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Dashboard Crashpad

The soft crash bar that runs along the top of the dashboard had perished in my car. You could easily see and feel that the internal padding had broken down & was floating around. These parts are quite expensive to buy new so I thought it would be an easy job simply dismantle it and repair it. However, in reality I ended up completely rebuilding it because it was far beyond saving. Once dismantled, it was clear that the padding had completely perished and the plywood backing was rotten.

So the first job was to make a new plywood backing piece. I made this from 2 sections of 3mm ply cut to shape and glued together whilst clamped to the dashboard until it was cured. The reason I did it this way is because the backing piece is curved in 2 dimensions & this is how you permanently set the shape that you need. Once this was done, I simply used the original part as a template to drill the holes and then moved over the original bolt fittings.

The padding material was made of some kind of compacted fibre material which had broken into a dozen small pieces and in some areas completely disintegrated. There was no way of gluing it back together so an alternative needed to be made. I thought long and hard about what I could use in its place and in the end settled on some half-round sponge rubber extrusion that I bought from ebay combined with some left-over 6mm closed cell foam. This was glued together using contact adhesive and bound with sticky tape whilst it cured. I then covered the entire thing with the same black leather effect vinyl that I used on the roof frame. This wasn’t glued on but just stretched over and stapled from behind. Once this was fitted, the finishing touch was some black interior vinyl piping from Woolies.

The shape is a little different to the original but it would look good enough for me. This will not ever be a concurs car.


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