Q: Dash Panel Replacement
How hard is it to replace the dashboard? Does it involve welding and if so how hard is it? How much would the labor probably cost? Is it Possible to remove the rust and repaint the section while still on the car? I plan on doing this when I replace the windshield glass(soon) and any tips are appreciated.
A: I’ve done this a couple of times and as far as panel replacement goes, it’s about as easy as it gets (none of the seams show)…. if the windshield AND front clip are off. I just replaced the dash panel on my 69. I already had the windshield out but not the front clip. What I did there was to pull the steering column, remove the subframe bolts, unbolt the fenders at the top and bottom, and loosen the exhaust pipes (either front or back will work), unbolt the brake lines from the subframe (not the master cylinder), and loosen the rubber fuel and return line. This allowed me to slide the front clip away from the body about 3-4 inches while leaving all the heater hoses, A/C hoses, and brake lines in place and expose the dash panel seams.
On the inside, you have to remove the dash pad and cut the dash panel loose from the dash at the top edge, under the pad. On the firewall side, drill out the spot and tack welds. You also have a tack weld on the front columns.
The old dash panel will come right off now. Now is the time to assess the damage that was under to dash panel and repair as needed. Be sure to transfer you VIN number plate to the new panel
To re-install, I used some caulk where the original foam seal was and sheet metal screws to fasten it down. Once the caulk drys, I went back and tack welded the panel into place. Calk all the exposed seams and prime and paint. Re-assemble as required.
A: Regarding rust repair under the windshield:
I had a body shop weld a patch into one corner under my windshield. At the time I did not have access to a welder, but I removed the nearby fender to make room for the welding head. They did a nice job, but they thought that the region forward of the angled bend (where the windshield seals, near the VIN in my case) would be invisible and did not do as nice a finish in that region. I was in a hurry and did not ask them to repaint it, but if you look hard at the right angle you can tell there was a repair done in that tiny spot (nobody but a concourse judge would likely notice this). Nevertheless, I suggest you make sure they know that about one inch forward of that angle needs to be a clean finish as well.
A: I’m on my third dash panel replacement so maybe I can help. Of all the panel replacements, this is one of the most simple if there isn’t too much underlying damage. To remove the old panel, you first have to either remove the front fenders or remove the bolts from the chassis, the four subframe bolts, remove the clamps holding the fuel and brake lines and remove the steering column. This will allow you to gently move the front clip approximately four inches forward and allow complete access to the dash panel.
Next, drill out all the spot welds across the cowl and upper dash (or you can just cut it off above the dash), grind out the welds in the corner and cut the tab that are welded to the windshield pillar posts (cut them flush to the panel and leave them attached to the pillars to use later). Once completed, you can asses the damage and get back to use if you need more advice.
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Content last modified: January 17, 2014 at 9:53 pm