I thought I'd start a new thread on restoring the dash panel on my CJ back to its original glamor with some minor upgrades if you can call it that.
Along with the front grill of the CJ's, I think the OEM dash panel with the original gauges is one of the features that sets the Jeep CJ apart from all other Jeeps past and present. There is nothing like them anywhere or being built that way anymore and I often get asked "is that an original dash?". People are generally in awe when they see a CJ dash in its original form and function. Can't believe you must pull knobs for heat and ventilation, look all the way over to the middle of the dash to see the speedometer and has a radio with push buttons to change stations.
I started to restore my dash after it came back from the paint shop but decided today to take it back apart and start over so I could take pictures and post them as I go along. So, without further ado, here we go....
To start, here's what the dash looked like before the Jeep headed to the basement work shop for complete restoration. It's original except I removed the black plastic overlay that came with it some years back. The Renegade and Laredo models had the plastic overlay as part of the option but you could have ordered it with the convenience group option.
The steering wheel is from a 1979 model Jeep only because I just like it better then the one that came with it in 1984 and will be installing the same one again.
Mine looks much the same, I also removed my black plastic overlay but kept the original ash tray above the volt and oil pressure gauges. I much prefer the look of the original CJ knobs instead of the billet or stainless knobs.
So now we have are factory base panel to start, outfitted with the optional Tach and Clock cutouts.
First thing I did was chase the threads on the speedometer and speaker studs with a die in order to remove the paint because we need bare metal for electrical grounding. The thread size for the speedometer studs are 10-24 and the speaker studs are 8-32.
Interesting that yours came with a factory tach and clock. I have an 84 Renegade as well that came with neither. I'm assuming it was an extra option? Like you mentioned the "convenience group option"?
Something like that as they only came standard on the Laredo model. As far as the horn button goes, that's the standard one for 1984 Jeep Cherokee. I know that because I bought it from the dealer in 1986 to replace the one that came with the original sport steering wheel. It kind of commemorates Jeeps new 1984 Cherokee like Chrysler did with their Caravan minivan.
Next we added factory type 5-1/4" speakers that are original TJ speakers out of the factory sound bar they have. I used them since the cones to do not protrude beyond the speaker mounting surface like most of the aftermarket ones do. There heavy and are made of good quality construction too. Only cost me $10.00 for the pair at the local junkyard and I got the wiring harness plugs also. Got a spare set so when these rot in 10-15 years and just need to take them out and replace them.
The speakers are usually held in place with Flanged Speed Nuts but I changed mine to Brass Knurled Thumb Nuts because they are easier to remove and not as awkward to get at as the factory Flanged Speed Nuts. The reason AMC/Jeep used speed nuts is so that you do not accidentally over tighten the nuts and pull the stud off the dash panel. That would suck and is another reason to use thumb nuts instead.
You can get Thumb Nuts from your local hardware store or from McMaster-Carr.com.
Here's a picture of the front with the speaker installed behind the screen. Nice that you can't see the ugly speaker cone behind it.