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Thread: Full dash cover installation help

  1. #1
    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Default Full dash cover installation help

    I've been searching and can't seem to find a thread where a member has documented the install. Now I know someone has done this and has some hints for install

    Thanks
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Yep, seen those threads-not very informative.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Looking for more info like;

    Do the guages or anything else need to be removed during install?
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    No more body roll! SteveJ's Avatar
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    The gauges, vents, etc., stay put. IIRC, the only thing I pulled out of my 73 to put in the cap was the plate between the dash and windshield.
    73 240Z
    74 260Z

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    Make sure that the old cracked dash is clean, sand it , make flat spots on the cracks edges in order to bond the new cap with GE silicone in galore amounts. Good luck

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    Registered User Pop's Z's Avatar
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    Make sure the cap and the dash are warm...direct sunlight is helpful, and a heat gun used very carefully can be a useful, also.

    Cheers, Mike
    '73 240Z, 80,000 original miles, F54, N42 massaged and shaved (10.5-1 comp.), stage 2 cam, ZX ignition, Header, 2 1/2" exhaust w/ magnaflow muffler, 5 spd (Maxima), 4:11 R180 (200SX), 15" Rota RBs 205-60/15 Bridgestone Grid 109s, KYB struts, stock springs, rubber bushings, MSA sway bars and strut bars, HotRod Air hvac system, '90 300ZX seats, upgraded sound system, BRE-type spook and spoiler

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    That's the stuff I'm talking about-thanks guys.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Default dash cap install

    I took off the finisher panel around the steering column. Be careful when you are seating the cap. The area of the cap around the tach and speedo
    is very thin and it got hung up on the rim of the speedometer and bent the edge of the dash cap. check the alignment of the glove box door
    before the glue dries. Mine was a little off. Not sure if my dash had warped over the years or it was my install. I had to adjust my glove box
    door a little by slotting the holes on the bottom.

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Okay,
    so I just read that there might be an alternative to glueing the cover in place-anyone would like to share procedures and results?
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Registered User grantf's Avatar
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    I left mine unglued for a summer. Not to hot here in seattle. It warped, I would glue it down (full cover 77 280z).
    1977 280z
    1974 260z long gone

  12. #12
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    madkaw, if you read my latest " wish I paid closer attention" thread you will see I have an issue right now with removing my tach and speedo. I have the full face cover in place and wished I had found another way to attach it. It is glued down with silicone. I tried to remove the tach again today with a couple thin shims and some oil and no luck! It actually sounded like it was starting to crack! I don't see one yet but it sounded like it. I may just remove the cap and re-install with some 3m double sided tape and hope it works. I don't have time right now to restore the dash or I would be doing that instead. Good luck and post results!

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    I was reading your thread and a member said that is why he DIDN'T glue his down. So I was hoping he would chime in here or someone else about other possibilities like double sided tape.
    Good info to know about the gauges
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Well I recieved my dash cover and can't believe the instructions(lack there of) that came with the cover. Nothing as far as application hints, where to place glue, trimming, NOTHING!
    Just a tube of silicon and a generic one page instruction that covers all models I guess.

    You might say that there is nothing to it, but you would think that the manufactuer would know from R&D what works best as far as application. I know MSA wouldn't give you any additional instructions-they probably haven't tried the product themselves.

    So again any tips that did or did not work for you I would appreciate to hear
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    I found these instructions googling

    https://www.dashcaps.com/dashinstall.pdf

    I guess they warn against using silicon in the "center" sections- I am thinking they only want the edges glued to the center will be able to expand? But they also don't want silicon on the edges-or atleast 1" from the edge
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Quote Originally Posted by madkaw View Post
    Well I recieved my dash cover and can't believe the instructions(lack there of) that came with the cover. Nothing as far as application hints, where to place glue, trimming, NOTHING!
    Just a tube of silicon and a generic one page instruction that covers all models I guess.

