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Tips on installing complete dash pad

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Eaglepointmgbgt Rich Medcraft
Eagle Point, Oregon, USA   USA
I have a'70 dashboard that needs a new dash pad installed. This is not the cap but the entire pad The instructions suggest using a spray adhesive, using slip sheets of new plastic sheeting to allow for positioning. The crucial part of the process is getting the gauge and switch openings lined up right. Has anyone done this and do you have any tips? Can guerilla glue be used instead? This would allow for getting the positioning right. Then it could be clamped while it dries. Any thoughts?

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chris Avatar
chris Platinum Member Chris Roop
Pendleton, OR, USA   USA
I've always used 3M vinyl roof adhesive and no slip sheets (out of my ignorance about how to make them work). Starting at the gauge end helps. Use the gauge recesses in the pad to align and fit. Some people have drilled holes in the centers of the recesses, then used a small board front and rear to bolt through those holes to use as a clamp. I just press and hold. Worry about the back of the dash later. Be careful when cutting out the gauge holes; centers to edge then around and leaving a little for later trimming is better than blowing it by cutting too much.
Good luck!


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ghnl Avatar
ghnl Eric Russell
Mebane, North Carolina, USA   USA
1961 MG MGA "Calvin"
I did it with our '78 B's dash. I used contact cement. You apply a coat to both surfaces, let it dry (about 30-45 minutes) then it doesn't stick to the slip sheets but does stick to itself. (I don't understand how it works but it does.) So, after apply the contact cement to the dash core and the new dash covering & letting it dry you put slip sheets between them, get everything aligned and pull out the slip sheets one at a time. Plan ahead with a small slip sheet in a critical area. Hold the other areas still and remove the slip sheet from the critical area. Warning - when contact cement contacts it mating part the bond is essentially made right away and is not re-positionable!

Once the main face of the dash is glued in place some additional contact cement is used to hold down the areas that overlap. Gentle application of heat will make the vinyl more supple (I used a heat gun on 'low').



Eric Russell ~ Mebane, NC
1961 MGA #61, 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6, 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider, 1991 Honda ST1100


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chris Avatar
chris Platinum Member Chris Roop
Pendleton, OR, USA   USA
Eric, garbage bags have been suggested as slip sheets. Is that what you used?


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19DPMGB69 Avatar
19DPMGB69 Gold Member Denton Perry
Snellville, GA, USA   USA
1969 MG MGB
I couldn't get the slip sheets to work for me when I did my 69. Used the 3M glue, Used the gauges for alignment. No complaints. Did it back in the 90's.

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captkenny2 allen kenny
omaha, USA   USA
1976 MG MGB
Contact cement works and that is what I used on mine several years ago. But there have been a lot of developments in "glue technology" that are more forgiving. I see no reason you couldn't use any glue, including gorilla glue as long as it i doesn't have any reactions with the foam on the dash cover.

ghnl Avatar
ghnl Eric Russell
Mebane, North Carolina, USA   USA
1961 MG MGA "Calvin"
In reply to # 2406390 by chris Eric, garbage bags have been suggested as slip sheets. Is that what you used?

Ha! I did that job in 2004. With my CRS I can't say for sure what I used. It was likely clear plastic - fairly heavy stuff like an old shower curtain. I'd be worried that thin plastic (like a garbage bag) might catch & tear.



Eric Russell ~ Mebane, NC
1961 MGA #61, 1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6, 1984 Alfa Romeo Spider, 1991 Honda ST1100

Wray Avatar
Wray Gold Member Wray Lemke
., South Carolina, USA   USA
Rich, good advice above. With your pillow dash your concern is the gauge holes so test fit them. On the later cars the glovebox is the critical area. Despite my best efforts, the glovebox hole was not quite lined up and the box itself would not go in. I was able to use a heat gun to gently soften the vinyl and kept pushing the box in until it had formed the opening and fit.

Simon Austin Avatar
All good tips offered, especially using the gauges to provide alignment. I had to redo one dash as the pad was off by about 1/8" in the are of the tach and two small gauges.

I didn't realise it when the pad was glued on but when it came time to cut out the holes, that's when it showed up. I thought I could live with it but no.

Got a new pad (sold the old one) and made sure I did it right this time. I precut two of the ancillary gauge holes then used the gauges to align the pad.

Contact cement worked for me. I've done 4 of these. I think I used plastic sheets on them to keep those sections apart until needed.

It's a worthy project.



"Speed costs........how fast you want to spend?"

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van5758 Jim Van Pelt
Hemet, CA, USA   USA
Got my new dash pad out of the box for the first time today after getting the metal part all painted and ready. I was disappointed to see that the vinyl was a good half to three quarters of and inch above the metal. I'm talking about where the gauges are located. I have a pillow top 71 so the guage area is the only realty important part. I had no idea on how to get the vinyl to lay down on the metal in the guage area. I know it has to, for the job to come out right, I just have no idea how to do it. OPEN FOR SUGGESTIONS.

Simon Austin Avatar
Jim,

I sent this reply to your PM but thought I'd post it here for others. Hope this helps.


Use the tach and speedo as "clamps" to hold the vinyl pad against the metal back. One you've used them as aligning tools and ready to glue them together, install these two gauges with their hold-down clamps.

During the alignment stage, cut as little vinyl out of the gauge holes as you can then slip the gauge into the hole. If you cut too much "hole" vinyl away, the gauge bezel may not cover the properly and may slip inside the pad. Ask me how I learned this....



