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Fiberglass Dash experience?

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    I was searching the forums about fiberglass dash info, but the last thread was over 5 years ago. I figured I would start a new thread about this topic as hopefully there are advancements in this.

    I wanted to know if anyone could tell me about their experience (Costs, sacrifices, pros/cons, etc.) with a fiberglass dash, such as the one PDK provides (http://www.pdkfabrication.com/).

    I am wanting to take this route as finding a new dash has been a royal pain, and my dash is too bad to restore. I am looking for the most cost efficient way to fix my cars dash problem. My logic behind implementing a fiberglass dash is because it seems to be a cheaper alternative, but then again I do not know how much it would be to implement it to my needs.

    I am not building a race car. Instead I am trying to restore my 71 240z to a fairly classic state but with modern amenities. Kind of like the cars on Barrett-Jackson. This means I would like to have a defroster, new gauges, etc, which seems like I could run into complications with the fiberglass dash.

    Any advice in this area of knowledge would be great, and I think it would be good for everyone trying to fix their dashes.

    Thanks.

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    I personally would not go with a fiberglass dashboard simply because of the problems that could arise in the future. I would however go with a carbon fibre dash because it would in all a likelyhood be one piece and not seperate over time. But that's just me.

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    Think about what the dash does for your passenger in an accident, and how your material of choice might interact with your passengers face...lots of liability in those hard, brittle surface choices...

    unless the frame of your dash is badly damaged, it can be restored.

    BTW, restoration means one thing-being put back as it was-anything else is modification, sounds like you want to restore some aspects of the car and modify others-that would make it a restomod.

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    ^^^^ What hls said! Fiberglass (and carbon fiber) breaks up in shards that can cut up the driver and passenger. There's not just a risk to faces. Imagine a shard severing a major artery in the neck or arm! Even fiberglass-bodies can be dangerous in some collisions. A fiberglass dash would be even scarier.

    If I recall, you can get your dash completely stripped and re-padded/skinned (or whatever they call it) for around $600-700.

    Edited by FastWoman

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    If you hit a slab of fiberglass or carbon fiber hard enough to shatter it, I'd say the shards are the least of your worries!

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    Alright, you have all convinced me to not get a fiberglass dash. I found someone who is selling a like new conditioned dash for $800, shipping not included. Is that market price?

    Again, I am trying to take the most cost efficient approach to my dash problems. My current dash is pretty much just a frame, as everything else is torn and missing, so I don't know if restoring it would be the best thing to do, as I would need to source a bunch of parts.

    Thank you all again for your input.

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    By all means get an oem style replacement dash instead of making something. Nice ones are expensive though. One solution is to get a "decent" one and put a cap on it. The caps are not concourse quality, but for a daily driver/weekend warrior they are great. It is a time consuming adventure to replace the entire dash but definately doable. Lots of wires and cables and limited space and so on. There was a memeber in Virginia that had a very nice dash for $800. I panicked when I started shopping for one because of the price. I have finally accepted they are going to be expensive. Keep an eye on the classifieds here as a decent one shows from time to time. A full cap is in the ball park of $100 and with some prep work will give you a reasonably nice end product.

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    ^^^ What Leonard said about dash caps. They're cheap, and they look good. They're clearly THE most popular interior restoration item for a Z.

    There's also a thread around here somewhere about DIY dashboard repair. The results are impressive, although perhaps not long-lasting.

    I've thought it might be possible to form/stretch black leather over a dashboard, perhaps with the help of some strong contact adhesive. It would have to be pretty thin and stretchy material -- something like kidskin.

    Do search around for this company that essentially rebuilts your dash, using new materials. The outcome will be much better than a "like new" (but old) dash, and I think the cost is probably about the same.

