Dash Repair Woes

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  newkitman 11 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #302180

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    Well I plugged the hole in the dash for the voltmeter. I let the plug dry for 48 hours and then its time to drill to fit the voltmeter. Voltmeter is 1/16 inch smaller than planned hole which is no problem as the bezel will cover the slightly larger hole. So I start drilling the dash. Sharp hole saw and medium speed on the drill. So far; so good. Then, when almost through, the hole saw bucked and tore the dash and right at the narrowest part of the dash. It not only broke the dash in two but it split across to another gauge.  😡  🙁

    So…tomorrow I go purchasing. Off to Home Depot because they have the 3/4 inch thick mahogany plank that I’ll use to make my new dash. I’ll use the remnants of the old wood dash as a template. 🙂  Pictures to follow Monday.

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    #302193

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    Okay. New wood purchased for dash. Got the wood at Warner Robins Supply. So a quick question/poll. Before installing gauges…sand, stain and polish dash face or sand and cover with black vinyl? How difficult would applying vinyl be? Quick note…I’m not very good with curved surfaces.

    One other question. Anyone know the diameter of  stock VW Bug speedo?

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  newkitman.

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    #302197

    toller
    Participant

    @toller

    I opted for black walnut that I stained and sealed with the Cetol products. One of the few products that is still oil based and is UV resistant. I considered going with vinyl and using contact cement on the front and heating and stretching the vinyl over the edges and stapling the vinyl on the back of the dash. Problem with using the vinyl was on the corners in trying to fold the vinyl flat and on the concave portions of the dash. So inspite of vinyl replicating original dash finish I went with stain/seal option. Will also be easier to carry out minor repairs without removing the dash, gauges and switches. I posted pics on a previous post but believe they did not make the transition to the new web environment

    David B Dixon
    Port Perry ON CA
    Sabine

    #302198

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    Allen. The stock Bug Speedo is 4 5/8 inches across the bezel. I don’t recall the hole size but 4 3/8 is probably pretty close. It’s just a hair smaller than the standard “5-inch” (actually 4 3/4) gauges you can get in the aftermarket. Given that the original TD had a slightly offset mount for the tach and speedo, I don’t think the size difference is very noticeable.

    Good on you for staining the wood. The vinyl dash is a cool concept but for heaven’s sake do that with a piece of 1/4-inch marine ply or similar. Not black walnut!

    If anyone wants to do a vinyl, stock-style dash I’d applaud. The key is the edges, and the way forward is to get a bit of stainless steel banding.

    Get marine vinyl and stretch it over the dash. I would not glue it with more than medium duty 3M spray-on upholstery adhesive. At the curves, wherever necessary, section the vinyl. Just cut Vs in it with scissors. Staple to the back.

    Now get your stainless steel banding. Drill tiny holes in it every 4 inches, and use tiny brass or stainless nails to tack it along the top and bottom curve of the dash, over the vinyl fold-over. Then affix this thin flexible “chrome strip” to the front face of the dash right on the edge. You want this to have no gap.

    On my dash I used aluminum tape instead of stainless banding. Worked OK but a band would be better.

    Carefully cut the vinyl out from the back of the gauge holes. If you are doing a glove box you have to fold the vinyl as on the outside edges of the dash and band the opening with stainless and the chrome strips.

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  edsnova.
    #302200

    johnsimion
    Participant

    @johnsimion

    I made my dash out of walnut-veneer plywood from Home Depot, and sanded and stained it.  Two things I didn’t like.  The veneer made tiny chips along the edge while I was cutting it (but repairable), and the polyurethane varnish I used caught every dust particle in Las Vegas despite my best efforts.  I wish I could have found solid wood and used Cetol like Toller suggests.  That would have been better but solid walnut or mahogany in the right size is hard to find and I thought polyurethane would be better for outside exposure.  What was I thinking?  It doesn’t rain here!  Well, not until this week anyway.  Nevertheless my dash turned out very nice.

    For the edge I have to disagree with edsnova.  Why fool with stainless steel banding unless you are a glutton for punishment?  I used a 7/16″ plastic chrome molding which was cheap, easy to work with, and conforms to all those curves.  I only used a couple of small screws where the adhesive needed help.  IMHO it actually looks better than stainless because it has “depth” (rounded thickness”) to it that stainless would lack.

