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Dick Hussey's Tech Corner
How to Repair Your Dashpad
Over time, some Allanté dashes have had delamination problems, with the corners by the windshield pillars curling up, and the area under the defroster grille breaking loose. These common problems can usually be repaired. Often it is a good idea to refinish the top of the dash prior to reinstallation. Especially with the natural beige interiors and the maroon interiors, the dashes become stained in addition to separating.
#1) shows typical discoloration. Water-based vinyl and leather refinishing
products do not offer a good barrier to prevent this discoloration from bleeding through. We use Bulldog Adhesion Promoter.
#2) - three wet coats to seal the top of the dash to minimize the discoloration bleeding through. After it has dried thoroughly, we refinish the dash with a solvent-based interior dye. Blend the interior custom color of your Allanté and pack it into easy-to-use spray cans as it is much easier to refinish the dash out of the car. If you plan to refinish your dash, make sure you protect or remove the two sensors in the center of the dash under the defroster grille.
Items needed for these repairs:
a rivet gun with 1/2" long rivets 1/8" diameter, some small boards, at
least half a dozen small "C" clamps, small rods (unsharpened pencils work well), and a container of Gorilla Glue.
#3) - available at Home Depot or similar stores - works best when the area to be glued is moistened or dampened with water prior to application and clamping. Make sure you read the instructions prior to use.
Not all dashes can be repaired. On some dashes (such as the one
shown in #4), the vinyl pad is too far gone. It has shrunk and distorted too much to reattach properly.
Pictures #5-7) show typical damage that can be repaired. The most common problem is with the corners by the windshield pillars. Many
corners have lifted up from the aluminum frame. Less common is lifting in the area of the defroster grille. Many people have called over the years looking to buy another defroster grille because theirs "broke." A replacement grille will be of no use unless the dash is removed and
repaired. There are plastic studs on the back of the grille to hold it down into the dash pad. The studs get broken off when the dash delaminates in the area under the grille and lifts. These studs are just not strong enough to hold the vinyl once it becomes unattached. The reason a defroster grille was broken must be corrected before any attempt can be made at replacement. We have found that often from the outer edge. Once this area has cured and is firmly reattached, #9) shows the outer edge being glued, with the clamps closer to the outer edge. #10) shows the dash corner after repair. The wood under the clamps was necessary to avoid dimples or clamp marks on the surface.
Reattaching the vent area is a little more of a challenge. Usually there is more distortion or shrinkage in the vinyl in this area. Sometimes the aluminum dash frame is corroded under the separation #11). In this case, the metal must be scuffed and the corrosion removed before any attempt at re-gluing is made. When the separation is not too deep, it is best to re-glue both the top surface and the Iip under the defroster grille in one operation. The wood is used on the top surface, clamped back away from the edge.
Once the top surface has been clamped, then the lip must be clamped. We used unsharpened pencils and clamped them down against the lip, then let everything cure #12). It is best to work one side of one half of the dash at a time, which means you will be doing the complete defroster grille area in at least four operations.
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After one side is attached, move to the other side (#13 and 14). Even though the glue holds very well, we take the added step to use 1/8" rivets about every 2" all around rhe defroster grille opening. Even when there is no separation in this area, when pulling the dash to fix corners, we now remove the defroster grille, rivet rhe entire opening, and rhen reinstall the grille (#15). Riveting will keep it from separating in the future. By taking the rime to reattach the vinyl, the dash will look fine after it is reinstalled in the car- (#16-18).
Repairing delamination problems is a big step in getting any Allanre looking good again.