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Centre Console Renovation - DIY


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The catalyst has a peroxide in it which strips moisture. So most likely the console had some oils or contaminants that has leeched into the resin. Also the condensation you mentioned wouldnt have helped either. You will need to grind it all out and start again. Or get a heat gun and heat up the areas until is almost brittle and re-brush some fresh resin. Because the console is a stiff/rigid item you can go heavier on the catalyst. And you must scuff up all the areas or else it will just peel off.

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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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Ok so to conclude and follow up on what I've done for the centre console. Last time I had issues with the fibreglass setting, well when I came home it had set hard near the screw hole repair and under the side of the console (where those severe cracks were).

IMG_20140130_082746.jpg

 

However around the gear gaitor / boot it didn't quite take to the console properly and I ended up sanding it off and peeling the fiberglass matting away from the visible side (where the gear stick comes out of) and I left the fibreglass on the other side of the gear stick surround since it seemed to set hard on this side and provide some stability where the crack was.

 

Since plastic welding seemed to work quite well on the top of the console along the side with all those bad cracks. I decided I'd do a combination of plastic weld / fiberglass on the underside of the gear boot. Since this area won't be obvious once it's back together I was less concerned with making it perfect.

 

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Instead of using the donor parts of the old speaker cover (seen in pics above) this time I used some cable / zip ties as plastic fodder. Simply heat the cable tie up with a soldering iron (1 you don't mind junking as a soldering iron) and as it melts gradually try to shape it and fill the gap your working with.

 

I found that heating a small bit of plastic up, putting it into place and letting it set a little then melting it again was a good way of getting it to where I wanted it.

IMG_20140130_204218.jpg

 

Just gradually build it up.

 

For the next stage I tried a variety of two part epoxy's and plastic weld products. The aim was to try and fill the hairline cracks in the console like these.

IMG_20140118_181753.jpg

 

Although I tried this after I had sanded, so the above photo is before any sanding took place. Once the epoxy set I sanded the surface down. The epoxy was good for making sure the plastic weld bonded to the rest of the console and it did go some way to filling the cracks. Although not as well as I'd like it to have. I would recommend that you use a small brush / tooth brush and push the epoxy glue into the cracks - I tried using an old plastic card from my wallet to spread it like butter over the cracks, but that didn't always work well...

 

If I had my time again I'd probably try using a very thin layer of plastic bondo (bog or body filler) to fill in the gaps / cracks and smooth over the surface 100%. I'm not sure how well this would work or if it will crack in the sun, but I'll look into this again should my console need it in future.

 

Once you're satisfied you've repaired any major cracks and gaps in your console and you're ready to move on, the next step is to sand down the console. I used 80 grit sand paper to start with to really roughen up the surface of the entire console. Then I moved on to 180 grit and went over the entire thing once again.

IMG_20140129_205706.jpg

 

When I was done sanding and happy I had a smooth surface (but still rough for the paint to take hold of) I rinsed down the console with a water hose to remove the excess sand / dust. Then I used a heat gun to speed up dry time. Or you could use air compressor or just leave it in the sun to dry for a while.

 

Now using a rag and a wax and grease remover wipe down the console all over - apply with 1 rag the wax / degreaser, then with a second rag go over the area again to pick up any remaining containments. I wore some disposable rubber gloves to stop myself from getting oil from my hands on the console.

 

Next was painting, and at first I messed up a little with the paint. I was using Duplicolor truck bed armour paint. It says on the can to spray from about 30 cm away to get that rough textured finish. It comes out quite thick and I put too much on in the first coat which caused it to run....

 

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It is hard to see but down the side you can see some paint runs. So I left it in the sun to dry for a while, then came back with 180grit sand paper and removed the runs out of the surface, then I used wax / grease remover again and waited for it to try a bit.

 

Once it was dry it was time to go for a second coat, being more used to the way the paint came out I took my time and slowly covered the console from a distance. It's important when painting with this stuff that the can stays upright, don't tilt it or put it on an angle it won't come out with consistency. So putting it on a box or something that allows you access to all sides is essential.

 

The can says to paint 3 coats with 20 mins breaks between each. So that was what I did, apart from the first coat mishap with paint runs etc..

 

And the end result after final painting is...

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Next I'll list products used.

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Products Used.

 

1. Duplicolor Truck Bed Armour.

http://www.supercheapauto.com.au/online-store/products/Duplicolor-Bed-Armor-Aerosol.aspx?pid=343534#Cross

2. Fiberglass Repair Kit

http://www.supercheapauto.com.au/online-store/products/Septone-Fibreglass-Repair-Kit.aspx?pid=1638#Cross

3. Various Grits of sandpaper, 80 - 180 grit should be all you need, get a few sheets they are like $1 each..

4. Epoxy / Plastic Weld

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

5. Wax and Grease remover.

http://www.supercheapauto.com.au/online-store/products/Septone-Wax-Grease-Remover-1-Litre.aspx?pid=1418#Cross

 

So for around $100 (give or take depending on what tools you have) you can repair a console like this.