    Leon, the dash could be shattered in any number of ways. One way would be from a side impact. This issue of fiberglass in cars is a point of some debate. For instance many racers won't put fiberglass or CF doors on their cars, despite the weight savings, because of the possibility of a nasty intrusion injury. There are other less obvious hazards too. Some racers won't use CF hoods because in a frontal crash, the hood hinges can break off, and the hood can be shoved through the window like an enormous guillotine blade. By contrast, a fiberglass hood often has the good graces to shatter away, (semi)harmessly. I just wouldn't want the ball of shards on the INSIDE of my vehicle! Of course a steel hood is the safest, as it simply crumples. I admit I have no personal experience with any of this, so I might not be the best source.

    Edited by FastWoman

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    I have the dash out of my 240Z as we speak. I've never needed to repair it or replace it. I've never work with a fiberglass dash. I have thought about replacing my dash with fiberglass, it's a race car, not a street car.

    The only fiberglass dash I found for sale is $400 and still needs to be installed. It does not include any hardware and the add says I need to figure out how to install it.

    I would think that you can find a used dash in decent shape. Maybe it will need a "cap". I bet you can get both for less than $400. Heck, I would be willing to trade you my old dash straight across for a fiberglass dash. It only weights 25 Lbs, but it's long, so shipping might be a bit much. It's in pretty good shape actually, but I'm just talking, not seriously offering.

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    Alright, you have all convinced me to not get a fiberglass dash. I found someone who is selling a like new conditioned dash for $800, shipping not included. Is that market price?

    Again, I am trying to take the most cost efficient approach to my dash problems. My current dash is pretty much just a frame, as everything else is torn and missing, so I don't know if restoring it would be the best thing to do, as I would need to source a bunch of parts.

    Thank you all again for your input.

    I have seen in person a 240Z dash within the last couple of months in the original Nissan box. It's listed at http://www.zpartswarehouse.com. Look at the price for an unused dash and compare it to the dash you are considering as far as price and condition go.

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    I have a question.

    Are the dashes in these cars supposed to be padded foam coating a plastic core? or are they just plastic?

    Cause my 77' 280z has an all plastic dash, or to what it seems atleast.

    thanks

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    I have a question.

    Are the dashes in these cars supposed to be padded foam coating a plastic core? or are they just plastic?

    Cause my 77' 280z has an all plastic dash, or to what it seems atleast.

    thanks

    Our 73 has a stamped sheet steel frame with a foam/vinyl cover. I would expect your 77 to be the same. A "Dash Cap" comes to mind, but I've never actually seen one.

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    All original S30 Dashes are a Steel frame with foam and a plastic film, Dash Restorations refoams and re films, a full face dash cover that has been properly fitted looks almost as good as a restored dash, but is readily identifiable as a cover at the dash emblem/glovebox lock, and at the sides with the doors open(the cover does not cover all of the dash on the sides, and the opening for the dash emblem/glovebox lock is not well fitted around the emblem/lock. Most people would not notice the cover, Z freaks probably would, but then they would also recognize with the $600 difference between a restored dash and a well fitted cover could make elsewhere in the car!

    Dash cover in my 240Z http://www.classiczcars.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=14322&ppuser=4106

    Restored vs NOS 1 http://www.classiczcars.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=19209&ppuser=4106

    Restored vs NOS 2 http://www.classiczcars.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=19208&ppuser=4106

    Installing a cover-see post 18 here: http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12725&page=2&pp=15&highlight=dash+cover

    Edited by hls30.com

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    I've thought it might be possible to form/stretch black leather over a dashboard, perhaps with the help of some strong contact adhesive. It would have to be pretty thin and stretchy material -- something like kidskin.

    This is possible.

    I did it on my RX7 using a load of leather I got from a friend who does leather interiors on private jets.

    Difficult to see it perfectly in this pic, but should give you an idea:

    P1013044.jpg

    Simply filled all cracks, sanded down, and stretched the leather over, sticking down with relevant adhesive. It did need some stitching over the curved area above the dials (due to being stretchy, but not quite that stretchy!!) but I was lucky having a friend who did it all. Cost around 150 of your American dollars including supply of leather, repair of dash and fitting of leather so better than a dash cap in my eyes!

    With the leather having a slight foam backing it is soft to the touch and makes the car look like a luxury GT rather than a cheap Japanese import!!

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