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.
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!