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Thread: Dash - to cap or replace?

  1. #1
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    Default Dash - to cap or replace?

    There are dash caps available (on EBay) to cover my cracked 1983 Turbo 280ZX dash or I can purchase a "refurbished" dash for $1800.00, and trade in my old dash. Has anyone had experience with dash caps? They glue on. It just does not sound right to me. Thank you.

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    Registered User Stanley's Avatar
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    If the car is perfect, body and mechanical, why not spend 1800 on a better dash. Why do they crack, anyway?

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    HLS30A 17574 djwarner's Avatar
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    Zfever in Tampa offers a refurbishment for under $900.

    I have no first hand experience with their process, but I have met the owner and they have an established business.
    1971 240Z HLS30A 17574 L24-021025

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    Registered User EuroDat's Avatar
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    Here is a good read on doing your own repair. If it doesn't work you can always go with the cap or the $1800 exchange
    http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/i...-pictures.html
    Chas
    Chas
    5/77 280Z HLS30 403100 with some modifications
    Original colour: 305 Light Blue. The PO changed it to Red

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    Registered User psdenno's Avatar
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    Several other question accompany the decision. Here are a few.
    Can you install the replacement yourself after removing the old dash and instruments?
    Is $1,800 within your budget?
    What level of restoration do you desire - show quality or cover the cracks quality?
    How long do you plan to keep the car?
    Dennis
    1971 240Z - Original Owner
    2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible

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    One key point hasn't been mentioned yet. Going the dash cap route means that you won't have to pull the dash out of the car (not a trivial task -- especially if you've never done this before) and won't have to re-install the new/refurbished dash afterwards (see previous comment). The dash cap will also: 1) save you a lot of $$$; 2) give you a durable surface with an OE-look texture; 3. take away the risk of new cracks appearing in a DIY refurbished dash.

    That said, you'll find lots of comments on this site about caps often needing some massaging (heat gun) and shaving (of the lips that fit inside one or maybe two of the gauge or air vent recesses) in order to fit properly. You will also need to use the right adhesive (and in only the right places) to create a good-looking installation that won't warp or bow/cave afterwards.

    One member here (name?) has posted a detailed instruction set for installing a cap. His results were very impressive and convinced me that that was the way to go. In my case (240Z), I already had a cap so the issue of whether or not to buy one was not a concern. However, when I attempted a trial fit, I found that my dash had 'grown' in width (due to the 3 cracks, I guess) to the point where the cap simply wouldn't fit. I ended up having to pull the dash and refinish it -- a job that took several weekends to complete. Although I'm happy with the end result, it wasn't easy to get right and I still think the cap is the better way to go (if it fits). At worst, you'll only be out the cost of the cap.

    The best, cost-is-no-issue solution is to pull the dash and send it to Just Dashes (California) for a professional repair and re-cover. They repair the cracks, re-contour the undersurface, and then apply a new top skin with the correct texture. They use a vacuum-and-thermoforming process to pull the new top skin around all of the contours and down into the gauge recesses. With the costs of crating and two-way shipping included, this approach is probably going to cost you $1,500 - $2,000.

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    Thank you for insight into the different approaches. I am adjusting budget now to send dash out to be repaired. I am glad I can keep the original part with the car.

  8. #8
    HLS30A 17574 djwarner's Avatar
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    One other point about dash caps. Since they sit on top of the old surface, they reduce the diameter of the instrument holes. This can make removal of the speedometer or tachometer problematic. This is often discovered years after the cap is installed.
    1971 240Z HLS30A 17574 L24-021025

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