New Dash Project

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  davearoy 4 years, 10 months ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #235604

    lostinidaho
    Participant

    @lostinidaho

    I am going to start a new make a new dash for my FF.

    I don’t want my vehicle to be out of use for long period of time.

    My plan is to make the template and cut out the dash on Saturday.

    Any ideas on how to make the template without taking the dash completely apart??

    My plan is to post my progress.

    Lost

    #263358

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    Tape brown paper to the dash and trace the outline. You may be able to trace the outline of each switch knob and gauge. If not measure op, down, across and from a side edge to the middle of each gauge. Maybe someone here has a dash pattern you could use.

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

    #263359

    fairwindsnc
    Participant

    @fairwindsnc

    I can trace my 1982 FF blank/uninstalled dash and send it to you, if you want. Maybe not in time for Saturday.

    #263360

    lostinidaho
    Participant

    @lostinidaho

    That would be awesome.  The better the template the better the results.

    I have pm’ed you

    Thanks

    Lost

    #263361

    fairwindsnc
    Participant

    @fairwindsnc

    In the mail today, you should receive Monday, I’m told.

    It will be a little larger than real maybe 3/16, but you will need to trim to fit yours anyway.

    Good luck.

    #263362

    johnsimion
    Participant

    @johnsimion

    Having just re-done my own dash … I would recommend AGAINST it unless you are ready for a long and difficult journey.  There is no way I would ever make the new dash first before taking off the old one, and there is no way your car will be out of commission for a “short time.”  After going through this, I’ve concluded that to do this right, you need an expert designer, cabinetmaker, mechanic, and an electrician on your full-time staff.  In my case, the only other member of my team was named Murphy, and Murphy was with me every step of the way.

    Point 1, the dash with all its gauges and knobs on it is FAR too rough to trace onto cardboard.  Even if you could, the cardboard would move enough that when you cut it out, it won’t match the actual dash.  That’s okay as long as you err on the side of being too big, but err on the side of being too small and you are totally, well, it rhymes with “trucked.”  I removed everything and traced the pattern of the dash directly onto walnut plywood, and cut it out very carefully, and even then I had all kinds of fitment problems.
    Point 2, while it is very nice of Fairwindsnc to trace his dash for you, just because it is Fiberfab doesn’t mean it will actually fit your car, and — you won’t even know until AFTER you have spent numerous hours cutting it out and removing your old dash.  Can you imagine how you are going to feel if it DOESN’T fit at that point?  Can you afford to take that chance?  Not me, no way, no how.  These cars all seem to be different.  My car is also Fiberfab and it came with a solid mahogany dash.  I have no idea who made it, it is nice work but it doesn’t look like an authentic TD, which is why I replaced it.  I might even be willing to sell you my old mahogany dashboard.  It’s in great condition and you could easily strip it and stain and refinish it IF it fits BOTH your dash AND your instruments.  I live in Vegas, the odds are 10-1 against.  Do you feel lucky?
    Point 3, unless you are doing a complete copy of your original dash, you’ll need to allot time just to layout the pattern you want.  It’s not easy trying to center things in the midst of all those curves.  My eraser was my best friend.  And I mentioned needing a designer on the team — I spent months planning the dashboard and instrument panel before I ever made one cut.  Well, I just finished it and it worked out great — until I took it to the mechanic this morning to be rewired and realized that I forgot that I needed a starter button with the “original” TD ignition switch that I thought would be so cool …
    Point 4, you simply can’t replace the dash without UNwiring everything and pulling it ALL out of the old dash first, so even if you have a brand new dash ready to go that fits perfectly (good luck with that), you’ll have a real rat’s nest of wires hanging down that then need to be replaced in the proper order or nothing will work.  FYI, just removing the old wires and tagging each one (while working in that tiny, tiny space) took me about 4 hours.  Or, e.g., if your new dash was an exact replica I guess you could replace each wire and each gauge “as you go,” but it would be extremely difficult and also very likely to damage your new dashboard.

    All told, it took me about a month to remove the old stuff, cut out the new dash, make everything fit, and then finish everything.  Oh, and BTW, that was AFTER I had already accumulated all my materials.  This project has been totally nervewracking.  Nothing fits right the first time.  Even marking everything directly onto plywood, I had to go back and re-cut and re-sand the outside contours several times until I was happy.  I traced the mounting holes directly from the old dash and they still didn’t fit exactly right until I made the holes bigger, thankfully the finishing washers cover up those boo-boos.  I spent about three or four days just building a little door for the radio.  The instruments take a special hole saw to cut out decent holes.  Oh yes, and your wood will crack, splinter, and require lots of wood filler.  Once you think you’re done, you’re not really done because then you get to “finish” it.  You can’t hurry the finish, it takes at least a full day for each coat of stain AND each coat of varnish, and that assumes that your workshop is totally sterile and doesn’t have a bunch of Las Vegas dust particles floating around, looking for fresh varnish to land in.  I love my car, I love my new dash, but I was not about to attempt to re-wire that SOB after going through all this.

    Did I mention that when I screwed on the instrument panel, I managed to have my screwdriver slip and scratch both the instrument panel and my brand new fine varnish finish?  Right now I am absolutely delighted that my car is over at the mechanic to wire everything I disconnected, because I have absolutely reached the limits of my sanity.  At this point I can make more money to pay the mechanic, but I cannot make more sanity for myself.

    Of course, much of this is my own fault, I am a perfectionist.  But then, if you are not a perfectionist, why would you want to mess with a functional dashboard in the first place?

    johnsimion2015-02-26 20:54:51

    #263363

    royal
    Participant

    @royal

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading John’s post above.  But….when I started to read it, I glanced above at the bottom of fairwinds post.  A pretty good replica torso of a woman, complete with navel.  Where else can you have so much fun as on tdreplica.com?

    #263364

    pmossberg
    Keymaster

    @pmossberg

    OMG Roy! That’s hysterical. When I scrolled back up to fairwind’s post, it took a second, but then…there she was! 😀

    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 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)

    #263365

    sabreur76
    Keymaster

    @sabreur76

    Good eye, Roy!  I did not see her the first time I read the post but she sure is there now.

    Vicenç - (bee sense)
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    1983 FiberFab MiGi II - "Montse"

    #263366

    newkitman
    Participant

    @newkitman

    Now that there is funny. I don’t care who you are.

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

    #263367

    secretagentcat
    Participant

    @secretagentcat

    I took my dash off for the template. I then made two dashes one solid oak and the other I had company water jet another out of aluminum for winter driving. It doesnt take long to change them between the seasons and I dont worry about the rain warping the oak. I keep a set of switches and guages installed on both dashes so I just disconnect the labled wires and unscrew the dash. Pretty simple process for my daily driver. A little expensive but Im not replacing a ruined dash frequently with Californias seasons.

    #263368

    billnparts
    Participant

    @billnparts

    You’re a sick man, Roy. I love it.
    I used 4 pole trailer connectors on my dash switches. (some circuits don’t use all 4. Cut off the ones not used). My dash is out in a matter of minutes.

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

    #263369

    edsnova
    Participant

    @edsnova

    A spare dash with instruments? Now that’s dedication!

    #263370

    davearoy
    Participant

    @davearoy

    I agree with Johnsimion! When I refinished my dash, re wired it, and added extra holes for a new four way flasher switch, and a cigarette lighter outlet for my GPS, I NEEDED SEVERAL ADULT BEVERAGES, after I was done each day. I did the whole job myself, it took me about four weeks. You just want it to come out perfect, as it is a major focal point of the car.

    Just my opinion

    Dave

    Dave
    Lakeland, Florida, where we drive Topless every day

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