Upper Dash Pt 1 – Removal

Removal of the upper dash revealed a fairly typical scenario for these vehicles.

The main panel to which the demisters, vent levers and instrument binnacle are mounted has a thick but not terminal layer of rust.

The upper ‘shelf’ section has deep cracks in the hard foam padding with corresponding splits in the vinyl covering. The cracks in the foam seem to have originated from where screws have been fixed through the steel panel and rusted. The vinyl itself has become hard and brittle. I had thought about filling the cracks and using a special plastic paint on this section but it’s way too bad for this, there is no ‘give’ in the vinyl – it will have to be recovered. So my plan is to carefully remove the vinyl, fill the cracks with expanding foam and buy a piece of vinyl fabric.

I note that the existing vinyl isn’t fabric-backed, but just a single layer of vinyl that looks the same both sides. I guess this would have been applied with adhesive and heat. I have recovered speaker enclosures and amps before and I know from experience that it isn’t easy to get it looking like a factory job. I have read several accounts of others completing this task using slightly different materials and techniques so I hope to make a decent job of it based on their experiences.

Some pictures of the existing state for now while I contemplate what to order….

The back panel is much worse this side. To make matters worse, my lawn needs cutting after all this rain

The back panel is much worse this side. To make matters worse, my lawn needs cutting after all this rain

It is hard and brittle and has quite a sharp edge. No way can this be glued. Also the foam has turned to dust where the rusty screw came through.

It is hard and brittle and has quite a sharp edge. No way can this be glued. Also the foam has turned to dust where the rusty screw came through.

More happy hours scraping to follow...

More happy hours scraping to follow…

….I may be some time!

Vinegar

I am going to experiment with the rusty panel. I have read that distilled white vinegar is good for removing rust so I have ordered a couple of 5 litre cans and will make a bath from a polythene sheet, and report back. If it works it will be a cheap solution, plus it goes nicely with fish and chips.

5 thoughts on “Upper Dash Pt 1 – Removal

  1. I’m interested to see how the vinegar goes 🙂

    Yes, I recovered my dash top and lower part. The upper section I did first and made the mistake of putting scrim foam over the top of the factory rigid foam. This meant the vinyl covering is very squishy and doesn’t have the hard crisp shape that the factory produced. It would be perfectly acceptable on a headboard on a bed but not quite right for a dashboard! On the lower section I didn’t use a scrim foam backing but instead glued the vinyl directly to the factory rigid foam shape and it looks perfect, very crisp shape.

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    • I will let you know on the condiment! Your dash is a work of art as far as I’m concerned (I’ve read your pages about it many times) and I note your comment about not using the scrim. I’m hoping that I will end up with a usable surface on the foam once I’ve filled the holes. I was thinking about using some kind of sanding sealer on it. Unfortunately I won’t get out to the shed now until Sunday afternoon, so frustrating!

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      • Thank you. Your idea of using expanding foam to repair the cracks sounds perfect and in fact I’d do the same to repair my foam next time I do one. The original foam padding on my dash once I’d removed the old cracked black vinyl was britlle and orange in colour anyway so looked and felt like old expanded foam.

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  2. Good Morning. Can you please assist me on how to remove the top dash part only. I have removed all the screws at the windscreen side but it wont move. Do one need to remove the entire dash? Land Rover Series 3. I believe a 1977 model.

    Regards

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    • Hi Ernest, thanks for your interest. I will have a closer look at the weekend but I seem to remember there are two ‘hidden’ bolts from the top of the large back-plate that go into the front of the dash panel. You definitely don’t need to take out the whole dash, back asap, thanks, Nigel

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