1966 Barracuda

Instrument Panel Removal and Disassembly

DISCONNECT THE BATTERY before attempting to remove the instrument panel! There is a direct connection from the battery positive terminal to the terminal on the back of the Ammeter. This Ammeter terminal could easily contact the metal of the dash during removal and the resulting short could burn up you wiring harness!

Instrument panel removed from dash.
The steering column MUST be lowered to provide clearance for instrument panel removal. The column is held up by a bracket just ender the dash with bolts on each side of the column. The floor opening cover plates need to be loosened. I've forgottern whether both need to be loose or whether just one. You'll just have to try it.
(2)The speedometer cable has to be disconnected. Reach up under the dash to do it; it's a hard reach. Remove the key switch by unscrewing the trim ring on the face of the instrument panel. Then remove the knob from the Heater/AC panel. My '66 had factory air and the knob on the temperature control slide lever has to be removed. It is held on with a small Allen-head screw. (5)The Heater - A/C control bezel can then be removed.
When the panel is out as for as is shown in the photo, (1) the cable connector can be disconnected from behind the gas gauge and the (3) cable connector behind the oil pressure guage can be disconnected. Disconnect the vacuum tubing from the back of the inlet manifold pressure gauge. Then disconnect the RED and BLACK wires from (4) the ammeter terminals.

Ammeter Wires
This photo shows the ammeter wires with their identification numbers from the electrical schematic. A1 (red) connects to various things along the way, but it has a direct connection to the battery positive terminal. R6A (black) goes through a few connections, but has a direct electrical connection to the output terminal on the alternator (see Alternator Wiring) The plastic block with holes beside the ammeter wires is the connector for the Oil Pressure gauge. The key switch is beside the ash tray and the end of the speedometer cable is visible on the left. The bolt under the dash below the radio knob is one of the bolts that holds the A/C outlet air distribution vent to the bottom of the dash. I guess I removed it to get better access to the steering column support bracket.

Power, Gas, Temperature Connector
This photo shows a closer view of the cable connector that connects to the back of the panel at the gas gauge and also the end of the speedometer cable.

Key Switch and Manifold Vacuum Line
This photo shows the manifold vacuum line and the key switch. Not much to see here.

Speedometer Cable
If you have a problem with a jumping speedometer needle, try lubricating the speedometer cable first if it seems to need it. Then see if that fixed the speedometer problem. I've removed my instrument panel two times in 44 years to oil the speedometer bushing. The first time the bushing got dry, the speedometer needle jumped so much that it broke in two. I was able to glue the two pieces together and it still works OK. I had that problem again, and the cable lube seemed OK. I needed to replace some of the light bulbs so that's why I pulled the panel.

Temperature and Gas Gauges
The Temperature and Gas gauges are on the left side of the speedometer.

The speedometer is just to the left of the steering column. The Barracuda has a trip indicator that is reset by turning the knob at the lower left. Although the reflections make it hard to read, the odometer says 66006. That's 166,006 actual miles.

Vacuum Gauge
The "PERFORMANCE INDICATOR" measures inlet manifold vacuum and is an indication of how wide open the throttle is. The numbers represent inches of mercury vacuum. Normal atmospheric pressure is about 29.9 inches of mercury, so minus 29.9 would be a hard vacuum. This gauge is marked to minus 25 inches of mercury. I usually see the needle between 15 and 20 for most driving, but 5 to 10 for acceleration. The hole for the key switch is at the lower right and the red high beam indicator light is at upper right. The high beam indicator is centered above the steering column. There are no turn signal indicators on this instrument panel. The turn indicators are mounted on the front finders.

Oil Pressure Gauge and Ammeter
The Oil pressure gauge and the ammeter are to the right of the manifold vacuum gauge.

Oil Pressure Gauge and Ammeter
The Oil Pressure gauge and the Ammeter with the bezel removed.

The ammeter consists of a bar of copper with the battery connected to one end and the alternator output power connected to the other. A coil of wire connected to the ammeter needle responds to current flowing through the bar and moves the needle toward "Charge" or "Discharge" depending on which way the current flows. Most of the electrical load for the car - ignition, lights, radio, etc. are connected to the alternator side of the ammeter - when the battery is supplying power for those items, the currents flows from the Red wire to the Black wire and the ammeter indicates "discharge." When the alternate is producing a higher voltage than the battery voltage, the current flows from the Black wire to the Red wire and the ammeter indicates "charge." When the battery voltage equals and balances the alternator output voltage, no current flows through the ammeter and it is centered. The power from the alternator goes to all those power loads that tie into the Black wire.

Printed Circuit Board behind gas and temperature gauges.
The printed circuit board behind the temperature and gas gauges that provides connections to them.

Phillips-head screws connect the metal instrument panel housing to the plastic bezel. But look at the last photo to see how the metal instrument panel housing, the speedometer, and the bezel are disconnected from each other at the speedometer location.