    You might say that there is nothing to it, but you would think that the manufactuer would know from R&D what works best as far as application. I know MSA wouldn't give you any additional instructions-they probably haven't tried the product themselves.

    So again any tips that did or did not work for you I would appreciate to hear
    Hi Madkaw,

    What brand full dash cap did you buy? How does it fit over you old dash witout any glue? How does it look appearance wise, does it look like a cap? Is the grain of the plastic similar to the original finish of the factory dash?

    I am debating getting a full dash cap vs bitting the bullet cost wise and sending the dash out to Just Dashes or Dash Restorations.
    Last edited by mgmoreau; 01-21-2013 at 07:59 AM.

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    Working on the fit right now.

    Things I would recommend removing before install

    hazard switch
    Ignition lock assembly-unless you want to scratch the cover-very close
    Steering wheel-why work around it when it is so easy to remove

    I will report back as I go
    It is a Dash Top Brand that MSA sells. Grain looks good and color
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Registered User siteunseen's Avatar
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    Man this great. I got the Dash Top #303 from MSA last Christmas, 2011, and am now going to attempt putting it on but not until your finished! Thanks for posting this.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

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    Registered User mgmoreau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madkaw View Post
    Working on the fit right now.

    Things I would recommend removing before install

    hazard switch
    Ignition lock assembly-unless you want to scratch the cover-very close
    Steering wheel-why work around it when it is so easy to remove

    I will report back as I go
    It is a Dash Top Brand that MSA sells. Grain looks good and color
    Can you post pictures of the dry fit? If possible, would love to see a pic of it on your dash before I pull the trigger. How much did you pay for the cover? Today is the last day MSA has it on sale for $98.96.

    Are you doing this with the dash in the car? My dash is out of the car and all gauages have been removed.

    Thanks,

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    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    I will try and add pics- but this is not plug and play at all.
    Everyones dash will be different, but the cover seems sprung laying on the dash. Sprung enough that I wouldn't trust the silicon to hold it in place.
    The worst area has been in the hazard switch and blank plug area. The cover seems to sit to high off of the dash.
    I have resorted to a heat gun and reforming the cover. I am shooting for the cover to lay on flush everywhere on the dash.
    So far not too bad of results, but be careful with the heat gun- it will do some damage quickly
    The dash is in the car
    Last edited by madkaw; 01-21-2013 at 02:13 PM.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Steve,

    A few more pieces of info for you that may hopefully help. My car is a late model 260Z and so may be a little different from yours.

    I installed / re-installed 2 of these last year on the same car. The first one I used was from MSA and the product itself was OK but as it turns out the lack of any instructions or guidance caused me to have to have to repeat this process. The issue that I had was that I applied WAY too much of the silicone adhesive, especially in the middle / top part of the cover. On top of that, I placed small pieces of plywood on the dash, with fairly heavy weights on top of that to try and get good adhesion between the cover and the original dash. Big mistake. Once it dried I could see impressions of the boards and weights in the new dash cover and it looked awful. I will also say that the areas around the light dimmer and trip odometer reset needed to be trimmed with a dremel and I also needed to do the same thing around the "Datsun 260Z" emblem just above the glove box door.

    So the second time around I purchased the cap from American Dash Caps. They also gave you the option of having the cap painted and decided to take this route as the original one from MSA was a little off color in my opinion. So I purchased a new one from this company and had it pre-painted Satin Black. This color was much better in my opinion.

    Also, American Dash Caps provided instructions and explicitly stated to only use the silicon around the edges and no where else. I've also seen another web site that sells similar products and they state that their warranty will be voided if they find silicon anywhere but the edges!

    I still ended up having to dremel out some of the same areas as the first one, but the installation looks 150% better.

    So my advice to you iis to spend a lot of time getting it to fit, pre adhesive. And once you are ready for adhesive, use it sparingly and only use it on the edges.

