How to preserve plastic dash

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ward00
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How to preserve plastic dash

Post by ward00 » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:38 pm

So I was finally able to source my second piece (the first being an un-rusted rear trunk) of unobtanium for my 124 CC Coupe, that being a used, but uncracked, plastic dash.

Any one out there familiar with plastics and polymers enough to be able to recommend what products can be used to extend the lifetime of the dash. Obviously keeping the car out of the sun is one way, but even then I assume the plastic will degrade.
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Currently in Santa Cruz, Ca
75 Spider - 1.8 with IDFs running like a champ - starting performance race upgrade to 2 liter
75 Sport Coupe restoration

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Spider (4), Coupe (1), 131 (2), 128 (1) Ritmo (1) X1/9 (2)
Mr.Pic
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Re: How to preserve plastic dash

Post by Mr.Pic » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:05 pm

Back to black from Mothers
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MikeGreer
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Re: How to preserve plastic dash

Post by MikeGreer » Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:53 pm

40+ years in the plastics business and 40+ years with Fiat spiders. If you don't want your new old dash to crack, keep it in a dark, cool, dry place. UV and heat are your enemy. Other than that, a high quality "protectant" will help keep plasticizers in. I'm not aware of any magic. After burning through a couple of stock dashes in my spiders, I opted for the more rigid replacement, it's not nearly as susceptible to cracking as the thin plastic over foam original. I doubt you have that option for the coupe.
45 years with a spider, that's a long time
Restoring the '79 for the second time, you're never finished ;)
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18Fiatsandcounting
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Re: How to preserve plastic dash

Post by 18Fiatsandcounting » Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:36 am

Opinions about Armor All vary widely, with some claiming it's magic and some claiming it makes things worse. Nonetheless, I've used it fairly regularly on my '69 spider since it was bought new, and there's only one small crack up near the dash vents. The car was stored outside the first few decades in subzero to 100 degree temps, has spent a decade in the desert southwest, and even survived a brush fire (barely).

So, I'm not a shill for Armor All, but it seemed to work in my case. Once a dash starts cracking, though, I don't think it helps as much at that point.

-Bryan
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cgranju
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Re: How to preserve plastic dash

Post by cgranju » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:48 pm

I have always heard (and sort of experienced, but I probably don’t have enough data for a good scientific conclusion) that Vinylex (lexol product...their leather stuff is also something you might buy at a tack shop, which I’d say is a good sign vs the plethora of auto detailing products with possibly questionable long term results) is good. It is what I use, but I also try to protect my dashes from direct UV as much as possible also.
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sunny East TN
owner of a number of Fiats built prior to 1986
ward00
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Re: How to preserve plastic dash

Post by ward00 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:16 pm

I ended ordering a product called 303. It's supposed to protect against uv without the greasy look of armorall
Currently in Santa Cruz, Ca
75 Spider - 1.8 with IDFs running like a champ - starting performance race upgrade to 2 liter
75 Sport Coupe restoration

Past
Spider (4), Coupe (1), 131 (2), 128 (1) Ritmo (1) X1/9 (2)
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jseabolt
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Re: How to preserve plastic dash

Post by jseabolt » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:29 pm

Dad uses to wipe the dashboards down with baby oil and lay a bath towel on the dashboards. The dash on his 76 Chevrolet truck still cracked!

I think it's the type of plastic that they used in the 70s and there is really nothing you can do about it other than either keeping it out of the sun or just laying a towel over the dash. The material just breaks down eventually from UV exposure.

My 68 Ford's dashboard is made of some rubber material and has not cracked but has distorted.

Whatever material they use to use, I haven't seen cracking happen in quite some time. My 98 Chevy van sits out in the weather and it hasn't cracked. My dad kept it parked out of the weather until I bought it from him about 8 years ago.

Another weird thing. Wonder why some car's plastic headlights will get cloudy in just a matter of years but on other cars (even same makes and models) they wont? Dad had a 2003 VW Jetta and the headlights fogged up within 5 years. But the ones on my Subaru have yet to cloud up. Nor have the ones on my 98 Chevy van.
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MikeGreer
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Re: How to preserve plastic dash

Post by MikeGreer » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:28 am

James, the headlights have a UV resistant coating, not everyone uses the same one, maybe at some point earlier cars didn't have a coating at all. My tundra truck made it about 8 years parked all day on the black asphalt parking lot at work before they started to show signs of deterioration.
45 years with a spider, that's a long time
Restoring the '79 for the second time, you're never finished ;)
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