That escalated quickly

As mentioned in previous posts, I purchased this roll of self-adhesive vinyl to patch and refinish the seat covers. My plan was once finished with the seats, to take the rest of the roll and recover the crumbly foam rubber dash panel. A new one is around $300 and I’m far too cheap to pay that much.

To get at the dash panel, I removed the visible screws and washers from inside the car. The dash panel wouldn’t budge. The air vents are in really bad shape, so I remove those and set them aside. Removing the center vent meant removing a lot of stuff from under the bonnet, including the glove box, which also contained the stereo. The grills behind the steering wheel had some metal tabs that needed to be untwisted to allow them to push through into the passenger compartment.

With all of that removed, I still couldn’t get the dash pad out. There were a couple of quarter mile long screws in the corners. The grab handle above the glove box had to be removed. There were some very tricky nuts hiding up under, where there was only room for a wrench to make quarter turns.

Then the speedometer/gauge cluster. The chrome trim ring around the speedo had some more metal tabs folded over, under, around the back side edge. The fuel gauge worked the day I bought the car, but the needle disappeared when I filled the car up after lunch three miles from where I picked the car up, so that has been a job that I’ve been putting off for over a year.

The little 4″ kicker speaker on the left side of the steering wheel will need to be removed, but I left it in there for the moment. And finally, success! The dash pad has been liberated.


Those are two separate magnetic parts bowls full of screws, bolts, nuts, and washers. The first one was stuck to the front bumper in one of the earlier pictures.

Once I got the car packed up for the day, I brought the dash pad inside and snapped some more pics to document its current state.

I don’t want to just wipe this down and cover it with vinyl. There are so many structural issues. Also, the speaker hole that is cut out in the left side of the steering wheel will need to be covered over. I can block that off, since I plan to put speakers in the kick panels in the front floor boards.

I made a trip to O’Reilly and picked up some ultra black silicon RTV and JB Weld PlasticWeld.

Somehow, that came to over $22. Anyway…

For the heavier structural problems, I plan to use the PlasticWeld and for the rest of the cracks and surface imperfections, I will fill in with the ultra black. I didn’t realize how many different contours this dash pad had, but I imagine I will be able to stretch the vinyl into shape a little better with the aid of a heat gun.