A 23 year old Skoolie often needs common repairs. Things like dashboard lights burn out. And repairing them is always a balance between repairing a problem and causing more damage.
A while back I removed the instrument cluster of our bus to repair blinker indicators and gauge lights. While the main problems were fixed, the repair resulted in MORE things needing to be fixed. We like to call this the Skoolie Two Step.
Plastics get brittle and glues don’t always hold. When you start digging around in an old Skoolie you are more apt to brake more things than you intended to fix. This is why simple repairs can become long drawn out adventures.
When I removed my dash to replace the small Sylvania #74 bulbs that light up the dash, I broke some things. Well, I didn’t brake them, they just fell apart. Specifically the masks for the warning lights on either side of the dash fell off. This caused them to slide down out of place.
Also, one of the two screws on the bottom of the dash would not tighten. The “speed nut” that holds it in place had broken and fallen out. I was able to use a wire-tie to keep the dash in place, temporarily. To be honest, wire-ties hold a lot if things in the bus together.
As usual this repair, of the initial repair required a trip to Lowe’s. We got Super Glue and some speed nuts. I had some #74 bulbs left over which was lucky because I missed a burnt out bulb the last time.
With this repair I totally removed the dash and took the plastic cover off the front. I then spent the evening holding things down while the glue set. The old plastic Masks were a little warped and they needed to be held down until the glue had set. Because of the exposed gauge needles I couldn’t simply lay something heavy on them. So I sat at the kitchen table watching TV holding my fingers down on the face of my dash, like a demented keyboard player trying to play an instrument cluster.
Putting it all back together was its own special form of frustration. There are 3 electrical plugs, 2 specific lights that need to be connected, a oil pressure line and the two air lines. The difficulty increases as you make more connections. With every one you make you have less and less room to work with. Very quickly access to the back of the dash is almost zero.
Skoolie Back Up & Running!
In the end we got everything back in. It all works and is a bit cleaner. All the mounting screws now hold fast and the warning lights iluminate the proper message. I think everything is working now, and if not, I’m getting fairly good at removing the dash, maybe 3 times a charm?