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280z dash rebuild new idea

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So as all good stories start out... so, there I was... After sitting out in the Texas sun for all these years, my dash had bit the dust, many cracks had become small canyons and had been filled with RTV by the previous owner. While I had the car apart for my LS swap, and my dash was out for my Speed Hut Gauge install I figured I would rebuild the dash. I had heard many people say they just "fixed" the cracks and went with it, but I wanted to make something that would last so after reading about how I could cover the foam with fiberglass, I decided to give it a try. 


Removing the old PVC crap was easy work with a heat gun, the whole thing took less than an hour. after that, I spent a few days coating it with fiberglass... BIG MISTAKE, DO NOT USE FIBERGLASS. 

Let me explain this; first, in the case that you are ever in a car crash, your face would be met by a very soft plush fiberglass wall... not good. Second off, living in Texas, I am assuming that it had to do with the heat, the dash had bubbled and cracked within a few weeks. So what was I going to do. I spent many hours with the heat gun removing the fiberglass and many more hours patching the foam with spray foam.


So I was left with a uncovered foam dash with very few options. I could cover it with leather but that to would have problems in the heat over time. So I was on the hunt for something that would flex, handle heat, and be cheap to buy. I found a few people had success at patching parts with bumper repair and then it hit me... CAULK. I know I know you are all thinking I have spent to many nights in the garage with the car running, but after a hour of walking around Lowes, I bought a few things of exterior caulk and took them home to be tested.


After testing them all, I found something I like, Liquid Nails Extreme Heavy Duty. It spread somewhat thick, but it leveled out a little to reduce brush strokes. It is paintable, flexible, heat tolerant, and can fill gaps up to 3/8". so any flaws could be filled in plus it is sandable. I used a cheap trim brush from walmart (its the red one in the attached image) and it worked very well, I also tried using a regular paintbrush that I trimmed the end off to make it stiffer, but this didnt work as well. I think I trimmed it to short.


I have put four coats of this on the dash and it has become somewhat thick (maybe 1/8" thick on avg). I can push my fingernail into it and it will flex but return to normal. I started painting it tonight but do not have any pictures of it at this time. 


So, I might be crazy, but I fell this is going to work much better than the fiberglass. Let me know what yall think and I will keep yall updated.









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Sorry it has been so long, I forgot about this post. Well it survived the lovely texas winter and we are now getting into the 80s and low 90s so we will see how the summer goes.


So far it is looking great for what I did. I am sure if I spent more time on it, it would look much better. I believe that the 2 things that I didn't do that I should have is. 1, sand it down better. The caulk is sandable so you should be able to get a smooth finish. 2, I think that you could probably add water to the caulk to thin it out to make it flow over the dash better. This would remove the brush strokes.


Again, overall I am very happy with it and I have had to tell everyone that has ridden in the car that it is not original (they aren't really car guys though).


The attached pictures don't really do it justice but here they are. If anyone has any questions let me know. Btw, the reason I did this is because the fiberglass cracked. Plus if you are ever in a wreck, a fiberglass dash is not what you want to hit your head on.


After the summer, I will be redoing the rest of the interior. I will be applying great stuff foam and sanding it to get the exact shape I want and then doing this over it instead of vinyl.





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Hey now, as I said, the pics don't do it justice. There have been several times that I don't even notice that it's not stock. If I find a decent one at a junk yard now that I know this will work, I will go back and redo it, but until then this one stays as is.


She might be ugly, but she has an LS under the hood. Maybe one day she will get a nice coat of paint.

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you guys are killing me. It's the fact that it's just the photo that looks bad. The dash really looks a lot better than the photos show. Here are some during the installation. These are more of what it really looks like.




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