    I never considered covering the dash with vinyl.  Original or not, wood just looks much better.  You can also match wood to a wood steering wheel which also looks nice.

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  johnsimion.
    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  johnsimion.
    #302203

    kall
    Participant

    @kall

    Crazy idea.  What about coating the dash with black Plasti-Dip to simulate vinyl?   🙄

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  kall.
    #302205

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    That IS crazy!

    John: pics of your dash? Your way sounds much easier than mine. Good on yea.

    To me the aesthetic key is also adding the vinyl welting between the dash and the scuttle (several photos at link). That stuff covers most of whatever banding you use on your dashboard’s edges, hides any number of minor flaws and lends that overall finished look.

    #302206

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    Okay. I have all the materials for making my new dash. Going to make a TD center instrument cluster thanks to the template from Roy.
    Here’s what I have:

    1   quart Mahogany stain
    1   quart clear lacquer
    1   3/4 inch thick x 48 inch x 12 inch oak wood; for dash
    1   3/8 inch thick x 24 inch x 10 inch oak wood; for center instrument cluster
    1   piece of 24 inch x 10 inch black vinyl; to cover the center instrument cluster
    Several pieces of 1/2 inch thick trim; to edge around the center instrument cluster

    When I’m done with making the dash I’ll post pics of the start, assembly and final dash before I install the gauges, switches and warning lights. It’ll be worth it I think but will take me a few days to get it all accomplished.

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    #302207

    pmossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    Ah the beauty of car building. You get to become a master at:

    • mechanical work
    • fiberglass work
    • electrical work
    • wood-working
    • painting
    • upholstery

    …ad infinitum!

    Paul Mossberg
    1982 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to http://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    #302208

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    Not only that. Sometimes you get to purchase new tools!  Sweet!!!!!

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    #302209

    toller
    Participant

    @toller

    Allen
    Two questions, as oak has both an open and closed grain structure will you be using a filler and conditioner prior to staining? I have used filler to provide a glass smooth surface when working with oak. The conditioner will provide an even penetration of stain. Second question, why did you decide to use lacquer as your top coat. I know cars are painted with lacquer but I would not have considered using it on wood that may be exposed to the elements, sun, rain, humidity etc.

    David B Dixon
    Port Perry ON CA
    Sabine

    #302210

    royal
    Participant

    @royal

    Allen, depending on how much top down driving and where your car is to be stored, you might want to rethink using Lacquer for topcoat.  I recommend reading some about finishes used in boating.  I lived in sunny Florida for many years and learned a lot about UV inhibitors before I got smart.  But, I left Florida 15 years ago and a lot has changed, so I can not offer specific recommendations.

    You might want to buy your finish at West Marine etc (cost be damned).

    #302211

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    I said lacquer because I couldn’t remember the name of the product. I got it at the boat repair shop. I’ll have to get the name of it later. Right now I have my household chores and then back to the dash work. I will start with the instrument cluster and may end up just staining and sealing it. Using the vinyl will mean adding trim and the trim wouldn’t bend well so I would have to cut the edges square. Still pondering that part but I have time. Have to carefully cut and drill the cluster piece. More to follow.

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    #302212

    toller
    Participant

    @toller

    As you are starting anew would recommend using a drill press for drilling holes for gauges. I had the greatest success using Forstner bits, followed by hole saws using the drill press. Had problems maintaining them perpendicular to the wood using a hand drill. Would not consider using spade bits as they are really only effective for rough cuts. Have not tried using a fly cutter

