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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Car is currently being repainted. I am going with a much darker color so I am changing things inside to match.
First up: dash recover.
The vinyl cover that was on the dash when I bought it was failing. Pulled it off, and the dash was destroyed underneath. I purchased another dash off of ebay with the intention of getting it wrapped in some ultra high-quality vinyl so it was like leather. Well, the upholstery shop wanted $1000. I noped the hell out and decided to have a go myself. I bought this padded vinyl from Albright's Supply after doing some research. The material I bought was colorfast and has an amazing texture and feel. Due to the way the material is cut, you will need 2 yards and roll it out lengthwise. (Its not wide enough off the roll)

It came out better than I could have ever expected. Total time in just the dash was about 5 hours.

With everything, prep is key, but you WILL need a heat-gun to really do it justice. First thing I did was wash the dash down with soap and water. Then I went over it with mineral spirits to remove any adhesive, armor-all, watever. Then I washed it again. Finally I used SEM Soap to remove any traces of the mineral spirits. The dash looked like it had been in the sun for a century, but that's what I wanted to see. For adhesive, I used DAP Weldwood Landeau Cement and followed the instructions to a "T". I thought about 3M web-spray adhesive (#80) but the high-temp adhesion wasn't ideal. Applied cement to both surfaces and let them sit for 20 minutes or so. OPEN A DAMN WINDOW with this stuff - it's hella smelly. This particular adhesive will give you about 30-45 minutes to actually work it, but if it sets-up too much before adhesion, you can refresh it by applying a new coat and letting it sit for 15.

Gently lay the vinyl over the dash - do not press down! Once you apply pressure, you're done - so make sure everything is where you want it. Starting from the center, by the defroster vent, start applying light pressure to get it to tack. (Apply 25# of pressure later...) Smooth it all out as you go. When things are where you want them, use a small wood roller and push down with about 25# of pressure to lock it. Use a convex roller and some heat to push down the vinyl into the dash at the angles. Once you hit the gauge area, things get complicated so take your time. Break out the heat gun and using as low heat as possible, start working those curves. Do a small area at a time. Heat, stretch, apply to surface, pressure, hold, and clamp. As it cools, it will try to pull back. Just the gauge area took me about 30 minutes to get right - so don't rush this part.

Take the same amount of care for ALL of the complex curves on the dash. Do so, and you'll be fine.

FOR THE AIRBAG - and this is super duper important - using a razor, slice the backing on the vinyl around the perimeter of the airbag cover. Then, once everything is glued down, using a screen-beading installation tool and your heat gun, heat up the area where the airbag cover is and while the vinyl is hot - run the tool around the perimeter of the airbag cover. Push down as deep as you can. This will thin-out and stretch the vinyl and make the entire area weaker, thinner, and more brittle. In the unfortunate event of an airbag deployment, since the backing was cut and the area made weak - the bag will blow right through. As with everything, YMMV.

Let it sit for 24-48 hours for full cure. My wife said it looks better than the dash in her 2018 Explorer limited and I kind of agree. Here is the end result. Not too bad for about $75 in materials:

I will be painting that defroster cover.





Detail of surface texture. Its super supple and feels exactly like leather:


Next up - the headliner.
I didn't notice it until I pulled it out, but it had really, really faded. I called the upholstery shop for a quote, and they said $750. Again, that's a big "no-f-ing-way" from me. I purchased 5 yards of backed suede from Albright's and went to work. First remove as much of the material off the fiberboard as you can. I was able to pull off large swatches in the center, but as I got towards the edges it really started to stick. I put on a mask and got out an electric sander with some drywall sanding screens. Sanded off the remainder of the foam backing until I had a completely flat backer. Washed it outside and let it dry in the sun and then vacuumed it. I used 3M headliner adhesive and burned through 3 cans. Follow the directions to the letter. DO NOT APPLY A LOT OF PRESSURE when sticking your liner to the board - you may get some bleed-through if you do.

Roll out your material across the board and give it a rough cut to size/shape. Then roll it back on itself - foam backing facing out. Apply adhesive to 6-10" of the material, and 6-10" of the headliner board. Let them tack up according to the directions.

