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Original Dash beginning to crack-advice?


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1 hour ago, MM569457 said:

I just noticed a small “bugsplat” crack forming on my original dash.

what can I do to prevent further damage to this dash? The rest of the dash is pristine.


Decades ago when my dash started to crack, I drilled a small hole at the end of the crack.  I was an aircraft maintenance officer in the Air Force at the time and knew that procedure worked well on C-130s when sheet metal cracked.  So, I gave it a try.  The dash is still in my Z.  The crack eventually got bigger over the years.  But, the "stop drill" procedure worked for years.  Good luck with whatever you decide to do to save the dash.  They all have a "Best By" date.

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I did an internet search and read a few things to confirm what I already knew.  The chemicals in the polymer evaporate out and the material becomes brittle over time.  Heat will make the material pliable, something in the 200 degree range, boiling water temperature, but the material will return to its same brittle state when it cools down.  There is no way to infuse the material with what has evaporated out over the years.  There are some really good products to protect and slow further damage, the Mequiar's being one of the top five, but that's about all you can do.

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I experienced the same issue and outcome when attempting to soften some Z parts made from rubber. With age, they had become rock hard.  An overnight soak in the recommended 'rejuvenating' chemical (acetone, IIRC) did a beautiful job and I thought my problems were solved.  Unfortunately, the parts reverted to their previous, hard-as-a-rock state within 24 hours.

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 As I recall in a previous discussion and a verifying experiment of my own, the trick to softening and keeping rubber (I don't know if it works on vinyl) soft was wintergreen oil. I soaked a destroyed hard rubber firewall grommet in acetone and wintergreen oil. It softened the grommet and left it soft for months after, at which point I was convinced and trashed it. I also seem to remember the go-karting world using w. oil on tires.

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