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jacobm99 05-01-2005 01:49 AM

fiberglass on top of a vinyl dash
I realize that fiberglass doesn't adhere to all materials but I was wondering if it is posible to put fiberglass on top of a vinyl dash such that surface would be hard so I could paint and clear coat it.
Also, since I don't have any experience with fiberglass, I was hoping that anyone with some experience would point out any other problems I might encounter.

OneMoreTime 05-01-2005 10:28 AM

Gonna have to strip
Some cars..(dunno how yours is) have the vinyl applied to a steel underbase so to speak..the vinyl needs to stripped off and the metal be cleaned and sanded..(about 80grit) to give a good base for adhesion..then layup your glass and get it really smooth..(lots of sanding) then you can paint..

You can glass over excess holes and such till you get what you wish..


jacobm99 05-01-2005 01:04 PM

So I take it that the fiberglass will not adhere to the vinyl?

The dash is out of a 2001 trans am, hoever it's going in a 68 camaro. The vinyl is actually has some foam padding underneath it; does that mean I have to take vinyl and the foam off?
If so I'm concerned that it won't have the same form....

OneMoreTime 05-01-2005 01:37 PM

Yes you will need to take the dash down to metal..and yes it is a fair amount of work..and yes you may need to use some of the bondo with kitty hair to get back to where you want to be..and yes it is a lot of :sweat: and labor in one of those deals..

The form can be restablished through judicious use of fill..and glass..You may wish to weld some of the holes shut as well..

This stuff is not always easy..that is why the guys who actually build these things have a WOW! factor for a job like that.. :thumbup:

Now if a guy is a gambler he will go for it and figure out how to fix it so it looks good and has the effect he wants..


jacobm99 05-01-2005 09:22 PM

so I took a look at the dash and it doesn't have a metal base, it's plastic; I assume, however, that it wouldn't make a difference as far as you recomendation ....?

Also, I was wondering if I could just take the vinyl off the dash and leave the foam on and apply the resin to the foam. I read a post on here where resin was applied to fleece instead of using fiberglass, why wouldn't the foam on the dash work the same?
If I could just apply the resin to the foam it would be much easier to retain mold of the dash instead of having to build it from scratch as I would have to if I stripped it down to the plastic.

OneMoreTime 05-01-2005 09:54 PM

Some of those foams just make a globby mess when the resin is applied (just melts)..Now the fleece deal works out fine...I think it would be wise to pull the foam off and use the fleece to cover the dash and then glass that..

Always a good idea to do a test to see if the fiberglass resin is compatible with the underlying a small sample of resin on the back of the dash to see if that is going to work out OK..

Takes a bit of testing to see just how things work out when doing this sort of thing..

Good luck..I think you are on a good track..


jacobm99 05-01-2005 10:17 PM

Thanks a lot for your help, I really appreciate it.
I'll definitely test out the foam before I do the whole dash.
I'll keep you posted on how it turns out


Stinkin_V8 05-02-2005 03:10 PM

Just a thought, but you can buy aftermarket fiberglass 3rd gen F-body dashes.. Not sure of the vendor, but I have seen it. Seems to be it was in the $300 price range. A lot easier than trying to fiberglass a padded one.

jacobm99 05-04-2005 12:31 PM

Thanks for the recomendation, but I'm pretty set on the ls1 dash. I just think it looks better. Thanks though...

jacobm99 05-04-2005 12:40 PM

By the way, the guy at the local "Tap Plastic" store said that while I should take it all the way down to the base, I could put fiberglass on top of the vinyl. OMT, why is it not recomended to fiberglass on top of the vinyl? Just curions...

OneMoreTime 05-05-2005 03:08 AM

I have tried
I have tried some "quick and dirty's" and they just do not work out well..Guys can do about anything they want to but if it is mine I will strip the vinyl and foam off of the base..Sand the base with 80 grit to get a good adhesion..clean it with acetone and start my layup..

That way I can feel confident that I can get a good job that will hold up over time..I have had some experience with certain plastics being melted by the fiberglass resin so I test to see that the resin and plastic base is compatible..

Just one of those things..


efhill321 05-05-2005 06:50 AM

my t-bird has strange vinyl, I think it;s the vinyl applied to steel like u were talking about before, I asked at the classic parts store and they said it was just stamped steel, I'm using a high quality spraypaint because it is a nasty brownish color that I can't stand. Is this a good idea, or is there a better alternative, and is there any way to tell if it's stamped steel or applied vinyl without destroying it?

OneMoreTime 05-05-2005 12:08 PM

Use a magnet to see if it may be steel..get at the dash from the backside..

There are a lot of the older cars out there that have funky cracked and faded vinyl on the dash..

the dash is one of the more difficult parts as it has all the guages wires and such to deal with..

Two options..if it the old padded dash they can be recovered with some custom vinyl..

Or strip the dash and glass it..when this is done then the owner can have the dash modified to accomodate new gauges..add a console..make a nice place for the radio..tape deck..and such..and come up with something really cool..

Using fiberglass for this kind of project is a good way to go..makes it easier to make modifications to get a custom look..and maybe a better gauge layout..gets rid of the little "add-on" gauge panels and such as well..

Can this be a DYI..yup..just takes :sweat: some thought :mwink: and maybe this :smash: :smash: once or twice..

Check out the threads on fiberglass..


Stinkin_V8 05-05-2005 02:08 PM


Originally Posted by Stinkin_V8
Just a thought, but you can buy aftermarket fiberglass 3rd gen F-body dashes.. Not sure of the vendor, but I have seen it. Seems to be it was in the $300 price range. A lot easier than trying to fiberglass a padded one.

ACK!! Sorry! I mean 4th gen dashes! 05-05-2005 03:24 PM

Just found this thread. IMHO opinion, I am pretty sure you could put a couple layers of 'glass right over that vinyl dash w/o any problems. Keep it to 2 layers, max, so thickness doesn't build up and look funny. Once cured,the surface will be rough but very stable and will last the life of the car. Use your D/A sander w/ 80 grit paper to smooth the surface, then bondo and sand just like you would a body panel 'til it is perfect. Paint and install.

I would really be reticent to strip off any part of the existing dash material. Car makers long ago went to that trashy dash construction with a sheet metal skeleton that bears no resemblance to a dash when bare. This skeleton is put into a mold that is injected with urethane foam that develops the final form of the dash. Finally, a thin vinyl coating is molded over that steel/foam armature to achieve th finished dash. Since the vinyl is not reinforced in any way, a little UV light hardens it and it cracks. Total junk but really cheap for the factory to build. Any one of the parts of this composite cannot be used stand-alone for anything. Keep it all together and simply restore and firm up the surface w/ 'glas and it will be better than new.

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