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  #1  
Old 11-13-2007, 09:59 AM
MB, love..hate..love..
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: NB Canada
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560SL dash wood trim strip replacement questions

(I posted this in the detailing section, but no one has replied, I'll try it here)
Has anyone done this? I 'inherited' a full set of burlwood trim strips, included with the car I bought, but never installed. They look like OEM, wood bonded to aluminum, and have a kit number WK107BS. There's a company on EBay (FCP Groton) that sells this kit, apparantly used to be made in Canada by AB Industries. I've searched for hours, and no one has published instructions on how to install them.
The first issue is how to remove the old wood/aluminum from the dash pieces. Any real reason to remove the backing pieces and wood/aluminum from the dash, or just strip off the wood/aluminum and attach the new strips right to the backing pieces? I have the manual with sketchy instructions on removing the pieces, and it doesn't look like fun, nor can I see an advantage.
What's the best way to remove the wood/aluminum from the backing strips?
What's the best way to re-attach the new ones, after cleaning off the old glue (or whatever it is), glue or double-sided tape? And what does the best job of removing the old adhesive?
I'd sure appreciate comments from those who have done this seemingly simple job....
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1993 Lexus
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Old 11-13-2007, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donbryce View Post
What's the best way to remove the wood/aluminum from the backing strips?
What's the best way to re-attach the new ones, after cleaning off the old glue (or whatever it is), glue or double-sided tape? And what does the best job of removing the old adhesive?
I'd sure appreciate comments from those who have done this seemingly simple job....
I've done it on two cars, both 450SLs, but the dash strips aren't any different between the years.

To remove the old strips, I didn't take anything off the dash. I just used a small scraper and a flat blade screwdriver to pry the old stuff off. It was destroyed in the removing but that didn't matter to me. It was old, faded and cracked, removing it left it old, faded, cracked and bent all out of shape.

I dry-fit the new pieces before I installed them. On my 78, I had to cut one piece to work around the switches in the dash. On my 75, the pieces were already cut to the right length. To cut it I used a large pair of tin snips. Cut slowly and carefully, or the wood and/or finish will crack and look bad. On both cars I found the new dash strips were just a hair too wide to fit in the channel. I had to take my orbital sander and take about 1/32" off before they'd fit down in the channel the way they're supposed to.

I looked at the adhesive tape, but the only stuff I could find with the right adhesive (all-weather, high temperature, water-resistant) was on a foam backing. The foam would have made the strips sit out away from the channel, and that's not the way they're supposed to sit. I went to the hardware store and bought a bottle of indoor/outdoor contact cement. Brush on both the trim and the dash (carefully, so it doesn't get on the outside of the channel where it'll show), let it dry for about 15-20 minutes, then install the strips. So far, so good.

I didn't worry about getting all the old adhesive off, just removed any bumps and made sure the surface was free of oils by rubbing it aggressively with a tough cloth and IPA.
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  #3  
Old 11-13-2007, 02:08 PM
KCM KCM is offline
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Like ScottinSoCal said. I removed the chrome backing bars so I wouldn't have to work in the car. To do that, you need to remove the glove box and instrument cluster, and remove the nuts holding them on.

I used a Dremel with a cutting disc and sanding drums to cut and trim the pieces to fit the backing bars and switches (another reason to take them off). Used the old pieces (when available) to cut them to the exact size and shape. I did put masking tape over the finished surface to prevent any chipping of the finish that might occur during cutting. Used sandpaper and a sanding block to sand them to the proper width.

I scraped of all the old glue and used Elmer's Stix-All (found in the Walmart craft department) to reattach the aluminum to the backing bar. Have heard others use Gorilla Glue. I had to lightly clamp the far left piece to the backing bar while the glue dried as there is a slight curve the trim must match.

If you take your time and do it right, it will look as good as new.
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Old 11-13-2007, 07:15 PM
MB, love..hate..love..
 
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THANKS GUYS, you've made a major contribution. I'm leaning toward doing all the work in car, mainly because the pieces being attached to the dash saves me from the hassle of removal/re-install, and it provides a safe way to hold them down while I scrape off the old pieces and glue from the backers. Again, appreciate muchly the response....and any others who care to chime in on the what-glue-works-best decision.
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donbryce View Post
any others who care to chime in on the what-glue-works-best decision.
The stuff I used is by DAP. The whole label says:

DAP Weldwood
Contact Cement
- Instant
- Permanent
- Water Resistant

Then a bunch of stuff about how you shouldn't scoop it out of the bottle and eat it.

Brown bottle, red and white label.
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  #6  
Old 11-20-2007, 06:44 PM
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Job's done, a few stories and tips to pass along...

