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Centre Console Renovation - DIY


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DISCLAIMER

There are probably better ways to do this. Substances used in the creation of this console may harm you, cause you to get high, or most likely do both. Tools used in the creation can be used for body art, though most likely will strip your skin and leave you feeling pretty horrible. DONT USE GEAR YOU DONT KNOW HOW TO!

 

Ultimately, I succeeded in finishing the centre console, but there was always a chance that I wouldnt have. Do this at your own risk.

 

Tools Needed

 

cheap nasty paint brushes

Fiberglass resin, catalyst, mat

BOG, filler, whatever you want to call it

rags

prep-sol (wax and grease remover)

screw drivers

pliers

sand paper

Electric Sander

drill with various bit sizes

Dremel

 

You may be able to to the job without some of the above tools, such as a dremel, but it certainly makes life easier.

 

 

Process

 

1.

Remove the centre console from your car and strip it of everything, including the strip around the back of the console.

 

You should end up with something like this:

 

DSC_0235.jpg

DSC_0234.jpg

 

2.

Next thing to do is take up the Dremel :) (You could also get this done with sand paper and a drill if you dont have a dremel...) Drill the ends of the cracks to stop them from spreading any further. You then want to open up the crack a little bit so light comes through all the way and the edges of the crack are tapered. Also, rough the inside of the centre console up around the area of the crack to ensure that the fiberglass has a surface to bind to :)

 

This will allow the fiberglass when it occurs to will lock the crack closed. This photo is over a later stage but demonstrates why you want to open the crack up...

 

DSC_0239.jpg

 

3.

Fiberglass... This stuff sticks to everything! Make sure you are wearing gloves and have everything of value out of your pockets... HINT: DONT PICK UP YOUR PHONE with resin on your gloves....

 

Prepsol the areas to be fiberglassed the cut up some mat into small peices to go on the inside and outside of the areas that are cracked.

 

Fiberglassing is pretty straighforward, the only advice is mix the catalyst in the right amount so the resin doesnt go off to quickly or not at all...

 

DSC_0238.jpg

DSC_0237.jpg

DSC_0236.jpg

 

4.

Sanding back.

 

Once the fiberglass has set its time for sanding. Whilst you could do this by hand, I recommend using an electric sander. Make sure you sand lightly and keep a good eye on whats occuring because the fiberglass resin will be much harder then the surrounding plastic. I used a 60grit paper on a electric sander... If I was doing it by hand I would use made a 120grit.

 

DSC_0241.jpg

 

Next, using a air gun if you have one, blow the whole console off and make sure that there are no dust deposits anywhere. Mix you bog up and smoothly put it on. NOTE: do not use bog once it starts going hard, you'll end up with lots of air pockets and it'll be a mess.

 

once its gone off, sand it back using 60grit (electric) or 120 grit (hand) until you get close to the bottom, then use a 240grit. Should end up looking like this.

 

IMG_0050.jpg

IMG_0049.jpg

IMG_0051.jpg

 

Go over the rest of the console with 240grit paper to rough it up slightly.

 

5.

Filler Primer Painting :)

 

The critical thing with painting is making sure that the surface is imaculatly CLEAN! Firstly, blow the hole console off with an air gun, focusing on the areas where you have bogged up as this is where pin wholes will appear. Secondly, using a clean rag prep-sol the whole console, and then with another rag wipe excess prep-sol off...

 

I then used a clear plastic primer on the console... Once I had waited the requisit 4 hours, I then gave it another blow off, and without touching it sprayed a 3 coats of primer on.

 

IMG_0053.jpg

IMG_0054.jpg

 

BACK TO SANDING.

You want to use a 240grit sand paper and by hand block the centre console back... It doesnt matter at this stage if you rub through the primer as you will prime it again.

 

IMG_0055.jpg

 

FINAL PRIME :)

Again, blow it off with an air gun and wipe it with prepsol using another rag to wipe excess off. Then you want to spray a fine coat of primer, then as many as you want to build up the orange peel (rough texture).

 

leave it for the required drying time then spray colour on.

 

IMG_0057.jpg

IMG_0058.jpg

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Nice looking sports!

