MGB DASH Pad 1968 to1980 DASH PAD INSTALLATION GUIDELINES
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Please read and understand these installation guidelines in their entirety before attempting to install your Dash Pad. We cannot be held responsible for improper filament due to installation error.
- Shop manual for your vehicle
- Utility knife or box cutter, scissors
- Drill motor, and 5/32″ & 1/4″ drill bits
- Long extension, universal joint and socket for removing the bolts, gauges, switch’s, glove box, vents
accessed through underneath the dash.
- Pop Rivet tool (gun)
- Single Hole punch diameter ¼ inch
- Chisel, putty knife, wire brush foam and grit removal tools)
- 1/2” Brush for upholstery glue. 1 time use. NO Foam brush it dissolves.
- Shop vacuum or compressed air
- Dental pick
- Small flashlight
- Heat gun or blow drier
- Small rubber jaw wood clamps
- X-ACTO Knife.
- Slip Sheets clear industrial strength: we use a 10-gauge shower curtain liner. (Amazon)
- Sand Paper 80, 120 grit. Never use a belt sander on your new dash Pad to remove excess foam.
- Small foam rasp
- Brush on upholstery glue – DAP Weldwood Contact Adhesive, or Pliobond 25 Contact Adhesive.
- Plastic Zip Baggies & Sharpie to label dash items, nuts, washers, bolts for the purpose of identifying
where they go.
- Workshop rags
- Masking tape to label wires and switches so you have an idea of what was what when you took it apart
- Large clean blanket or towel
- Paint for repairing rust on dash frame.
- Sand bags
- Chemical resistant gloves, Dust mask, Eye protection
Use your phone camera for referencing your project photo log for both disassembling the dash from your vehicle and installing your new Dash Pad. (Send us your photos and share with us your arduous adventure at firstname.lastname@example.org
TIP: A sense of Humor is a must when installing a big dash project and a vocabulary of swearwords may be helpful to the installation!
If you are a member of an MGB club reach out because someone has installed our Dash. There are numerous MGB sites that you can glean information from.
If you are uncomfortable doing this project after having read the entire installation instructions, consider a professional installer.
We have sold thousands of MGB Dashes over the last 36 years and were happy to say everyone has survived the adventure.
GENERAL SEPARATING OF THE OLD DASH PAD
Remove Dash from car per shop manual
- The first step is to remove all the gauges, and switches so you can pull the dash. The dash is intricate to remove, all the wires go directly into the gauges, and you have to disconnect them to pull the dash.
- You may want to clean your gauges and grease the heater controls after removal. Leaving the old harness Pigtails on each of the connections may assist in hooking up the harness when you have completed installing your new dash to the panel. Once your dash is out take a look at everything your dash was hiding. You may want to examine all wires and connections, consider replacing bulbs, washers, gaskets, rubber mounting grommets, and hoses.
- MGB 68-71 Pillow Dash It will be easier to pull the Pillow Dash if you remove the radio speaker console first. Remove the four screws (two on each side) that hold the plastic console to the metal frame behind it.
Note: You may have trouble pulling this out if the carpet on your transmission tunnel has been glued tightly right up to the front of the console, because you have to slide the console forward to get it out.
- Drill out pop rivet fastening fender washers on the bottom inside.
WARNING: Structural foam should not be removed from the metal dash frame. This structural foam cannot be replaced! Take great caution not to damage it while removing the vinyl cover, which has its own soft pad foam.
You are working with two types of foam one is structural to the dash frame and the other is foam that was used in making the dash pad. See photo below the structural foam color looks like honeycomb and is a darker orange and the dash foam is yellow.
Caution: Do not bend the panel. It is easy to bend but not easy to straighten.
Picture of factory structural foam do not remove
Your structural foam is orange honeycombed and you’re old dash foam is located next to your black vinyl and is a lighter yellow
Removing the old Dash Pad
Begin with a utility knife carefully slice around the periphery, separating your old Dash Pad from the sheet metal. Once that’s completed begin to scrape, cut, peal back the old vinyl dash away from the frame taking care to leave the structural foam block intact with the sheet metal.
Once the outer pad is removed use the putty knife and wood chisel to remove the vinyl bonded to the backside and any patches of loose foam or cement still adhering to the fascia panel.
With rough sandpaper or a drill with a wire attachment remove residual cement from the instrument panel edges and bond surfaces. Be particular in removing any residue from the areas.
It is very important that the frame is free of anything that will cause the new dash to not adhere.
Repairing the panel is recommended at this time.
- Once you have succeeded in removing the foam and glue of the old pad. With a clean cloth use your acetone
to painstakingly clean your frame.
2. Your NEW dash must have a clean surface to properly adhere to your old frame. This is a
key point to having a successful installment.
3. Repainting your fascia panel is recommended if rust is apparent. If you decide your fascia
needs painting it must be absolutely dry before moving on to the next process. We recommended 48
hours for it to gas off.
TIP: You may want to flip your panel over and paint the backside white only for the purpose of having more reflection in the future to do work behind the dash for repairs.
4.Test the adhesive you are going to use on a small painted area. If it reacts it will be because you have one of two problems: Either, you have not let your paint dry or your paint and glue is chemically reacting to each other. If it’s the latter your paint turns into goo and the dash will not adhere if you have this reaction within your materials.
