Wrenchin’ Wednesday: Custom-made bezel-removal socket
Sometimes you look at a part and wonder just how in the heck they attached it at the factory. The OEMs have their tricks and teases for assembling things as seamlessly as they could, often times with one-off tools at each step of the way to speed up the assembly process. For many switches in mid-century machines, like headlamps and wipers, the bezels screw onto the switch itself, which protrudes through the dash with a threaded collar. Usually, you can grab these with a slim set of needle-nose pliers, but what if they’re just not doing the trick on a particularly crusty piece?
Today we’ll make a specialty socket out of a trashed 3/4-in 3/8-drive donor socket that matches the diameter of the holes in the bezel. This one had peeling chrome, making it a cut-risk in typical use, but for the occasional bezel, it’ll serve fine.
The notches were marked out before using a cut-off wheel to nibble away at the socket. Slow work here is key, the pegs are small, and the cut-off wheel can remove a relatively massive amount of material in a hurry.
With the positive engagement of the pegs into the bezel’s two slots, more torque can be applied with better precision than trying to needle it open with pliers—and that just might be the difference between an easy extraction and moving on to destructive means.