 

If you're attempting this yourself my final tips are:

 

1. Use the fiberglass matting on the underside of the early consoles, it seems to take to that side better (make sure you sand the surface and wax / grease remover before laying it down). Don't place it on the top side of the console, it doesn't adhere to the plastic so well...

 

2. I would try a body filler to fill those cracks / gaps. Even though I used the epoxy you can still see a couple of faint cracks under the surface of the paint. It's very hard to see, but I know they are there. I think using this kind of 'filler' would be likely to resolve that and give a better overall finish. Just don't bog it up the wazoo, thin layer is the key!

 

3. When painting keep the can vertical at all times and lay it on slowly in light coats, get the areas you miss on follow up coats. It comes out thick, but don't worry if you see small puddles of paint on the surface they tend to dry and go away and is the nature of the paint.

 

4. Use Zip / Cable ties as donor plastic and work outdoors to avoid fumes given off from the plastic. I wore a mask and worked outdoors and made sure the fumes were not coming toward me.

 

5. Just give it a go, I experimented with some different things that didn't work and had to sand down and start again. It was annoying but I guess I was working from a pretty badly cracked console.

 

I looked around on eBay and Yahoo! Auctions and found a couple of viable consoles but they still had the hairline cracks in them. Then you have to factor in shipping (and potential damage) and currency conversion, broker fee's (if dealing with Yahoo! auctions) etc..

 

I did see a console on eBay US that looked to be restored using a similar technique, guy wanted $500+ US for it, similar 1 from Dashboard doctor in Melbourne is around $300-$400 on eBay but it's missing some trim items, like coin holder, ashtray / fuse cover, choke and throttle piece etc..

 

The console cost me nothing as it came with my project car, so it was really just materials. If it only lasts a few years like this, then no big deal I'll explore other options. Who knows maybe 3d printing a whole console will be a reality in 5 years time?

 

http://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Print-replacement-car-parts/

 

If you give it a go, please post your results!

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Hope it helps George, I figured it was a good start on my project. Something small and manageable and now my confidence has increased to dive in and give other things a go. I highly recommend it as a small project you can chip away at.

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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?

 

Hi Gav,

Sorry - I didn't see your question until now. I can confirm that the early consoles were made from FRP, and your console is absolutely correct for your car. I have three of them and they are all like that.

 

I believe they were made by 'Kotobuki', the FRP specialists ( and office / stadium / train and bus station seating manufacturers ) who made the original 'sugar scoop' headlamp housings for the cars. The later consoles were injection-moulded styrene, I believe. Different process, and much better suited to high volume.

 

Your console has come out looking really nice. The finish isn't strictly *correct* ( Kotobuki cleverly moulded-in that 'leather-look' texture for the sides ) but so what? I think it's a great result. I like the look of that Duplicolor Truck Bed Armor paint so much I'm going to see if I can get some over here. I can think of all sorts of things I want to use it on...

 

 

 

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Hi Alan thanks for the reply and insight into how these were produced.

 

1 thing I haven't done with the console and I read on a dash restoration thread is that once the paint has dried for 24 hours you can knock down the surface a bit using a scotch bright pad and then wax and degrease before giving a quick paint with a satin black paint.

 

The duplicolor paint has a bit of a rough feel like bitumen I guess and that final step may soften the feel but leave the textured look.

 

If you can't find duplicolor over your side of the world apparently SEM do a textured paint. I'm sure other textured paints could also work to be honest.

 

I have another question though does Nissan still sell these early consoles or trim parts?

 

I need these parts and so far nothing on eBay or Yahoo auctions.

http://www.viczcar.com/forum/index.php/topic,13869.0.html

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Nice work Gav, maybe I should just send you my console so you can fix it for me ;D

 

Send me the photos of it mate so I can see how bad it is perhaps? Have you asked how much Dashboard Restorations would charge?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Send me the photos of it mate so I can see how bad it is perhaps? Have you asked how much Dashboard Restorations would charge?

 

I bought the console of ebay as you know Gav (as you sent me the link  ;) ) It has a couple of small holes and a crack or 2 but overall its in good nick, just going to fill the holes, then some primer filler and a top coat of satin black, not going to go overboard with it as down the road when I have some more cash I'm going to get a reskin at the dashboard doctor as I like the texture of the finish, not sure what the cost is yet.

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  • 2 months later...
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So to add further to this restoration thread. I finished off the smaller pieces of the console last night, although there is 1 or 2 minor things to resolve still it's 95% there I'd say.

