Lotus Elan

Dashboard edge trim padding

PostPost by: The Veg » Tue Dec 25, 2018 5:23 pm

Hope you all are having a happy Christmas! Yes, I'm spending part of the day in the garage with the Plus 2- so glad that Mrs. Veg is so understanding! :mrgreen:

Anyway, since the dashboard will be going back in soon, I figured I'd better refurbish the edge-trims. I've pulled away some of the covering, and while the padding rubber seems in good shape, I wonder if it will survive the de-rusting that the metal bits need, and some seems rather well-stuck to the covering in places where the adhesive got a little sloppy.

The rubber appears to be dense, closed-cell neoprene foam, with each trim's padding built-up of three strips that each measure 6mm x 9mm. I would have expected fractional inch measurements on this, but who knows, maybe they sourced it from the continent. I could get away with 1/4" x 3/8" strips too and make the padding a little plusher.

Before I start shopping for the foam, if anyone has done this before, does all that sound correct as far as material and dimensions?
Last edited by The Veg on Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:56 am

That?s one of the jobs I?ve been putting off. My edge trims sound to be I a similar condition to yours so I?ll be following this closely. Happy Christmas and I hope it goes well. I?ve been avoiding the garage for the last week or two as it?s been a bit cold there, maybe ought to sort out some heating!
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PostPost by: GLB » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:16 pm

I could not find dense enough foam to look right so I made the shape in wood and covered it in vinyl. Looks right but of coarse it has no give. I think if it came down to that little bit of padding in a crash something else would intrude first. Gary
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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:42 am

I think if your knees and the edge of the dashboard are colliding, you've got bigger problems than padding or lack of it.

After some looking about online I didn't find the foam in the right dimensions so I think I'll settle for some in a close-enough thickness and cut it to width. I could cut two strips, one twice as wide as the other, to save the hassle of making three equal-width strips. Should be fairly easy with an edge-guide and a good sharp blade.

Looks like it was originally all held together with good old brown contact cement, so I'll probably stick with that (no pun intended) as I have plenty left over from installing the headlining and it seems to be working well in that application.

I've also got plenty of black leatherette-vinyl left over from an ancient attempt at recovering a motorbike seat
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PostPost by: Bud English » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:02 pm

Which "good old brown contact cement" did you use on your headliner? I have that job coming up soon and I'm looking for something known to work. That's not a task I want to do more than once. I've had mixed results using Weldwood, my regular good old brown contact cement, on other areas.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:25 am

Bud, I had to check the can in the garage and it appears to be Weldwood, and so far it's holding up quite well on the headlining, which I did a few months ago and have yet to put the rubber seals in over the edges. Stir it well, apply to both surfaces, and be sure to wait for it to get tacky before joining. Also get about 30 small binder-clips to hold the edges while it sets.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:59 pm

Progress on the trims. After hunting high and low, the right sort of neoprene was not to be found so, since it was quite inexpensive, I took a chance on some 4-lb density closed-cell polyethylene foam in a 1/4" sheet. The minimum quantity I could order worked out to about 2x5 feet, but that means plenty left for other projects. It has a nice firmess to it, maybe slightly less firm than the original rubber, but still plenty good enough. I wound up cutting it into two strips, one 17mm and one 14mm. The 17 went on the outward-facing side and the 14 went on the edge-side, but was a little wide so some trimming was necessary.

I tested some of the foam with both the Weldwood contact cement mentioned above and with some 3M 90 high-strength trim adhesive on a piece of scrap metal. Neither adhesive had any chemical issue with the rubber, but the Weldwood was the far and away winner for sticking to the smooth, impermeable metal.

The foam bent easily around the curves, and some binder-clips helped keep it all in place as the cement set up.

For covering I used some old leatherette vinyl left over from an ancient (failed) attempt at re-covering a motorbike seat. This was the step that took the most time, as the cement took much longer to get tacky when soaked into the fabric backing on the vinyl, plus the amount of time futzing about with getting the ends done.

Only the big piece for the passenger side got covered last night, but the result is pleasing enough that I look forward to getting the rest done after this week's biz-travel is completed.

Pics are too big to be uploaded; will add them later.
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:36 am

Interested to see the pictures. My +2 didn't come with any edging around the dash and I want to sort it with something. Looks a bit unfinished...
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:22 am

Sorry I took so long with the pics- it's been a busy travel-week.

et1.jpg and
Close-up of the end. Excess foam on rear side will be trimmed.

et2.jpg and
The binder-clips I used for the headlining came in handy for holding the foam in place as the cement set.

et3.jpg and
The ends are a little awkward but won't be very visible. And not bad for an amateur-job.

et4.jpg and
The shape came out well and looks good in the curved sections.
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:30 am

Chrispy wrote:Interested to see the pictures. My +2 didn't come with any edging around the dash and I want to sort it with something. Looks a bit unfinished...


Chris, as you can see the original trims are based on a square-channel piece of steel. I don't know if something comparable can be scrounged, and you may need to improvise some sort of mandrel to bend it into the curves without the sides of the channel collapsing. But you might be able to improvise something to eliminate the steel channel.

At any rate, the trims attach with some small screws through the unpadded flange of the channel that faces toward the firewall.
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:29 pm

Thanks for the tips and pictures :) I'll see what I can sort out
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PostPost by: bill griffiths » Sun May 03, 2020 2:33 am

The curved channel pieces for the lower edges of my Plus 2 dash are too narrow for my new dash.
I tried making a series of channels of the required width but I think to be right they will need to be fabricated in sections to accomodate the various curves.
That can of course be done but it would be a laborious task.
It occured to me that perhaps there is available a flexible trim (for example of the type used around door apertures) which would look close to identical to the vinyl covered originals and which would not require the steel "U" piece.
Even if it was basically an "L" shape adapted to be located in position.
Has anyone found a satisfactory solution?
If not, then I shall start on a series of templates!
Regards,
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Sun May 03, 2020 6:23 am

I went looking a while ago and couldn't find anything that fit the bill well enough for me to use. I was nearly going to use some pinchweld cover, but I would have to rout down the dashboard edge quite a lot and it would look a bit Clubman for me. I'm going to do something similar to Mr. Veg here and stick some foam onto a steel profile and cover in leather or vinyl. Making the profile will be interesting, probably use a bit of angle and trim the outside flange to get it to bend neatly. The foam should take up any uneveness.
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