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1982 SC dash restoration

Hello everyone,

I am retired and purchased my 1982 black on black full leather SC coupe about 5 years ago as a hobby. I want to say that this forum has be invaluable to me in helping me to become educated and informed about my car, enabling me to do most of the repairs and maintenance myself. I cannot believe how knowledgeable and helpful the members of this forum are!

I completed the below project a few months ago and have decided to share it in the hope that perhaps it might help someone else with a similar problem.

The dash in my 1982 SC was warped and distorted around the center ac vent and the defroster vents as is common with these leather dashes so I decided to replace it with another almost warp free used leather dash that I purchased.

After removing the one that was in my car I decided, since I am retired and definitely have the time, I would attempt to remove the distortions and recover the dash in vinyl.

I read all the good info/advice that was available on the Pelican Forum, purchased some quality 4 way stretch black vinyl and began.

1. First I had to remove all the old leather to expose the original factory vinyl base –it took a bit of time and then I had to remove the factory adhesive, fortunately there were no cracks in the vinyl, just hugely distorted areas.
2. I then cut out the warped areas around the defroster vents and installed, with JB weld, a thin aluminum base which I formed to the correct dash silhouette and then applied a layer of Bondo with a layer of aerosol expandable foam on top, this provided a very nice base to accept the vinyl.
3. Next I decided to see if I could reform the raised up area around the center AC vent where the factory hard foam had pulled away from the metal base to form the distorted raised “hump” as seen on so many dashes of this type – mine was raised up one inch. I decided since heat had caused the distortion, I would use heat to remold the area back to its original shape. By using some heavy duty, strong clamps to apply pressure while applying extreme heat using a heat gun, I was able to reform the underlying dense factory base material back to 98% of the original shape, the metal base was not distorted just the layer on top of it. I was amazed at how well this worked and am quite sure that the distortions will not come back unless it were to be recovered in leather and left out in the sun again for an extended time, since I covered it in vinyl this is not a concern.
4. To prepare the dash surface for covering I applied just a very thin layer of filler where necessary for an even surface, and then carefully sanded the entire dash. Prior to covering I cleaned the it with acetone then alcohol.
5. After reading the forum threads, I decided to use 5 minute epoxy since members had had success with it and I have used a lot of It in other hobbies. I cannot say it was easy, I went slowly one area at a time and used a lot of clamps and had to physically hold some of the compound curve areas until the epoxy set up. I also stapled the vinyl underneath around the perimeter in the same way the factory had done the leather.
6. At the front perimeter - the defroster vents side - I left some unattached “overhanging” vinyl so when the dash is installed the hold down screws will go this as well as the underlying factory vinyl lip.
7. I will say that the whole process was quite an adventure and took about 28 hrs. to complete – but considering the price of a new dash, in my opinion, this is worth the time spent.
8. In summation, is it perfect? The answer is no, not quite, but I think it looks very good and would be very pleased to put it right back in my car had I not already installed the replacement dash, although I think this dash looks better but I do not want to go through another windshield removal right away.
9. There are a few areas that are not perfectly smooth due to my surface preparation and some where there is a tiny bit of a ridge due to the epoxy not laying totally flat underneath these, but in my opinion, these are very minor.
10. I will attempt to attach some pictures of the process – I forgot to take any of the a/c center vent before repairs, but it was very badly distorted.

Again, I hope this may help someone, if there are any questions, I will be happy to try to answer them.

Dave













Old 06-30-2019, 12:07 PM
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disfrutalaruta
 
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Dash looks great! I hope mine turns out this good.
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:47 PM
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You skipped the part where you removed the windshield but I am assuming you did that first.
No way to get around that I guess...
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:22 PM
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Yes, the windshield has to come out in order to get to the screws next to the front of the windshield that hold the dash.

Dave
Old 08-21-2019, 03:04 AM
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How difficult is it to reach the nuts/stud locations on the underside of the dash?
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Old 08-21-2019, 07:31 AM
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I pulled the dash gauges so I could get back there to remove the nuts from the studs - not too difficult to get to.

Dave
Old 08-21-2019, 09:58 AM
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Top notch well done!
Old 08-24-2019, 01:13 PM
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resurrecting this thread.

Great job dhanl82, I am getting ready to start recovering my dash. Any advice as to where to start the covering process? My initial thought was to start gluing the new vinyl about there the glare line is on the eyebrow of this cover? Then wrap down into the gauge cluster area then proceed with the rest of the dash? Thoughts from anyone with real life experience?


Old 04-26-2020, 03:30 PM
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or is it better to start where I put the red line?

Old 04-26-2020, 03:34 PM
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Nice work! I have an 82 SC with a warped dash. I would attempt what you are doing if it did not involve removing the windshield.
Old 04-26-2020, 08:35 PM
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Good Morning,
I started on the far right side -as if you were sitting behind it in the car - I moved slowly to the left completing your red highlighted area last, however,you could probably could begin wherever you want. At first tried to use contact cement but was unable to make it work because once the vinyl
came in contact with the cement on the dash it adhered so quickly that I was unable to stretch it as I needed to in order to fit the dash contours etc. I found the 5 minute epoxy worked better for me, especially in some ares that I could not get a clamp on where I just held it in place for the tine it took for the epoxy to set up.
I hope this helped, I will be happy to attempt to answer any additional questions. It has been sitting in my house for almost a year now and still looks as it did after I completed it.
Dave
Old 04-27-2020, 03:30 AM
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Good Morning Dave,

Thank you for the additional information.

Old 05-13-2020, 03:11 AM
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