Dash restoration DIY - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Dash restoration DIY

Hello!
i've noticed a lot of threads on here looking for advice on what to do with a cracked dash so i thought i'd throw in my 2 cents and show you the wrap job i just did on mine. at the risk of coming off like a total *** i should preface this post by mentioning that i have never restored a dash before (that will probably become painfully clear soon) and the technique i used will probably not result in a concourse finish; but if you're looking for a very good wrap job that will cost $1-2 k less than Just Dashes i think this is a good way to do it.

my dash was severely sun damaged with major cracks running everywhere and dried out vinyl. unfortunately i deleted all the pictures of it at this state but what i did was slowly chip off all the old vinyl with paint scrappers and razor blades, taking care to leave as much of the dash padding intact as possible.

once all the old vinyl was removed, i filled the largest cracks with expanding insulating foam. i used a dremel tool to widen and deepen the largest cracks in the padding so that when i sprayed the foam it would have something to grip to. i also chose a foam that had good weather resistance so hopefully it holds up well in the heat.

after the foam was sprayed i sanded it down to be flush with the rest of the dash padding (top picture)

if your dash padding is in good enough condition after all the cracks have been filled you can sand it smooth with 80-120 grit sand paper, but make sure the surface is smooth! any little bumps/divets will show when you wrap the dash in vinyl (this is where i screwed up). the best method at this point would be to get 1/8" closed cell foam and glue that over the surface of your dash to cover any surface defects. the closed cell foam can be sanded to give a uniform surface finish and is thin enough that it wont add any noticeable bulk.

most vinyl only has stretch in 2 directions so when it comes time to wrap the dash it is important that you get a "4-way stretch" vinyl which will allow you to pull in every direction. the stuff i used is called Allsport 4-way stretch, and this material is key to getting over all the elevation changes that exist on the dash.

the adhesive i used to attach the vinyl to my dash is Weldwood Contact Adhesive Landau Top & Trim. this is a very good adhesive designed to be used on upholstery that will experience extreme temperature changes which i think makes it perfect for dashes.

when it comes time to adhere your vinyl, start by adding adhesive to the center of the vinyl and dash; between the 2 vents on the top all the way down to the bottom between the glove box and the steering column cut out (bottom 2 pictures). the wait time according to Weldwood is 5-10 minutes before the pieces should be put together but depending on the temperature where you're working that can change. i would suggest working in a temperature controlled environment if possible. also check the glue with your finger; it should be tacky-almost dry, not wet!

start at the top of the dash slowly moving down through the center, using your hand to press the vinyl onto the dash padding and making sure to chase all the wrinkles out. the vinyl should lay nice and smooth over this whole section.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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after the center of the dash is wrapped it's time to move out to the sides. at this point i would strongly encourage you to find another set of hands to help.

cover another side of the dash and vinyl with adhesive and wait until both are tacky. once the glue is ready, begin working the vinyl from the center to the side of the dash with one person working the bottom half (below the front veneer) and one person working the top half (where the vent openings are). it is important that you go slowly to avoid wrinkles. once the vinyl is all laid down, use a razor blade to go back and make relief cuts to areas such as vent holes, to help relieve the stress built up in those areas. also use a heat gun or hair dryer to help tighten up areas with tight transitions where the vinyl might not have laid down completely.

refer to the pictures below. notice after the center was glued down i worked the vinyl out to the right side and made reliefe cuts to the glove box opening to relieve pressure. i also havent started gluing the vinyl around the sides of the dash, i'm only focused on the front which is the most visable
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-07-2018, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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after you get one side down then repeat the procedure in the other direction. again remember to go slowly and chase the wrinkles off to the side.

i should also mention that even though the vinyl is referred to as 4-way stretch, you should avoid stretching the material as much as you can while you're gluing it down. the vinyl should be laid down smoothly whenever possible, with any stretching saved for tight areas or places with difficult elevation changes.

refer to the top 2 pictures below. if you notice at this point the entire front and top of the dash has been covered and all the wrinkles have been chased to the sides. once you get to this point you can flip the dash over and begin to glue down areas like the inside of the vent holes and the sides of the dash.

remember when i said that this wouldnt give you a concourse finish? well here is where you're going to run into an unavoidable problem. all the vinyl material that is left on the sides will unfortunately have some unavoidable wrinkles form. there is simply too much material and so some wrinkles will form. if you notice in the third picture i made a fold in the corner to try and help compensate for all the excess material at this location.

the good news is that when the dash is in your car you wont see these wrinkles because its mounted tightly against the firewall and a-pillar.

once everything is glued down go around with a razor and trim carefully.

there are definitely some small rough spots in mine (especially the surface finish where i didnt get the underside smooth enough) but overall i think it turned out really well.

if anyone has any questions or anything i can make more clear please feel free to message me. i hope you find this helpful!

p.s. i've included a picture of a custom dash emblem i designed in CAD and had 3D printed in Nickle. i think it will ad a cool custom touch .
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-17-2018, 11:38 AM
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Thank you!

Great wright up!

Just used your method to recover my dash pad in Giulia Super.

I couldn't locate vinyl that looked the same, so went with a piece of leather that has very similar color and grain.

Have to be careful applying the glue as I put too much on one end of the pad and it all showed through as little bumps. Had to tear it apart and redo.

Hopefully leather will not shrink too much with time.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 08:42 PM
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I have a 1973 Berlina, so the instrument hood doesn't have a many transitions. I was thinking of vinyl covering it without removing the old vinyl. I'd fill cracks of course and smooth it out and sand it smooth. Do you think it will work without removing old vinyl?

Red 1991 164S, Black 1991 164S, Red 1987 Milano, 1972 Berlina, 1973 Berlina rebuilding SPICA engine
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-16-2018, 07:50 PM
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Nice work, hoping i may be able to recover the fake woodgrain dash in the 105 1600gtv.
Anyone tried doing one?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard2 View Post
I have a 1973 Berlina, so the instrument hood doesn't have a many transitions. I was thinking of vinyl covering it without removing the old vinyl. I'd fill cracks of course and smooth it out and sand it smooth. Do you think it will work without removing old vinyl?
You will always know that the old stuff is down there
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