Van Gough lives on in your centre console.

Next item being tackled is the centre console lid. I thought some of the screws holding the internal trim felt loose, plus there was something rattling around inside. It was also out of shape so I th

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nice neat job

One problem that may come up down the track is the fiberglass may separate from the plastic with heat expansion because fiberglass is more brittle than plastic

In a few months i will be fixing my console with plastic welding i will also post up a thred for a different option

Nice workmanship though, i hope you don't take offence  ;)

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nice neat job

One problem that may come up down the track is the fiberglass may separate from the plastic with heat expansion because fiberglass is more brittle than plastic

In a few months i will be fixing my console with plastic welding i will also post up a thred for a different option

Nice workmanship though, i hope you don't take offence  ;)

 

I was actually planning on plastic welding, but didn't have the welder and had glass. Hats why it's glasses inside and out. Plastic weldng would be so much better though.

 

Very interested in ideas of other people.

 

Thanks madz :)

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Another tip with the fiberglass is to make sure it doesn't touch your skin because it makes the area it touched itchy as **** and pretty much un-scratch able until it comes out naturally!

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Oh yeah,

 

I remember climbing through a roof with fibreglass insulation to fix a few things...... wasnt I sorry  :-[

 

Good point Nedloh  ;D

 

:( Ouch! I feel the itchiness from here hahahaa

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Fibreglass is nasty nasty stuff... handy, but nasty...

 

I am working on a drink holder which would fit in where the ash tray is... So instead of having the tray, when I slide the door open a drink holder is there... Mount it from the body, so you dont have any modifications to do on the console... Only issue is the major heat that I get in the tunnel, great for coffee, not s good for cold drinks

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Nice work, thanks for posting.

 

I was once cleaning the side of a 48 foot catamaran from a fibreglass dinghy, i was leaning over the side and rubbing my arm along the dinghy whilst scrubbing the cat.  My right arm was red and I could barely touch anything later when I realised i had all the glass fibres.  That was a bad day.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 weeks later...

+1 for very neat and tidy.

 

also, +10 for seeing how the plastic weld goes.

 

I am looking @ removing the sliding door from the ash trya altogether, and putting a cup holer as well, but by building one into the bottomg of the console suing plstic weld.  Perhaps cutting ont out of a consol @ pick and paymore?

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Just wanted to bump this thread up again. I recently removed the early centre console from my Z and it has many splinter / hairline type cracks in it presumably from UV damage. I'm interested in plastic welding techniques to fill these cracks, has anyone had any luck with this technique?

 

I read about making your own for of ABS plastic weld here:

http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=472727

 

 

I figure it is worth sharing some of the links I found after looking into this topic also.

http://forums.hybridz.org/topic/98984-cracked-center-console-help/

http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/interior-s30/34894-refurbishing-center-console.html

 

http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/members/psdenno-albums-console-repair-picture42871-true-value-paint-epoxy-putty-fix-outside-reinforce-fiberglass-inside-stop-stress-cracks.html

http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/members/psdenno-albums-console-repair-picture42872-use-silver-sharpie-pen-restore-silver-trim-choke-panel.html

 

In particular I am looking at doing something similar to this.

http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/interior-s30/34894-refurbishing-center-console.html#post349628

 

 

 

 

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Gavin

 

Although these plastics are old, they weld extremely well, the main thing you will need is the same type of doner plastic from old surplus trim materil / panels you may have laying about

 

If you have a crack, even one that has totally gone through, all you need it a heated element soldering iron.

 

First, if the crack is due to warpage of the trim panel, you will find that heating a wide area of the warpage with a high heat hair dryer will make it temporarally maluable, have to flat runs of wood ready, heat the area and then clamp them on either side of the plastic while it cools, I did this on my console which you can see somewhere in my thread.

 

Once cooled, take the hot iron and bring the two faces of the crack together, on each side rund the iron along the two split but now married ends, this will create a bond and then fuse them together again while leaving a valley, dont worry about the valley on either side created.

 

Once cooled, cut a strip the width and length of the valley, lay it in the heat it with the iron working from one end to the other, do both sides, this will further fuse the faces and fill the valley.

