Chicagoland MG Club: Tech Tips

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  Chicagoland MG Club:Tech Tips

How to Repair Cracks in Vinyl Dashboards
for Under $20
- by John Stasek
(Note: This is for a driver vehicle. If you have a show car,
buy a new dash!!!)

This repair can be done with the dash remaining in the vehicle in a heated garage or in warm (not hot) weather. Here is what you need to get started: 220 grit sandpaper, an orbital sander (not a necessity, but it makes it easier), a small bottle of Elmerís Ultimate Glue (Gorilla Glue is the same), a small tube of flexible body filler or spot putty (I used Green Magic by Swiss / Gojo but I canít find it anymore), and one or two cans of gloss black upholstery paint (I used Rust-Oleum Specialty Vinyl Paint from Menards).
Now to get started; using the edge of the orbital sander with 220 grit paper, lightly knock down the curled up edges of the split and make it flush with the rest of the dash. Clean off the split area with air or a brush. IMPORTANT: wet the split with water. Dab a wet paper towel into the split. These types of poly glues wonít work well without a little moisture. Fill the split to about 1/4 or 1/2 full with the glue. You may need to use some masking tape to keep the glue from running out of the split. Donít overfill the split, the glue will expand. Now let it sit for 12-24 hours.
When it is dry, lightly sand with the edge of the orbital sander. Clean out and add more glue if necessary until the dash split is level with the rest of the dash. The poly glues dry by leaving thousands of little bubbles. Once this is sanded the bubbles are open and will require a little bit of body filler or spot putty. Let the filler dry, sand and if required repeat until smooth.
Now that the repair is complete it is time to paint the repair as well as the entire dash for color uniformity. You will notice that there is no grain pattern on the repair. I have not found one yet. However my brother said there are graining kits available, so I will be trying to track one down. If anyone does know of one, please let the club know where you got it and how it worked.
If you want to practice prior to doing your own dash, buy the used dash from the clubís classified section. This repair is NOT perfect, but it sure beats looking at the splits or gluing shag carpeting to the dash.

Click for larger pictures

Sand, fill and sand.
Fill and finish sand.

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