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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello AlfaBB- a bit of experienced advice requested. What's the best protectant for a dash on an S4 (or any other Spider)? The dash doesn't have any cracks and I'd like to keep it as pristine as possible. Many thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Haha- that's funny. I do keep it in cover when at home and have a window shade for when it's parked somewhere- but on those long drives up the PCH it just blasted.
 

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303 Protectant does great UV blocking and does not give the "Armor All" shiny glare.
 

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I use 1Z ****pit Premium. The best thing about it is that it has no sheen at all - perfect matte finish like factory. But Paul is absolutely right, it doesn't matter what you put on the dash- a 20+ year old plastic dash roasting in the sun is going to eventually crack no matter what. I try to always park out of the sun.
 

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The UV is damaging but I think it's also due to the extreme heat that incurs when the car is parked in the sun with the windows closed. When you are driving the car it never experiences temperatures like that and parking it in the shade whenever possible helps a great deal too.

The reason I believe this is because I have observed that just about every crack I have seen on a Spider dash has originated from the edge of the vinyl covering either in one of the defroster vents or along the forward portion below the base of the windshield. These are both areas that are not subjected to UV exposure but due to thermal expansion cycles they are the points where a stress fracture of the vinyl is most likely to originate and once started it will continue to grow unless it is stop drilled, which dissipates the stress point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's a good point re the heat. I always try to get shade if possible and use the reflective screen regardless. I'd also read in some other thread what you mention about drilling a small hole in a crack that appears, to keep it from spreading. That post had said the same thing, and that it worked. Something to keep an eye out for, definitely.
 

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UV and heat are both causes of cracks.
UV and age cause the plastisizers, (which are what give plastics their fluidity and plasticity), to become unstable. It leads to gasing and oxidation.
Heat cycling exposes the plastic to expansion and contraction which causes cracks when the plastic is no longer pliable.

If you have ever noticed the greasy film that forms on the inside of windshields, its those plastisizers.

I like shade and a dash cap.
 

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When I replaced my dash I got one from APE that was in good condition. There was a very small crack that had started forming from the inside of the passenger side defroster vent that I stop drilled with a #40 bit (0.098 in) The crack had only extended about 1/16th of an inch from the edge and after filling the drilled hole with black RTV it would take a bit of effort for even me to find it and point it out to someone. I also sanded down all of the sharp points along the entire edge of the vinyl along the front and in both vents and sealed it with RTV with the idea of preventing any stress cracks from initially forming there.

That was over 12 years ago and I have no cracks in the dash to this day but that was at the end of my rather extensive restoration so the car has mostly been in the garage when not in use and has never endured much extreme exposure during that time.

Prior to replacing the dash I had tried a Dash-Cap and was completely dissatisfied with it. The ones they sell today I think may be somewhat improved but the defrost vents will never look right with one installed. My feelings on the Dash-Mats, which are custom cut carpet overlays, are that they don't look good and if you have a pristine dash what is the point in never being able to look at it because it's covered with a piece of carpet?

If I were doing a restoration today, and I might be doing one on a GTV6 in the near future, I would just pay the money and have someone like Just Dashes do their complete thermo vacuum forming restoration on it.
 

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Another vote for 303 Aerospace Protectant. Been using it for ten years on my dash and seats and no cracks or fading.
 

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I bought my '91 Spider in late 1992 and decided then to be proactive on keeping the dash looking new. I use a large bath towel and put it over the dash when not driving. The only other action is to wipe the dash with a clean damp cloth when washing the car. I don't use any conditioners on the dash. And yes, it stays out of the sun and under a car cover when not in use (we have a carport and not a garage).

Regards,
Jim W.
 
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