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93' Chevy S10 4.3L
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post here, so please advise if allowed...

I purchased a 93' S10 from a friend, and it has been needing a lot of TLC. So I began tearing it all apart to clean up the interior.

The dashboard had the infamous cracks and lifting, and I just couldn't stand it. I was not about to simply put a dash cover over it, so I've chosen to revive the old with a little modern taste and relatively budget friendly. (opposed to shipping it to Just Dashes in CA.) Removal of the dash was much easier than expected (after several hours of struggling before I received some helpful assistance from a member).

1.) I began by removing the entire center section of padding/plastic. I used a piece of 1/2" tape to sort of keep a guideline between the bottom of the speakers. This way I will not lose the natural body line to the dash. Note: I kept a portion of the padding on all sides of the speaker grille, so I wouldn't lose those contours.
( Photos will be attached below I believe )

Tools Used: 1/2" Tape & Oscillating Multi-Tool with a 1" blade.

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2.) For the remainder of other cracked areas I removed all the loose and flaking pieces, and also removed a portion of the foam underneath to make room for new material thickness. Always try to leave your edges round, this will help reduce another stress or cracking point.

Tools Used: Razor knife, 120 Grit sandpaper

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3.) I chose to use 1/2" Divinycell closed foam to replace the center section. As it is easy to shape and cut, but won't ever go soft like the factory padding. This can be purchased at most marine stores, or ordered online the section being replaced is roughly 36" x 10". I was fortunate to get a piece for free from my local boat building company.
After fitting it in-between the speakers, I used the sharpie to mark the curve, following the dashboards existing contour. Removed the piece to cut the curve and double checked fitment. I hand sanded the curve to flow with the original lines on the front edge near the speakers. Note: Minor Shimming was necessary prior to gluing the foam down, only to reduce the amount of Fiberglass Bondo later. Make sure to mark out the dash mounting bolt locations as well, this will be cut out after gluing. ( I am choosing to cut out the defroster vents after fiberglass. )

I squeezed pretty hefty lines around all pressure points the foam would make contact to dash plastic. ( Sand Factory Plastic, and wipe clean with Acetone or any surface prep cleaner prior to gluing. ) Place the foam on the dash, and use scrap wood under clamping areas to evenly clamp the surface. Then I let it sit for 24 Hours to bond.

Tools Used: Jigsaw, Tape Measure, Scribe, 120 Grit Sandpaper, PL 3x Adhesive ($6), Caulk Gun, Clamps, Scrap Plywood, Pencil and a Sharpie.

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4.) I use 3/4" PVC piping ($6) that will be cut flush, and make a perfectly shaped channel for the dash bolts. Hot glue the pipes in place following the natural angle of the existing plastic, they are all consistent which is a plus! Once that dries and is cut down flush, I was careful to avoid filling the PVC holes by stuffing paper towels down into the holes. I began applying Fiberglass Bondo ($23). ( The tedious process) Trying to keep a majority of factory lines. Once sanded down smoothly using 180 Grit and Block Sanding. I blew the surface off and wiped the whole piece down with Acetone prior to Fiberglass. For the fiberglass I went with a cheap $8 section of Bondo Fiberglass Cloth, and some Bondo Resin from the Home Depot ($25). I originally wanted to use some epoxy resin, but I wasn't able to find a small quantity under $50 so I figured the polyester would suffice.

Cut the glass roughly 2" past the front of the dash so I can cut it down to fit while its nearly cured with a razor knife. Also keeping the area where the dash grille is fastened down clear of any resin and bondo during the process. After fiberglass is down and cured, a rough sanding again to reduce any surface imperfections. ( Cutting out the defroster vents now) Then all that is left to do is a thinned bondo layer to remove any last imperfections, followed by a block sanding again then off to prime and paint!

Tools Used: 3/4" PVC Piping, Oscillating Multi-Tool, Razor Knife, Hot Glue and Gun, Fiberglass Resin, Bondo Resin, Bondo Filler, Plastic Spreaders, Scissors, Measuring Cups and Paper Towels.

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Will eventually be posting the finished results when that day comes but I hope this is useful for anyone looking to fix up the dash! I know this isn't the (cheapest) or easiest fix but it gave me something new and custom to put on the ole Project S10. It's been an ongoing project but I'm loving the changes coming soon!

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93' Chevy S10 4.3L
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here is where I'm at with it currently. One more coat to go. Unfortunately haven't had much time to work on the truck lately, and I'm trying to re-spark the interest in completing it. Just finished welding up the rusted cab corners, only to find the front windshield has a few rusted spots as well. So now I have to pull the window out, repair all that and then finish block sanding for prime and paint.
It Never Ends...

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Wow! That will be something to be proud off when you're done.

Ask for the leaky rusted window, when moisture of water infiltrates dash foam in the winter and freezes, it expands and pops the vinyl. And all S10 windshields will leak someday. It's really important to find the right glass shop if your windshield breaks and you're not doing it yourself. The sealant has to be cured in stable environment overnight and the truck can't be driven. Otherwise it will begin to silently leak and rust out the floors and damage the dash.
 

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93' Chevy S10 4.3L
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow! That will be something to be proud off when you're done.

Ask for the leaky rusted window, when moisture of water infiltrates dash foam in the winter and freezes, it expands and pops the vinyl. And all S10 windshields will leak someday. It's really important to find the right glass shop if your windshield breaks and you're not doing it yourself. The sealant has to be cured in stable environment overnight and the truck can't be driven. Otherwise it will begin to silently leak and rust out the floors and damage the dash.
This project has been a never ending adventure, needless to say. I have already cut out the sections of common rust build up on the body, and have properly welded and ensured these points will not be a problem for many many years to come. The dash foam is a divinycell foam that will never have an issue with expansion nor contraction here in a variety of temperatures. I will keep you posted on this issue if it does. The glass will be removed by myself, and re-installed by a personal friend of mine. Time depending, or I will do it myself. This is an experimental vehicle for me, I have many alternative vehicles to drive until then. But I have faith in this little S10 Lol.
 
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