[xj] Fixing the Dash Pad

My '84 had spent a good deal of its life in the FL sun and
although the dash pad was not cracked, it had suffered some
aging problems which I set about repairing. The most
obvious was that the defroster vents were sitting loose in
the dash and no longer fit down in the recess. Upon
removing the dash pad, I saw the problem. The vinyl had
pulled away from the metal back and had lifted the defroster
vents, breaking off the little plastic nipples that held
them down. With the vinyl curled up in the opening, the
vents could no longer sit down in the correct location.
(See pictures 1 - 4 below) Here’s how I solved the problem.

  1. I took a piece of 220 sandpaper, folded it over several
    times and worked it in between the back of the vinyl and the
    metal form, roughing the vinyl and the metal. (see pic #5)

  2. Next, I wrapped a rag around a putty knife, sprayed it
    with SEM 38353 Plastic and Vinyl Prep, and ran that in the
    same area to clean out the residue from the sanding and to
    prep the vinyl

  3. I then cut a piece of 3/4’ plywood to the shape of the
    defroster vent and eased (rounded) one side (see pic #6)

  4. I drilled two holes in the plywood block and two
    corresponding holes in a piece of 1x3 oak

  5. I covered the eased edge of the plywood with electrical
    tape (see pic #7)

  6. Next, I held the gap between the vinyl and the metal
    open and put a generous bead of heat glue in gap. Now, the
    heat glue will harden as it goes in and the vinyl will not
    lay down, but don’t worry about that now

  7. Then I clamped the block into the recess with two bolts
    through the block and the piece of 1x3 and I put two small
    (2’’ X 2’’) pieces of wood at each end of the oak to keep it
    off the metal behind the recess. You’ll want to clamp this
    pretty tightly being careful not to bend the dash pad metal
    form (see pics #8 & #9)

  8. Here’s where the magic happens. Heat the metal on the
    back of the pad around the vent opening with a heat gun.
    You can also run the heat gun around the vinyl from the top
    all around the clamping block. You’ll want to take some
    time here and heat it really well. The idea is to soften
    the vinyl and re-melt the heat glue and heat the metal to
    the point where they all bond together and the force of the
    clamp reforms the recess and squeezes the excess heat glue out

  9. After it cools, release the clamping block, remove the
    electrical tape (see pic #10), and trim the excess heat glue
    away

  10. The result is a perfectly reformed recess that the
    defroster vent fits correctly into. You can easily hold it
    in place with a small dab of silicon or any other glue/caulk
    you are comfortable with.

You can use the same method to reattach the vinyl to the
metal along the front or the roll at the rear. Then it’s
just a matter of cleaning the rest of the vinyl’s surface
with SEM 38353 Plastic and Vinyl Prep and respraying it for
a brand new look.

http://www.jag-lovers.org/snaps/snap_view.php3?id=1227915878--
Wild Bill
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In reply to a message from Wild Bill sent Sun 30 Nov 2008:

Wild Bill,

Good idea and Very nice repair. Thanks for taking the time
to write such a complete description & posting the photos.

Walt Chrush–
87 XJ6 - Nimbus White / Biscuit
Edmonds, Washington, United States
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In reply to a message from Wild Bill sent Sun 30 Nov 2008:

Excellent Bill ! It’s refreshing to see a post like yours. It
hurts my pride or Something when I read of others having to call a
tow truck to drop their car off at the trim shop, 'cause the
defroster piece doesn’t set flush on the dash. Thankyou for the
time spent with the camera also. I know that takes as much time
as ‘the project’–
Gary '75 sedan (350/350) 70-72-76 parts cars
southern california, United States
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In reply to a message from Wild Bill sent Sun 30 Nov 2008:

Nice post. Ingenious(sp?) fix.–
The original message included these comments:

aging problems which I set about repairing. The most
obvious was that the defroster vents were sitting loose in
the dash and no longer fit down in the recess. Upon
removing the dash pad, I saw the problem. The vinyl had
pulled away from the metal back and had lifted the defroster
vents, breaking off the little plastic nipples that held


Bill Cooper, 1995 XJR, 1985 VDP 5spd, 1976 XJ12C, 1973 XJ12
Charlotte, NC, United States
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Wild Bill,

Great job on the vents.  I especially liked the details in the

procedure and the photos.

I took a slightly different approach when I did this on my 1984

XJ6 VdP earlier this year. Much like your car the vinyl was curled and
the plastic pins were broken leaving the vents free to move and rattle.

