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Discussion Starter #1
The recent thread about repairing/ stemming dash board cracking made me think. What is the best way to protect the dashboard over the long term.

I'd love to hear from longterm fleetwood owners on this who have managed to prevent their dash from ever cracking.

My dash is perfect and I'd love to know how to keep it that way!

Thanks guys,

Jack
 

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Smart-Ass Reply Til Something Better

IDK if anything really jet-age is available, but my best advise has to be 1.)Don't let it get 20 years old, 2.)Don't drive or park in UV light (the sun), and 3.)Don't use Amour-All. Of the 3 I believe 3. is the most realistic. You can snopes it, but I hear that stuff looks pretty and all, but it sucks out the oil in vinyl.

There's supposedly bonafide rub-on products to preserve plastic, but 1.) and 2.) are really what you are fighting in the end.

FWIW, mine now has 5 cracks and counting. When I see 5 more and an even distribution across the entire 6' width, then I'll cover it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There just has to be a way to keep it mint. I will not be driving this car much. Probably 3-500 miles a year but I'd be heartbroken if the dash cracked. I've had a bunch of Fleetwoods and some, even higher mileage ones still had perfect dashes. There must be some oil or something you can rub in.

My biggest beef with the Fleetwoods is how the interior falls apart.
 

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cover it with a dash mat. that will keep the UV off it.

Mine has 3 or 4 cracks and came that way. Dash mat looks ok and hides all that. This is the 14th B/D I have owned and by far the worse dashpad cracking.....

My Mom has a 96 Camaro garage kept it's whole life. the dash pad is cracked in 4 or 5 places, it's horrible.
 

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From the Lexus Forum (I googled):

Armor All used a different formula many years ago, containing dimethyl silicone oils (not water based), and it got a bad name because of it. A bad name that for them, unfortunately, still lives on in the minds of many people.

Truth be told they have been a water based silicone for many years now, and their product isn't a whole lot different than the other rubber / vinyl protectants available. They don't have the higher concentrations of UV inhibitors that 303 Protectant, & Vinylex and a couple others do, but that's 1 reason they ( 303 etc.) cost more than Armor All. UV additives are the most expensive ingredients, arguably, in those products, so you get what you pay for to that extent.

But yeah- people still give it a bad name based on what it was a couple decades ago...it's just not the same stuff anymore.

Oh, and silicone is in all of them. The difference is the TYPE of silicone. A water based type is the kind that doesn't remove plasticizers from the material (additives in plastics/ vinyl materials that keep them flexible-without it can lead to cracking etc.) or feels 'greasy', so you can't single them out for using silicone, it's in more of the automotive products you use than you might think.

Using the "bad" silicones, and lawsuits led to negative consumer perception of Armor All, and they're STILL trying to catch up many years later, after the reformulation.


Read more: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/automotive-care-and-detailing/529486-whats-wrong-with-armorall.html#ixzz3DPHiTjyj
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info. I will get a dash mat but the car is so damn perfect inside and out that I must find permanent solutions to the problem.

Does anyone have any opinions on the higher end vinyl protectors that sprocket mentioned?
 

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I second Sprocket's reply...

While I've used Armor-All since it's inception and not had any bad effects over the years, it was never something slathered on like basting a turkey. The Dash-Mat, however, works wonderfully in the hell that is Florida. Your experience may vary but it depends upon when in the life of the car you introduce the Dash-Mat and how the car was cared for up to that time.

I have a Continental MKIV I bought years ago from the original owners. While this car probably wins all prizes for its ability to biodegrade and develop rust you can not only see but hear destroy metal, the dash is perfect thanks to a Dash-Mat. There was actually a package shelf version available for the rear between the seat and rear window. This car survives only for the foolish possibility of its 460 V8, C6 trans and 9-inch Ford differential being used for something other than the junk yard.

I have no cracks in any dash thanks to the Dash-Mat. It is surprising how many years are "covered". The dash, and respective Dash-Mat, for the '94 FLT and '95/6 FLT is different, just so you know.

Good luck,
Richard Snipes
4501 Safari in Jax, FL
 

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Dam Your Mad Google Skilz-

Thanks Sprocket. Truth be told I have several bottles of Armour All (all less than 20 years old I hope) accumulated from various random sources that I use once every few years on my cars, but only on the hard plastic trim based on my "old" intel.

I can tell the exact date I got my "first 2" cracks. One cheery early morning above freezing after a week of bitter cold and caked snow-turned-ice I was going to warsh the Cady but noticed one half the windshield still had an inch of ice while the other half was clear and getting toasty warm just as the rest of the car. I debated to flake it off but got lazy and waited for the rising sun to do the work. Apparently an extra hour of that sort of temperature differential on the pad was all it took to crack it. So on top of my items above I'll add wild fluctuations in temps probably cause extra stress on 20-year old plastic.

And +1 on the fancy leather/vinyl protectants. I baste it onto seats and the dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So any opinions on who makes the best dash mat? Where is the best place to buy one?
 

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I sure feel lucky. I got my FWB at 63,000 miles and the dash is still perfect at 120K miles. Been thinking about finding a nice Sungate windshield to block UV but so far the only thing I did was get a very thick Covercraft foldable windshield sunshade for $50. I always try to park facing directly into the sun and use the sunshade even if I'm getting out for a 2 minute errand. And, I crack the windows. Those two things make a huge difference for heat. I shake my head when I see expensive new cars (or nice old ones), especially with dark interiors, sealed up tighter than a drum baking in the sun, hot enough inside to roast a chicken. People must drive car manufacturers crazy.
 

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The Best I have found

303 Auto Protectant is the best stuff I have ever used ! It works on plastic rubber, vinyl and leather. No bull it really does a great job.

http://www.autogeek.net/303aerprot.html I am not recommending auto geek...this is only provided to show what the 303 looks like I usually get my ACE hardware to order it in for me.
 

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I use meguiars vinyl/plastic shine/protectant. I've used armor all in the past...as well as vinylex but I couldn't stand the smell. Megs works well, smells good and isn't shiny at all.

That and one of those windshield panels from covercraft. Best $60 I ever spent. Don't use it all the time though...but if the car is gonna sit, it goes in.
 

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This just in!

While I've used Armor-All since it's inception and not had any bad effects over the years, it was never something slathered on like basting a turkey. The Dash-Mat, however, works wonderfully in the hell that is Florida. .....

Good luck,
Richard Snipes
4501 Safari in Jax, FL

Thanks for the lead. The thing dam near installed itself. It will never be mistaken for oem, but for the cheap price it's one helluvan upgrade from the cracks until I'm motivated to yank the dash out for a new wrap. Note just left out unrolled one night. I bet it lays even flatter the next real hot day out.



 
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