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Jensen Healey Dashboard Repair

by James Brinkley

Having made the decision to restore my dash as cheaply as possible I originally purchased an auto vinyl repair kit and black vinyl spray paint - most auto repair stores carry these products, I think I bought my kit from Walmart for about $15 with the paint. Anyway to cut a long story short don’t waste your time or money with this approach - it is time consuming and the results/repairs although initially look good didn’t last a single hot and sunny day - the old splits in the dash reappeared as soon as the dash warmed up and looked worse than ever.

My next approach was to buy and install a DASH CAP from Delta Motorsports. $89 plus shipping: On arrival the cap is a very well made product and much thicker than I expected - it is a perfect fit and is designed to simply slip over the existing dash and be siliconed into place. It comes with very easy to follow instructions which I partially followed. The main problem with the cap is that the surface windscreen vents are designed to be cutouts and thus will sit under the cap. This to me lets the interior down and makes a dash cap stand out as ‘well’ a dash cap ! I wanted the end result to not look like a dash cap - so I set about figuring out a way to secure the dash cap with the windscreen metal vent plates mounted on top of the dash cap - thus giving the appearance of the cap being the original dash.

The following description is only for those of you considering a dash cap who don’t mind first removing the entire dash - as I mentioned earlier you can simply cut out the vent holes and glue the thing straight over the stock dash - wether or not you’ll be happy with the end result is a personal thing…

Once the instrument cluster and dash is out you’ll need to remove the vent grates and plastic vent tubes from the back of the dash. Next slip the dash cap over the dash and mark the windscreen vent holes with a marker pen - Remove the dash cap and cut out the holes which you just marked.

You should also remove the cars ID plate for later installation on top of the new dash cap.

The next stage of the install is to simply following the actual installation instructions as supplied with the dash - clean your old dash surface, apply the silicone adhesive (also supplied with the cap) and then mount the cap to the dash. I used about a dozen clamps, spring clips and some duct tape to hold the dash in place while the adhesive dries - at least over night. I also secured the side corners in place with a couple of large pop rivets. If you do this at the edges where the sides of the dash meet the sides of the windscreen frame the rivets will be hidden once the dash is put back into the car.

The front lip of the cap extends over the dash by about 1/2” but this will also be hidden when wedged between the dash and the windshield. You can trim it if you want - I left mine alone.

Once glued on you can attach the top vent grates - you’ll need to drill two small holes for the back studs of the grate to fit through the dash cap and dash. Because of the added thickness of the cap to the dash you’ll find that the vent grill studs will protrude enough through the dash for the metal backing plate and nuts to be attached - but not the black plastic vent tubes. So attach the metal grills, and backing plates with the original nuts.

The final stage is to now attach the plastic vent tubes to the underside of the dash. I did this by drilling out large enough holes on both sides of the vent tube so that the tube can sit flush against the metal backing plate. I then siliconed and pop riveted the vent tube into there original location.

Alternatively you could drill out the metal grills rear studs and just use longer bolts which would go through both the cap, dash, backing plate and vent tube.

(Don’t forget to put the vehicle ID plate back on with a couple of pop rivets - before the dash goes back into the car)
With everything riveted, secured and glued the final results are very good. With the dash and instruments back in place it really looks like a new dash - without the tell-tale signs of it being a dash cap.

The whole installation took about 2 - 3 hrs with overnight dry time of the cap on the dash. No need for any alcohol for this job but what the heck it never hurts - right! Perhaps a 2 glass rating as per difficultness. It’s a very worthwhile fix for our old cracked dashes and at $80 it’s pretty cheap too - for those of you with a larger budget you can have your old dash completely restored for about $500 check out for full information.




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