    David B Dixon
    Port Perry ON CA
    Sabine

    #302213

    johnsimion
    Participant

    @johnsimion

    Toller, I drilled the holes for my instruments into 7/16″ walnut veneer plywood with my hand drill using hole saws I bought for that purpose at Home Depot.  These were 4-1/4″ diameter and 2-1/2″ diameter respectively (as I recall, I had to order the larger one from Home Depot online rather than in-store).  Essentially these are just regular saws that are made into a circle and designed to put a drill chuck in the center.  With a light touch, the holes turned out perfectly, or very nearly so.  I also cut out the basic shape of the dash using my saber saw with a brand-new, fine-tooth blade.  It also turned out very well.  In both cases there were very minor chips to the veneer that Allen would never get with a solid piece of oak.  In any event, the chips are not noticeable at all on the instruments, because the bezels totally cover the chips.  The chips on the edge of the dash were filled with wood filler and stained, sealed, and varnished like the rest.  Perfect?  No, but pretty darned good if you aren’t looking for defects.  My car has so many other defects that if a perfectionist is looking for defects, his eyes will glaze over long before he gets to the dashboard.

    Granted that a drill press would be better yet … but unless Allen already has access to a drill press, what I did seems like a good alternative.  Allen, go to Home Depot and look in the tool section and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  johnsimion.
    #302215

    toller
    Participant

    @toller

    John, the hand tools that you used can certainly do the job but as Allen was looking for opportunities to buy new tools was providing some recommendations. As I could only buy 1×6 solid rough cut black walnut I had to put the wood through a thickness planer to reduce to 3/4″. Then used a joiner to square the edges and a biscuit cutter to ensure alignment for gluing two boards to give me a board almost 11″ wide. I used a band saw to cut the curves of dash, drill press for the gauge holes and plunge router to rabbet the backside of gauge holes so that I could use plastic rings that came with gauges to secure them in the holes. So if Allen has room in his workshop these are the tools that he could add to his collection. Note, I have acquired these tools over the last 30 years as I have built and restored furniture as a hobby.

    David B Dixon
    Port Perry ON CA
    Sabine

    #302216

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    I ended up using a hand drill with the hole cutter. Drill has a level and an attachment for securing the drill and keeping level against what you are drilling. Came out very well so far. Cluster cut, drilled and sanded clean. On to the main dash. Pictures probably Monday. Family duties today.

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  newkitman.

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    #302218

    kall
    Participant

    @kall

    FYI. I have a small, home handyman drillpress which is very handy and usefull for many things, including sanding.

    But, if you are thinking of buying one especially for the dash project check a dimension called “throat depth”.  ( 😈 Pause while the snickering quiets down)  The throat depth determines the maxium distance from the edge of your workpiece to the center of the hole you are drilling.  That might be an issue if you are planning on drilling holes in the middle of a wide board.

    But you still have my permission to buy one.   😀

    #302420

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    Except for installing the two oil gauges (temp and pressure) and wiring the gauges up, here’s how the dash turned out. Hope these three photos come through.

    Well they didn’t come out. Photos can be seen at http://www.fotki.com/Allen1209 under MGTD build.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by  newkitman.
    • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by  newkitman.

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

    #302423

    billnparts
    Participant

    @billnparts

    Well I hope it’s just my view of the photos, but it appears the insert is too large for the dash panel. I’ll need to see the finished project.

    Bill Ascheman
    Fiberfab Ford
    Modified 5.0, 5sp., 4:11
    Autocross & Hillclimb
    "Drive Happy"

    #302424

    johnsimion
    Participant

    @johnsimion

    That looks just fantastic!  What a nice finish on the wood, and the chrome really makes the center “pop.”  Very professional looking.  I’m curious, though, what chrome you used.  It turned out great even with the corner joints … apparently you have both a sharp eye and a sharp knife.

    #302451

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    I used what johnsimion suggested…Cowles Custom Chrome Flexible Interior/Exterior Molding, 1/8-inch wide, 20ft roll. I purchased it on the O’Reilly’s web site because the local stores were out. And we have three stores local. It must be a popular trim. Another hobby of mine is building wooden model sailing ships (like the Santa Maria, Half Moon, etc) that requires me to have a full Exacto Knife set with a lot of sharp blades. I measured the trim and cut it straight with the Exacto knife and after I cut all the pieces, I angle cut them to fit as I installed them. I’m not really happy with the bottom cuts so I’ll carefully remove that trim, cut and angle cut those and then install them to fit.

    Allen Caron
    VW based 53MGTD - "MoneyPenny"
    "If one thing matters, everything matters" - from the book The Shack

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