1970 Lower Dash - Think this can this be restored?

80WA7113

Veteran Member
May 22, 2002
1,590
Indianapolis, IN
The lower dash from my '70 is not in such great shape. Radio opening busted out on the RH side. LH knob hole chewed out. Hole for a switch of some sort drilled in the dash face. All in all, not the best I've seen, but also not the worst.

Look at the pics and tell me, do you think I can bring this around to make it look new again?

That's my goal as I want to use the original AM radio when the dash gets reinstalled.

Here's what I have to work with. Let's see where this goes...heading to the shop now.

Lower Dash 1.jpg



Lower Dash 2.jpg



Lower Dash 3.jpg



Lower Dash 4.jpg
 

DougD

Veteran Member
Dec 2, 2014
629
Bradenton, FL
Too much work for the reward, you can find a much better oem used or a quality repro for far less than you'd have invested in time & materials fixing that one.
 

Twisted_Metal

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Gold Member
Feb 26, 2004
31,903
Bloomington, MN
The reproductions have the "Fasten Seat Belt" light in them.
That's not present on a 70 lower dash.

Not sure if the radio shaft spacing is correct either... That changed in 77(?).
Shaft spacing went from 6-1/4" to 5-3/4".

Not sure what the radio shaft spacing is on the reproductions but it's probably the later style.

It won't be easy to find an early lower dash but it will be very difficult to repair that one.
 

badazz81z28

Veteran Member
May 4, 2001
22,367
Alabama
A 70 only dash, you can’t just buy one of those. This is an easy fix! All you need is a donor, cut the radio area out of the donor and splice it into your dash with a plastic repair epoxy. Sand and paint. You won’t even be able to tell the repair was done.
 

80WA7113

Veteran Member
May 22, 2002
1,590
Indianapolis, IN
Thanks for the thoughts. Yes, the radio holes changed from 6-1/2" to 5-3/4" in 77, and from 73 up they had the seat belt warning light, so to keep the dash original and to be able to use my radio, I need to make this one work.

I've pulled a rabbit out of my hat before restoring parts that most would have scrapped, so let's see if I can do this again. I don't think the time involved will be tremendous, I think what it really boils down to the methodology I use to reconstruct the dash, and the steps involved.

I got started last night.

After giving it some careful thought, I decided the way to reconstruct the dash was to use fiberglass. I started by making backers to reform the radio hole and the broken support fin in the back. For this I used some scrap galvanized steel I had laying around. First step was to repair the support brace and form the side of the radio hole. Once that set up, I could lay glass over the top missing section of the radio hole. That's where I stopped to let my work cure overnight before moving forward.

I should be able to get more done today. It's not a fast process, but I think this will work.


Lower Dash 5.jpg



Lower Dash 6.jpg



Lower Dash 7.jpg








Lower Dash 8.jpg



Lower Dash 9.jpg



Lower Dash 10.jpg



Lower Dash 11.jpg
 

badazz81z28

Veteran Member
May 4, 2001
22,367
Alabama
I hope it works out with fiberglass, I personally think a splice and plastic epoxy is stronger. I would concerned that it doesn’t blend in with the surrounding plastic
 

COPO

Veteran Member
Lifetime Gold Member
Sep 15, 1999
22,300
Ontario, Canada
Plastic epoxy cracks easily when some pressure is applied. It’s like an egg shell. I would fiberglass it or use bondo but not 5 min epoxy. I’ve tried 5 min epoxy with the 2 syringe style applicator that you mix equal parts on my plastic pressure washer case. No go.

To fix cracks in my power washer I first used a solder iron to push existing plastic beside the crack into the crack.

Then I cut pieces to size of stickon wire mesh that came in a bondo kit and heated the mesh using the solder iron until the plastic melted into the mesh. After letting it harden which doesn’t take long I got some hard plastic that just happened to be the same color, lit it on fire with a propane torch.

Then holding one end of the plastic with pliers I let the hot melting dripping plastic about 6” from the crack. I let it drip all over the mesh area and also around the surrounding area for extra strength. And yes, it’s hard as heck and fixed my crack(s).
 
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80WA7113

Veteran Member
May 22, 2002
1,590
Indianapolis, IN
I'm sure the fiberglass will be more than sufficient for these repairs.

More progress today. I fabricated a mold to repair the section missing from the face of the dash. I also needed to come up with a way to recreate the actual radio mount holes. I found some washers that fit perfectly into the holes, but would be too thick to use to obtain the proper clearance I would need for the thread clearance required for mounting the radio. So I cut two very thin "washers" from my left over sheet steel and fit them snugly into the base of the holes. On a rough test fit, the clearance I would need after repairing the backs of both holes looked good for radio mounting.

In the picture, you can see the angled back-plate I made for the repair, as well as the radio hole backing washer I made. The resin I mixed is impregnated with many very small cut strands of fiberglass to ensure bonding strength.

So far, so good.

Lower Dash 12a.jpg



Lower Dash 13.jpg



Lower Dash 14.jpg


Once this repair sets up, I can start to trim, sand, and mold the work done so far. Tomorrow I will also continue with repairing both radio holes, which will return them to their original factory thickness.

The progress may not be fast, but it's steadily heading in the right direction.
 

berg2695

Veteran Member
Nov 13, 2011
642
Great project! I'm not positive but I think the material is styrene type plastic or ABS. Black ABS cement from the plumbing section will work well for reinforcement and appearance. (I think)
 

hubedobeedo

3rd times a charm
Jul 18, 2013
1,058
Huntertown,IN
mine came with 70 lower but was so obliterated in the radio area i bonded in aluminum plate. looks like you are getting it done, good job!
 

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