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Old 03-05-2003, 05:52 PM
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Post dashboard replacement

im rebuilding a 79 rs camaro and want to switch out the allready screwed up dash for somehting more sleek and custom looking but im having a hard time finding any kind of a guide on how to go about this ive always been a engine man and only recently been doing major restoration and things like that so im still learing but any nudge in the right direction will be greatly appreciative thanks in advance

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Old 03-06-2003, 02:48 PM
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you need to give us a better idea of what you want. it could range from a dash mat to a full on sheet metal dash
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Old 03-06-2003, 04:48 PM
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honestly im not sure what i want the dash is totally factory and pretty beat from people drilling holes in it for switches screwing gauges to it and butchering the radio slot so im leaning more towards totally replacing the dash with something else but if i do that i really dont want to just swap it for the same dash in better condition id rather get something more unique for the car some kind of custom made sheet metal would be nice but as i said im not really sure right now i just need someone to say well you could do one of the following things to give me an idea of what i can do then take it from there let me know if you need any more info about it
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Old 03-07-2003, 08:44 AM
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maybe you can make a nice simple designed dash with brushed aluminium sheetmetal? This will probably not allow you to make very special shapes but this might make it look extra racy?? For a few zones you might stick some leather to it. (how about the hole for the radio??)
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Old 03-07-2003, 09:45 AM
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Dovaka,
I was in the same boat as you with almost the same year car. I started building a sheetmetal dash for my 78 Camaro last week, and I must say, for my first attempt at something like this - it's turning out absolutley wonderful.
I started out creating a cardboard template of the rough design, and then proceeded to cut, bend and weld the metal to the shape I wanted. (Breaking the cardboard template into "modules" really helps with the fabrication.)

The only problem I encountered was the fact that the dash is 56" long, and our brake is only 48" long, so the curve at the top of the dash had to be done on a table edge with a 2x4, by hand. It acually came out better that way with a gradual curve instead of the sharp bend the brake would've put in it.

I'll post some pics of the dash construction later when I get off of work and go snap some photos of it.
It's really not as hard as you think. Just take your time and plan it out, measure twice and cut once.
The only thing I may have problems with is wrapping it in vinyl or something later on, so I may leave it bare metal and just paint it. (I found years ago that I am no good at adhering vinyl around compound and complex shapes.)

If you are interested, let me know, and I'll be glad to show you how and what I've done so far.
What kind of equipment do you have access to? Welders, Metal Brakes, ETC...?

~Michael
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Old 03-07-2003, 10:07 AM
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that would be great ive been thinking about what i would want it to look like. dakota digital makes a nice digital gauge set that has every thing i need in one sqaure cluster so i think i may use that also i dont want a radio in the dash im going to get one of those hide away radios that i can put under the seat
it seems like making one myself with sheet metal is oging to be the way to go even though i have made some stuff like this before nothing this big and i also dont have a break so ill have to find one
pictures would be awesome especially of it in the building stages
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Old 03-07-2003, 10:36 AM
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Give it a few hours and check back on this post and I'll let you know when I have uploaded some photos of it in my album. (It'll prolly be later this evening when I get the photos off the camera and in my album.)

I'll walk you through what I did step by step as well when I post the pics.

~Michael
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Old 03-07-2003, 02:39 PM
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I managed to get a few photos to my album, but, something REALLY strange is going on with my Windows machine while I was uploading more. Anyway, I'm gonna have to spend the next few searching for a reason why Windows keeps locking up on me. (I much prefer my Linux machine)

Will write up a short "what I've done" in a little while for ya. In the meantime, if you have ANY questions, just ask. Provided I get the computer back up, I am hoping to be around later on.
~Michael
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Old 03-07-2003, 05:53 PM
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that is exactly what i want to do its been in my head like that but i couldnt put it on paper let me know if you have any of you actually building the dash it self i went out and looked at mine today to try and visualize it nad i noticed that at the top it actually splits into 2 pieces one being metal that goes all the way ot the windshield so i think i can keep that and replace the front section with something like what your doign there
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Old 03-12-2003, 05:24 PM
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I know that you will not be impressed with this, but I made a custom dash in my F-1 pickup. Admittedly, the dash in your vehicle is much more complex than mine, but the simplicity of the process was really gratifying and everyone who looks into my truck says "what a beautiful dashboard". In yours, I think I would get a sand bag and do some metal shaping to rough out something that you like which can be mig welded into what is already there. I would take a look at some of the nostalgia gauges, maybe something in gold and cream colored. These could be put into the hammer built dash board and would really look original. I would stay away from the brushed stainless or the billet look. Those are pretty well used up now and not popular. You could do a painted surface or coat it in leather or vinyl.

Another thing you could do would be to find a dash from an older car and use it, or its major features to replace your dash unit. This is real common in full on custom jobs. Can you imagine a 79 camaro with a dash unit from a 56 chevy? Way cool.

[ March 12, 2003: Message edited by: F-1Rodder ]</p>
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Old 03-13-2003, 11:30 AM
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hmm that would be interesting to gut out a bel air and toss the dash in my car haha
do you have any pics of your dash in the truck id still like to see it for some ideas
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Old 03-16-2003, 04:18 PM
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I would also enjoy any information on the aluminum/sheet metal dash idea. My interior is the weakest link in my car and I think the easiest and coolest way to go would be a custom metal dash and just fit guages to it and get a switchboard for my lights, wipers, etc. I'm not looking for anything to complicated and I found an aluminum metal dash in JEG'S for 100 bucks. Anyone ever done something like this before? Oh, By the way, oddly enough, I am thinking about doing this on a 1977 Camaro.

Thanks, and I would appreciate any help on this.

[ March 16, 2003: Message edited by: redcamaro4spd ]</p>
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Old 03-16-2003, 11:12 PM
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lozinit said :
(I found years ago that I am no good at adhering vinyl around compound and complex shapes.)

Vinyl is NOT workable with compound curves! -- it isn't just you, it's the vinyl. Leather is the only way to wrap compound curves successfully, bro'.

Also, you mentioned your Windows machine locking up when you were uploading pics ... I THINK your problem is that your pics are too big! Usually, when you take pics off your camera, they're like 1600 pixels wide (that's like 12 inches or something) and the pic size is huge! You need to look for "Image Size" in your photo program's menu, and resize the pic to about 600 pixels wide before you save it ... then you should be good to go.

Hope that helps -- on both counts.

Alan Horvath
<a href="http://AlanHorvath.com/" target="_blank">http://AlanHorvath.com/</a>
Acoustic Rock ... for real.
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Old 03-17-2003, 04:09 AM
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I wouldnt say vinyl is NOT workable with compund curves. The really cheap crap you would buy at like WalMart or a craft store is really hard to work with, but you get what you pay for. But there are many really nice upholstery vinyls that are just as workable or EASIER to work than leather on compound curves and shapes. There are vinyls out now that stretch to almost twice there size (heat moldable vinyl).
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Old 03-17-2003, 10:07 AM
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hmmm.......... 79 camaro you could try to fit this firberglass dash http://www.euroworksltd.com/Evoluzio...ages/wpe12.jpg it is ment for a 82-92 camaro but it might work
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