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Dash cap only over frame?


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My dash is a fubar'ed casualty of trying to make a mold. The metal subframe is fine, but the foam top layer is long gone. So I was wondering if anyone has tried to just use a Dash cap (Accuform 303D) and secure it to the frame? I imagine I'd need to fiberglass in some mounting provisions but beyond that, any issues that would come to mind? Factory HVAC/ radio have been ditched. Aftermarket (speedhut) gauges (2 x 4.5" and 3 x 2-5/8").

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I personally have not done that but have considered something like this previously.  I'm assuming that you are talking about a full dash cap, correct (vs a half cap)?

 

Would def be interested to see your results.  Incidentally, there's a guy on the S30 Facebook pages who is 3D printing adapters for anyone that needs them when switching to aftermarket gauges.  I can find his name if you need it.

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SH4DY,  If you go to Cen III & IV Chevy V8tech board then HD Duty Frame rail posting. I go over in detail using a Motorsport Full Cap dash cover to create a

Full dash restoration.   It covers refoaming under the plastic cover to making molds to recreate the lower sections of the dash board(that are not included in the Full dash cap.

This dash restoration took over a month to do.  If you have any questions, ask and I'll try to assist you.

                                                                                                                                                                Toolman

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  • 1 month later...

Just a small update: Dash cap finally arrived - Accuform 303D. It looks the part, but holy hell is it flimsy. I'm going to have to reinforce it a great deal to have any kind of rigidity. I still may wind up trying to find another busted dash to put in as a support. Which will likely involve some of the West Systems specialty epoxies *joy* 

 

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SH4DY, Check out Retro-spec/Datsun Z .   They have  nice Fiberglass and Carbon Fiber dashboards for the 240z.   The price is $449 and $999.   Looks pretty good.

Maybe more people will let us know how the fit and quality really is.   They also hoods, spoilers flares ,etc.

                                                                                                                                        Toolman
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Edited by toolman
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  • 1 month later...

There are several youtube videos and threads showing his work and it does not seem to be up to snuff (or it wasn't - he may have changed his lay up and resin methods). There was also a considerable lag in shipping (3-4 months vs the 4-6 weeks shown on the site). Again, all of that may have changed but I'm still a little leery when we're talking about dropping $1k+. 

But it still may be an option because:

 

I tried reinforcing and adding backing to the gauge cut outs on the Accu Form cover and failed miserably. The website said it's made out of ABS but I doubt it considering how it reacted to ABS cement (probably the strongest chemical weld available when dealing with ABS). The cement didn't really take to it, even after scuffing with 80 grit and cleaning with the ABS cleaning solvent. Not only that, but it actually melted off the top layer of the dash where I had applied it. And the fiberglass didn't do a great job wetting through either. So epic fail all around.

My next attempt will be with a two part epoxy. And if that doesn't work, then I'll resort to using this cover as a mold and just making a new skin. 

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At $800 +shipping across the country, that's still a little rich for my blood. I'm still going to try and doctor the current Accu Form skin, it's just going to take a little more work than I'd thought. 

I did discover there is a local West Marine so I was able to pick up some g/flex and some 105/207 resin/ hardener for the skin. I went over everything with 80 grit and flame treated before applying the g/flex. Side note: I went with the 655 vs the 650 because it specifically mentioned hard to bond plastics. It is definitely more of a gel than most of the epoxies I've used. It says it can be used to fill voids I think up to .5" without needing to be reinforced. I tried laying in some glass strand just for more grip for the upper layers and it really doesn't wet out very well. BUT (!) when it dries - this stuff isn't going anywhere. That's as far as I got yesterday. I've still got to re-sand it and lay some more glass on the back side to reinforced around the gauges, then I can move on to the top and figure out the mounting. 

 

I'll get some pictures up of the process. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I started down the path. We'll call it progress.

Initial rough up and flame treat. The backing pieces were secured with plastic weld epoxy initially and then gone over with alternating layers of the g/flex 655 and West 105/207 and glass with sanding in between. If I had to do it over I would have just made some 90 degree brackets with thin metal and epoxied those on added rigidity. 

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And what it looked like before the finish cuts for the gauges. Between all the layers, the back plates are probably between 1/8" -1/4" thick. Plenty sturdy enough for the gauges. 

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Now I'm at kind of an impasse about how to secure it to the frame. Originally I had planned on using the factory mounting holes and putting tapped spacers in between the cap and the dash and then securing with a bolt. But, between the cover not fitting perfectly to begin with, and then slightly warping with the flame treat it's off enough that the glove box won't line up. I'm not concerned about the center panel since I was just going to make a flat plate there either way but the whole thing is pretty flimsy. I can heat again and probably get it close but it will involve adding a lot of support to get rid of the flex if I don't address the void.

So, now I'm toying with filling the void between the cap and frame with expanding foam to help with the rigidity. But with that comes issues about making sure the alignment is dead nuts before the pour, making sure the materials are compatible and will bond, etc etc.

 

Pain in the ass is what this is... 

Edited by SH4DY
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Alright, so I think the game plan is:

Straighten out the cap and get the alignment and fitment sorted. Use the frame and cap as a clam shell for a plug form(apply a bunch of packing tap, and then mold release on opposing sides). Pop the plug out, smooth over,  epoxy/glass, add mounting provisions and then finish coat (paint, carbon, maybe a little of both? 

Sounds simple, right? 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

SH4DY,

    You might want to cover your frame with plastic sheeting( I used Black Trash Bags) to allow easy removal.   Even the factory dash has winkle marks over its bottom side indicating

the use of plastic sheeting.  After all, nobody is going to see the bottom side anyway.  Hope this tip helps.

                                                                                                                                              Toolman

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