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Discussion Starter #1
This is a method I modified with some help from another site. This is a DIY project. I will give credit to http://gtam.silvahalo.com/dashrepair/ for the simple guide toward this procedure.

Supplies
Medium Urethane Adhesive
Sandpaper [40,80,180,240,320,400 grit]
Duplicolor Truck Bed Liner
Windex Window cleaner with a clean rag
Your choice of interior paint [Dark Titanium pictured]

Optional
Plastic Epoxy
5" drill disc sander
Dual Dash pod
Dremel Hand tool

1. Sand all the cracks flat to the dash, you want the sides of the cracks to curve into the crack so when the adhesive is laid it has a smooth transition between the filler and original dash [something I didn't do too well on :p]. The sanding wheel with will get the job done but be careful with dry dash for chipping [WEAR SAFETY GLASSES!].


1.5 If your planning on just repairing, skip these half steps. Otherwise, get a pod of your choosing and figure where you want to mount it [I chose to the side of the instrument cluster]. I had to dremel the pod to fit on its side.


Cut a small hole right through the dash in you choosing spot and gradually work the hole wider to seat the pod to the polymer under layer.
Work a hole that goes to the sides of where the pod is for cords and easier working.


2. Wipe down the dash with some Windex, this cuts through any dirt and grease on the dash, and it's common to find under the sink.

2.5 I applied a plastic Epoxy on the inside of the pod to the polymer dash to better secure it without much help of screws. I drilled a prep hole put one on the top to keep it steady on the dash and so I could use the clamp to keep the pod where I wanted it till the epoxy cured. Leave the screw and grind down the head with the dremel, it will get covered later.


3. Prep the Adhesive to apply to the cracks. Small cracks just starting should cover well with the bed liner later in the procedure, but if you can get the adhesive in the crack by slightly bending the dash do so.
The kit only has two nozzles so if your looking to repair anything else with the stuff prep it as well. The stuff should have the viscosity of molasses. Don't start applying until it reaches this state or it won't cure to the dash. Make sure to over apply to the cracks for sanding down [More then what is pictured :p].


3.5 The adhesive for joining the pod was a real pain where I wanted to mount it. I used the pieces I chipped off the pod to get it to fix for a wall for the adhesive to build up on. This must be applied in steps, otherwise it won't stay in the void you are trying to fill.


4. After about an hour, start GRADUALLY step sanding the adhesive. You can use the sanding wheel up to 120 grit, after that do it by hand with a sanding block or a piece of wood. If you can feel the transition between the filler and the dash it will show after paint is applied.

4.5 You can use the dremel to sand the adhesive down to give it a rounded seam into the pod to better hide your handy work.


5. If desired, lightly sand down the whole dash, by hand, with 120 grit or finer so the paint will stick better to the dash. Two layers of paint should cover the general dash. Any small imperfections can be covered with the bed liner, Just remember to follow the cans instructions for cure time between layers, sand lightly between layers.




6. Apply a light truck bed layer to match any areas that you have sanded to match the rest. Apply the interior paint to the dash with a minimum of 2 layers, touch up where needed.

7. After a short cure time, I very lightly applied a speckled layer of truck bed liner for texture and color scheme.

*Pictures will be add hopefully shortly, assuming I can find the card.
 

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That's a good idea to use the truck bed liner as an undercoating to cover up the imperfections. I just hope all those different materials hold up long term without
attacking each other or peeling.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
All of the materials should work together. The urethane is made for bumper repair, the bed liner is a vinyl polymer [same material as the dash] and it is made to be painted onto. Everything is made to work with one another. However, if it does start to peel or any other defects I'll be sure to post.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The top of the dash had too much sun damage to the plastic, just the slightest pressure on the surface caused the material to crack. I stripped off the plastic & started a new method, I'll post later on if it works.
 

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dash cap

I have never found a dash on a escort that was in perfect condition. I usually give them the pressure/squeeze test, and they all fail. I installed a dash cap and before putting it on, I spray glued a felt covering on the old dash which makes the dash cap ride quiet, and gives it some softness. I also gouged out a place on the old dash down to the surface and siliconed a plexigas strip so the dash cap would have something solid to adhere to. This was done only at the top of the instrument panel. The plexigas strip ened up being just a little lower than the padding on the dash. This allows for a thicker coat of silicone rubber to the dash cap. It looks to me that a dashcap could be used on your project. Just attach the new plastic gauge cluster to the old dash, then cut out the dash cap to fit over the new gauge cluster. Maybe a rubber moulding could be used to make the modification to the dash cap look professional. Never glue anything to a dash cap though, as it will warp it, and will have to be removed. I am on my second dash cap because of trying to glue a reinforcement to a dash cap. But luckily, the second dash cap was a better one than the first one. The lower edges were moulded with an angle on them that makes the dashcap feel "safe" to the hands. The first one had sharp edges, and didn't look good at all.
 

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84 turbo exp dash

It does look pretty good... If it was mine, I would treat it very carefully. You can't test it to see if it is brittle or not. But so far, every one that I have tested is brittle, and can't take any kind of flexing at all. The ones in the junkyard that have looked the best are the ones that have had the custom carpet covers installed on them. But after I give them the pressure test, they all crack. I do this because if I ever find one that doesn't crack, I will install it on my car...but i am still looking for the impossible dream...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Polyester Putty [called Thin Ice] works great, so far. Took off the entire plastic covering and started layering the foam in it. It's flexible and seems to get the job done so far, just need to smooth it out best I can before painting.
 
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