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  #1  
Old 04-13-2016, 08:56 AM
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Cracked dash restoration

Here is a link to a terrific DIY on a BOW forum. We might have to do something different about the dash texture, but other than that, it's terrific.

DIY Cracked Dashboard Repair [Pic Heavy]
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1982 300SD -- 211k, Texas car, tranny issues ____ 1979 240D 4-speed 234k -- turbo and tuned IP, third world taxi hot rod

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Old 04-13-2016, 12:49 PM
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I once repaired a W123 dash using the crack filler provided by Color Plus. Their crack filler is similiar to spackle so before the filler got hard I took a small piece of the dash vinyl from the bottom of the dash and lightly pressed it into the crack filler to give it the same texture as the rest of the dash. I then dyed the dash with the dye from Color Plus. Its like the crack was never there. This was a small crack and I doubt that the filler would work on large or multiple cracks - after installation in the car it would probably re-crack.
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:30 PM
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Thank you for the post, will keep this bookmarked
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:35 PM
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I am in the process of using the same filler to fill some cracks in my dash, before dyeing my dash. I'll get a write-up together shortly. So far it seems to be working well.
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Old 04-18-2016, 02:20 PM
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I used the same filler this weekend on some cracks in my dash (largest was ~2"s long and ~1/8" wide). The material did a great job, however I will point out that it seems to be water-based, like their dye. The filler I used had dried in 24h, but didn't seem to have actually cured, so it was still easy to lift off when applying the dye. When you reapply the dye, I found you needed to use a very dry brush for the first couple of coats, to try to prevent the filler from lifting. My repairs didn't come out perfect, the crack is still visible because it's sitting a tiny bit below the top of the dash (maybe 1/32" or less). I'm thinking after everything has a chance to cure for a couple of months, I may try a second application of filler, and wet sand the dye with very fine grit paper to remove some brush strokes that I caused by getting in too much of a hurry.

Time will tell if the filler is going to crack again or not. It does seem to try to a flexible state, so hopefully it wont.

Will still get a write-up together when I have more time & energy.
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Old 04-18-2016, 04:53 PM
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I found that it was best to let the filler set up for about 1 week before dyeing the dash. I sanded the entire dash with 600 sandpaper and then sprayed the dash with a spray gun. You are correct, the dye is water based but still very durable and easy cleanup. I did my dash about 5 years ago and the crack has not reappeared and the dye still looks great.

Last edited by BWhitmore; 04-19-2016 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 04-19-2016, 11:54 AM
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That seems like a good plan. Unfortunately I was in a serious rush because I needed to get the car back together to get it out of my garage. Still pretty happy with how it all worked out though.
A paint sprayer would have been SO much easier and nicer!
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Old 04-19-2016, 12:09 PM
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Does this filler allow for any flexibility when reinstalling the dash?

As BWhitmore mentioned, the product needs a week to fully cure, did the filler adhere better to the dash?

Demothen I am just wondering, did you happen to vacuum or lightly wash the areas that you had to grove out? Maybe there was a thin film of dust that prevented the material from properly adhering to the dash.

Would covering over the dash with automotive vinyl be applicable in combination with the filler material?
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Old 04-19-2016, 01:59 PM
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The material adhered to the dash well (I had used some citrous cleaner, as well as feathered the edges of the crack). The material seems to cure to a flexible state.

The problem I had was that the filler was being washed away by the dye a bit, since they are both water based, and my filler was not cured as completely as I'd have liked. As bwhitmore noted, this is apparently solved by letting the filler cure for a week before dyeing it, but I was in a major rush due to some circumstances outside of my control. Essentially the cracks are still slightly visible, just because the area filled is a tiny bit lower than the rest of the surface. I think this was more a problem with how I applied things than with the material itself.

Vinyl over the filler would certainly work, as far as I can think. I can't imagine how you'd get the vinyl to stretch to the contours of the dash without a vacuum forming rig. If you can make that work, more power to you!

Really, if you're not rushed, and or can use a paint sprayer, I think the products will let you get your dash back to 99% perfect condition. I'd call mine 90%, since I was rushed (I have some spots where gunk fell into the dye, and some brush strokes, plus the imperfect fill on the cracks)

Here's a before & after of the worst crack I had to deal with. It's between the instrument cluster and the defroster vent, and was probably 1.5" long.
Attached Thumbnails
Cracked dash restoration-after.jpeg   Cracked dash restoration-before.jpeg  
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Old 04-19-2016, 04:01 PM
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When you have more time you might go over the crack with a bit more filler to raise the level of the filler a little more even (you might even want to overfill the crack to the sides). Let it cure for about a week, sand it flush and then re- dye the dash in that area only. I was able to do a minor touch up with a soft bristle artist brush on my dash about 3 weeks after the original dyeing and it was a perfect match.
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