by Walt Thurn
(Taken from How to Restore Your C3 Corvette: 1968-1982 by Walt Thurn)
1. Install Instrument Cluster
The instrument cluster that includes the tachometer and speedometer is installed onto the driver-side dash panel first. Next plug in the bulbs, wires, and tach, and attach the speedometer cables.
Secure the dash panel into the instrument panel frame; it’s much easier to complete this procedure with the steering column removed. All of the wires should be in place before the dash panel is installed. Use a Phillips screwdriver to install the two screws that hold the driver-side panel in place, which is near the steering column.
2. Connect Instrument Console Wires
Plug in the color-coded center console instrument cluster wires (your previous tagging should make this task straightforward). Once the power connectors are plugged into the cluster install the unit into the center opening of the dash.
This is a good time to install the radio because you can reach behind it and hook up the power and antenna connections. The dash pad with the two factory speakers is seen in the foreground of the photo.
3. Install Dash Pad
Once the center cluster is secured, lock the top dash pad into place against the windshield. The top dash is held in place with a bolt that is attached underneath the pad to a bracket on the passenger’s side. Use a 5/16-inch socket to tighten it. Steel clips and screws hold this panel in place. Finally, the right side of the dash with the map pockets is installed and screwed into place.
4. Inspect Finished Dash Pad
The completed dash should look like this. The non-factory radio sticks out from the dash, but offers the owner a larger choice of entertainment options.