After removing the dash (crash roll) top I used a heat gun to

soften up the vinyl around the vent openings then applied some silicone
sealant between the vinyl and the metal. Instead of building a wood
tool, I put the dashboard between two saw horses, got some bungee cord
and after putting the sealant in place, put the vents in place and hung
some (10 LB?) dumb bell weights on the bungee cord weaved between some
of the vents so that the weights were pulling down on the vents very
firmly.

The combination of the heat gun to soften the vinyl, and the

weights pulling down on the vents held them in place in the recesses of
the dash top until the sealant cured for a day or two. The silicone
sealant did an excellent job of bonding the plastic, metal and vinyl
together.

I did this work in the early spring and the vents still are

being nicely held fast in their recesses and show no sign of lifting.

Just another way to "skin the cat".  <grin>   

Regards,

Paul M. Novak

1990 XJ-S Classic Collection convertible
1987 XJ6 Vanden Plas
1985 XJ6 Vanden Plas (parts)
1984 XJ6 Vanden Plas
1969 E-Type FHC
1957 MK VIII Saloon
Ramona, CA
@Paul_M_Novak1-----Original Message-----
From: owner-xj@jag-lovers.org [mailto:owner-xj@jag-lovers.org] On Behalf
Of Wild Bill
Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2008 2:24 PM
To: xj@jag-lovers.org
Subject: [xj] Fixing the Dash Pad

My '84 had spent a good deal of its life in the FL sun and
although the dash pad was not cracked, it had suffered some
aging problems which I set about repairing. The most
obvious was that the defroster vents were sitting loose in
the dash and no longer fit down in the recess. Upon
removing the dash pad, I saw the problem. The vinyl had
pulled away from the metal back and had lifted the defroster
vents, breaking off the little plastic nipples that held
them down. With the vinyl curled up in the opening, the
vents could no longer sit down in the correct location.
(See pictures 1 - 4 below) Here’s how I solved the problem.

  1. I took a piece of 220 sandpaper, folded it over several
    times and worked it in between the back of the vinyl and the
    metal form, roughing the vinyl and the metal. (see pic #5)

  2. Next, I wrapped a rag around a putty knife, sprayed it
    with SEM 38353 Plastic and Vinyl Prep, and ran that in the
    same area to clean out the residue from the sanding and to
    prep the vinyl

  3. I then cut a piece of 3/4’ plywood to the shape of the
    defroster vent and eased (rounded) one side (see pic #6)

  4. I drilled two holes in the plywood block and two
    corresponding holes in a piece of 1x3 oak

  5. I covered the eased edge of the plywood with electrical
    tape (see pic #7)

  6. Next, I held the gap between the vinyl and the metal
    open and put a generous bead of heat glue in gap. Now, the
    heat glue will harden as it goes in and the vinyl will not
    lay down, but don’t worry about that now

  7. Then I clamped the block into the recess with two bolts
    through the block and the piece of 1x3 and I put two small
    (2’’ X 2’’) pieces of wood at each end of the oak to keep it
    off the metal behind the recess. You’ll want to clamp this
    pretty tightly being careful not to bend the dash pad metal
    form (see pics #8 & #9)

  8. Here’s where the magic happens. Heat the metal on the
    back of the pad around the vent opening with a heat gun.
    You can also run the heat gun around the vinyl from the top
    all around the clamping block. You’ll want to take some
    time here and heat it really well. The idea is to soften
    the vinyl and re-melt the heat glue and heat the metal to
    the point where they all bond together and the force of the
    clamp reforms the recess and squeezes the excess heat glue out

  9. After it cools, release the clamping block, remove the
    electrical tape (see pic #10), and trim the excess heat glue
    away

  10. The result is a perfectly reformed recess that the
    defroster vent fits correctly into. You can easily hold it
    in place with a small dab of silicon or any other glue/caulk
    you are comfortable with.

You can use the same method to reattach the vinyl to the
metal along the front or the roll at the rear. Then it’s
just a matter of cleaning the rest of the vinyl’s surface
with SEM 38353 Plastic and Vinyl Prep and respraying it for
a brand new look.

http://www.jag-lovers.org/snaps/snap_view.php3?id=1227915878

Wild Bill

===================================================
The archives and FAQ will answer many queries on the XJ series…
FAQs: http://www.jag-lovers.org/xjlovers/xjfaq/index.html
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FWIW, I trim away the curled edges with a razor, allowing the vent to drop
down flush.

Doug Dwyer
Longview Washington USA
1995 XJR===================================================
The archives and FAQ will answer many queries on the XJ series…
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