Q: Dash Panel Replacement
My dash panel is rusted out where it meets the windshield. How do I replace this section of sheet metal.
A: The dash panel replacement isn’t too bad if there isn’t too much rust. The old panel is spot welded under the dash pad and along the front under cowl. It’s also welded at the front corners and with a small weld on the “A” pillar.
I usually start with a wire wheel or sand blaster under the cowl area to remove the excess rust. This will show you how much metal you’ll have to replace besides the dash panel.
Assuming there is minimal rust through into the vent area below the dash pad, it’s pretty simple to install a new unit. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to either: remove the fenders or separate the front subframe and front clip to expose the area under the back of the fenders and, of course, remove the windshield. Once you do this you’ll see it’s pretty straight forward.
After you’ve wire brushed the excess rust away: drill out the remaining spot welds in the cowl area, Grind out the brazed welds in the corners, Cut the welds loose from the “A” pillars, Drill out the spot welds under the dash pad (as an option, you can just cut along the top of the overlapped seam). Remember to remove your VIN number plate since it has to stay with the car.
To install: Repair any hole under the dash panel in the cowl area, Prime and paint the new panel (optional) Pre-drill your spot weld holes, Reinstall your VIN plate, Use self tapping screws to temporarily secure the new panel and weld. Touch-up the burnt paint areas and caulk the cowl seam.
You’ll have to drill new holes when you reinstall your bottom chrome and remember to caulk the hole to prevent them from leaking.
As far as the order, I always do the areas that don’t show first like the floorboards, trunk, cowl, etc., then start work on the outside. This way I don’t cry too bad if I drop something and scratch the paint.
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Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:54 pm