"Speed costs........how fast you want to spend?"

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Steve Lyle Avatar
Tulsa, OK, USA   USA
1972 Lotus Elan
1972 MG MGB
In reply to # 3472408 by van5758 Got my new dash pad out of the box for the first time today after getting the metal part all painted and ready. I was disappointed to see that the vinyl was a good half to three quarters of and inch above the metal. I'm talking about where the gauges are located. I have a pillow top 71 so the guage area is the only realty important part. I had no idea on how to get the vinyl to lay down on the metal in the guage area. I know it has to, for the job to come out right, I just have no idea how to do it. OPEN FOR SUGGESTIONS.

You'll need to remove some of the foam from the cover, or some of the structural foam from the dash frame, or both, for the cover to fit correctly. Moss covers this in their instruction sheet - see http://www.mossmotors.com/graphics/products/PDF/453-814.pdf

Is used rough sandpaper - 40 - 80 grit, a small wire brush on a mini-die grinder, and knives to remove the foam. Go slow and be careful, to state the obvious. The structural foam can be worked with a Stanley sure-form tool, but I'd only trim that as a last resort (i.e., all foam removed from the pad, and it still doesn't fit).



Documenting my project in my journal at http://www.mgexperience.net/journal/index/Steve+Lyle

Paul755 Paul H
Richmond, Virginia, USA   USA
1974 MG MGB MkIII
1979 MG MGB MkIV "Nemesis"
I just finished the first part of installing a new complete dash pad on a 76 MGB. The quality and fitment of the replacement pad was not great. I used the version Moss sells.

This what I found, your experience may be completely different to mine.

I ignored the instructions, and started with the glove box insert. I used the original latch mounting to frame holes to index the dash. The gauge holes lined up fairly well, but the rim around the gauge holes was way too thick. I removed a lot of material, and used a heat gun with 2 plywood disks 1/2" wider than the instrument hole ( stuck a felt pad to the wood disk side in contact with the vinyl ) as a clamp to flatten out the dash cover around the gauge holes.

The foam backing was way too thick where the gauges and switches are located. On the original, the vinyl + foam is around 1/16" thick where the gauges are located, the new dash pad foam was 1/4" + thick. This also prevents the finisher for the oil pressure gauge and the switches fitting. I had to remove a lot of backing foam from the new dash to get the thickness correct for the gauges and the oil pressure gauge chrome finisher to fit. You need to be able to bend the tangs over the metal backing frame. To figure how much to foam take off the new dash pad , I used a large pair of calipers to measure the thickness at several points and used that as my sanding guide. Go gently, and by hand only. I used 80 grit and the when close to correct, I changed to 120 grit. No belt sanders ! If you are tempted to use power tools, get a big piece of paper and write $330 in big red numbers where you can see it.

There was only a very small "dimple" in the foam backing for the choke lever location, the backing foam was flat. I filled part of the "dimple" in the metal backing with flexible body filler. I put the choke pull wrapped in cling film to act as a template while the filler dried.

Switches, again the foam backing was way too thick, it was at least 1/4". I needed to sand down the foam to around 1/8" . I found that the best way to get the switches to look right, is not to cut the vinyl
over the switch holes until the very end. I removed the foam down to the vinyl for about 1/8" beyond the switch bezel size. I made a couple of wood blocks that fitted the recessed area around the switch opening as a clamp. You want only vinyl in the bezel recess around the switches or the switch won't "lock" in the opening.

Once I had the gauges, switches and glove box insert fitted, I checked the overall fitment and trimmed the backing foam as needed.- mostly at the ends of the new dash pad where it curves down. I didn't need to touch the original dash structural foam. I used a water soluble whitewash from a craft store to provide the witness marks on where backing foam needed to be removed.

Note, on my new dash pad there is also backing foam missing ( 3/4 wide ) from the new dash pad at the bottom of the glove box opening. I used a low expansion high density spray foam to fill the gap at the end of the process. I also injected the foam into a few gaps between the original structural foam and the new dash foam. Don't use a high expansion low density foam. I found that the red fire block spray foam is about right. Use sparingly, its always easier to add more. I'm still waiting for it to wear off my hands. Wear gloves.

To glue it up, I used Pliobond 25 contact cement on the recommendation of an auto upholstery shop. I primed the exposed sanded foam with a coat of cement and let it dry and then a second coat . As per the Pliobond 25 instructions, I let the adhesive completely dry and then used Acetone on a small paint brush to reactivate the adhesive as I went along. I did a test glue up first and it grips very well. I put the glove box in first and used the latch screws to get the dash indexed again. I used two large gauges to verify it was in the correct location. I put my gauge and switch wood clamps back and then put the dash in a large vacuum bag used for veneering wood. I was able to borrowed it from a friend who owns a cabinet shop. A couple of quilts and sand bags would work as well.

After 12 hours in the vacuum bag, I removed the clamps and cut out the holes for the switches. Next weekend I will get the vinyl edges glued down. It will take a heat gun, lots of soft faced clamp and more patience that I can muster.

Would I do this again? NFW, its a serious PIA. I don't blame Moss for the poor fit, they sell what is available. My next MGB project will be a metal dash version. Wrinkle paint I can do.

Gromit Avatar
Gromit Larry Heaps
Street, MD, USA   USA
1974 MG MGB "74 Moss"
While we're talking about replacement dashes, Can the steel of the dash be 'filled' or water is required', then painted to create a steel dash?

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