My Cracked Dash Repair - AutoZone Kit

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by CruiserJack, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. CruiserJack

    CruiserJack

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    Well another project got done.

    For those who dont know me, I am trying to make up in cosmetic detailing and repair which I lack in mechanical repair acumen. Therefore, the following is my offering to balance the scales against all of the mechanical advice I have used from fellow mudders. Come on Karma!

    I wanted to write a thread for those looking for options to repair your cracked dash which includes color matching.

    I had a wide crack just above the steering wheel which extended all the way to the windshield and I wanted to repair it, not just fill it. Once repaired I wanted to match the repaired section with a color filler as closely as possible with the dash color.

    Pictures of my vinyl cavern...
    IMAG0011.jpg IMAG0012.jpg
  2. CruiserJack

    CruiserJack

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    I went to my local AutoZone and purchased the following kit. The package brags that it includes a plug-in electric heat iron to make pro-style repairs, 7 color compounds, clear vinyl adhesive and filler (Net .34 Fl. Oz.), grain pattern paper, metal spatula (actually was plastic and looked more like a dress shirt collar stay) and plastic dashboard hardening powder.
    IMAG0033.jpg
  3. CruiserJack

    CruiserJack

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    First thing was to trim the crack with a razor blade so that there is absolutely no curling edges. This will allow the repair to blend in with the rest of the dash (no awkward humps).

    Next I cleaned the area with alcohol. Then I lined the edges of the crack with painter's tape being careful not to expose any of the dash area near the crack. I also extended the width of the tape double just to make sure I didnt get any adhesive on the dash.

    Then I used the "spatula" in the package to fill in the crack. Bad idea. It sucked. I ran to the garage and grabbed my painter's spatula and simply dragged the spatula across the crack with tons of adhesive under the blade so as to fill as I went. If doing this you should work quickly because this stuff dries into gel rather quickly. I found that as I dragged I was also pulling the adhesive out at the other end. ARRGH!:mad:

    Finally I was able to fill the crack somewhat to my satisfaction. These pictures are the result of doing the above "without" lining the edges with tape. The next time I did it I didint take pics but it was a much better result and had no residue outside of the cracks.

    I let it dry overnight, package said 4 hours. When it dries it shrinks a little which will allow room for the color fill.
    IMAG0014.jpg IMAG0015.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  4. CruiserJack

    CruiserJack

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    Next was to mix the color. I used the brown and black colors that were in the package in equal proportions. I couldnt take pictures of this process because the mixture dried so fast that it began turning into sludge/mortar. I had to nuke it in the microwave so it could soften up. I then added the "hardener" as directed and mixed the hard gooey stuff as best I could. It was extremely tough to work with.

    Once filled into the crack, I feathered the edges out to blend with the dash.

    There are different paper texture squares in the package, I chose the one that matched the dash pattern the best, placed it face down on the color-filled crack and used the heat tool from the package to heat-seal the product. It didnt take 30-45 seconds as mentioned in the instructions. It took like 15-20 minutes!
    IMAG0013.jpg
  5. CruiserJack

    CruiserJack

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    As the color fill dries it will adhere to the dash. It is important not to lift the paper prior to the color fill drying so as to not lift the color away from the dash, plus you need to maintain the integrity of the dash pattern. My crack was way long so I had to use the same small square several times, trying not to overlap.

    Below is my finished product. Its not professional quality but It cost less than $20.00 and the crack is sealed but also somewhat matches the dash.

    Hope you enjoy!
    IMAG0031.jpg IMAG0032.jpg
  6. FirstToy

    FirstToy

    Messages:
    4,353
    Location:
    Socal
    looks great, and you prevented it from getting worse
    I bet no one ever notices.

    Maybe wipe some UV protectant over it so the glue doesn't break down (or UV tint the windshield)
  7. Hugh Heifer

    Hugh Heifer Stapler....where's my stapler. ... SILVER Star

    Messages:
    5,781
    Location:
    Makati!
  8. mshelby

    mshelby

    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    South Mississippi
    Another great write up Jack...I was debating on using this or just pulling the dash pad, filling in the crack and painting the whole damn thing.

    Looking forward to the next task your OCD compels you to do. :popcorn:
  9. CruiserJack

    CruiserJack

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    Shouldnt be too much longer. HA!:grinpimp:
  10. elprup87

    elprup87

    Messages:
    399
    Location:
    San Antonio TX
    Curse you!! You keep adding tasks to my lists. Now every time I see my dash crack, I will remember that I too can fix it like this. Wonder how long the patch will last over time.

    Keep em coming man
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  11. CruiserJack

    CruiserJack

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    I am cursed for sure. I am constantly looking around the rig, busying my eyes trying to find the next thing to fix.

  12. Cannon88

    Cannon88 In the duck blind...

    Messages:
    1,454
    Location:
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Clean the garage, then park the cruiser in the garage so no more sun beats down on the dash!

    :D Just giving you some grief. Nice write up and thanks for the info!!!!!
  13. azcromntic

    azcromntic

    Messages:
    465
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I used the same kit on a Chevy Blazer. Ended up turning black and cracking again. I'm no vinyl repair professional so it wasn't a huge surprise to me. Hope yours fairs better!

    I used it on leather seats also. Rubbed off in about a month. After that I just stuck a big piece of cloth beneath the crack in the seat and put in a BUNCH of the rubber cement they give with the kit. Smoothed it out and let it set. It doesn't look the greatest but it has held up for over three years.
  14. arndog123

    arndog123

    Messages:
    3,320
    Location:
    Everett, WA
    Nice job.:clap: If the dash on both my 80's start to crack I'll probably install those dash cover/mat things to cover 'em up.:p:D
  15. CowboyUp

    CowboyUp

    Messages:
    828
    Location:
    Portland,Oregon
    Great Job!
    Buy a 40 TLC and restore :hillbilly:!
    :whoops: is looking like you valet is empty like mine!

    :beer:
  16. hawaiicruz

    hawaiicruz

    Messages:
    935
    Location:
    Big Island Hawaii
    Nice work, thanks for all the great posts
  17. CruiserJack

    CruiserJack

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    Thanks for all the kind words guys.
  18. elprup87

    elprup87

    Messages:
    399
    Location:
    San Antonio TX
    curious as to how the repair held up with our wonderful winter. Any updates?

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