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Old 08-25-2012, 03:46 PM   #1
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How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

My dashboard was in bad shape and i happened to find a replacement at a junkyard that's in good condition. There are no cracks, but the dash plastic has hardened and I figure it's only a matter of time before this one cracks too.

What kind of material is the dash made out of? I was thinking it might be possible to condition the Dashboard with some sort of oil. You know, lather it up with vaseline and let it sit for a few days. But I thought there might be a product out there already for this kind of thing. Any ideas?

I also thought about leaving some screws off to allow the dash to expand and contract without stressing the material.

Any other ideas to help prevent the dash from cracking?
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:53 PM   #2
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaze of Glory View Post
My dashboard was in bad shape and i happened to find a replacement at a junkyard that's in good condition. There are no cracks, but the dash plastic has hardened and I figure it's only a matter of time before this one cracks too.

What kind of material is the dash made out of? I was thinking it might be possible to condition the Dashboard with some sort of oil. You know, lather it up with vaseline and let it sit for a few days. But I thought there might be a product out there already for this kind of thing. Any ideas?

I also thought about leaving some screws off to allow the dash to expand and contract without stressing the material.

Any other ideas to help prevent the dash from cracking?
Buy a sunshade and armor-all often.

Not sure if vaseline will work. I admit your comment made me chuckle, but that's just because I have a sick mind...
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

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armor-all often.
Don't do this. Armor-All dries out plastic. It is worse than if you left it alone.

I'm looking for an answer on what to use as well, but I do know what not to use on it.

The sun shade is a good idea in the meantime, I just hate fiddlin' with those stupid things.
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:41 PM   #4
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

If you're going to apply anything to the surface, at least use this:

http://303products.com/index.php/303...vb5imvnc4b81v2

303 has been bought out by Gold Eagle so my hunch is the new owners are going to mess with the formulation and cheapen it; it might not be as good as the original. I hope I'm wrong.

And use a Heat Shield whenever your car is outside. Even on cloudy days.

http://www.heatshieldstore.com/
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:54 PM   #5
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

Sun light and heat are your biggest enemy. Extreme cold does not do much for plastic parts either, as I have seen them crack on very cold days. I always install a Dashmat in my cars when I buy the car. The Dashmat prevents direct sunlight from baking the pad. I have used Armorall for 30 years with no problems. Even the seats in my 32 year-old bass boat look new, and I can't remember the last time a dash pad cracked on any of my cars. Since I am bold enough to post this fact, three or four of them will probably crack by tomarrow... The 303 product is top notch. Maybe I wll start using it more, and Armorall less. I have used 303 on decals on the outside of cars and boats, and it seems to do a good job. Pheonix Graphics recommends using 303 on all of their reproduction decals to prevent fading and cracking. My 86 and 82 are both stored inside of an air-conditioned store room and an air conditioned trailer. Both cars are in total darkness except when we have them out to drive them, detail, repair or show them. Keeping your car out of direct sunlight if you can makes a huge difference. That being said, most cars are drivers and have to sit outside a lot. With the Dashmats and frequent treatments with Armorall, I have not had any problems with my DD's either. I sold an 87 Dodge Ramcharger DD two years back with a dark red interior. It stayed in the garage at night, but sat in the sun 13 hours a day while I was at work. There was no sign of fading, cracking, or other deteriotion anywhere on the truck. In fact we shown the truck in local shows, and it always did well. It was a DD and still a good number two. The Dodge was a POS, but it looked good. As for original parts, there is a limit as to how long the plastic pieces on our cars are going to last. Hopefully we will begin to see some quality accurate reproduction parts soon. Good Luck.
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:29 PM   #6
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaze of Glory View Post
My dashboard was in bad shape and i happened to find a replacement at a junkyard that's in good condition. There are no cracks, but the dash plastic has hardened and I figure it's only a matter of time before this one cracks too.

