122 Instrument Panel Indicator Lens Graphics Repair Notes

Feb 2019 Ronald Kwas  (Comments added)

These notes apply also to the 544 model, which of course also used the similar Combination Instrument  


From the factory manual.  Note the Multifunction of the "AMP" Indicator.
See also:  AMP Indicator ON


Graphics on the Indicators Lenses of 122 Volvo combined instrument are often damaged or even missing entirely.  Here are my notes on cause and repair options.


Perfect Graphics!

My info to a question on Instrument Lenses: 

"White lettering and graphics were applied (likely silk-screened) [I wasn't there so don't know for sure] onto the smooth face of the Indicator lenses, with an incompatible ink that did not unite/adhere or interface particularly well with plastic, just sat on top, which is not a problem if not disturbed...but come along every once and a while and wipe, especially with a strong surface cleaner, and eventually the white ink gets rubbed away completely.
Knowing this is half the cure...preventative anyway!...if your [original] graphics are still intact, DO NOT TOUCH THEM!  [...and just clean them extra gently with water only or a highly diluted and weak cleaning solution, and dabbing, not rubbing!],  If on the other hand they are long-gone, about the only way I've found to restore them is to carefully use "
Dry Transfer Lettering" from the graphics [or modeling] trade (recommended makers: Letraset, Chartpak,
Woodland Scenics) and lots of micro-careful work to manually reconstruct them. This work is not for everybody, and even harder when the lenses are in place on an Instrument Cluster. [...behind Steering Wheel and not a flat horizontal surface!]  If they are removed as yours appear to be, and you can work on them on a well-lit table with magnifying glass, that would be MUCH simpler...so would be a VERY steady hand (no smokers need apply...sorry!), so this work is again not for everybody... Cheers"  [After restoration of the graphics with DTL, a dusting of matt spray lacquer can be applied, and the extra gentle cleaning of course still applies!]


Letraset, Chartpak, Woodland Scenics are makers of DTL, and possible suppliers:

MG 738 by Woodland Scenics. 

When using the Dry Transfer Lettering to touch up the Lens Graphics, the Letters may work out directly, but graphics need to be very carefully spliced together from pieces of letters or lines or graphics.  This takes patience, and an extremely calm hand. 




Typical appearance after a few decades of cleaning with aggressive surface cleaners,
combined with (probably overly) aggressive scrubbing. 


Graphics Transfer



REFERENCE INFORMATION:  Until I can show some in-progress pictures, with the actual Volvo Indicators, the reader can have a look at the linked video about the use of DTLs.


Video showing Letraset DTL in use (but also demonstrating poor burnishing technique, which results failure to transfer completely...this is one of the, of not the biggest failure modes of using DTL):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed6iXQW_O1U

My comments to video:

...reason for failure to transfer completely at 1:16 was caused by incomplete burnishing with that skinny ball point pen! This would not happen if the D had been COMPLETELY burnished, and that would be much simpler with a better, wider tipped tool...I guess if this is supposed to be a "tutorial" it maybe isn't a bad thing to show the most common reason of failure of dtl...but they should have pointed it out, and shown how to do it correctly. There are still applications for dtl...for instance: How else do you add a label to the flat face of an indicator?...can't do that by printing it from a computer!  Cheers

After transferring from the "carrier sheet", the letter or graphic is still fairly vulnerable to damage by for instance when working on the next letter, or neighboring area. Burnishing under the "protection sheet" after transferring, more securely sets or unites transfer to the new surface making it a lot more permanent, and significantly reducing this vulnerability. 


An better suggestion for a burnishing tool for DTL might be a round tipped touch-screen stylus. 


This information is Copyright © 2019.  Ronald Kwas.   The terms Volvo, Letraset, Chartpak, and Woodland Scenics are used for reference only.  I have no affiliation with any of these companies, other than to use and try to keep their products working for me, help other enthusiasts do the same, and also present my highly opinionated results of the use of their products here.  The information presented comes from my own experience and carefully considered opinion, and can be used (or not!), or ridiculed and laughed at, or worshipped, at the readers discretion.  As with any recipe, your results may vary, and you are, and will always be, in charge of your own knuckles and future!


You are welcome to use the information here in good health, and for your own non-commercial purposes, but if you reprint or otherwise republish this article, you must give credit to the author or link back to the SwEm site as the source.  If you donít, youíre just a lazy, scum sucking plagiarist, and the Boston Globe wants you!  As always, if you can supply corrections, or additional objective information or experience, I will always consider it, and consider working it into the next revision of this article...along with likely the odd metaphor, or analogy (see:  ABS!) and probably wise-a** comment. 


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