Gen 1 Dash refinishing with original soft touch feel and color!

myz32300tt

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As promised in the FB channel post, I wanted to share with the community how we did this as well as trials and tribulations. Attached are the TDS' for the products as well so when you go to your local body shop you can help by being prepared!

Stripping:
The first question we had was how. Some folks used oven cleaner and other harsh chemicals, but me being the purist and nerd I am as well as the black gauge pods being perfectly fine, I wanted to preserve it and after some testing in inconspicuous areas, I found they all removed the black too which sent me back to the drawing board. What worked and worked well... 91% rubbing alcohol - $4 from my local dollar general. The original finish on the dash is an organic rubber based material that as it ages begins to break down causing it to get sticky and mark up (ever notice your remote controls or other older electronics doing the same? likely because guess what, same stuff and same remedy works there too). See link at end for detailed pics!

Masking:
Some folks have asked how the masking was done as well for the gauge pods. Using a CriCut and FBS Pro Band Blue Mask stock @3.10" diameter we were able to cut circles to match and fine line tape for larger gauge pods.

Painting:
Now the fun... What finishes, brands, colors, etc. do we use to mirror the original soft touch rubber like feel and to that, what color.

Color... I used this post as my starting point which gave us the trim code (I'm working on a 1994 not 1995 but its the same and final pics will show you that). Once we had the trim codes, we went to the local autobody supply had an ounce made up of black and color (needed some touch ups on black after using the harsh stuff).

Links to paint is below, but one thing to note here. We did experience some cracking/lifting/separation in the glove box door and the dash itself! Even with adhesion promoter, its almost like the solvents were too hot in the paint and caused the plastic to melt too much creating a cracking effect. Fortunately this happened in the paint layer and was solved with multiple attempts and stripping the paint off and lightly laying the paint seemed to help.

The paint used was PPG Deltron DBI which is their interior based paint where primer and clear aren't required. They're meant to lay on straight plastic. See pics below for actual paint codes and label from can.
DBI TDS

Now for that soft loving touch. PPG makes an industrial coating call Velvcron Softtouch Clear in their Vibrance collection. This gives that soft luxurious feel with UV protection and most importantly, scratch resistant! The thing to note here is its only available in a quart (we used about half of that with all our f-ing around) and with hardener and misc. supplies was over $300, oh I should mention too, the DBI paint is also $20 an ounce, so this won't be a cheap venture!

Pictures!
I can only post 5 pictures for some reason, so I placed them in a google album for yinz. If an admin wants to make this a how-to or pay gate it like other how-tos, just let me know we can upload these in thread!

 
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MoparMap

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Awesome work! Glad to see someone has potentially finally cracked the code for restoring those dashes. I know the gen 3 and 4 also have a semi soft touch kind of paint on some of the black plastic parts. I don't think it's quite as rubbery as the original stuff, but thinking this might be a good solution for those as well.
 
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myz32300tt

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@MoparMap, we did several tests with the soft touch. 1 coat, 3 coats, heavy application, light application, etc. Its amazing stuff because you can control how soft by doing those things. We left a couple pieces original finish for the blind feel test to get it close as we humanely could.
 

Tim94rt10

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Fantastic job, Mike! I decided that when I bought my 94 and its original, sticky dash I'd keep it as is because "it's only original once" but your dash looks brand new. Now I've gotta refinish mine!

Just curious if you have a rough estimate of time/ money you spent on the project- I'm sure it wasn't a weekend job!
 
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myz32300tt

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Thanks! Yea it was definitely a multi month process due to tests, research, time available, etc. You can do it in a weekend if you have a good solid body painter that's available then. Its about 30-45 to pull the dash, spent MAYBE a day with the rubbing alcohol stripping, then its prep/paint. Most of the hard work is done if you follow above and get same products.

As for cost, I'm probably in $400-$500 in total plus my buddies time (he's the painter not me, we're just both nerds and appreciate purity). I'd suspect at a body shop you'll be pushing $700-$1000, if you can find a shop willing to tackle the soft touch.
 

Kurt

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This is absolutely fantastic work. Thank you for making the effort and taking the time to share. Game changer for sure, well done!
 

Viperrick

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The 91% alcohol is a bit strong. I use the 70% and it worked just fine. For wiping it down use some old denim as it will bite into the softened stick mess. WEAR vinyl gloves from Harbor Freight so you dont get your hands coated in the tar like mess. Good luck.
 

Photo pro

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Do you happen to have paint codes for the 96 RT10 satin black?
 

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myz32300tt

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Do you happen to have paint codes for the 96 RT10 satin black?
Should be the same as 1995's. Here's the list of interior codes.

Looks like yours is pretty rough. Highly recommend some spray outs before you strip so you can compare.


 

Viperrick

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Regarding the black you can see if you have an Eastwood store in your neck of the woods. If you do they sell their brand of paint in a tuxedo black satin finish which is not glossy. Good black for a dash. This comes in a rattle can so you wont be spending an arm and a leg to have a painter spray it on. Also get some Adhesion Promoter in a can while you are there. Promoter goes down first then 3 light coats of the black. I've used this paint to restore the black on dashes before with success. Getting ready to redo the dash in my 93.
 

GTS Dean

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I owned a new '93 until I traded it for my '96 GTS. The foam texture on the Gen 1s will not be replicated by any automotive paint that I know of.

20 years ago, I investigated several ceramic insulation coatings for my fleet of trailers for hotmix asphalt delivery. I ended up using one of the products from https://mascoat.com/products/products. They have one formulated for the automotive industry now sold thru a linked website https://lizardskin.com/oem/. This product can be applied in multiple layers for the mil thickness desired. It is somewhat foam-like and extremely durable - my trailers have hundreds of thousands of miles and hundreds of high-pressure wash cycles and retains flexibility. As I recall, the ceramic spheres in the base were tough on spray nozzles and hoses, so it might be smart to buy a cheap spray rig and short hose to consider throwing away when you're done. For such small quantities as a dash board, it probably isn't that big a deal to clean up though.
 
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myz32300tt

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Looks great. Congrats. Could you be persuaded to take on another dash for $?
We've considered it, but the reality is, it wouldn't be economical for you with shipping and labor. Any body shop can do it, its just selection of materials that's the big factor here. I do have 1/2 a quart or so + activator left of the soft touch clear. If you want it, we can make a deal to help save some cost.
 

Denver

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@MoparMap, we did several tests with the soft touch. 1 coat, 3 coats, heavy application, light application, etc. Its amazing stuff because you can control how soft by doing those things. We left a couple pieces original finish for the blind feel test to get it close as we humanely could.
So what was your final processes to get that OEM feel?
 
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