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Easier to remove dash pad or entire dash on 240z?

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So I have a early 71 240 and the dash board is shot, I mean there is 5" sections of pad missing. I picked up another early complete dashboard from a guy the other day minus the gauges. It has the metal frame with it and even the vin# tag from the other car.. It will need to be restored as well but only has a few cracks.  My car still has all the gauges installed in it but you can reach through the top of the dash and unplug gauges and wiring if needed, I may install a wideband where the clock is if I can find a good one to fit.

 

I have not removed a 240 dash before. My question is, is it easier to remove the old dash pad from my car and install the new restored dash pad in its place and leave all the gauges in my car plugged it. Or is it better to remove the entire metal frame from the car with old pad and unplug all the wiring? I would like to save time on this but dont want to make things more difficult by not having access. What is the best way to do this for my situation being that I have 2 metal dash frames and one good dash pad? And any recommendations on a descent wideband that fits in the clock location?

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If it is anything like the 280, it is very easy. My 77 280, had like 4 bolts up top and 4ish below and then there was 3 wiring plugs under the passanger side. You do have to "drop" the steering wheel, there is 2 bolts that hold it up to the frame and then remove horn and wheel. Really only takes about an hour

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I've never tried pulling just the dash pad, but it's held in by quite a number of screws, and I don't think it's mean to be removed in-car. I'd pull the whole dash. Unfortunately, while the Z is generally easy to work on, the dash is an exception. It may be more work, but I think it'd be ultimately easier to pull the dash and replace the pad.

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Disconnect the battery first, if it is still in place,  no need to fry anything.

 

Pull the steering wheel and console first to give more room.

 

Mark the dash connectors to the body harness if you have any doubt about where each one connects.

 

Mark any other connectors as needed.

 

remove dash.

 

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I didn't see anyone else actually say this, so I'll chip in for future readers.   There is no dash pad to remove. The padding is bonded to the frame, and it all comes out as a unit.  The first time will take a couple of hours, of which most of the time will be spent finding all the electrical connectors and disconnecting the four big connectors behind the glovebox.   Don't neglect to label all the connectors before you remove them, or you'll spending the final hour of the job figuring out where that last damned connector plugs into.  Don't neglect this, even if you THINK you're going to remember where everything goes.

In addition to the above, you also need to remove the four bolts holding the steering shaft to the underside of the dash. 

One person can do the job but it's MUCH easier with two, especially when you're trying to maneuver the dash out of the car.

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Actually, I just removed my dash pad.  Probably 20'ish screws total, but no glue/bonding to the metal frame.  This was from a '74 260z, so other years may have different attachment methods.

 

To the original poster, you could remove the pad without de-installing the dash, but re-installing the new pad would be next to impossible.  Pull the dash from the car and you'll have a much easier time of the whole process.

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Well I got the dash out, guess I'm pretty much screwed with the wiring, I read the post about labeling the harnesses AFTER I pulled the dash, other than labeling the heater pull cables nothing else was labeled, I just figured the heads of the harnesses would be different so you could only plug them in one way. Guess I'll deal with that when I get there :/.

 

So my next question is when installing the new dash pad should I remove all the gauges that are mounted in the old dash frame that I intend to use, put the dash pad on and slide the gauges back into place from the front back in?  OR can I just leave them mounted and slide new pad over the top of the gauges?

 

Looked like a tight fit and they looked tapered. This is my first time removing this stuff, I also do not want to crack the newly restored dash pad by trying to force it over the mounted gauges.

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I think you'll be okay with the wiring. There might be a few that you'll need to look up, but I think most of the connectors only go one way, at least from what I remember.

 

Without looking, I'm 99% sure you gotta remove the gauges. Not really a big deal honestly. And yes they are tapered. It sounds like you're trying to save time and effort by cutting corners - the dash is not that hard to take apart, I'd suggest you just do what needs to be done.

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Thanks guys. Yeah time is the key, they got me working a ton of hours at work but I definitely DO NOT want to cut corners,just dont to do more work than is needed as time as limited and I want to get this car in the paint shop and maybe a car show or two by summer.

 

Before waiting for a reply, I already removed the gauges and replaced all the bulbs with green LED bulbs. Also took apart the speedo and RPM gauges and cleaned the 47 year clear lens, clear coated the inner black housing shells. They now look brand new. This early 71 is going to be nice. 

