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Old 12-22-2010, 02:09 AM
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Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
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LONG dash pad crack out of nowhere!

The other day since my Lincoln is being serviced, thought I would take my old W126 (now moms car) to town. I was amazed when I got in it and discovered that the dash pad had about a 6 inch crack that wasnt there at all before! Now it does have a couple of small cracks, which seems normal for these old pads, but this one is long and so unattractive and just came out of nowhere (no time to get used to a small crack getting longer, as this just popped a long crack at once and stopped just before the front of the dash curves down (just left of center). We did have temperatures plunge to well below normal last week (to around 13 one morning), so I am assuming the extreme cold caused it to pop one night/morning. Is this typical? When I think of a dash crack, I think of it cracking a little at a time... not a 6 inch crack out of nowhere.

Now the rest of the interior is nice save for this. Mom hasnt seen it (she dont drive much), but I told her.. she said maybe she can get a cover for it. I know my old W126 had a plastic cover over the original pad, but it was not that attractive. I was wondering if those "cloth" custom fit covers are available for a W126 and the best place to get one?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-22-2010, 08:26 AM
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I had a nice cloth (carpet) cover on one of my 123's and it looked better than some of the plastic ones.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:19 AM
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Location: Northern Louisiana
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Yeah, these moulded dash pads are destined to crack, esp. if exposed to the sun and temp extremes over time. I just don't worry about mine too much; I had to decide to either enjoy the experience (i.e. owning and driving the car) or else torque up about everything that happens or could happen to it. I do wish a little more effort would be expended by the manufacturers, to make this somewhat more durable.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:07 AM
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Classic tale. The dash shell is made of aluminum to save weight. There's a thin foam layer and then vinyl covered. Over time, the vinyl loses elasticity due to solar exposure and then succumbs to the lateral expansion/contraction of the aluminum shell when going through hot and cold exposure.

The reasonable thing to do for those with dashes that haven't cracked yet is to use minimize solar UV exposure via dash covers, windshield screens, UV protectors like Aerospace 303.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:47 PM
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As I understand the method of manufacture: the foam is either moulded or glued to the aluminum stamping, then the vinyl is heated and placed on top of the shell-foam assembly. A plastic membrane is placed over this, and a vacuum pulls the plastic cover down and around this and bends the warmed vinyl to conform to all the contours. I looked up "vacuum forming" and learned a lot.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by partsman225 View Post
i had my old 126 crack out of nowhere one day right in the middle.

overlays dont look like the org. dash pad more tex. to them plus the speaker grilles areas suck.

i had a carpet pad of a 116 that i owned look good, but dont know where it came from ?
Yeah Doc, we are thinking of going with the cloth.

Yeah, this dash wasnt perfect, had a couple of small cracks coming out of the speaker corners, they didnt spread, but it was in the middle where it came out of nowhere it seems. So unattractive, but I think its where it wasnt there, then it was all of a sudden, lol.

Yeah partsman... my old 85 w126 had that plastic cover and I agree...the area around the speaker area was not attractive... also it looked like had pressed up my a-pillar covers.

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