    Hope this helps and good luck with your install.


    Mike.

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    Thanks for your input Mike. Yep-preperation is everything, that's why I got the heat gun out. I was so unhappy
    with the fit that I wasn't going to even put it on unless I could make it look better-and i still might not.

    I must say that the heat gun and pressure works pretty well to get the dash cap to hug the corners.

    IFFFFFFF I had time , andIFF it was my car, and I had other reasons to pull the dash, I would probably go with a repair.I don't like the fact that the cover does NOT COVER all the areas. Not sure why the cover comes up short on the ends. This cover comes up short at the bottom of the dash center section down by the console-again--why?

    The last problem is that I am a perfectionist, and this seems like such a bandaid fix. Of course I am installing it so I will know where every imperfection is, but most people will think it looks good and better than two large cracks at the top.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Mike, can you tell if you will have any issues with tach or speedo removal? That is the issue I am having right now, not being able to remove either one through the front. I have the MSA one installed.

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    Color! The cover seems a bit grayish-but since I have never seen an original dash color, not sure if that is correct. The cover color actually matches the glove box door pretty well, but the lighter grayish color is a stark contrast to the defroster panel that is very black. There is a contrast of color to the original dash vinyl that is not covered by the cover. The original dash is definetly darker.
    I really didn't want to paint this cover, but I want it to blend in better-any one else deal with this or how did you deal with this..
    Pictures are tuff in the garage because of lack of light.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Steve,

    I had the same issue with the first cap that I purchased from MSA. So after I decided to removed it due to the installation screw up that I mentioned in my last post, I went with one from American Dash Caps (probably the same folks that MSA gets theirs from). Aside from the more detailed instructions they provided, they also gave the buyer the option of having the cap painted prior to being shipped. Given that I did not like the color of the one from MSA (same issue you had-too light in comparison to the rest of the interior) I had them paint my new one satin black. Much much better than the version from MSA, who did not offer the painting as an option.

    This may not work for you given where you are in the install, but this is how I solved the issue that you are now having.

    Mike.

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    The color is a tricky issue. I tried some Armour all on the cover and it darkened the color quite a bit. The lighter color does match the center console in it's original condition.
    Back to trying to rig bracing for the glue job!
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    The bracing process!
    Atleast my body working tools are getting used
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    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Default cover done!

    Not bad.
    Need to paint the glove box door
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    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    congrats!!!

    Great work
    1971 240Z HLS30-38691
    93.9% done and getting better every day
    Now with 100% more DATSUN SPIRIT L28 Power
    1968 Datsun 2000 SRL311-03416

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    Looks good. A flick of black vinyl spray over the glovebox door, and you're home free.

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    Welding clamps and sanding blocks, your a certified problem solver. Thanks a bunch because I'd never have thought of that. That looks great, I hope mine turns out 50% that good.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

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    Default What I learned from this project

    Removing the steering wheel, heater control panel helped make this easier, plus gave additional areas to help clamp in place.

    The Hazard switch is a PITA to get back in afterwards!

    Be prepared to use a heat gun to make this fit snug.

    Finding a good method to clamp down the top of cover is essential. Use the original defroster panel to put pressure on the lip of the cover. Once I had it snug up top, it seemed to fit better everywhere else. Don't try to apply pressure anywhere else on the top except for on the lip-the dash cover is not supposed to rest on the main surfaces. There is an air gap between most of the surfaces-that's why the instructions tell you to only glue the edges.

    The glove box door barely fits unless you use the heat gun to flatten the edges.

    Be super cautious with the heat gun. Set at lowest settings and stay at least 2-3 inches from the plastic. Touch the plastic thru process to see how hot it's getting. The plastic retains heat, so additional heatings will take less time.

    The dash cover sticks out enough that the clamshells(steering column) are hard to get back on. I actually had to trim the back edge of the top clamshell to get it to fit.

    This is not a 2 hour job, so figure on a very full day or two.