Preparing your new Dash for installation
Place your new dash face down on a folded blanket, long pillow, or towel. Use course sandpaper to sand the backside of the dash top pad, foam, and black vinyl making sure to get rid of any mold release wax that will prevent it from adhering. Wipe with Acetone and let dry.
Using course sandpaper sand both the foam and the black vinyl surrounding it. Note: Check the depth of the foam in the area surrounding the gauges and correct any thickness problems by sanding it down.
Test fitting the Dash to your Panel Cover
MGB 68-71 Pillow Dash uses the gauge recesses in the pad to align fit.
MGB 72-80 Dash Pad uses the glove box as the first point of alignment.
Warm the dash for malleability! Place your new dash face down on a folded blanket, long pillow, or towel.
1. Lay the fascia into the dash pad for a trail fit. Some reshaping of the dash pad foam block with rough sandpaper may be needed for a perfect fit, but go easy. With a little pressure the panel edges should be at or inside the park line evident in the foam.
2. Take special note of the depth of the dash foam closest to the gauges making sure the panel in between the gauges lays flat. You may need to sand a little off. You can do this with either sand paper or a foam rasp. If you have to thick of foam in that area you can’t put the switches and gauges back in the dash.
MGB 68-71 Abingdon Pillow Dash use the gauge recesses in the pad to align fit.
Dry fit all the gauges and switches. Begin with either the tach or speedo using these gauge recesses in the pad to align and fit.
- Cut the gauge holes center to edge. Be sure to leave a little extra for the final trimming that happens after glue down.
- If the first gauge is off center all your gauges will be misaligned.
- Take your time to be exact. If it isn’t lining up it won’t magically line up by gluing it down. When you have the first gauge laid in correctly move to the next until all the gauges and switches our laid in.
- .Inspect the dashes thickness to the underlying areas surrounding your gauges and switches. Sanding down any irregularities.Old MGB Dash: Note the amount of vinyl left around cutout areas.
MGB 72-80 Dashes: Use the glove box as the first point of alignment.
- Your structural foam has aged due to time and the elements. Loosen the hardware to adjust your dash pad in relationship to fitting over your structural foam.
Installing the new outer pad
1. Having completed preparation on both your fascia panel and your new dash top pad the next step is to apply the contact cement evenly but sparingly to the fascia panels entire front metal surfaces and edges. Do not apply cement to the front or passenger end of the rigid foam block.
2. Apply cement to the mating surfaces of the foam pad.
3. Drying time is approximately 30 to 45 minutes depending upon the temperature and humidity in your working area.
4. SLIP SHEETS; pre-cut your 10 gauge shower curtain into a mixture of both 12 inch wide slip-sheets and smaller width’s for your critical areas (ends and gauges).
5. Once both have dried began laying your cut slip-sheets onto your face down dash in an overlapping pattern. Use the smaller width sheets for the gauge area and the ends with several inches overhanging.
6. Placing the fascia panel into the dash pad with the slip-sheets as a barrier between the two non-contacting units. Warning – when contact cement comes into contact with its mating part the bond is essentially made right away and is not repositionable!
7. After pulling the first slip-sheet free, insert the two switches at the left into the pad to assist in alignment. This will keep in contact cement from bonding in the wrong places while indexing the fascia in the pad. Once the fascia is located correctly with switch bezels aligned, remove the slip-sheets one by one. Work from the instrument panel end, adjusting the fit as you go the top first and the bottom last. Make sure the fascia panel is as deep in the pad as possible by prying the new foam slightly away from the metal and pushing in as you pull the slip-sheets out.
8. After bonding the dash to the fascia panel let sit for 24 hours before wrapping the vinyl to the backside of your fascia panel.
9. When bonded in place, work around the entire perimeter of the dash frame. Gently peel the skin back from the foam about a ½”inch around the periphery, and trim any foam flash with a sharp utility knife by guiding on the metal edge. Keep the blade point to the inside and up to the hill to guard against cutting the skin. On the ends take care not to tear the vinyl and trim to the part line.
10. Rough sandpaper can be used to smooth imperfections in the foam under the skin.
11. Apply cement to the backside of the fascia and allow to dry.
12. Work your way around the perimeter of the dash cover folding the vinyl over the frame. Use a heat gun on the outer edges of the vinyl to make it more adaptable to bend over the frame.
13. Mark the location of the fender washers holes on the back of the fascia. With scissors, slip out the cutouts for the bolt tabs along the bottom and steering column tunnel. Fold the flap over tightly, snipping cuts to accommodate curves. Along the top edge, snip a couple of V’s between each stud and around each stud don’t go deeper than necessary. It is best to use a hole punch at the end of each relief cut to keep the cut from spreading into a visible area of vinyl.
14. Working from the center to the ends, pull the flap over tightly. Glue one section at a time. Taking care not to leave wrinkles or lose skin. You should only glue and area equal to the amount of wood clamps you have.
15. Locate the rivet holes with the nail and rivet the fender washers back in.
16. Congratulations! You have succeeded in joining your new dash pad to the metal fascia panel.