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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 1986 560SEL which I'm working on restoring back to factory new shape. One of the problems I've wanted to tackle is the cracked dash



It's actually cracked very bad in about 8 different places. Recently I met up with a fellow BenzWorld member and got myself a dash from a 1990 560SEL that was being parted out. Here's what I have in my garage:


Last night I started to break down the dash (removing the wood, etc) in an attempt to remove the tan interior parts from the dash (my interior is grey). This is when I noticed how difficult the dash replacement is.

It looks like on top of the already horrible job that replacing a dashboard is (it's hard enough just removing it) I'll have to glue this dash top to my existing grey interior. Under the tan interior of my replacement dash is pure styrofoam which is glued to the black part (I was hoping it would be screwed to the top, not glued).

Is this something I can bring to an interior place or to the dealership to have them do? (If so, any recommendations, Phoenix AZ area?) I think I got in over my head at this point.
 

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I think replacing the dash is in the archives, have you searched? If you can't find it, it is also on the service CDs I believe.

Yes, as you are finding, it is a long, slow job, but do-able. I've taken one out of one car, just haven't reinstalled it yet. You also found that the "colored" part is actually part of the dash, not separate pieces. Also, if your dash had the glovebox and his didn't or vice versa, they don't match. You can probably get the tan part dyed grey to match yours, probably the easiest to do at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I think replacing the dash is in the archives, have you searched? If you can't find it, it is also on the service CDs I believe.

Yes, as you are finding, it is a long, slow job, but do-able. I've taken one out of one car, just haven't reinstalled it yet. You also found that the "colored" part is actually part of the dash, not separate pieces. Also, if your dash had the glovebox and his didn't or vice versa, they don't match. You can probably get the tan part dyed grey to match yours, probably the easiest to do at this point.
There is a dash removal in the archives, which is how I figured out how to remove this (when I asked there were 2 links to mercedesshop.com)
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w126-s-se-sec-sel-sd/1402134-1986-560sel-replacing-dashboard.html

At this point I have already removed the tan plastic veneer over the styrofoam which was probably a mistake (would have been easier to keep it and try to make it grey). I don't see a real solution other than pulling out the box cutter and hacking off the foam and gluing it to the grey pieces I have if I attempt an installation.

Should I consider this trashed and go hit another junkyard? (and this time not cut the plastic off?)

 

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Wow, I'm not sure how to make that right with what you've got. I'd probably get another dash, not sure how much you are paying for them. But it may be easier than trying to fix what you've got though and less frustrating. I have an extra dash but its dark blue, not grey, so you'd have to dye the lower part as well.
 

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Should I assume that there are no options for a new OEM replacement dash? If there is such a thing, I bet it is VERY expensive. If I am keeping the car for the long-term (which I am), I might consider that option.

My dashboard has a slight crack at the driver's side spreaker, which I plan to have repaired, along with the B-pillar trim that has come loose.
 

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I got lucky I guess as I only have 1 car with a cracked dash, and two parts cars with no cracked dashes, and one of them is a match to what I need. But I had heard a new dash would be lots of money. Some people have gone the "dash cover/cap" route but I hear they don't always look right glued on top. I have also heard that one can try a crack filler product, possibly like what Leatherique makes, but I haven't tried that myself either.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Some people have gone the "dash cover/cap" route but I hear they don't always look right glued on top. I have also heard that one can try a crack filler product, possibly like what Leatherique makes, but I haven't tried that myself either.
Considering I messed this one up (but still, got lots of useful parts) I'm going to go the route of trying to repair the existing dash. A coworker just pointed me at this:
Eastwood Co. - Vinyl And Dashboard Repair System

The actual work of replacing the dash isn't difficult, but it's extremely time consuming. There is an OEM replacement part but you'll have to talk to the Mercedes Classic Center. Buying the OEM part and having it done at a Mercedes Dealership will probably cost in the area of 4 - 6 thousand dollars. Removing the dash from a parts car took me approx 6 - 8 hours to remove without breaking anything and I got it for approx 200 dollars.

The part I'm super scared about is putting a new dash into my car... which besides from dash cracks, is in awesome shape. I just spent a bunch of cash having the AC fixed and removing the dash unfortunately touches all of those parts. Time to go the repair route!

Depending on how my repair goes and what I learn, I might end up hacking on this and using parts of it as a dash cover. Worst case scenario, as horrible as it might be, I could cut the foam dash off my existing car (there is metal underneith) and replace that foam with foam I just cut off this dash. If I make the cuts at non-obvious places and use the repair kit to hide the cuts, it may just work out. Any thoughts?
 

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HI there! I just got done restoring my 91 SEC and with some of the parts I had gotten were a different color than stock (case in point the VERY Generous gift that jonwhite99 bestowed upon me of a Burlwood Center console in Tan) so what I ended up doing was painting them. I also had to do the overhead grips in the same grey that you have. Here's what you do. Go to your local Hobby shop (it should be a very good one that has Tamiya Paints) and see if they have color "AS-4" It's in their "Aircraft" line of paints. You can Google their color charts too.

