a soldering iron and re-melted the "little arms" back in place. Been that way for a decade now. The shifter has plastic/teflon bushing in it, mine was the same sloppy way so I turned a piece of brass down on the lathe that fits snug. I think you can buy that bushing though. I actually took one of my horns apart and cleaned the rust off the wafers, you will have to screw it back together though and won't have that concours look. Your AMP gauge will never work. Ford went to a shunt style gauge after 67...? Meaning the gauge reads a section of the charging wire in a parallel circuit.
 
Bob - for that panel behind the dash, I used a spray on rust removal gel. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and then cleaned it all off. The rust came off nicely. I put a bit of clear on it after that and it has held up well. My convertible is an avocado interior too so I feel your pain. I ended up dyeing a black dash pad for mine and it came out pretty decent.
 

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Okay, it's been about a month now since I've started this Interior project to fix the worn down interior and several items that were no longer working right. They are listed at the top of this thread. But the biggest reason I decided to bite the bullet and fix these issues, is because my heater core ruptured this summer & needed fixed. So "while I'm at that..." I should go ahead and fix the A/C that's also not worked in the 20+ years I've had this car. I had to make the first decision to either "restore/refurbish" my factory air, or purchase a new Classic Auto Air system and "replace" the whole thing.

After much back and forth on which way to go, I decided finally to just go with the new CAA HVAC system. My first principle in owning this car has been to maintain it's originality and this decision was hard & the first one I've made that really goes against that principle. Time will tell if I made a good or bad move to replace vs restore. In any case, my new Classic Auto Air System arrived this past weekend. So now my interior project knows which direction to take and has morphed into an "Engine Bay & Interior Project"

The car's interior is now fully dismantled with the exception of the steering column. I may still remove the steering column to fix several of its issues but honestly with everything else I've got torn out/up I'm getting a little intimidated adding this challenge too.

The front end of car is opened up now for the first time in 50+ years, and finding a lot of opportunities to fix & improve things that are also overwhelming at this point. The grille, radiator, a/c condenser, fan/shroud, a/c compressor, power steering pump, & alternator are all out. With all this opened up I'm now cleaning everything up to eventually paint & refresh.

Here are pictures where the interior and engine bay are now. Also, included is a picture of the Classic Auto Air packaging and the heater box.
 

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My New Carpet has arrived. I'm a long ways from installing, but it was a fun item to get early to help me visualise the end result. Here's a picture of the original avocado carpet next to this new replacement color carpet. This is Auto Custom Carpet (ACC), but I ordered it through Factory Interiors in Saint Louis. The Factory Interiors website has a feature where you can select carpet samples for them to send to you. It's kind of hard to find, but at the bottom of their website, in the "About Us" section they have a sample request link. I was happy to stumble on this because the website only shows 7 colors available for our cars and none of those appealed to me.

https://www.factoryinteriors.com/material-sample-request/

I ordered 4 different carpet samples of various shades of green. I ended up selecting this "Moss Green" and it's their #14 Loop carpet. They said they'd have to special order it, and have it made, so I was thinking okay this will be awhile. Well, it only took a week...unbelievable. It's not a perfect match but I think it's going to be a huge improvement whenever I get it installed.
 

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Bob - for that panel behind the dash, I used a spray on rust removal gel. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and then cleaned it all off. The rust came off nicely. I put a bit of clear on it after that and it has held up well. My convertible is an avocado interior too so I feel your pain. I ended up dyeing a black dash pad for mine and it came out pretty decent.
Thanks Steve...Actually, your "73 H Code Convertible Project" thread is one I've followed closely. I did get the same Dye you used, thanks to your post, and plan to follow your vinyl cleaning and painting steps for my Dash Pad, Console Lid and Steering wheel. Until your post, I thought it would be next to impossible to get the original color with anything that might hold up.
 
Today I made a simple open loop system to flush and clean the engine coolant passages in preparation for installing the new Classic Auto Air (CAA) system. I wanted to make the existing system as clean as possible as a starting point. Just one problem, I can't run the engine because of the other interior work I've started. So I've been thinking over the past couple of days how to solve this and came up with an inexpensive system to clean the engine block internals that I think was pretty effective today.

