Lower dash Part 1

I had planned to leave this job until next year in order to concentrate on more important things, but with a little tidying of the wiring in the cab I should still be able to use the vehicle, so as it had to come out to access the ignition switch it seemed silly to put it back in.

This takes me back 20 years to the very first job I did on the first and best Land Rover I ever owned (and wish I had kept). I hand-picked an ex-MOD 109 as the best of about a dozen, it really was a good one. The only thing I found was that the heater flaps were sticking, so on my first weekend I removed the dash panel to fix it. I think it took about 6 weeks to complete this job! So I was very wary about taking this out. My last vehicle was a Lightweight which of course doesn’t enjoy the plush luxury of a lower dash panel.

As always with these, they don’t look too bad at first because they are encased with a layer of foam, topped with black vinyl:

Lower dash - as it came out
Lower dash – as it came out

Closer inspection reveals that the lower edges are rotten:

Lower edges rusted away
Lower edges rusted away

I guess if this was any other part, you’d just order a replacement. Unfortunately the only ones I’ve see are in Cyprus and cost two weeks’ wages. I don’t know anyone who could afford one.

Surely, someone somewhere can work out a way of making these, maybe from GRP? This could be the basis of a nice little business, I imagine that just about every Series 3 owner has the same problem.

I carefully removed the foam and vinyl in one piece from the panel and the wiper motor cover. I removed the cable that operates the heater flaps and other parts:

Foam and vinyl removed
Foam and vinyl removed

Doesn’t look too bad until you get closer:

Rust, close up
Rust, close up

I ground off as much of the rust as I could in the time available:

Worst of the rust removed
Worst of the rust removed

I then coated all bare metal with ‘Granville Heavy Duty Rust Treatment’. My general rule here is, if it’s got paint on it, use this, otherwise, use Fertan. The former is to me almost identical to ‘Kurust’ but many times cheaper to buy. If the component has paint it doesn’t matter, it still dries on painted surfaces, whereas Fertan goes very sticky and messy.

Tomorrow, weather-permitting I will give it all a coat of Screwfix ‘No Nonsense’ galvanising paint. This will help protect it and will show up where the work is required.

Not the worst I’ve seen

This is quite reasonable compared to others and is definitely worth salvaging. Generally speaking the rest of the vehicle has been worse than usual so this is a real bonus!


To see how someone clever deals with this job, take a look here. Unfortunately I do not have the skills or patience to aim for an end result like that!

Plan of action

Ideally I would fabricate a custom ‘series 2 style’ glove box, but I don’t want to spend the rest of the summer working on the inside, especially as I’d have to work out a way of controlling the heater / demister vents.

I toyed with the even more basic style of the lightweight, although on reflection there was absolutely no storage space for even a pen or loose change, maybe not. So I will do exactly the same as last time as I was really pleased with the results, as was the chap who bought it some years later:

1. Patch up the holes and fabricate edges from scraps of aluminium, pop rivet in place.

2. Go over the joins and rivets with body filler to hide the edges, sand down and repeat until smooth

3. Cover all repaired / filled sections with glass fibre matting and back fill / sand

4. High build primer

5. Paint the same colour as the body OR investigate using ‘load liner’ paint as I have seen done somewhere on the web.

This actually looked very smart on the 109 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still serviceable. I doubt the ‘crash padding’ as Land Rover describe it actually helps much in the event of an accident, much better to ensure that occupants are well strapped in in the first place.

Much more to follow on this but I will probably do other stuff first!



  1. Arghhh … recalling that the last time I pulled that cover, it was not much more than rust flakes… 😦 reading mud4fun’s comments I found myself talking about that in 2014… still not fixed 😦 but I now have a full functioning fuel tank 🙂 🙂


    • 🙂 I too love mud4fun’s work, and that lower dash is amazing, his blog is so inspirational. For me, I believe that the original vinyl / foam covering is responsible for retaining the moisture and causing them to rust badly as they do because it becomes separated from the steel and the gap is permanently damp. That’s why I just painted mine. I saw my old 109 (with its new owner) a few years after I did the same to that and it still looked good.


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