 

Once cooled, take 240 grit sand paper and sand flat, if there are still imperfections to be filled, repeat the process.

 

I guarantee you you will be shocked by the streangth and final finish.

 

See below for before and after

 

Cheers

 

John

post-1356-144023740049_thumb.jpg

post-1356-144023740055_thumb.jpg

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Hi John,

 

Thanks for the feedback, your modification looks seamless. Good work.

 

Here are some reference photos of what I'm up against.

 

1. The rear side of the early console looks like it is a form of fibreglass as opposed to plastic? But maybe this is just a result of the mould used to make these?

IMG_20140118_181702.jpg

 

2. The worst of the damage is in the middle of the console, although it's not actually cracked into multiple parts it's missing a few minor chunks.

IMG_20140118_181736.jpg

 

3. Worst of it is here.

IMG_20140118_181742.jpg

IMG_20140118_181821.jpg

 

4. Around all the top edges we have these hairlines cracks.

IMG_20140118_181746.jpg

 

5. More cracks.

IMG_20140118_181753.jpg

 

6. Minor damage to screw hole on left - due to rusted in screw. You can see I wasn't able to dremel a new head onto the bolt because it's a countersunk hole / screw so I would have chewed up the console. Thankfully once installed again you won't see this anyway.

IMG_20140118_181808.jpg

 

7. Under the gear boot there is a chipped section which won't be seen when it's installed but I'd like to fix it up. So it doesn't crack further.

IMG_20140118_190837.jpg

 

So far I've stripped the console of everything and have given it a soapy wash with dishwashing liquid.

IMG_20140118_192948.jpg

 

Here is what I'm thinking...

 

I have an old speaker cover which appears to be made of the same ABS plastic. I'll use that as my donor piece to fill in the major gaps around the cracks and use a putty knife to help shape it, I've got a couple of old soldering iron's I can sacrifice also.

 

I'll use the flexible bumper repair epoxy on the hairline cracks. Then fibreglass on the underside to help strengthen the piece or around the gear boot crack. Since this isn't really a flexible part and the underside in particular won't be exposed to much heat I don't think it should cause any issues.

 

Then I'll rub it down with sand-paper and find a textured spray paint to go over the entire console. That's the plan anyway.

 

Now to find a store that has the products in Australia. Will try Bunnings tonight.

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Gavin

 

I have never seen a console like that and its defiantly not ABS plastic, it looks like fibre glass that has had a vinyl vacuum wrap put over it, you will seriously be better off turfing it and just buying another, I'm sorry to say but its cactus.

 

Cheers

 

John

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I'm thinking the early consoles were different to the way they formed the later ones. Perhaps Alan (HS30-H) would be able to shed light on that?

 

It certainly seems original to the rest of the car.

 

I can always try repairing it and if it doesn't work out no big deal. Still in the same place I started.

 

What makes you think it would a lost cause - based on your experience working with these materials?

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Hi Gav

 

The closest thing I have ever seen to what you have posted as far as a plastic material is Bakerlite, a lot of trim was made of the stuff back in the 30's to 40's before DuPont came out with more rigorous materials, think back to that 50's radio your Grandparents may have had sitting in the kitchen.

 

The pictures suggest a delamination of the materials, as plastics are vacuum mold formed there are no layers that would delaminate.

 

On top of that I observed what looked like fibres which plastic formed trim parts definitely don't have as part of their make up, and the fine stress fractures that appear numerously and randomly look like what occurs to gell coat when the part is twisted or contorted overly.

 

To be honest, I have never seen anything like it.

 

Cheers

 

John

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If that doesn't work Gav I think I've got my old series 1 console that still looks ok on the rear section, you could always do a cut and shut?

 

I would actually be interested to see if they look the same on the back? See if they are indeed manufactured different to the later consoles which are made of ABS plastic?