    I can see how there might be difficulty in getting the speedo out if the cover is not laying flat on the dash. I think with some heat, you can persuade the cover to lay flat out of the way.
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Looks good madkaw! That is the non-painted dash cap from American dash caps correct with "deep returns"? I had the MSA one that was black and it didn't blend very well with the surroundings. The deep returns are what made it impossible to remove my tach and speedo. It has lasted a long time though...17 years.

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    ....also, you mention "air gap" on top. Does that mean if you were wiping it down one day and pressed too hard that it could collapse in the center and now there is a permanent dent?

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    Great job and good info!!! This makes me want to buy a full cap for my 260z while I am rebuilding and waiting for the time for the FULL DASH repair/replacement

  36. #36
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    Sorry I didn't reply. The air gap is supposed to be there I believe because the warranty would be void for glueing the cover in any spot OTHER than the edges. I can't imagine it would "dent" in any way. I can't imagine what circumstance would possibly cause a dent. The cover lays really close to the original dash, but you can tell there is a slight air gap.
    The gauge returns are fairly deep, but the issue i see is that some don't sit completely flush against the original dash. I would think with some heat you could get the cover flush enuff to get the gauge out---or maybe not-
    Now that the dash cover has been on there for a while-I still like it.






    Quote Originally Posted by rcb280z View Post
    ....also, you mention "air gap" on top. Does that mean if you were wiping it down one day and pressed too hard that it could collapse in the center and now there is a permanent dent?
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

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    Steve,

    The information you provided on your install was very helpful! When I bought my Z 23yrs ago, it had a half-dash cover installed that had since cracked (the previous owner had glued the entire top of the dash, so the cover could not expand). I just completed the install of the full face dash cover (from MSA) on my late '73 240z and although not perfect, I'm very satisfied with the results and thought I would post a few notes:

    - I removed the defroster panel at the base of the windshield, the upper clamshell of the steering column and opened the glove box door to install the full dash cover;

    - on my late '73, the dash cover did not fit well on the driver side air vent (i.e. lower left side of dash). The air vent on the dash was ~1/4" outboard of the corresponding opening in the dash cover (even with heat, I could not make the opening work); consequently, I had to trim the back of the air vent opening on the dash cover to allow the cover to sit flush against the dash. As a result, in the lower right quadrant of the air vent opening (i.e. ~4 to 7 o'clock position) I can see ~1/4" "fingernail" of the dash. This may be a late '73 240z peculiarity or could just be my car. Given the location, most people will not notice, but I know it's there;

    - I needed to trim the lower portion of the hazard knob hole in the dash cover to make it fit (on a '73, push in and 1/4 turn the hazard knob to remove);

    - the glove box door opening in the cover required some heat to make the cover fit tight against the sides (be very careful with the heat to avoid warping and shrinkage!). Even with the additional molding of the dash cover, I ended up using an orbital sander to sand down the outboard edge of the glove box door ~1/16 to an 1/8" to make it fit properly; it now opens easily. Note that the glove box door is wider on the back side than the front (i.e. a wedge shape), so the material that was removed from the door is not visible when the door is closed. After I got the door to fit, I rubbed down with fine steel wool and then buffed the area of the glove box door that I had sanded away, so you don't notice the removed material when the door is open (as an aside, until working in the glove box area, I did not realize that my glove box door was already warped/twisted (i.e. the upper right corner of the door sticks out ~1/8");

    - my dash was in really bad shape and I had recently installed a new sound system (http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/i...m-install.html), and needed to find a location to install the tweeters. After much deliberation, I cut holes in the new dash cover and cut corresponding holes in the top of the dash for the tweeters to flush mount and a grove in the dash to the outboard sides for the speaker wires. I'm very happy with the results (my dash was in such poor shape that this was not too difficult a decision to make). The tweeters were actually a big help in holding the cover in position;

    - I found that the defroster panel at the base of the windshield really did a great job of making the cover fit properly.

