3rd Time's the Charm??? Mercury Cougar Dash Lilliput
I just thought i would post my 3rd fabrication atempt for my dash bezel and share some things that i learned along the way. In the first two rounds I developed stress cracks but now I have figured out the problems that caused the cracks and would like to share my experience.
Here is the Original dash before any modification
Here is my first attempt
Here is a couple pics of the progress. Right here it is just primered. As you can see i filled in the volume buttons and all of the bevels and grooves that the stock lilliput housing has. I also sanded down the hump below where the volume buttons were and added some filler in the low spots to even it out. I didn't get rid of the hump completely becasue the ABS got too thin. I think it looks much better.
Some things i learned along the way:
1. When buying epoxy, get the the gel epoxy. It wont run on you or drip. This enables you apply the epoxy in the car with the dash bezel screwed in place so that it will fit perfectly when your done
2. When applying epoxy make sure that you sand the paint down so that only the plastic or ABS is exposed. This will ensure a good strong bond. In cases of stress the epoxy will rip of the paint and loose its hold.
3. Apply the first layer of Bondo in the car with the dash screwed in place. This will insure a perfect fit with less chance for cracking from stress.
4. For the main shaping use the bondo with the fiberglass hairs in it. This stuff is a pain in the butt to sand but it is very very strong and you shouldn't have any cracks
5. This one is Mercury Cougar specific but it could apply to other cars. Becasue of the dash size and shape the back of the lilliput housing was rubbing on the the metal (that you mount the the stereo to) So when the dash bezel was screwed tightly in place it created stress along both sides where the original dash peice was bonded to the front of the lilliput housing. This coupled with neglecting to sand down the paint off the front lilliput housing, the bond eventually gave way and the bondo soon if not immediatly followed.
Here in this picture you can see where i sanded down as much materiel off the backing as i could so it would not create stress points agin. I took a little to much on one side. I call it an air vent now ;)
Please post comments and critiques