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-   -   Has anyone made their own dash cap? (

griffo 10-25-2010 11:27 PM

Has anyone made their own dash cap?
My dash is completely gone and I was thinking of making my own and also moving the ac controls and ducts to install a 7 inch touch screen. Any ideas?

johnny0874 12-27-2010 08:09 PM

It's not an easy affair to be certain... How much experience with glass do you have? How much time do you have and is your truck a daily driver? Are you any good with sheet metal or custom wood work (you'll have to make a frame structure if you start adding a lot of heavy equipment).

I'm undergoing a similar project, but from a different approach... My truck is a daily driver, so I'm just glassing it back together and adding some speaker pods to bring the sound stage up a little.

Start by defining what you goal is... Are you keeping the factory gauges? How about the factory duct work (it's hard plastic, so if you don't want to fabricate new ducts, your vents have to stay where they're at)... Where will you move all of these controls and fixtures to? Are you going to fabricate a new faceplate?

There isn't a kit, and there aren't any rules except it has to meet your standards and pass the vehicle safety inspection (so the dash lights and speedometer have to work).

If you're tight on money... sketch it out really good first... then go get some cardboard boxes and a hot glue gun and start modeling what you want it to look like. keep in mind where the mounts to the firewall are, and where all the stuff that can't move has to be... then go from there. Also, it wouldn't hurt to google it... there are a ton of free links out there that will show you step by step how to do fiberglass work.

johnny0874 12-28-2010 09:18 PM

here's where I'm at after 3 days of work
Hey Man... Just wanted to share my efforts ... I've been working on this for 3 days...

The first part of it was mostly like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle...

Well, after a couple of days with a hot glue gun, some dowels and miscellaneous scraps of wood used for bracing... I was able to get the basic shape together...

And today I cut out a speaker baffle for (2) 5"x7"s and glassed in about half of it with heavy matting. I went through 2 qts of resin this far, and need at least 2 more qts to finish the top... so I'd recommend buying at least a gallon if at a time.

Here's where I left it today... you can that I've filled most of the holes on the passenger side and started molding in the center speaker baffle...

I wanted to put (4) 5"x7"s up there, but I'm not sure if they'll all fit without a ton of modification... Here's what it looked like when I was playing with speaker locations...

Maybe tomorrow after I get my resin, I'll look at it again, and see if it's going to be worth molding in 2 more speaker baffles... I really want to raise the sound stage up off my knees and into something more properly imaged. I'm just worried that (4) 5"x7"s in the dash may blow my ear drums...

I'll post more photos as the work gets completed... for anyone who just wants to put their original dash back together... this is a 2 to 3 day job at most... and a lot of that is prep work and cure time... Laying the glass is the easy (albeit messy) part... sanding and priming and all that is the pain in the butt. My work around is that I'm not going to paint it... I'm going to wrap it in vinyl and make custom grills to cover the speakers... that way, the top finish on the glass and filler doesn't' have to be "baby-butt" smooth.


griffo 01-01-2011 06:29 PM

I guess Ill have to get a dash from the junk yard so i have somthing to stat with cause my dash is completely gone. that looks fantastic so far thanks for the pics

Ram11 01-01-2011 06:58 PM

Looks like a tuff job ,, good luck

SouthPaw 01-02-2011 01:03 AM

You can buy a complete replacement dash from Geno's Garage. Has anyone tried this?

johnny0874 01-03-2011 01:56 PM

Yeah, that pricetag of $350 for a piece of ABS plastic is why I went the fiberglass route... getting to be creative with it was just icing on the cake.

OP - do you have any snaps of how bad your dash is? Mine was in abut 100 pieces when I started... took me a day with a hot glue gun to figure out where most of them went, and i was missing a bunch of them... so I made a framework of of scrap bits of wood and dowel rods... It's not nearly as difficult as you'd think. Just have to take your time. If I was going ot stop at putting it back together, I'd have been done in 3 days. The only reason it's taking longer is I'm going custom on the dash top. The other thing that's screwing me is my lower dash (the "structure" that EVERYTHING mounts to is super-brittle now too and i'm having to add glass and mat to the backside of it so it doesn't' fall apart while I'm driving around. I think once I've got it all back together, I'm going to spray sound deadener over the entire inside (with the controls and such out of it) to add a little more "tenacity" to it and also to keep the speakers from damaging it.

One thing to remember... the dash cap is NOT designed to be removed without taking off the dash assembly (there are a lot of screws at the lip that you can't access without it being off (If your truck is a 94-??? with the more square style dash). Knowing how dodge does things, it's probably the same through the 2001 model trucks. It's about a 2 hour job to get the dash off... but if you structure is busted up, leave it in place until you have some time to deal with it because it'll disentegrate.


johnny0874 01-03-2011 01:59 PM

BTW... if you'd like I can send a few more snaps when it's all done if you'd like. I've been posting up a build thread on "DIYMA" so I didnt' bother to start one on here. Most of what I come here for is more "truck related" info... and I actually most of that off of the "DTR" site. Anyway... I'm off on a tangent... just let me know... I don't want to hi-jack your thread...


johnny0874 01-06-2011 11:33 PM

didn't want to jack your thread...
Hey Bro,
I didn't want to jack your thread, so I started another one that's going to cover my entire interior refit and stereo install (it'll be an ongoing thing)... but I have the dash about 90% done, so I thought I'd drop off a few snaps of what I did.

I went with 2 stereo speakers and 2 center channels (they'll actually be run on a summed amp so it will be the same effect as a basic center channel without the high dollar processor)...

This is a wide shot with it out of the truck...

Here's a few of the glass I laid down behind the dash to fix the broken structure...

And the corner i had to remold because it was smashed...

Some of it is still a little rough... My plan at present is to clean it up a little more, and then mask off the bottom, scuff, paint and prime the lower portion with the factory color. The top will get a padded vinyl covering, that will be tight enough to show the contours, but padded enough to fill any gaps (like the one along the passenger side lip) and to add a little bit of sound deadening and anti-rattle (I'll put some dyna-matt on the back of it for sure).

All in all, I spent about 30 hours on it (give or take) and about $150 in construction materials (all of them... the mat, resin, cloth, brushes, acetone, extra catalyst, body filler, etc etc etc). It wouldn't be cost effective if you had to have someone else do it (at $20 an hour, that'd be kinda nutz) but if you're a DIY kinda person, it's not hard, just time consuming.

Before you do any of this (if you're not sure how) then go watch youtube videos by Steve Meade. He has like 3 websites and does custom car stereo installs... watch his series that cover how he built his custom door panels (about 90-100 minutes worth of footage) and you'll know everything you need to know about building custom installs with glass.

Hope this was helpful.


sk8noregon 01-07-2011 12:36 AM

Like the enthusiasm ! Keep it up and good luck. Can't wait to see the final result.

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