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DIY 928 Dash Recover

 
 
Old 02-20-2014, 06:37 PM
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Ladybug83
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Default DIY 928 Dash Recover

Hi all. Im a new 928 owner and I've been soaking in all of your collective knowledge for the past couple of months, so thank you.

In return, I thought I'd write up a little DIY on how I recovered my dash with new vinyl for less than $100. Now before I get started, I know that many of you will poo poo my project, and that's ok. This is not for everyone, some wont like the look, some will questions the quality. Its all good. If I had my preference, I would've sent my dash to RB for recovering but I'm saving budget for other, more important items on my to do list (paint, engine seals, wire harness).

The lasting quality of this project wont be known for years, but I did try to use quality products and I took my time making sure everything was perfect, or at least perfect for me. I welcome any feedback, good or bad. I also welcome suggestions on how to better this process for others who will read it in the future.

In no way am I claiming that this project is of the quality of RB or some of the other professional upholsterers, not even close. It is a budget amateur project with decent results IMO. I did use some of RB's techniques as he provides on his web page, mostly the dash prep work before the vinyl goes on. The rest is trial and error on my part until I figured out a way to make it look presentable. This dash recover is actually my fourth (or fifth, cant remember) attempt, all of which looked awful. This one turned out pretty good so thats why Im sharing.

If I could give any advise with this project, take your time! Cutting the vinyl is easy and its also very easy to make mistakes, some of which will require a total do-over. Check everything twice and then again before cutting. Cut the vinyl in small quantities. Sometimes I would cut a few inches, walk away for a few minutes, then return and cut a few more inches. When you step away and take a break, its like getting another set of fresh eyes on what your doing and sometimes you'll discover things that could be potential screw ups. So again, take your time and be patient.

I started by removing all of the old padding and glue from the dash. I used acetone and scrubby pads for most of it. I also experimented with goo gone which worked ok too.





Then I trimmed the upper and lower original foam/vinyl around the vents per RB's recommendations. I used a dremel with a cylinder shaped sanding thingy. Then vacuum dust and clean again with acetone.





Next I grinded down all of the tall crack edges so they were flat, cleaned again with acetone, then i filled the cracks with bondo and let dry overnight.



Once dry, sand everything smooth. Perfectly smooth. Any flaws WILL show through the vinyl once covered. I used a rubber sanding block for the flat spots and just paper on the curved areas. Again, these steps were from RB's installation page. I used 40 grit, then 120 grit. Again, clean with acetone or tack cloth.

Next, you're gonna start laying your vinyl.

I found a nice grained black vinyl at a local foam and fabric store. These places have lots of materials, you can pretty much choose any color, pattern, vinyl, or leather you want. I would say, the vinyl I used looks nice and is more pliable and thinner than leather, so it stretches easier which is a major consideration. You'll need approximately 2 yards of material. I paid $30 for 2 yards. I used Weldwood cement based on a recommendation from MrMerlin (thanks MrM). A gallon of the glue was about $35 online. I used the cheap paint brushes (of varying widths) from HD. They're about $1.5 each and I got a dozen or so.

The first panel to go on is the flat top section. Measure the length and width of this section of the dash and cut out a piece of vinyl leaving at least a few inches of extra material all the way around. These cuts don't have to be precise, so long as you cut a panel big enough. Measure twice, and then again. Then cut your piece. Slather on an even coat of glue on the top section of the dash. Then put a coat of glue on the backside of the vinyl panel. Let it set up for about 5 min before laying it on the dash. When you first lay it on the dash, start in the middle and smooth it outwards towards the edges, just like you would with window tint, a phone screen protector, etc. Also pay mind to the grain in the vinyl, making sure the pattern goes in the direction you want. I tried to make all the grain as horizontal as possible. Let it dry overnight. I turned mine upside down and laid it on a very smooth, flat surface, then weighed it down with sand bags to ensure a tight bond. Be careful because any flaws in the flat surface will likely show up in the vinyl once it's dry, so make sure its super smooth and flat. You'll see this in my photos later.