Start from one end and roll it out across the tacked adhesive. Only do a bit at a time because unlike the DAP adhesive above, this stuff grabs instantly and does not let it go. You have one shot to get it right. If you're going suede, mistakes are expensive. Start at the center and smooth it out to the edges. Apply more adhesive, let it tack, roll, smooth, apply more adhesive... you get the idea. Do not rush it. Suede does not stretch worth a damn, so take extra time with the openings. I worked on mine for about 8 hours total and was left with this:

It came out absolutely flawless, but left me with a problem - the A, B, C and D pillars are gray inside and it looked a bit wonky to go directly from the black suede to the gray uprights. So they got painted.

Plastic re-dye/recolor
SEM products. Use nothing else, and use their processes to the letter. On my wagon, I carefully drilled out the plastic welds at on the covers behind the rear seats. This allowed me to paint the C pillar parts independent of the lowers. Start with good old hot water and soap and wash everything down. Dry thoroughly. Then use SEM Soap on everything. Scrub with a sponge and then rinse with water. Second step is SEM plastic and leather prep. I bought one spray can and have lots left after doing almost every part inside the car. Spray, let it sit, and then wipe in ONE DIRECTION - changing rags often. This stuff removes any trace of grease, oil, adhesive, whatever. Now you're ready to paint.

Get SEM Sand Free adhesion promoter (2 cans) and whatever SEM color coat you want. The color coat is a flexible coating - unlike regular spray bomb paint - so it will flex and breathe with the plastics. It can also be used on fabric. I chose the satin black because I don't like shiny plastic. The paint does not cover like a regular paint - so you'll need a lot more of it than you think to ensure good coverage. I burned through 5 cans of paint total once all was said and done. Note - this particular color was a dead match to my headliner suede. I used it to paint the visors - which came out perfect.

The Sand Free stuff is interesting. You put a good coat of it on the plastic first, and then while its wet - you apply the color coat. The Sand Free draws the color into the plastic as it dries. Start with one light coat of color, let it flash, and then recoat until you are happy. This stuff is also way more pungent than regular paint. Make sure you use in a well-ventilated area.

I know I'm not the only one to be pissed after painting plastic and then have the color come off by scratching at it with your fingernail. Use the steps above and you won't have that problem. I can dig in hard with my nail and the color stays put. REALLY scraping it will remove the color (hurrrr durrr...) so don't do that.

Here's the end result:
(Applied new red pinstriping too...)








Finally, I got these two new doodads to install once I get the car back next week:

The alcantara is a nice compliment to the headliner and the wheel fits nicely in your hand

And I broke down and got this... I think I'm one of the first. Looking forward to seeing it all come together!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Follow-up:
Albrights Supply shipped things out same day and I had them in my hands about 2-3 days later. They also are excellent to get advice from on materials. Call them and they'll help you pick materials to meet your project's needs

The suede on the headliner and the dash material are a standard black. The SEM color coat is satan's-asscrack-black. Not an exact match, but not far enough away to really bug me.

The SEM plastic and leather prep spray AND the SEM sand free will weaken any existing paint. Do not get that stuff on any paint you want to keep.

For reassembly of the C-pillar plastics (and any other plastic repair..), use 3m two part plastic weld. I've tried a bunch of stuff and nothing works better.
 

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Looks very nice, great job!!

I'll add that around here upholstery shops are insane.
They seem to just pull prices outta their ass.
Used to be reasonable but far from it these days.
Local one quoted me $850 for headliner if I brought it to them.
~5yrs ago it was $200...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks! I'm working really hard towards my goal of spending all of my discretionary funds on this car.

Local one quoted me $850 for headliner if I brought it to them.
~5yrs ago it was $200...
Yeah, I was blown away. They said $750 and I replied with "Uh, I'll bring the headliner board and the material to you - I just need you to put the material on the board." They said "We know. $750". There's the occasional Craigslist ad with someone offering to install one for $40, but color me skeptical that their work is worth a damn.
 

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Good pics/write-up. Thanks for sources. Couple ??:
I take it the donor dash had zero cracks to fill - just terminal fade?

Next this part:

: FOR THE AIRBAG - and this is super duper important - using a razor, slice the backing on the vinyl around the perimeter of the airbag cover. Then, once everything is glued down, using a screen-beading installation tool and your heat gun, heat up the area where the airbag cover is and while the vinyl is hot - run the tool around the perimeter of the airbag cover. Push down as deep as you can. This will thin-out and stretch the vinyl and make the entire area weaker, thinner, and more brittle. In the unfortunate event of an airbag deployment, since the backing was cut and the area made weak - the bag will blow right through. As with everything, YMMV.