 

I now have to start restoring the dash pad I have. I have dash filler, sand paper, dash texture coating and dash paint. This is going to take a while.  Do you guys recommend a certain procedure?

 

Like should I take the good dash pad off the not-used metal frame and restore it off the frame? Leave it on the not-used frame, restore it then remove it and put it on used frame? Put it on the frame I'm going to use then restore it?  Lol.. smh making this too complicated on my self. Thought process is avoiding cracking the dash after all he that work.

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I'd put the pad you're gonna use on the frame you're gonna use, and restore it. Less risk of screwing it up after you fix it. I don't know if it has the structural integrity to withstand being repaired off the frame.

 

Here's one guide: https://zcarguide.com/repair-dashboard-datsun-z/

 

And another: http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/topic/22325-dash-repair-processpictures/

 

There's also this, but I don't know if they have early dash pads available yet. Some guys on CZC were saying in the discussion thread over there that their restored dashes had cracked again. I guess the material that hadn't cracked yet is so brittle that even after you fix it it's still prone to cracking. Food for thought.

 

 

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Thanks Rturbo. Yeah I have some of those products from that bottom link and will be doing a similar repair. Those new pads are super nice, wonder how much for a series 1 pad..

 

I fear more cracks after this repair as well, seems like every time I move this thing I get a new crack. Not good. I live on the coast where rust is a killer. Luckily I believe this car came from a hot dry area, no rust but all the plastics and vinyl or chowed.. rather have that issue than rust though.

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Just curious....are you opposed to using a dash cover?  They're available in half- and full-size, and usually look pretty decent if installed correctly.  Definitely a lot less work than what you're going through trying to restore your old dash.

 

http://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/CTGY/classic08d04

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16 hours ago, jhm said:

Just curious....are you opposed to using a dash cover?  They're available in half- and full-size, and usually look pretty decent if installed correctly.  Definitely a lot less work than what you're going through trying to restore your old dash.

 

http://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/CTGY/classic08d04

My old dash that was in my car had 12" sections of pad missing it was not repairable in any way. I removed it and are currently restoring a different dash that I got from a local guy and it is actually coming out very nice. Should be done in the next few days.

 

JHM I had a dash cap on my car and it melted, bubbled up, and cracked. Im not really a big fan of them. Also I want to put my car in a few car shows in the future and like the idea of atleast having a real dash instead of just a cap.

 

Here is a picture of the dash CAP that came off my car. Cracked and warped.

20180401_185546.jpg

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Gotcha.  Can certainly understand wanting a full original dash vs a dash cover. 

 

Can't say that I've seen one melted and bubbled up like yours did....I'm a cheap bastard and have had half-caps on all my Z's, and they've always lasted pretty well.  But they've always been garaged, and obviously not subject to constant UV damage.

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Came out pretty nice. Not perfect but a lot better than what I had in my car.  pictures show the dash that was in my car and the dash that I fixed up. It had a bunch of cracks. Started by taking the pad off the frame and putting filler in the inside of the pad cracks before doing the outside top, pulled apart the cracks and pushed the filler inside, waited 24 hrs , then sanded the dash, with 80 grit then 150 grit sandpaper.

 

Used compressed air to blow off all the dust,  sprayed brake cleaner on a clean cloth and did a quick wipe down of the dash to remove and oils or contaminants.  Sprayed on the texture paint with 2 coats, waited 24 hrs then applied the SEM Gloss black with 2 coats.  We will see how long this dash lasts, hopefully avoiding cracks for a while. Now to have fun installing this beast with out messing it up.

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Congrats...looks very nice.  You probably already know this, but the problem most people encounter when restoring an old dash is that new cracks continue to pop up after the restoration....and obviously best way to avoid this is a good sealer treatment and avoid UV whenever possible.  May even want to consider using one of those carpet-type dash mats to protect it.

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1 hour ago, jhm said:

Congrats...looks very nice.  You probably already know this, but the problem most people encounter when restoring an old dash is that new cracks continue to pop up after the restoration....and obviously best way to avoid this is a good sealer treatment and avoid UV whenever possible.  May even want to consider using one of those carpet-type dash mats to protect it.

Thanks. Yeah when I removed the dash pad off the old frame it created and new giant crack that I had to repair also, thats telling me the core is pretty briddle..thought about putting something else on it to protect it. Is there a preferred sealer product people use after restoring their dash? It may help the top of the dash for a bit but if the crack comes from the inside out I'm screwed.  

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