Next, trim the front edge (windshield edge) leaving about an inch of extra material. Coat the underside of the dash edge with glue, then the vinyl. Let it set up for a few minutes, the fold the edge of the vinyl underneath, smoothing any folds created by the curvature of the dash. Use some kind of clip to hold it in place, and let it dry overnight. I used office clips which worked well, however, they left marks on the vinyl when it was dry. This was ok on this part of the dash because it will be hidden by the windshield, but fair warning for the rest of the project. Im sure there are better tools/clips out there that will serve the same function.



Next, trim the rear edge (drivers side) of this vinyl panel. Trim the vinyl so you have about a half inch of extra overhanging material along the entire edge. I made a tool for this so I would get an even cut along the curved edge, this is important for the next step. The tool should be run along the curvature of the dash (sloped portion), so the extra material is an even half inch all the way across the face of the dash. Once cut, apply a coat of glue to the underside of the vinyl, let it set up, then fold it under itself creating a 1/2" seam along the curved edge. The amount of overhanging material does not necessarily have to be 1/2" as long as it cut evenly. More material will be easier to manage, but will leave a bigger seam. Too big and it'll be ugly, too small and it'll be hard to fold into a seam and even harder to sew later.



This is what it should look like after making the seam.







Next, do the same procedure on the side edges of the top section (the little triangles). Note the texture on my side seams (see photo). This is from drying the vinyl upside down, with sandbags, on the microfiber clothes. The texture of the clothes presented itself in the dried vinyl. Ok by me cuz it's on on the side seams only and they are pretty small, it almost looks like I did this on purpose. sweet, on to the next step.



Next, measure the front sloped face of the dash and cut a panel of new vinyl accordingly. Make sure to measure from the upper corner (where it meets the flat top section) all the way down to the underside of the dash, then add another 8" to your measurement. Seems like a lot of wasted material, but its not, once you start shaping the vinyl on the curved parts of the dash, material begins to run out sooner than you might think. Adding a lot of extra material on this piece (long the bottom) will save you from having to re-do later.

Blue tape the edge of the upper panel to prevent it from getting glue on it. Then apply your glue to the front sloped face, then to the vinyl, then let it set up for 5 minutes, then apply vinyl to dash in the same fashion as before, starting in the middle and working it flat in an outward pattern. Also, I glued this panel in several smaller sections, so just the front facing part first. Let it dry over night and then glue a few more inches down, let it dry over night, then a few more inches down. All the while, you will be stretching and forming the vinyl over the curved parts of the dash. Doing it in small sections allows the main base of the panel to dry and it gives you leverage for stretching the material over the curves without pulling up the whole panel. It also "trains" the vinyl, making it easier to stretch and form the next day.





Once dry, trim the upper edge of the panel in the same fashion as you did for the top panel. Again, I used my home made tool to cut a 1/2" edge, using the top flat section as a tool guide. Glue the inside of the vinyl, fold over on itself to create another seam that runs parallel to the seam on the top panel.







Next, start carefully trimming the other three edges of the front panel. The bottom edges of the vinyl I cut directly along the bottom edge of the dash. The sides I left 1/2" of overhanging material, again using my home made tool along the curve of the dash. Glue the bottom edges of the panel.













Glue your 1/2" seams along the side edges.



Cut panels for each side of the dash. Tape, glue, make you seams, just as you did for the other tow panels. Should look like this when you're done.







This was a curved part that would not glue down, as much as I tried, the vinyl will only stretch so much. The solution was to slice it and re-glue it flat. This works here because it will be out of view and hidden by the pod, but don't do this on areas that will be seen.



Everything good so far? Good. Now its time to punch our sewing holes. Do yourself a favor and buy a good leather punch pliers from a hobby/fabric store. They'll cost $30-35 but it'll be worth every penny and I don't see how this could be done otherwise. The pliers I got are rotary-adjustable for different size holes, you can experiment with the different size holes on a scrap piece of material. Also pick up a couple 25 yard spools of waxed leather sewing thread in the color of your choice.

