New life for an old dash pad

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Dec 30, 2010
Ferndale, WA
I'm hoping these pics and writeup help others; I read a bunch of threads in other forums, and combined some of the techniques. I am an amateur at this stuff, so feedback is appreciated.

While waiting to get up the gumption (and $) to tear into the body, I have been doing little engine compartment and interior projects.

I pulled the carpet "dash cover" off of the dash pad the other day, and realized that my dash pad was worse than I had originally thought. I seriously considered burning it, but then looked at the price of a replacement core or dash cap, and decided to try and repair mine.

First thing I did was to cut out the bad foam and vinyl and then sand down the raised vinyl.

Next I used expansion foam (like Great Stuff for the house) to fill in the majority of the voids. Once that foam had cured, I shaved it and sanded it. I still had some large voids, so I refilled those and some other small cracks.

I was worried about the structural integrity of the pad, so I decided to fiberglass the top. Sanded the whole thing, cleaned, then sprayed adhesion promoter on everything. I ended up applying one layer of mesh and two coats of resin, with sanding between resin coats.

Once the resin dried, I shot a light coat of primer on the dash so I could see where my pin holes and dips were (there were quite few). Sanded the primer a bit and then added Bondo.

I was a little apprehensive about how the body filler would stick, but it really took hold. Sanded the first application, then added another layer to fill in any lowish spots.

Once I had sanded, cleaned, and sprayed more adhesion promoter, I sprayed rubberized undercoating on the dash pad. It won't match the rest of the vinyl texture, but it won't be too bad either IMO.

After the undercoating had cured, I topped the pad with a satin black plastic/vinyl appropriate paint. Overall, much better than what it was, and it seems fairly strong too. The real test will be when I put back in .........





Timely post, I happen to be working on mine now.

I’m taking a slightly different approach to fill the voids but the outcome should be the same.

Your dash looks great!
Remind me, what year dash pad are you working on?[/QUOTE]
Thanks Pablo. It's a '76. I haven't put pics up yet cause I've just been dinking around with little stuff so far.
Thanks J Mack and xtiaan2000!

Yeah J Mack,
I was thinking of using polyurethane rods or the fiber fill ones, but I had the foam at home, and I am a bit impatient at times. Had I done that, I would have used the padded dash filler from Urethane Supply Company as well.
Man! What a great job. I've got a 71 dash from the parts pig, wouldn't mind trying that. You made it look easy.
Another thought process on doing the crack and fill repair. Didnt turn out the greatest because i got in a hurry and stopped sanding too soon and left high spots. None the less, it works. Not sure if i'll go exactly the same route this next time, might try a differnt material to fill the void.

(Link has my tutorial, and was done on a BMW E30 dash)
BTW, ferntucky. Turned out great! Love seeing this type of stuff!
Hey Ron,
It wasn't too hard, actually. Based on your build thread, I imagine repairing your dash would not be a problem for you. The rubberized undercoating means that your bringup doesn't have to be perfect ;) You may want to see if J Mack will discuss his repair tactics too.

Funny enough I read your repair thread before I got to work on mine. I did not know it had been written by a 55 guy...... Cool! I went for the foam because of the width and depth of the cracks on my dash. The SEM texture and paint seem like good products.
Repair tactics as requested, first picture shows my two piece dash that was almost a three piece dash anyway I set out to just glue it back together as I already have a plastic dash cap, if you look close at the side part you can see the ¼” rod I used to stiffen up the repair. Second picture shows that I decided to fill the cracks while I was gluing the major sections, I sanded everything with an orbital and 50 grit prior to gluing. Third and fourth picture shows another repair on the back side, the dash has some steel inserts that I ground a ¼” slot into then set a bar in place to join the two halves.

I used some SEM 39387 self-leveling seam sealer that I had left over from my rain gutter that seems to be very sticky and stay flexible, I was able to sand it smooth and think I’m going to try to spray some of the Noxyde coating on to see what happens and if it looks good I’ll toss the plastic cap in the trash. If not I’ll just cover it up.

This was more of an experiment using stuff I had laying around and not one minute of research was spent so I have no idea if any of it will work but it looks good so far and I’ll post a picture when it’s done.
Looking good J Mack!
That self-leveling sealant looks like a great option since it is sandable. I considered metal splints in the backside of my dash, but decided the glass would be enough.

I thought my dash was bad, but at least it was all in one piece! ;)

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