Why not cover the dash less opening and simply cover bag lid separately? Was not enough gap between the two with already one layer of covering to add another? Your "scoring-thinning-brittlizing" approach sounds sound, but completely cleaving the lid would bulletproof proper function during deployment. Just wondering as I recalled when I had mine out and apart for cleaning that the lid was not hard to seat when reassembling everything.


EDIT: Forum is up to its old tricks. None but the ORIGINAL post appeared when I replied :(
 

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Thanks! I'm working really hard towards my goal of spending all of my discretionary funds on this car.


Yeah, I was blown away. They said $750 and I replied with "Uh, I'll bring the headliner board and the material to you - I just need you to put the material on the board." They said "We know. $750". There's the occasional Craigslist ad with someone offering to install one for $40, but color me skeptical that their work is worth a damn.
Same place quoted me $500 to make pair of front seat covers.
I had already removed from a seat for them to use as patterns.
No remove/install labor just make some new covers.

Again though great work, that is hard work and takes a LOT of patience to get good results.
 

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your posting is revealing you have great fabrication abilities ..It does take a lot of time and patience.. I did my dash many years ago but I did not do what you did. my dash light gray was turning to a brown color as the dye starting to vaporize off the vinyl .. so I did a lot of research back then .. paint it with the SEM paint for vinyl or use a water based dye .. so the reason I did the dye is the dye is UV resistant and if I can if necessary , do some touch up in place. well this job I did I removed the dash and washed it down with dish soap .. then washed it down with denatured alcohol .. I put on 5 coats of the dye.. this dye is also used on the leather .. so far my dash still looks great .. I also used this lt gray dye on my driver seat as the leather dye does wear down a bit.

I have also used this on the plastic parts as well .. did the same process.. I paid $25 for 16OZ ... so no waste not like using a spray can .. used 8OZ so far ..

the dye is dye so it does not scrap off .. must use gloves the dye does not come off easy .
dye can be brushed on or sprayed on you can even use a cloth to apply this dye ..
Leather technologies Virginia ..

doing that roof liner this is a tough one .. its huge ..
 

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Dan, As I admired the work you have done here I just couldn't help but notice something. That is the cleanest workbench I have ever seen. What's your occupation? Brain surgeon.

Mark: Snowman-33
 

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I use SEM on my cloth seats, to change from tan to DMR, and it was marginal. The cloth became stiff, and had a fuzzy appearance. I would not do that again.

I hope the plastic under your vinyl does not crack. If it does, you will get creases in your vinyl. I have considered stripping the foam/vinyl off of a dash, and putting new foam with vinyl or leather on it. It looks like a lot of work, so I am still thinking about it. I have a couple of spares, so I am not in a hurry to do anything.

There is a guy here in Pinellas County FL., who will do tweed bucket seats for $145 each, and headliners for under $100. He does nice work.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks for the compliments, folks. I didn't post this to fish for them - just to show anyone considering doing any of this stuff that it can be done yourself if you have the time and tenacity. That said, I appreciate it.

That looks awesome.
Thanks Rob - can't wait for you to see the entire car come back together.

Dan, As I admired the work you have done here I just couldn't help but notice something. That is the cleanest workbench I have ever seen. What's your occupation? Brain surgeon.
Ha! The truth? I bought that workbench specifically for this project. Give me time. It'll be a proper mess soon.

I take it the donor dash had zero cracks to fill - just terminal fade?
The donor dash did have cracks but they were not the gaping wound type. They were just micro-thin surface cracks. I used a very thin topcoat of JB plastic weld to epoxy them and then went right over them with the vinyl. Should the dash crack again (as Fred stated) I'll probably have to re-do it again. But I'll cross that road when I get there. I wish someone would make a fibeglass re-pop of these things.....They are getting rarer by the day.

Why not cover the dash less opening and simply cover bag lid separately? Was not enough gap between the two with already one layer of covering to add another? Your "scoring-thinning-brittlizing" approach sounds sound, but completely cleaving the lid would bulletproof proper function during deployment.
I spent some time thinking about how I was going to deal with that lid. I considered taking it apart and doing them as separate pieces, but after using my old dash as a model and watching how the dash material disintegrated as I tried to pull that cover out - I decided against it.

What is the name of the material? By the way it’s did an amazing job looks good...
Here it is. For what it is worth, I put hyperlinks to the products I used in my original post so y'all could check them out. And thanks!