Along your seams, measure (soft measuring tape) and mark (sharpie pen) in 1/4" increments. These will be your sewing holes. Mark one seam first in 1/4" increments, then on the opposing seam, mark spots that line up with your first seam. If you measure 1/4" increments on both seams, they will turn out uneven because of the curves of the dash. So mark one side, then mirror those marks on the opposite seam. Do this on all seams on all panels.

Then, when everything looks correct, start punching your holes. Careful and go slow, this takes a lot of patience. Take a lot of breaks so you can re-gain focus so you don't screw up. Each hole should be punched with the correct spatial considerations in regards to the adjacent holes AND the edge of the seam. Otherwise, things will become uneven. Also, the holes should be punched through both layers of your seam.

I experimented with 1/8" hole spacing on the side edges of the top panel. Everything else is spaced 1/4".









Ok, the hard part is over, you can breathe. Have a beer.

Grab your needle and thread and start sewing it up. You can experiment with different stitching. I went with a basic stitch like tying a shoe. Whatever you do, be consistent and check your work often. I would do about ten sticthes, stop and check my work. That way if I missed a hole, or double stitched something, I could go back easily and fix it without having to unstitch the whole thing! Patience my friends. Try to make your stitches as even as possible by applying consistent tightening pressure to each stitch. If one is tight, then the next one is loose, it'll end up looking uneven. In my pics, you can see some uneven-ness in some areas. This will be remedied by cutting and gluing straight seams, punching consistent holes, and sewing things evenly. Mine wasn't perfect, but presentable to most I think. Not winning any concourse, but it looks clean.















Trim the thread ends down to about an inch or two, then apply some leather cement that dries clear, not the Weldswood. Tuck the wet (glued) ends down into the corners of the seams using a toothpick or the back end of your sewing needle.

Next and last, cut vinyl in defroster vent holes. Cut one slice horizontally across the middle length of the vent hole and then little "Y" slices on the ends. Install your defroster vents.



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Old 02-20-2014, 07:08 PM
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medipedicman
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I am impressed with your ingenuity and your final results are excellent, IMHO.

I would be proud to have that dash in any of my 928's.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:17 PM
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michael j wright
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I think you did a great job! Nice write up also. Are you going to try the pod next? I think I will give this a go on mine this spring.
Mike
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:19 PM
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19psi
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Beautiful results. Well done!
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:27 PM
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Very impressive results.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:30 PM
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LT Texan
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WOW!!!!

And I thought stitching my steering wheel was hell!!!!!!

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Old 02-20-2014, 07:32 PM
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Sewing it after you glue it down is a novel approach. The final product looked pretty good. Certainly better than the standard vinyl ( cracked ) dash. Good job.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:34 PM
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Awesome freakin job. That looks great.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:50 PM
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I highly doubt anyone is going to "Poo-poo" your work. It looks great. I can't wait to see a pic of it installed.

Your "knife spacer" tool is pretty ingenious. The binder clips were a good idea too. There are a few tricks for minimizing marks when clamping a glued fabric like that.

It looks like you used a baseball stitch for sewing the seams. IMO, that was probably the best choice. It looks a lot better than a whip stitch or overthrow would.

How long did it take? Did you keep any track of the hours you had into it?

My "to-do" list was getting shorter. Now I think I have something to keep me busy next winter.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:02 PM
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SeanR
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Kick ***, I like what you did there.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:35 PM
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You should be very proud. It looks fantastic. Your post reminds me very much of Dwayne's DIY posts...first you lower everyone's expectations...then knock our socks off. Well played Great pictures and write up. Most of our cars are not worth huge investments in nice interior restorations. But no one wants to put up with the cracked and sun damaged dashes. This makes soooo much sense as the best solution for owners of drivers that are a fun hobby. Best part is you now know that for $100 you can make the dash look at least this good anytime you need or want to. That's a very good feeling, I'm sure.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:40 PM
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That looks really really nice - well done.
Rob & Paul are probably feeling pressure right now 8>)
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:42 PM
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That looks great......
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:45 PM
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You need to come to Sharktoberfest this year.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:09 PM
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OK, here goes with my usual negative bull****, but I had a baseball glove that looked just like that. I'm more curious about how you got the dash out and how you plan to get it back in...
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