As noted by ScottinSoCal and KCM, the job proved to be difficult or impossible to do with the trims in the car, so job 1 was to remove them. I had glossed over the statement about 'removing the bolts' found in the manual and mentioned above. Also, didn't think too much about the clips holding the center main switch panel on. Those bolts and clips are easily some of THE MOST DIFFICULT AND FRUSTRATING to get out or put in that I've ever worked with!

Here's the blow by blow on the job:

1. Far left and far right short trim strips each have 2 8mm bolts that also hold the vent lever assembly. The inner ones are not too hard to see with a mirror, but the outer ones are a real pain. On the right, you first remove the glove box, and on the left, the instrument cluster, then take out both speakers/grilles and pull off the plastic duct from the vents (more on the driver side of this part below). You'll need a small bright light to see with.

2. Using a mirror, fish a short extension and socket, working through the speaker hole and glovebox opening, to get at the bolt heads for the passenger side trim. Unbolt, then pull the piece kind of out and down from the windshield post trim (no need to remove this, thankfully).

3. On the driver side, undo the light switch and push it up and out of the way. This will give better access to the ductwork, to pull it off and force it back as far as it can go. Again with the mirror and socket, BE REAL PATIENT and get ahold of the outer bolt. This is at best a 'touchy-feely', extremely hard to do step, since there is no room to work and your hands will block both light and mirror image. The inner bolt isn't too bad.

4. For the middle strip, remove all the switches. I used a dental pick and light/mirror to force the tangs of the clips upward to relieve pressure on the posts. At least one will probably go south into the bowels of the dash.

5. The glovebox is easy, just remove the screws, don't lose the little post/spring left of the catch.

6. So, with all the pieces on the bench, time to remove the old wood/aluminum from the diecast chromed strips. As pictured, I started each with a flat, squared exacto knife, and poured Goof Off into the crack. This stuff really softens and dissolves the old glue! I sharpened a cheap steel ruler to make a perfect-fitting wedge to continue the removal. This step was super easy. I cleaned all the old glue residue off with Goof Off, a brass brush, and rags.

7. At this point, since the kit I got with the car was not the right one, made I think for the older manual levered heating system, not the auto climate setup, (see picture of the left over pieces with slots), I went to the wife's jewelry bench and cut the pieces I need to fit. I used a round all direction blade and cut around the old pieces as templates, finishing with a round and flat file to precisely fit the switches.

8. For fun, I left off the opening for the antenna switch (piece of junk) and just shoved it behind the dash (saves re-wiring).

9. I applied garden variety contact cement, let it set up for about 20 minutes, then held each piece together with padded vice-grips to get a tight bond. Some ends needed a shot of crazy glue to get them down tight. (But be cautious, as this glue will eat the varnish).

10. Installation is, well, the reverse of removal, and those end piece bolts will take as much time to put in again as they did to get them out. VERY demanding on your 'mechanics touch'. It helps to use a bit of tape or whatever to hold the bolt in the socket while you attempt to get it in the hole. If you broke or lost the middle piece clips, get a speed nut clip (I think that's the name)(like the ones that are there for the speaker grille screws, see pic1) and break off the part with the screw hole in it. Make the hole just right for a press fit on the post. I used some outdoor double sided carpet tape too for extra insurance.

Anyway, the end result was more than worth it AFAIC. I'm not sure of any aftermarket kits that custom fit the auto climate setup in the SL, so it may be a $dealer$ item. You DO NOT want to pay to have this job done!
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560SL dash wood trim strip replacement questions-100_0559.jpg   560SL dash wood trim strip replacement questions-100_0562.jpg   560SL dash wood trim strip replacement questions-100_0563.jpg   560SL dash wood trim strip replacement questions-100_0565.jpg  
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  #7  
Old 11-21-2007, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donbryce View Post
As noted by ScottinSoCal and KCM, the job proved to be difficult or impossible to do with the trims in the car, so job 1 was to remove them.
Congratulations, it looks great.

I did mine in the car, but your instructions will help me free up a sticky driver side vent switch. Thanks!
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  #8  
Old 11-21-2007, 09:16 AM
MB, love..hate..love..
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: NB Canada
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Funny you should mention that vent control lever, as I tried to get mine to work better too while I was in there. I couldn't get a good 'shot' at the cable to put some tube-dispensed cable lube on it, at the vent end. I tried shooting some spray-lube too, using the little piece of piping that comes with it , got it everywhere but on the cable itself (no room to aim the bulky can, and it doesn't spray well on it's side). Best way was a dab on the finger and feeling your way in, but....the best result was just spraying into the lever slot! The mechanism for the lever didn't seem 'frozen' anyway, but the lever seemed to be rubbing against the mounting plate. I'd try lubing the slot first, to save the incredible hassle of going in there....
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