Printed circuit behind Oil Pressure Gauge
This is the printed circuit board on the other side of the panel. There are three pin connections here. One pin brings power for the panel lights. Another has instrument power from the instrument power regulator in the gas gauge and the third connects to the oil pressure sending unit. The two terminals below and left are the connections for the ammeter. If the ammeter wires are crossed the ammeter will read backwards. That's why the terminal for the red wire is labeled "RED." Ground for the panel lights is made through the printed circuit board mounting screws.

Panel Light Bulb
If the bulbs need to be replaced, partially remove the panel as in the first photo. REMEMBER TO DISCONNECT THE BATTERY! I replaced all the bulbs while the panel was out. The same bulb is used for the license plate light on the 1998 Chrysler Town & Country mini-van as well as other outside indicator lights. Actually, the one I'm holding is the high beam indicator light.

Back of Intake Manifold Vacuum Gauge
The vacuum gauge looks like a pretty solid mechanical unit. I'll bet it was costly.

Speedometer Bushing Oil Hole
I removed the oil cup with the point of a knife blade (of couse I replaced it). At first I thought that the cup was actually a plug, however, the cup has a tiny triangular hole punched in the bottom, but only two edges of the triangle are cut through. The piece is pushed through the hole to form a small spike similar one of the cheap thumbtacks I used as a youth. Anyway, the little triangular point pokes into the felt wick to help oil flow from the cup into the wick. By removing the cup I was able to apply oil more quickly. I let the oil soak into the wick and on into the bushing and periodically I turned the speedometer to see how well the oil was moving into the bushing. I didn't want to over oil it.

Speedometer Mechanism
This photo shows the gear train that drives the odometer. The trip meter reset knob doesn't come out of the instrument panel bezel. To separate the metal panel housing from the plastic bezel and remove the speedometer, first unscrew the speedometer mounting screws and then all the Phillips-head screws holding the metal housing and bezel together. The speedometer will stay with the bezel, but it isn't fastened solidly so be careful with it. To remove the speedometer from the bezel, the reset knob has to come loose from the brackets on the side of the speedometer. A small "C" clip hold it there. You can see the gear on the reset knob and the gear on the end of the trip indicator shaft. Those gears have to mesh when it is reassembled. The reset knob has little black bushings that fit into the tabs on the speedometer above and below the trip indicator gear. Just be sure to notice what it looks like before you take it apart.

PAGE ONE - This page gives some details about the Barracuda and its history. There are photos of all sides of the car,photos of the short block in the car and the empty engine compartment, and shots of the greasy engine as it was pulled out. There is a photo of wreck damage to the left front fender. There are photos of the heads that have been in storage for 20 years after they were rebuilt. There is a photo comparing the original carburetor that was destroyed in storage and a NOS carburetor that someone gave me. There are photos of the automatic transmission and the gas tank. Links to other web articles are located on Page One
PAGE TWO - Page two has more detailed photos of the exterior and interior of the car. The pinstripes are shown and the dash and instrument panel. Front bucket seats and folding back seat and trunk panel. Photos of grille sections and taillight.
PAGE THREE - This pages has photos of the engine rebuilding work in progress at Cookie's Auto Machine Shop. It shows the bare short block, piston installation, and Cookie at work.
PAGE FOUR - Page four has 14 images showing the completed engine after it was painted and then after the exhaust manifolds, pulleys, fan, brackets, distributor, coil, and such had been re-installed. It seemed to be easier to install all those things before putting the engine in the car. My only concern is fitting the left manifold around the steering column while dropping the engine in.
PAGE FIVE - Page five has photos and comments of the engine re-installation. I demonstrate that I can carry the transmission (without the torque converter). There are a couple of photos of the clean engine compartment before the engine was installed and then a couple more of the engine after it was installed. I photographed the antifreeze warning and battery charge warning decals on the radiator support panel.
PAGE SIX - Page six has a photo of the Barracuda parked out in the driveway on the first day of spring 2004 and closeups of the carburetor as it is installed and the engine compartment with the engine in running configuration. It has been driven about 15 miles since the overhaul. There is a photo of the bottom of the car and of the left rear axle and brake parts with the wheel and brake drum removed.
BRAKES - Photos of complete rebuild of front drum brakes including removal of backing plate and regreasing bearings. Photos of back brakes and bearing plus back brake hose.
Alternator Wiring - Photos showing every connection from battery to alternator power output terminal and wiring through the voltage regulator to the field connection on the alternator. The wire I.D. numbers for the shop are given along with wire gauge and wire insulation color.
Instrument Panel Removal and Disassembly - This page shows photos of the instrument panel partially removed from the dash and the various connections that are made there. It also has detailed photos of the instruments and the printed circuit boards on the back and details of the speedometer mechanism.
A-Body Gas Cap Replacement - Photos of combining an old replacement cap and a new Stant 11811 cap to make a usable replacement for the original.
Original 66 Barracuda Radiator Photos - Photos of my original radiator.
1966 Barracuda Owners Manual - Selected pages from my owners manual.

Skipper Family Magazine

E-mail me: jamesmskipper1141@att.net

Posted: 6/4/09