The weather change is here and the cracked padded lines roll in. With every weather change I get phone calls. "My dash is cracked and what can be done to fix it."
Because of the exposure to old mother nature, these materials are dried out and crack over time, which gives you a crack in your line. Left unguarded this little crack can and become bigger.
There are measures that can be taken to prevent the bar quality from being cracked in the first place. Now I know that your dash is already cracked and you want to know how to fix it, but it will prevent further cracks and keep the car nicer and nicer, and well …. for further reference.
One way to prevent this is to use a parasol. This not only protects your car beam from the sun, but also keeps your car cooler and keeps the plastic pieces cooler and less likely to wind and crack.
Another way to prevent the material from drying out on your hyphen is to clear them with a good vinyl bar protector. Now I know that I have always said that you do not put the slimy stuff on your inner pieces and parts … But if your vehicle is exposed to the sun on a constant basis, then I recommend using a vinyl conditioner. Now I should not say that any old vinyl conditioner will work because it will not. Deckskin is not a vinyl conditioner! This is probably one of the biggest mistakes made, and I do a lot of repair because of it. Tire gloss contains solvents, as you know from previous articles, it does not blend well with the water-based dyes used on today's cars. What it does is lift the dye from the surface, which means that it must be scaled. So no deck cover … What I recommend to my customers is a product made by a leather conditioning manufacturer that I know of any of the surveys I have made is safe and should work very well, it is made by Lexol and it is called Vinylex. Designed by the guys who really know their stuff when it comes to decor and protection.
The last and last tip to keep your vehicle's interior, including your dash, see it is best and last longer is window color. Now in some states, you need to be careful about the color tones so you don't get it too dark, plus you have to think about your safety as well. I have shade on our Tahoe family and I wish I would have gone a little easier, in the evening it's really hard to see, my Tahoe stays neat and cool, but it's a pain in the butt at night. I have to roll the window down sometimes just to see. So keep it light and you will be impressed by the results, plus it looks cool.
Now with the fix to crack your dash.
Depending on where the crack is and how big it is, it depends on how you fix it and how expensive the repair is. If the crack is larger than 2 "-3" and curled up on the edges, the repair will probably not look so good. There is a limit to the size of crack that can be repaired, too large and it will probably not last and will look like shit. If the crack is too large, replace the dashboard, do not try to fix it. Another thing is the place, if the crack is near the windshield, it is almost impossible to make a repair without removing the windshield, which can be expensive. You said that you are the judge.
The first thing I do before I start repairing is to mix my color, this ensures that at least the color is right.
Then I inspect the crack in the dash, if the edges are curled up, you have to trim it with a razor blade or Xacto knife. The goal is to get the area as even as possible. Now when you cut it at a 45 degree angle and do not take the ends to a point, what I mean by this is trim all the way around the crack rounds the ends of the crack, so it will ensure that the crack will end and not crack any longer after your repair.
Of course, your next step is prepping the repair area, using your prep solution with a scotch brite pad and thoroughly cleaning the area. You may need to clean the entire hyphen depending on where and how large the fracture is.
Now is the time to decide what action to take.
If the crack is smaller then a 1/2 "I usually take the super glue and make a super glue repair. I do this by spreading the glue in the crack and then sanding it evenly with a 240 sandpaper, texture with your water-based spray grain, then stain.
But there are times when your vinyl repair association will need to be used, after all this is vinyl. The low hardening usually works best because high heat tends to warp the repair area. This is where your patience comes in when you do your repairs. Thin layers of compound work best, harden and die between sheaths until the area is even and smooth. You can texture while putting on your compound with your grain pillows. A little trick I use to help repair the level when using a grain slab is a small rubber vacuum cleaner about 3 "x5", that's what body stores use to soak the water from the lacquered surface when they soak sand. This little thing works well, when you use your hand to decorate your grain in your repair, mold your hand around the area and do not leave an even area, but with the rubber mower you give a little more support when you go to the imprint. It can be difficult to dig your repair, the low core compound cannot be so good, but if everything else fails, make sure the repair is smooth, this is your best hide. If it is achieved then textured with the spray material.
One last trick up my sleeve is the use of a good product from urethane supply co. This is a two-part epoxide-like substance specially designed for padded lines and the name says it all, padded Dash Filler.
This is the bomb when it comes to dash repair. Mixes like Bondo and even applied as bondo, but it is flexible. It's just what the doctor ordered when it comes to dash repair. If the crack is larger than 1 "this is the thing to use.
Now, this product requires you to trim the area and then sand around the area about 1 "to 2" out with a heavier sandpaper like a 180 grit, giving it something to bite as well. Trim the foam a little so that you do as a small trace for the compound to lie in.
Mixing your compound on a small piece of tile, I like to use small tile pieces, they clean easily and are easier to hold when mixing and applying. Now that you get the product, they send you the red catalyst, try the blue, it seems a little faster. The blue you can get at any car shop. But the red works just as well just takes it a little longer, time is money in my business.
Apply your compound liberally over the repair area, do not worry that you get your first coat very smooth, all you need is to have it covered, so you will have it smoothly later. Let it set up for a while, depending on the weather depends on how long it takes. You can speed up a bit with a heat gun but don't melt it just give it a slight boost.
When once hardened start grinding, I usually start with a 180 grit to knock off the big pieces and then gradually move me up to a finer grit like 240 and then to 400.
A coat is not enough, I promise, this is another layer. Grinding between layers. Every coat you apply you have to do softer. Again what you are trying to achieve is a level level repair.
When everything is smooth and evenly, grain is sprayed with spray material.
As far as the texture goes, I use two types of spray grains. One is a water-based spray grain and the other is Sems Texture Coat. In fact, Sems Texture Coat almost matches some of the Pontiac dashes to a tee. Now, Sems Texture coat is a solvent-based, but I have had no problem with it stumbling upon the water-based dyes on the hyphen, so kudos to Sems.
Another trick I have found with Sems Texture Coat is after spraying if you release it a little but do not dry completely, you can take your grain pillow and print your grain in the textile cover, quite cool.
Dash repair is an art and craftsmanship, just like all vehicle interior repairs. If the steps are followed correctly and patience is used in your repairs, your success will be good.
Hope it helps in your dash repair adventure. One thing to always remember is to keep your repair as level as possible, this is your best hide.