The 1947 - Present Chevrolet & GMC Truck Message Board Network

Register or Log In To remove these advertisements.

Go Back   The 1947 - Present Chevrolet & GMC Truck Message Board Network > Info Center > FAQ Truck Tech


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-13-2015, 02:03 PM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Beaumont, TX
Posts: 34
My DIY Dash Restoration

My post on my door panel restoration (seen here) generated some interest for my dash restoration, so here goes nothing. This is a step by step look at what we did to restore the dash from a 1984 GMC Stepside.

When we pulled the dash out initially, we had no intentions of fixing it because it was in such bad shape. In fact, we left it outside for a while! But as the end of our restoration project gets nearer, the financing pool is getting emptier. So after seeing that some other people had restored their dashes, we decided to give it a whirl, and I'm glad we did!

Here is the dash in all it's nastiness:

The first thing we did was cut out all of the cracks and damage, including removing the completely rotted speaker grilles. My son decided that he didn't want in-dash speakers, and so for a cleaner look we decided to just fill in all of the speaker areas. We taped some cardboard on the undersides of the dash where the grilles were, and then filled all the voids with spray foam insulation. We then took a serrated knife and cut the foam off even with the surface of the dash.

If I had it to do over again, I might have just left what remained of the speaker grilles and foamed in and around them to give it a little bit more support. The thin layer of foam gave me a tiny bit of problem when I was sanding later due to its flexibility.

The next step was to cut out all the material that had cracked in order to remove any raised part of the vinyl. I should have sanded the edges down a bit more than I did, because it caused me some problems with the filler later on. The more gradual the edge, the better the filler bonds with it.

For filler I used Padded Dash Filler from It is better than regular body filler because it is built to expand and contract with the conditions, rather than being solid and immovable. It was a little over 20 bucks a pint, and I ended up buying two due to the fact that I had so much to fill with the speaker grille voids. If you are just filling cracks, one should be plenty.

Once the filler was dry, I sanded it first with a jitterbug sander and 60 grit, then moving to 120. Once I had the shape mostly accomplished, I moved to a hand block sanding. For the edges and for the vent holes and VIN window, I had to use a Dremel with a sanding attachment to get into the small places.

This process was very similar to body work, if you've ever done any of that. I had to sand, reapply, and sand, and reapply to get it just right. I ended up with a "skim coat" of filler in the major areas to make sure that it feathered out enough to have a fairly uniform smoothness and surface. This process takes a lot longer to do than to describe. I probably spent 4-5 hours on this part over the course of a few days in order to let the filler cure properly.

Once I had it the way I wanted it, I went over the entire dash with a jitterbug and 220 grit sandpaper. Then came a cleaning with wax and grease remover and two coats of plastic adhesion promoter.

Next came the texture coat. I used texture coat for a couple of reasons: first, I wanted to hide any minor differences in the surface and second, I had sanded off most of the previous texture. Oh, and I wanted my door panels to match texture-wise as well. I used SEM Texture Coat and gave it about 6 coats of texture. Then I gave it a light sanding with 800 grit to ensure a uniform appearance.

Next came the paint. I wanted to color match the red paint of the interior, so I had to spend a little more than I wanted on paint. I ended up getting PPG Deltron DBC which was around 100 bucks a pint. But I had enough for my dash, my door panels, and I think I have enough to do the rest of the plastic trim as well. The paint went on very nicely.

Here you can see how well it matched the original paint, that is the glove box under the dash:

When I painted the dash, I also painted the vent inserts (the square ones on top, not the heater/ac) after a couple of coats of plastic adhesion promoter. One mistake I made is that I hadn't sanded down the hole for the insert in one place good enough and when I pushed the insert down, it was a little tight, and I ended up with a hairline crack in the corner. I put some clearcoat on it, and don't expect it to cause any problems, and it's not really noticeable. Also, there were a couple of small cracks (less than a half of an inch) in some hard to see places that I missed until I painted it. They will likely be hidden by the trim/vents.

I haven't put the dash back in yet, but all in all I'm pleased. There are a couple of places in which you can see a small difference in surface, but nothing to complain too much about. This wasn't a super-easy job, but I think it is very doable! If you have any questions, let me know, I'd love to help.
cbbeard is offline  
Old 01-13-2015, 02:44 PM   #2
old Rusty C10
Robert Olson Transport

old Rusty C10's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Howell NJ USA and a house in Deposit NY USA
Posts: 19,842
Re: My DIY Dash Restoration

sent in as a tech tip thanks

1979 Chevrolet C20 LWB
1976 Chevrolet K20 LWB
1998 Chevrolet K2500 LWB
1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
1966 Ford Mustang
2019 Ram Bighorn 3500 SLT 4X4 Longbed Diesel
2005 Dodge 1500 SWB 4X4
2014 Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail

"If a man's worth is judged by the people he associates himself with, then i am the richest man in the world knowing some of the fine people of this board" (you can review the site rules here!)

PM Me for your vehicle/parts hauling needs in the North East US or see my Facebook page Robert Olson Transport

Live each day to the fullest.. you never know when fate is going to pull the rug out from under you...
I hate cancer!!
old Rusty C10 is offline  
Old 01-13-2015, 02:48 PM   #3
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Beaumont, TX
Posts: 34
Re: My DIY Dash Restoration

Thanks guys! Much appreciated. I've gotten some great help from this site, so I'm happy to help when I can.
cbbeard is offline  
Old 01-13-2015, 02:57 PM   #4
Senior Member
73kay's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Indy, IN
Posts: 583
Re: My DIY Dash Restoration

Awesome. Beats spending all that dough for a new one.

1953 3100 235 T5
1976 c10 shortbed 350 WC T5
1985 K5 Blazer 350 700R4 208
73kay is offline  
Old 01-13-2015, 03:14 PM   #5
Houston Ben
Registered User
Houston Ben's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Houston Texas
Posts: 713
Re: My DIY Dash Restoration

Houston Ben is offline  
Old 01-13-2015, 05:11 PM   #6
Registered User
UKNOWME's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Clovis, NM
Posts: 2,705
Re: My DIY Dash Restoration

Awesome job! That's something I may consider.
2018 Audi S5- wife's ride
1980 Chevy Scottsdale
1981 Chevy Silverado- in pieces
1964 Chevy c10
2017 Jeep Wrangler JKU
UKNOWME is offline  
Old 01-13-2015, 05:26 PM   #7
Registered User
MikeB's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,214
Thumbs up Re: My DIY Dash Restoration

That is some very nice work! I may remove the wavy aftermarket cover on mine and see what I have to work with.
82 C10 Custom Deluxe SWB -- original paint, 355/TH350, Vortec heads, GM RamJet 350 roller cam.
69 C10 LWB -- Bought in 1989, now my son's.
Retired as a factory automation products salesman.
Worked part-time over the years for an engine builder and a classic car repair shop.
Member here for 20 years! This is the very first car/truck Internet forum I joined.
MikeB is offline  


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:02 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright 1997-2020