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Thread: Custom Dash Pad Repair

  1. #1

    Default Custom Dash Pad Repair

    I had my dash apart for the dreaded heater core replacement, so I took the opportunity to repair my cracked dash pad. It was probably in better shape than most. As you can see it had failed at the speaker holes and cracked out from there.

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    Sly did an excellent thread on installing a cap, which is a great option: http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/showthre...)-lots-of-pics

    I have a friend that owns an upholstery shop, so I showed him the pad and we worked out a plan for me to repair the pad and him to cover it with vinyl.

    Note that this approach covers up the speaker holes and the light sensor hole. I long ago changed to door speakers in the front, and I never use the light sensor (don't even really know what it does), so I did not care.

    The basic idea was to patch the speaker holes with fiberglass and resin, trim away the curled-up edges of the cracks in the OEM surface, and fill with bondo as needed. I also trimmed some edges and other places that would have been difficult to wrap.

  2. #2
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    The light sensor is for the automatic headlights. With it covered, it will think it's dark and keep the headlights on all the time. If you always leave that off and turn on the headlights manually, then no worries. Otherwise, stitch a hole for the sensor.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
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  3. #3

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    I did not cut way any of the remaining speaker grill. My thought was that this helped establish the correct curvature of the finished surface.

    Perhaps obviously, the fiberglass layup has to be on the back, or it would be lumpy under the new vinyl. That means the foam on the back, in the area of the repairs, has to be removed. It comes off pretty easily. I used a putty knife to peel what I could, then a wire brush in my drill. I was very careful around the speaker grill and the remaining center bar, which is plastic. I treated the light sensor hole the same way.

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    Because the vinyl needs to dive into the defroster openings and wrap around to the back of the dash, I also scraped the foam around those openings.

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  4. #4

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    I guess I don't know how to post a pic that isn't a thumbnail. If I can figure that out I'll edit and correct that.

    The front edge of the pad has a protruding lip. I think it tucks way in up under the glass. I was worried a little that adding a layer of vinyl to that leading edge might make it hard to install, so I opted to cut that lip clean off. The thin dremel wheel worked unbelievably well for this, and it only took a few minutes.

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  5. #5

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    For a similar reason, I trimmed part of this little boss at the ends of the dash.

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  6. #6

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    For the cracks on top of the dash, I used the same thin dremel wheel and cut away the curled part. I tried to make the crack into a smooth V-shaped valley. I was a little worried about the bondo sticking to the foam. I mixed up some resin and used it to coat all the open foam. That seemed to work really well.

    For the fiberglass work:

    On the top side of the dash, I covered the speaker holes with packing tape. Flipped the dash over and covered both speaker holes with two plies of fiberglass. I won't go into all the details on that - there are many resources to learn how to do that. Once that cured, I pulled the tape and started working on filling cracks. This picture shows the first round of that. I was using Evercoat because I had some on hand. Regular Bondo is fine too. For the big volumes, I chopped up some fiberglass cloth and stirred it in with the filler. You can also buy filler that already has it.

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  7. #7

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    Here's what it looked like when I was nearly done. You may notice way more cracks than I started with. That's because my wife backed her car into it when it was sitting on the hokey setup you see here. It was all still fixable, just added more work for me.

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    Since I had trimmed the defroster openings, effectively enlarging them, I didn't want to expose any unattractive dash guts. So I did a quicky mask and spray paint job on the metal around the defrost vents in the car. I also cut some 1/4" metal screen, painted it black, and held it down with unused speaker screws.

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  8. #8

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    Here's the final product. I am super happy with it. The stitching looks so sweet. Had I realized how easy it was to remove the pad, I would have repaired it years ago.

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    You may notice that I did not put the screws in on the ends of the dashpad. The one thing I would do differently, besides leaving the dash in the driveway for my wife to crash into, is that I would have filled the counterbores where those screw heads fit, then re-drilled through and used a longer upholstery screw there. I'm still happy with it, and it looks clean with no screw.

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    I also omitted the screws inside the defroster openings. They just aren't necessary IMO. I like how the screen looks in the defrosters, and it keeps Tommy Boy from dropping peanut M&Ms in there.

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  9. #9
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    Default

    That is stunning! Nice job!
    1987 CV LX 5.0

  10. #10
    2 decades of DDing Box Panthers, now in a Whale VicCrownVic's Avatar
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    Looks good!


    By default when attaching an image it is inserted into the post as a small clickable attachment.
    The way I make it show up as a large image is by using the "IMG" tag.
    Example (replace all " with [ or ] )
    You have "ATTACH=CONFIG"56111"/ATTACH"
    Which you grab the attachment ID, 56111, from that.
    Plug 56111 into the following for nnnnn
    "IMG"http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=nnnnn"/IMG"
    Gives you
    "IMG"http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=56111"/IMG"

    With the square brackets in place of the quotes above you get






    I also like to use Gimp on a computer to export my images to jpg and lower the image quality which lowers the file size before I upload. The images look fine at around 40% quality and file size goes way down. Gimp also does a good job of asking (with a preview) if you want to rotate an image based on orientation metadata so it shows up properly when posted here.
    Vic

    ~ 1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS - new DD
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis LS "The Scab" - plenty of rot, summer DD
    ~ 1997 GMC Yukon - wannabe winter DD - returning sometime in the 2020s, I finally have an engine
    ~ 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis GS "The Ice Car" - Rotting Retired Winter DD
    ~ 1989 Mercury Grand Marquis GS - Rotting Retired DD
    Gone but not forgotten:
    ~ 1988 Country Squire ~ 1987 Ford Crown Vic

  11. #11
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Came out very nice.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by VicCrownVic View Post
    Looks good!


    By default when attaching an image it is inserted into the post as a small clickable attachment.
    The way I make it show up as a large image is by using the "IMG" tag.
    Awesome, thanks!

  13. #13
    fomoco panthers !
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    Excellent job. I really like the double stitching around the front edge of the dash and the stitching around the vents. I also like the screen over the defroster vents. Upholstery guy did an superior job. You did an excellent job in prepping the dash.
    Your wife backing into it just added character to the dash and a story. Hopefully you didn't get angry.

  14. #14
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    Very nice. The defroster vent screws help if you drive on segmented roads or rough roads. Bumps may make the dash pad rattle without those vent screws. If it's wedged in there under the windshield really well with the added thickness of the vinyl, it shouldn't be an issue.

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein
    rides: 93 Crown Vic LX (The Red Velvet Cake), 2000 Crown Vic base model (Sandy), 2003 Expedition (the vacation beast)
    Quote Originally Posted by gadget73
    ... and it should all work like magic and unicorns and stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by dmccaig
    Overhead, some poor bastards are flying in airplanes.

  15. #15
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Looks excellent. I love the dash pad ease of removal in the 79-89 Ford/Merc.
    1990 Country Squire - weekend cruiser, next project
    1988 Crown Vic LTD Wagon - waiting in the wings

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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    Excellent job. I really like the double stitching around the front edge of the dash and the stitching around the vents. I also like the screen over the defroster vents. Upholstery guy did an superior job. You did an excellent job in prepping the dash.
    Your wife backing into it just added character to the dash and a story. Hopefully you didn't get angry.
    I was pretty mad but remained calm. I was mostly irritated by the circumstance. I had just set it up there 5 minutes before, and she was only backing in because she had groceries. And it is somewhat funny.

    My buddy will be recovering the front seats for me soon. Waiting on material. They are from a 2004 Mustang, base model.

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