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Discussion Starter #1
Okay Alfa Romeo purest, don't get hot under the collar over this. But for the guy who can not afford to spend 300- 900 bucks for a dash or the restoration of one this is a great way to resolve that horrible dash issue! And on top of that, it cost less then a dash cap (buy the way the purest are laughing at you over that dash cap). look at my pictures and if you have any question email me.
Here is where you will find the pictures.....

http://gtam.silvahalo.com/dashrepair/
 

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I consider myself a purist, but that looks really good. I'll be interested in you keeping everyone informed as to how it wears. I admire your resourcefulness.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! Okay the first test was a pass! I set the unit out in the sun and placed the windsheild on top of it. No warpage, no blisters and dash temp was 103 degrees. So far a go!
 

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I htink this is gonna be a nice fix, the only problem I can see is if the different materials filling the cracks end up pulling at the seams and reopening the old sores. I bet that it's gonna last a good long time though. and might be able to improve it by using a hard yet flexible epoxy based paint (someting like POR 15, or one of the sherwin williams 2-part paints) over the entire unit before the bed liner.

How close is the bed liner to the original finish?

I LIKE IT!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That might be! Keep in mind that "bed liner" is incredibly strong. Very flexable. Also The feel is very much like a new dash! WIN-WIN. Thanks for the input, maybe folks will try it and add to the research.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys, If you need any help (before you buy products) break me off an email and I will be glad to help. Or send me a private email and I will be glad to call.

mcc105: the dash is easy loosen the 10mm nuts on the left and the right sides of the dash (near the ens of the dash). Next, remove the vents, and vent tubes under the dash. Two 10mm bolts hide behind them. Next the cables to the speedo and tach. Next cigar lighter power wires, next fog light switch wires and last is the dash common wire ( black). I highly recommend pulling the steering wheel as to not add damage to the dash getting it out and putting it in!!! It's an easy job, 30 minutes tops.

Akitaman
 

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WOW! I think you are onto somthing there.

Out of all the dash fixes I've ever seen this looks really good. I have 2 cars that could use this and I have been looking for a good solution other then spending $$$$ for a new dash. Can you be a little more specific on the brands that you used for the repairs (foam, filler, bed liner) or any pictures?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #12
As you wish SMESTAS: Okay home depot get "great stuff" expanding spray foam. Next go to a auto paint store and get quart of ULTRA LIGHT body filler ( it's real fexiable). Next go to auto zone or kragen... what ever, you know. And get DUPLI-color truck bed liner in a aerosol can and DUPLI-COLOR vinyl & fabric paint. You may not need the paint but I use it at the SECOND to last coat of bed liner. It will even out the last coat of bed liner color. AND ALWAYS SAND IN BETWEEN COATS to keep the paint level, and it keeps it looking realistic too. Hope this helps!

Akitaman
 

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I think the foam filler is a winner. I have redone three dashs in a somewhat similar manner. The problem is the sun and out gasing of the disimilar materials. The dash expands and contract mightily in the heat of the sun. I've found that at least two and preferably three layers of fiberglass cloth with resin are needed to keep lines from reappearing through the bed liner; also using of a sealer on top of the fiberglass and leaving lots of time between coats. I wish you the best, but I'm afraid all those cracks are going to show up as lines through the bed liner as you don't have a stable contiguous surface, the bondo isn't going to help. Sorry to rain on the parade, but you should think about it before you go to all the trouble of reinstalling everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Your points are valid, and I am and was aware of the "gassing issue" The expanding foam seems to have prevented any flexing or gassing issues. The body filler once it was sanded away was VERY, VERY minimal. Also the the bed liner is a high build element and it hides the exposed foam very well. And last is It's been in the sun for three days now with a wind sheild on top of it and I've had no problems yet. Not to mention this is not what I beleive to be a long term cure but a nice solution until one can afford a new, correct dash.
 

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Are you using the cans of foam for home insulation? I have repaired a lot of surfboards and there are different expanding and non expanding foam products that can be used with epoxy or polyester resins. A combination of microbaloons and milled fibers might do the trick. If you don't have ready access to surfboard stuff, though, the sealant will work. I'm bummed, though, as I already have a dashcap :(
 

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Your points are valid, and I am and was aware of the "gassing issue" The expanding foam seems to have prevented any flexing or gassing issues. The body filler once it was sanded away was VERY, VERY minimal. Also the the bed liner is a high build element and it hides the exposed foam very well. And last is It's been in the sun for three days now with a wind sheild on top of it and I've had no problems yet. Not to mention this is not what I beleive to be a long term cure but a nice solution until one can afford a new, correct dash.

I'm with you. I think using the fiberglass can make it a long term fix, I'll be posting pictures of two differnet dashes, one is a 1750 Berlina where I used fibreglass then painted with "Hammered Metal Paint" Between the paint and sanding marks it looks good, similar but not exactly like the original. The 2000 berlina used fiberglass with bedliner, it really looks original. The first dash I did took three tries, the bubbling/lines seem to happen after about two weeks after being in the hot Socal sun. The first one I used SEM vinyl paint, which usually works great, but after being in the sun, it did wrinkle on the dash over the bedliner. I also think thinner rather than thicker for bedliner is preferable.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Okay I'm back. Rogerspeed had me rattled so I just retrieved the dash from the test area ( driveway under a 58 MGA windshield) and today's test results are in: Keep in mind 99.9999 % of the dashes out there are not as bad as mine. The only issue I can see of out gassing is a 1/32 to 1/64 wide crack about 3/4 of an inch long at the back wear the dash ends near the window. Once installed it will never be seen!
That concludes DAY THREE of sun test.
The foam was home depot "great stuff" and yes I wanted it to expanded because I wanted it to fill cracks and slightly over flow the dash as to cap off the crack and so I can sand it level. Keep in mind the the body filler is not to be used as a leveling element but a "pours of the foam filler". That is why I think it has worked so far.
 

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Great job, and the price was certainly right. :) I suggested something similar to a friend on a limited budget, but he never got around to doing it before getting rid of his car. Nice to see that this sort of concept is executable. I bet this will hold up as well as a dashcap.

Regarding expansion and contraction, don't forget that dashcap materials are not necessarily identical to those of the underlying dash and can dimensionally change at a different rate under heat exposure. Most dashcaps are not 100% bonded to the dash either, so the different restraint conditions can affect how well a cap works. I have seen plenty of dashcap installations that look pretty lousy after a while.

One key issue is surface preparation to ensure that things bond properly. What did you do (if anything) in the cracks themselves as far as cleaning/scuffing goes?

Again, nice job.

Arno Leskinen
AROC-USA National Concours Chair
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Discussion Starter #20
I'm really surprised at the overwhelming amount of private E-mails that this particular subject has generated. 61 at last count. As far as surface prep, the first thing was to level all the cracks. This exposed a great deal of the original foam. When there is that amount exposed foam you will have a never ending gassing problem, so I used an old artist trick. Any art supply store has a product that is meant to protect your art from from being smeared. It's made by Krylon and its called UV resistant clear acrylic "fixative". This product sprays a very, very fine mist. I focused on spraying it in the cracks only. I did want a possible rejection issue later with the bed liner. This is "the key" to stabilizing the gassing. Then the spray foam over that. I realize that I didn't point out all the steps on the site. I didn't know it would be this strongly viewed. But anybody who emailed me, I have shared the finer details.
Thanks, for the great question.

Akitaman
 
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