Using the upper and lower radiator hoses to access the engine block, I purchased two 1-1/4-in x 3/4-in Schedule 40 PVC Reducing Bushings from the box store plumbing section. I also picked up two 3/4-in Galvanised threaded Nipples. The bushing fits into the radiator hose with a little dawn soap to help it slide on. The galvanised nipples are threaded into the the bushing.

I used these nipples to connect two garden hoses to initially flush out the engine block passages. One hose from my faucet and the other hose as drain so I didn't drown in my garage. As I flushed the engine, I used a 5-gallon white bucket to watch the water clear up.

Now to add the Radiator Flush chemicals, I made up a little drill driven transfer pump that I purchased at Harbor Freight for $18. The instructions for the pump said to mount it on a board and attach it to your drill. That was a great idea for stability because my board mounted pump set on top of the 5-gal bucket nicely. To manage the leaks, I bought 4 feet of 1-1/4 in clear Tygon hose to slip over both galvanised nipples on the radiator hoses. These worked well even with out using clamps. I wanted to also be able to see any debris/impurities during the cleaning.

For the discharge of the transfer pump I used a 3/4" PVC Female threaded Adaptor and placed 3 garden hose washers in it and tightened it up to the pump. Then I used a heat gun on the tygon hose coming from the upper radiator hose and slipped it over the outside of the 3/4" adaptor and clamped it. This was also leak free.

The only other part I used was an old Washing Machine water supply hose, but you could use any short hose to thread on the pump suction. The other end of the hose is just to the bottom of the 5-gal bucket. The lower radiator hose tygon hose is also directed to the bucket.

I added about 2-1/2 to 3 gallons of Hot water to the bucket and then started the pump to begin circulating the fluid. Once satisfied with no leaks, I added two bottles of Radiator Flush to the bucket. The instructions said that one bottle was good for systems up to 3-gals. If your cooling system is bigger to use a second bottle. So I put two in, especially since I didn't have the engine heat to help in the circulation. I then ran the drill for a little over 4 hours.

Lastly, I disconnected the pump system and reattached the garden hoses to the radiator hoses threaded nipples and flushed out the chemicals.
I also meant to mention that I removed the thermostat before doing any flushing to improve the amount of circulation. Easy to get a $4 gasket from the local auto parts store. One thing though, I had forgotten to tighten up the hose clamp on the thermostat housing and that caused some leakage at the distributor shaft pocket next to the thermostat when I started flushing.

Here's some pictures if anyone is interested. In all three phases, Initial Flush, chemical cleaning, and final flushing I had evidence that contaminates were being removed so I think it was worth the effort.
 

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I'm overdue for providing an update. Mostly still discovering "issues" so my project scope is still expanding...go figure, and cleaning Zebart rust protection from as many places as I can get to in preparation for painting. Also many parts/components are coming in/back to address my "bucket list" of issues that I listed in my starting post above.

I've gotten my Console Clock & Gauges back from RocketMan and they look great. He converted my Amp Meter to Volts. Also got the Headlight & Horns relay systems from Bob to address those weak links.

MidLife has replaced my broken Fuse Block and tested/repaired all my interior wiring harnesses. It looks amazing.

All new LED replacement bulbs for essentially the entire car have arrived from Bill at HiPo Garage. I didn't even think about getting them from another source given all the positive comments on this forum about their experiences.

My Radiator is back from the Radiator shop and great news it was still good. It's been Flushed, cleaned, Tested and painted. With my new Classic Auto Air system going in, I'm trying to make the cooling system as clean as possible to start off with.

Just checked with the Body Shop on the Dash Panel & Console painting and not yet ready, which is okay.

Two new added scope items still to address are: 1-water pump is bad & needs replaced, and 2-found the 14ga Fusible Link wire on the engine harness that connects to the starter solenoid severely burned. Not to repeat, but got great help from this forum on that issue and if you're interested here's a link to that saga. Turns out that my Starter Solenoid & Junction Block were wired incorrectly where the Alternator & Engine harnesses tie together.

https://7173mustangs.com/threads/any-ideas-what-this-electrical-item-is-might-be-for.44797/

So overall, making progress just slower than I'd like given the beautiful weather. Not looking so good with other priorities getting it on this road this summer but maybe...we'll see.

Here's some pictures of what it looks like today
 

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