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That console is what you call a 'spray lay-up' process. A resin/PVC/heat cure acrylic or talc gelcoat is sprayed into a mold and then cardboard/ foam/ vinyl or in this case chopped strand fibreglass is applied either by hand or chopper gun and then another layer of resin is applied to embed all the layers together. Often used for high end suitcases, manequins, some boat interiors and some dashboards etc. I use to manufacture computer cases and speaker cases for a company in that same process and looks exactly like your console. It will be hard to repair as it will continue to craze and seems the plastic has gone too brittle. Just grind back as much of the flaking bits as you can and lay up a layer of fibreglass and spray gelcoat it.

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Early 240z also use fibreglass for headlight buckets so maybe it was a common occurrence on the early 240z's

 

That's what I was thinking also. Thanks for the advice.

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I didn't want to add to this thread until I had finished, but I've run into an issue and could use some advice.

 

So I used some donor ABS plastic I got from an old speaker grille in the car. I melted it onto the console in the areas where it had cracked.

IMG_20140126_181020.jpg

Thanks Mr Oval Whizzer - whatever that means  :-*

 

IMG_20140126_180855.jpg

IMG_20140126_180848.jpg

IMG_20140126_180902.jpg

 

Next I sanded it down flat

IMG_20140129_205706.jpg

IMG_20140129_205711.jpg

IMG_20140129_205717.jpg

IMG_20140129_213542.jpg

IMG_20140130_083013.jpg

 

Obviously this has removed the plastic texture, but that's ok as I'm going to spray Duplicolor bed liner spray when I'm done to try and simulate that textured style.

 

I noticed that there was still some gaps from my plastic welding and I decided to experiment with those hairline cracks and try to fill them with this epoxy.

IMG_20140126_181046.jpg

 

It did manage to fill the gaps, but it's not a coloured glue so it sets dry and you can still see the hairline cracks under it. I have since bought some similar stuff from Supercheap Auto called Permatex Permapoxy 5 Minute Plastic Weld - 25mL.

http://www.supercheapauto.com.au/online-store/products/Permatex-Permapoxy-5-Minute-Plastic-Weld-25mL.aspx?pid=129945#Cross

 

Which i'll give a try and let you know how it pans out...

 

This brings me to the next step.. fixing a large gap / crack..I bought a fiberglass repair kit to try and fix these issues..

 

1. If you look back at a previous photo you'll see where the gearbox gaiter/boot clips onto the console there is some damage to the plastic. A large crack and a missing bit of the plastic.

IMG_20140129_222616.jpg

 

So I sanded the affected area and lay down the fiberglass matting and resin with a brush to try and re-enforce the area.

IMG_20140129_222616.jpg

IMG_20140129_222628.jpg

 

I also lay some fiberglass on the underside of the console where the cracks were before plastic welding them.

IMG_20140129_222622.jpg

 

Finally I also decided to apply a small patch around 1 of the screw holes that got a bit reamed out when removing it from the car - due to a rusted screw.

IMG_20140129_222610.jpg

 

These photos were taken last night, I checked this morning and it appears that the resin is still sticky / wet and hasn't set????

 

Photos from this morning..

IMG_20140130_082741.jpg

 

Under cracks was a bit better

IMG_20140130_082746.jpg

Other photos

IMG_20140130_082752.jpg

IMG_20140130_082757.jpg

IMG_20140130_083004.jpg

 

I thought that perhaps the catalyst / resin mixture wasn't done right (50ml to 20 drops of catalyst was the mixture), but looking in the mixing cup this morning I noticed it had no trouble setting rock hard!

IMG_20140130_082738.jpg

Hmm yummy!

 

Questions:

1. So why wouldn't the fiberglass set when left overnight? I left the console on a table outside under cover, but the grass has condensation on it in the morning, is it the moisture in the air preventing it from setting?

When I left the house I left it sitting in the sun on the table, just in case.

 

2. Shamefully I didn't use wax and grease remover before laying down the fiberglass - I realised my mistake after I started - is this causing the problem?

Also I only sanded the surface where the massive crack was under the gear stick boot, I didn't sand the area under the crack or around the screw hole (brain fart :( ).

 

3. What causes the resin to not set hard to the mixing cup? Will it not bond to certain plastics? Is my console made from the same kind of plastic do you think? Hence why it won't set on this surface?

 

4. Have I done anything else wrong?

 

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