[urq] Dashboard refurbish : is it possible ?

Huw Powell audi at humanspeakers.com
Fri Nov 11 21:10:47 EST 2005

> My 1983 Quattro was one of the last with an uncracked early dash. Now, the
> first crack has appeared, to my dismay.
> I know the "easy" solution: replace the old-style, ugly, brown, rattle-prone
> dashboard with the newer style 4000Q or Coupe GT unit. I don't want to do
> that.

Why not?  Expense of parts?  Pain of wiring?  Change from "original"? 
It really is a nice thing to do, and it sounds like you have plenty of 
time to do it.

> Since I have plenty of time and not much money (Renault contract is over,
> and I will babysit lil' Estelle for the majority of winter), I had this
> idea: remove all the dash panels, bring them in the shop and cover them with
> a thin layer of material.
> This material can be anything, but here is what came to my mind : 
> 1- brown vinyl, 
> 2- alcantara, 
> 3- genuine leather,
> 4- any fabric that will not look out of place on a car dashboard.
> So, my question is : is it feasible ? 

Well, *anything* can be done...  The hard part, it seems to me, is that 
the dash is such a complex shape.  Unless your material is very 
forgiving (like, say, the fur carpet stuff they put on PA speakers), you 
will have seams visible all over the place.

Perhaps there is some sort of thinnish vinyl material that when heated 
becomes flexible and stretchy , but I don't know.

You could also try to find some sort of spray coating, heavier than 
paint, which will fill and hide the cracks.

But, as Kent pointed out, you're only going to get more cracks over time.

You could also find some identical colored caulk material and simply 
fill the cracks as they occur - but I bet that would be ugly.

> Any one has tried that in another life ? 

No, I replaced mine as you mentioned above.  Fixed the darn "center vent 
cold air" problem at the same time.  And cleaned up a lot of nasty 
wiring, added some good grounds, etc.

> Which glue ? 

I would suggest a contact cement of some sort.  In my work I get to play 
with quite a few "industrial" glues (meaning you have to buy them 5 
gallons at a time) and there are many, many of them out there.

Barring that, 3M makes some spray stuff called "super 77" and "super 99" 
which ought to work very well.  Warning - once you start, you'll never 
be able to go back and abandon the project, the glue will be a permanent 

Huw Powell



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