I lived with one crack in my dashboard on the driver side next to the speaker for a while. Every time I drive, I keep looking at it. It was so annoying to see only one crack in there.
I searched all over the net to see the best way to fix it. I called just dashes.Inc and they asked for $4000 to restore the whole thing and wrap it again like original using heat and vacuum "unreasonable price" so I looked for alternatives
- leather wrap
- Clothe Cover
- Dash cover cap
- Buy a new dash
I found this kit which I want to share with all If you have the time and passion for doing it and keeping the original classic look.
First I will start to share my notes on each method.
- Leather wrap: its a lot of work, stretching the leather using a heat gun and contact cement, not easy at all. Especially around corners and AC/heather vents. You can buy the ready leather cover from UK for $200, and glue it. The problem is it comes with stitches that will make your dash and interior out of its time and era since there is nothing with stitches inside, its either you wrap everything (dash, center console, A & B pillars, steering wheel) or leave it as is.
- Cloth cover: easy and cheap solution, but it's so ugly for me.
- Dash cover cap: Expensive for cheap plastic, needs a lot of double-sided tape or glue/silicone to secure it on the dash, once you put it in, there is no turning back, your dash already ruined from the glue. The cover will not survive in the direct sun/heat.
- Bondo: The Bondo is not flexible enough to expand with the dash material, mine cracked after a couple of days when I was playing using different materials to fix the crack.
- Buy a new dash, repairing the dash will cost you a fortune, I don't know how much for the brand new dash, or cracks free used dash, that will crack anyway in future as its already dry and hard.
You can buy the kit from eBay for $70; This kit contains the heating element with the flat welding tip, a welder stand, stainless steel reinforcing wire mesh (10 inches (25 cm) by 5 inches (12 cm)), 15 ft. (4.6 m) of Polyvance's FiberFlex. Each rod is 1 ft. (30 cm) long.
The rods are approximately 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick and 1/2 inch (12 mm) wide. Note the steel mech not to fix dashboards, its for bumpers.
I took the dash out to change the AC pods, rubber elbows, AC draining tubes. Since the dash is out, its time to fix the crack. the below will explain the process in detail.
Use a Dremel tool to sand the raised areas around the crack and make the V grove Step 2
Fill the grove and push in small areas the fiber flex to support the sides of the cracks. Step 3
Sand the repaired area carefully to keep it small as possible The sides of the crack are not raised anymore. Step 4
Use only padded dash filler "Polyvance 2050-9 Padded Dash Filler" it's a flexible Bondo, you can buy it from eBay for $30, unfortunately, it is a big can, for bigger repairs. Step 5
Adding Padded dash filler, and sanding the area. Step 6
Copy the dash grain to apply it to the smooth sanded area. I used PDR hot glue on the dents pop off tab "that comes with dents pop off kit" to copy the gran of the dash, try doing it in a hidden area on the dash just in case you cause damage from the glue. Use 70% rubbing alcohol on the sides to release the glue from the dash, take your time here, do not force it to release. Step 7
Cover the entire dash using clear plastic and cut the repaired area, apply two coats of primer and use the tab carefully to apply the grain into the primer. Let it dry and use black vinyl paint to paint the area.
Apply the grain + 2 coats of oil-based dye using an airbrush. I took a couple of pictures with flash and without flash.