What kind of material is the dash made out of? I was thinking it might be possible to condition the Dashboard with some sort of oil. You know, lather it up with vaseline and let it sit for a few days. But I thought there might be a product out there already for this kind of thing. Any ideas?

I also thought about leaving some screws off to allow the dash to expand and contract without stressing the material.

Any other ideas to help prevent the dash from cracking?
I know alot of you don't like the carpet dash pad covers, but I am here to tell you that my 90 Firebird that I had for 10 years had a dash pad cover on it the whole time I owned it and my dash pad was mint and when I sold it, it was still in mint uncracked condition. They really do work. I don't just tell people that to sell them, it is just a proven fact. The vaseline idea is not a good one and I'll tell you why. A very good friend of mine decided to put vaseline on his dash pad because he was not a fan of the dash pad covers and he let it sit in the sun for 48 hours before he put it back in his car and when he went out to get it, the vaseline had turned into a gooey dripping mess and it did not do a thing but just that...............made a mess. Just a some info for you to kick around.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:41 PM   #7
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

Use any of the products mentioned above to insure the vinyl stays moisturized and supple. Most good products also offer a decent level of UV protection, but a sunshade and/or dash mat is an excellent idea and added insurance.

Vinylex, http://www.amazon.com/Vinylex-1215-P.../dp/B0002KKHS8, offers very good UV protection and a low gloss, which looks best IMO. Even Pledge has a product that offers extra moisturizing and, although not really intended for automotive use, works pretty darn well.

Not a fan of Armor All, and I would not use Vaseline on a dash. That stuff would probably act as a dirt magnet.
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:05 PM   #8
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

I use one of two methods

Sunshade plus carpet

or a garage

If it's not one, it's the other
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:54 PM   #9
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

I would'nt leave it lose I did'nt screw mine down and it started warping and cracked to bits this past summer.
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Old 08-31-2012, 06:27 PM   #10
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

i have used armor-all for many , many years . (since before many on this forum were even born) (DAMN I'M OLD) what i have done and have not had a dashpad crack on me . (i have owned 5 different 3rd gens) removed dash pad from car , clean & rinse well , dry , rinse well again & dry . spray well with armor-all outside , let dry (long enough for 2 beers) . go back spray & fully wipe down entire pad . let set overnite , install back in car & wipe down . after that just regular wipe down with armor-all wipes when you clean interior . has worked for me . just my experience , good luck . (did i mention clean & rinse well with a mild soap & soft brush)
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:36 AM   #11
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

As far as sunshades go, I just got a custom-fit Covercraft one for my '02, and am VERY pleased with it. I had bought a cheap universal jumbo size one for the car from a parts store a few weeks ago, but found it to be the worst-fitting universal product of any type that I have ever purchased, although this might have something to do with 4th gen's having what seems like the tallest windshield ever put in a production car. The universal sunshade left the bottom third (or top third, if you prefer) of the windshield totally exposed. Not to mention it was EXTREMELY flimsy, and difficult to fold back up.

The Covercraft one is made of thick plastic-coated cardboard, and fits nearly perfectly. The only gripe that I have is the fact that I have to use the visors to hold it in place, which I don't like doing since the visors in that car are getting very thin and starting to rot at the bends like the C4 Corvettes do. Although it still doesn't keep the dash cool on hot days, it does block all the UV rays from hitting it, and keeps the seats and steering wheel very cool. I also have window tint and t-top shades, but have gotten a far better decrease in interior temp from the sunshades than I did the tint, although you may have different results going with darker tint (I wanted to stay legal).

The Covercraft shade was $47/shipped from Amazon...about the same price as shipping alone on a used dash I would imagine.

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Old 09-06-2012, 09:28 PM   #12
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Re: How to prevent the Dashboard from cracking?

I noticed mine was flexing a bit going over bumps in the road. I put a brace from the pod with the cig. lighter to the underside of the dash pad. Keeps it from flexing and hopefully, from cracking. But I suspect that when these get hard and brittle it's just a matter of time till they crack.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:28 PM
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