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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-06-2005 01:32 PM
jacobm99 Stinkin V8, I wish I would have known about that dash earlier, but I've already done a substantial amount of fabrication to the current dash and the brakets I welded on the car were fabbed specifically for the mods I made to the dash, so I really don't want to start all over...

Also, part of the reason I'm going with the 2001 dash is because I'm putting an LS1 in my car and it makes for easy wiring... thanks for all your help

I'll keep you guys updated....
05-06-2005 11:16 AM
Stinkin_V8 Sorry - I'm not trying to be a broken record, I just found the link I was talking about and wanted to share it. and go down to part#877

The optional top that goes with it could be modified to fit the windshield shape of something else. I have a few links about retrifitting those newer gauges and HVAC controls to older vehicles if you want.
05-05-2005 11:36 PM The dash is a true composite. The steel give it rigidity and mounting points; the foam gives it a stable, supple shape, and the vinyl gives it a stable, defined surface. Take away any one of these and you lose your dash. It is nearly impossible to remove the vinyl because it was put on the foam as a liquid resin and cured in a mold. In the old days, the dash was made from a steel stamping and a sewn Naugahyde or leather covering was glued on. That type of dash could be stripped to bare metal and recovered. I remember the green Naugahyde dash on my folk's '56 Olds 88 was made like that. These modern things are throw-aways or must be modified as you are anticipating. If you want a really classy dash, have a talented upholsterer sew up a fitted leather or good quality vinyl slipcover that you will glue in place.
05-05-2005 10:43 PM
jacobm99 So you think that if I were to remove the vinyl and applied resin to the foam and then once it hardens, apply a couple layers of fiberglass on top of it would not result in the same shape of the original dash? (this was my latest thought)
Thanks for the input everyone.
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.
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 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 some thought and maybe this once or twice..

Check out the threads on fiberglass..

05-05-2005 06:50 AM
efhill321 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?
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..

05-04-2005 12:40 PM
jacobm99 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...
05-04-2005 12:31 PM
jacobm99 Thanks for the recomendation, but I'm pretty set on the ls1 dash. I just think it looks better. Thanks though...
05-02-2005 03:10 PM
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.
05-01-2005 10:17 PM
jacobm99 OMT
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

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..

05-01-2005 09:22 PM
jacobm99 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.
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