PREP, PREP, PREP ALL OF YOUR PARTS THOROUGHLY!!!

Clean them with a good paint degreaser. Then prime them with the Tamiya Primer making sure no orange peel. then give them several coats of paint starting with a light mist coat. Build them up slowly and let each one dry thoroughly. Let dry several hours before you apply another one.

An alternative IF you can find it is goto a good auto paint store and get a can of SEM Trim Grey. That should also be close. Although I have only used the "Trim Black" on my door handles and also on all four wipers, that paint is especially made for this exact purpose. Color match will be close though. But from I can see from your old one, the Tamiya AS-4 is a close match.

PM me is you want more details and I can send you pics.

M
 

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Hm, Eastwood is right down the road from me. Even though I have a new dash ready, I may still give that stuff a shot just to see what it's about. But that's next year's project, I'm getting ahead of myself!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
After thinking about it for a while, I decided to quit being a poonani

I broke out a screwdriver, a box cutter, and some plyers and started to go to town. My idea is to peel the foam off carefully from the metal to have a completely intact dash.


With the dash foam ready to go, I can then box-cutter off the old dash. I am going to make cuts in extremely non-obvious places and put the new dash over the metal with glue basically. I've heard you can use a heater to make the foam more plyable so I might do this.

Here's where I'm at so far. So far so good! I'm going to try and knock this out today so I'll update with more photos
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Holy S**t


OK, I am obviously an amateur. If I had more disposable income and I cared a bit more, it probably would have been wise to take this to an interior place when I originally posted back on the 9th

I'm going to go with a plan B!


I got all the black vinyl part of the dash off without ripping it. There are bends and I'm going to try and remedy them. My existing dash looks horrible and it is very possible (not sure if I have the skills) to replace the vinyl on my dash with this. I have enough foam to fill in any missing spots lol

Stay tuned for the fun
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Starting to peel the dash off. The plastic is coming off super easy. I started at the cracks and I'm working my way out. Will update once it's time to put the new plastic on.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Got most of the old dash removed, just doing the fitting for the new one. To be honest, I was pretty scared for a while. I got rid of all the old plastic and ripped off all of the foam from the instrument cluster area.

I would definitely say that if you are thinking about dash replacement, pay someone to do the entire thing. Removing a dash is extremely time consuming. Doing what I did is ridiculously time consuming and kind of stupid. Worst case scenario, this will at least turn out much nicer than what I had previously

Here's what it looks like now:


I put the new dash over the foam for the old dash. This is probably the same as if you bought a dash pad. I still have some cutting to do before it fits perfect.
 

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A friend of mine had this problem with his-lots of cracks. He removed it from car and took it (cracks and all) to an upholstery shop. They charged him about $200 to recover it with new UV resistant vinyl material and it looks perfect.

Then he spent about 6 hours reinstalling everything, but it turned out great. Dont know if that is an option for you at this point, but something to consider.;)
 

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If you have a good dash still attached to its metal frame from a parts car why don't you just re-dye that dash and install it as a unit into your car? Vinyl dye is similar to paint. There are special chemicals you need to apply to prep the vinyl. As previously mentioned SEM Color Coat is pretty popular and can be purchased in standard colors in spray cans. You can also get it custom mixed to match any color. Some places will even put the custom mix in a spray can for you if you don't have a compressor and spray gun.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you have a good dash still attached to its metal frame from a parts car why don't you just re-dye that dash and install it as a unit into your car? Vinyl dye is similar to paint. There are special chemicals you need to apply to prep the vinyl. As previously mentioned SEM Color Coat is pretty popular and can be purchased in standard colors in spray cans. You can also get it custom mixed to match any color. Some places will even put the custom mix in a spray can for you if you don't have a compressor and spray gun.
Yeah that is probably the best option at this point. I'm going to have to go to a junkyard and rip another dash or try ebay

After getting a new dash I'll bring it to an interior shop and have them do the work. Just thought I'd give this ghetto solution a shot ;) (it doesn't look bad so far)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
stay away from the junk yards in Phoenix, you'll just get another dash that's been toasted in the sun for 20 years.
Yeah, good call. I sent markusfmeyer a PM about the extra dash he had. If any members here are reading this and have a car for parts, I will definitely buy a dash from you (gotta be 1986+, no SRS airbag in the passenger)

Even though this little "project" was pretty stupid, when I got the boxcutter out, the plastic on the dash literally chipped and popped when stretched even the smallest amount. I got all the plastic detached from the foam and a gigantic pile of black dash chips.

It was inevitable that this thing would have cracked much more than it already had; this ended up being a decent temporary fix. Will post pics when I'm finished putting it back together
 

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Just replied to your PM!
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Hi Folks,

Just wanted to say that Markus is awesome! He sold me an extra dash he had for a very fair price. I had my mechanic stain and install the dash and it looks amazing. Looks completely new again!

The original dash was cracked horribly in at least 10 places. And by reading this thread, you can see what an idiot I was trying to do it myself with the 2nd dash. I'm extremely happy to finally have this squared away with the 3rd dash that Markus sold me!

 
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