I use SEM on my cloth seats, to change from tan to DMR, and it was marginal. The cloth became stiff, and had a fuzzy appearance. I would not do that again.
I also would not use the SEM color coat on any cloth that's going to be regularly touched. While it does remain flexible, the softness of the fabric is gone. I ordered some unbacked suede from Albrights Supply to re-cover them and I'll write that up once I do.

I hope the plastic under your vinyl does not crack. If it does, you will get creases in your vinyl.
After seeing what was under the vinyl covering on the dash that was in the car, I am not so sure. That thing was a mess. My suspicion is that the vinyl was actually holding it together. Should I have this issue down the road - I'll deal with it then.
 

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Roger on the plastic epoxy in the microcracks. I saw a pretty good write-up in here on that type repair. OP had even found something to replicate the graining along with sanding for a total SEM recolor job.

For my current FWB I was going to do SEM to the trashed dash, but 2 hours of cleaning and it just went back in looking new. Your recover/new color looks pretty slick too.

Incidentally, did you line your whole dam garage with mass loaded vinyl? Considering the noises and words that come out while working on these cars that could actually end up the perfect wall finish treatment. ;)
 

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Dash looks really good. I wasn't expecting that quality look.

I'm checking out those gauges. I can't believe nobody has ever posted them before. Or at least that I haven't seen them. Expensive as hell but so much better than the Z28. I am heavily considering them.
 

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Very impreSSive work Dan. I really like what you did with the Dashpad and will do the same when I get some time to focus on that project. On my dash pad, I will eliminate the AB Cover and try to fill the entire area before recover since I removed the Pass AB module.

On your Headliner redo, your post reminded me of 1 that is here to show how to redo your headliner for $50 DIY. If I find that thread I'll add it here for others. Not trying to step on your toes or the work done here cause you did extremely nice work. I will most likely follow up with you on some pointers when the time comes to redo a spare dash pad I have.

Looking forward to seeing the end product. BTW - Nice that you have a supportive wife helping you get this done.

Here is that Headliner DIY thread....

https://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/4-interior/232979-diy-headliner-under-50-bucks.html
 

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Very impreSSive work Dan. /SNIP/ Not trying to step on your toes or the work done here cause you did extremely nice work. I will most likely follow up with you on some pointers when the time comes to redo a spare dash pad I have. Looking forward to seeing the end product. BTW - Nice that you have a supportive wife helping you get this done.
Here is that Headliner DIY thread....
https://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/4-interior/232979-diy-headliner-under-50-bucks.html
Thanks man - its beginner's luck! To be honest, that was the SECOND attempt at covering the dash. The first time, I used un-backed suede to match the headliner and f-ed it up. Spent two days stripping the stuff off, then stripping the contact cement off and starting over. I learned a lot screwing that up and used those lessons on the vinyl. Once it was done, it was one of those "Well sh*t. That turned out way better than it had any right to." situations. If I can do it, just about anyone can. Go slow, use heat, and use the right materials. Looking at the thread you posted, that person used 3M #90 for the headliner, which is not the right adhesive for the job. I read a lot of posts where #77 and #90 both failed over time due to heat. Use 3M Headliner Adhesive and you'll be all set. 3 cans for a wagon ran me about $60, and the material was another $70 shipped so I'm into the headliner for about $130.

Wifey is definitely supportive. She's got a good sense of humor about the car. Apparently she tried to get "love her more than the car" into our wedding vows back in May (May the 4th - yes, on-purpose..), but the officiant refused.
 

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Dan, please keep us updated on how the Dakota Digital cluster install goes! I was going to use that with my LS swap. A bit pricey but I like the idea of accurate gauges in a factory layout and the the look of it is the perfect way to modernize my interior the same way I did the drivetrain. Hoping it's a smooth install!
 

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Wifey is definitely supportive. She's got a good sense of humor about the car. Apparently she tried to get "love her more than the car" into our wedding vows back in May (May the 4th - yes, on-purpose..), but the officiant refused.
Any woman I have will be my car's mistress.
 

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And here my wife refers to my two only as "those 2 fat bitches in the garage". haha
I'm really looking forward to seeing this wagon done up Mr. -dan.
 

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Damn that is stunning. I love that dash. I did my dash and head liner in black suede as well. Not only do I love the look but something bout doing things yourself is rewarding. Job well done. You should be proud of yourself. That is a pro job.
 
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