    - I used a Dremel with grinding bit/wheel to carefully trim/grind the dash cover;

    - To brace the cover for glueing, I used the following bracing:
    - two tweeters on the top outside corners of the dash;
    - defroster panel, fully screwed in;
    - pieces of foam between the doors and dash ends;
    - four braces on the bottom edges of the dash, braced against the seat or floor:
    - one left of the steering wheel;
    - one on the lower left edge of the centre stack;
    - one on the contoured surface between the centre stack and the glove box; and
    - one under the passenger air vent.

    - I worked on this installation over a couple of weeks off and on. I installed, braced, removed, trimmed, molded and reinstalled at least a dozen times to get the cover to fit as good as I could before I glued in place.

    Though not perfect, I'm very happy with the results and will try to post some pics tonight.

  38. #38
    Registered User Sean240Z's Avatar
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    Attached are some pics of the final installation (I also refinished the metal spokes of my steering wheel and my wood shift knob):

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  39. #39
    Registered User madkaw's Avatar
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    Looks great
    Steve
    71 240z,bw-5sp 2.4-40 over,balanced,e-88,big valves,ported&polished, stage2,header, triple Mikuni's 40's
    3.90 Subaru STI LSD

  40. #40
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    Nice job, great results. Your attention to planning and detail has really paid off. I'm curious about the extent of coverage this cap provides on the ends of the dash (i.e. the surfaces visible only when the doors are open). If you get a minute, what you mind posting another photo or two?

    Also:

    1. As you know, there's conflicting advice about where to apply the adhesive. Which approach did you choose? What adhesive did you use?

    2. Do you think the cap installation clearances would have tolerated a layer of 1/16" open-cell foam between the dash and the cap? I'm thinking that the foam might provide a bit of cushioning for areas where the dash and cap don't actually meet. Maybe just use in the broad top surfaces?

  41. #41
    Registered User Sean240Z's Avatar
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    Bob,

    I took a couple of pics for you. Normally, you really don't notice the edges of the dash cap. The flash used to take these pics make it a lot more noticeable.

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    1. I followed the directions / used the adhesive provided. I applied adhesive around the edges of the dash cap (i.e at the ends, near the windshield, at the bottom of the dash cap and around all openings).

    2. I see no need to add a layer of foam. Just leave as is.

  42. #42
    1978 280Z (stock) TomoHawk's Avatar
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    I have to leave mine loose because I need to change bulb in the gauges about once a year. Maybe somebody will figure out how to get around that problem without spending $1500.

    The other two problems I still have is that the cap will not go into the center gauge holes and meet the gauge face properly. Plus the forward edge warped where the VIN is, and does not go far enough to tuck under the defroster panel. No matter how you push in it, the forward edge is too short, an there an ugly gap the whole length across. I end up getting big point hits for the awful fit of the cap.

    I also used a small drum sander on the Dremel to adjust the holes for the dimmer and odometer knobs.

    I think I would not recommend any vinyl paint, unless it is satin or flat black, because the gloss paint I used causes lots of reflections in the sun.

    IMO, using silicone is only recommended because if you use it in the middle, it might soften the plastic a little and leave a horrible dent.
    Drive Responsibly.
    enjoy classic Rock music.

  43. #43
    Registered User rcb280z's Avatar
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    Im not very happy with the way mine fit on my 77. I had to heat and reshape it. Got it to fit for the most part but had to cut the holes larger for the dimmer and odometer knobs. Then it got too hot in the odometer and dimmer area that it warped! Pissed me off. Will have to redo it sometime. Not an enjoyable task by any means.

  44. #44
    1978 280Z (stock) TomoHawk's Avatar
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    Heating and shaping the cap actually is not a hard thing to do, but it takes a LOT of time and patience.
    Drive Responsibly.
    enjoy classic Rock music.

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