 

Step 1. Clean everything thoroughly.

IMG_20140506_202638.jpg

 

I used dish soap and an old toothbrush and warm water to get into all the little crevices and clean up all the accumulated dirt that's got into the console pieces over the years. The finisher piece and ash-tray in particular have lots of little crevices and grooves so be as detailed as possible.

 

You can see my finisher piece was previously repaired at the bottom (tiny crack).

IMG_20140506_202639.jpg

 

But this is a minor fault I'm happy to live with and I didn't even notice at first anyway.

 

Cleaned up

IMG_20140506_202649.jpg

 

Step 2. Once it's been cleaned up, hit it with a rag and grease remover / white spirits etc.. to remove any oils, left over crap that might prevent the paint sticking. To speed up drying I used a heat gun.

 

Step 3. Hit it with the vinyl paint (satin black finish).

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Following the instructions on the can of vinyl paint, apply thin even layers with 5 mins drying time in between. A heat gun can also help speed this up a little but do it from a distance on a lower heat range setting.

 

Step 4. Ash tray.

IMG_20140506_204831.jpg

 

Although the 1 on the right looks great as it is, it's been cracked in half (it's a clean break so should be repairable) but I decided to use the original ash-tray surround from the car as that was in better shape on mine and the lid was broken into a million bits. So combining all the good bits I could make 1 good ash-tray. The chrome trim ring on the donor surround was also in better shape.

 

Step 5. Removing the chrome trim ring.

IMG_20140506_204920.jpg

 

I used a flat edge like that on a flat head screw driver to slide under the tab on the reverse of the surround. Be careful not to bend these too far or they will fatigue and break. As I found out I broke 1 tab off this, but thankfully it was on the original trim ring that wasn't in as good shape. To help prevent over-bending it bend up the tab and use your finger to prevent it folding more than 180 degrees. Hard to explain but I hope that makes sense?

 

How it looks with Chrome Trim Removed. (Before cleaning)

IMG_20140506_205040.jpg

 

The tabs that can break if you over exert on them. Just be careful and don't force them if you can avoid it. You can see all 3 are good here, the other I broke 1 of the tabs, which you can still fasten it on ok with, but if you're anything like me it will wreck havoc on your OCD LOL. 8)

IMG_20140506_221101.jpg

 

Step 6. After cleaning surround.

Use painters tape to mask off areas you don't want painted, in this case the chrome ash-tray piece and hinges.

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You can see how aged the ash-tray looks, this was after cleaning it. The plastic has faded and gone this horrible brownish colour.

 

I hit the surround and lid (painted separate) with the black vinyl paint, light coats and put about 3-4 coats in total on it. Probably 2 coats more than it needed to be honest.

IMG_20140506_222944.jpg

 

Step 7. Detailing finisher piece with white outline.

Many don't know and I certainly didn't that this piece had white outlines around it when new, over the years most of them rubbed off and so it was only when I saw photos like those of Kats Lovely S30Z's here that I realised they came this way from factory.

IMG_20140506_214216.jpg

 

For the white outlines I used a white permanent marker I got from Office Works. I did try a fine paint brush and touch up white paint but it was too fiddly to do an even job. You can just see the marker in the top of the photo. Refer to the vinyl paint photo above also.

IMG_20140506_214506.jpg

 

You can see I went outside the lines a little here on the right side of the inner piece:

IMG_20140506_214501.jpg

To get around this use a black permanent marker to touch up the places you go a bit wonky.

 

I haven't done the defogger and parker light insignia's yet, but I'll update the thread when I've done those and how I did it.

 

Step 8. Finished look. I haven't fastened / glued everything down yet, but that will come later.

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dMXcLQWBkyY1ozAb3FzQHBLk-YBAkGvE-W_XHpPIyGI1=w1091-h818-no

IMG_20140506_223201.jpg

IMG_20140506_223240.jpg

IMG_20140506_223146.jpg

 

The photos were taken in poor lighting and the flash seems to make the satin finish on the plastic parts seem a lot different to the rest of the console, but in reality when you see it in person they are not too different and once installed in the car it will make hardly any difference I'd say.

 

To see how different the console looks compare with these pics.

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For sake of completeness and for others attempting to restore their early console.

 

The ash-tray lid has a couple of pins that hold the lid in place. If you don't notice this you're going to probably have a bad day and crack the lid. As I'm sure many have been over the years as a result of missing this detail. You can see on the sides of the ash-tray there is a couple of screw heads. Undo them and you can remove and install the lid correctly without damage.

IMG_20140509_220901.jpg

 

Now you can see it installed nice and flush. Also note how the difference in colour isn't as obvious in this lighting, with the flash on it shows up more than it really would in reality as I mentioned before.

IMG_20140509_222631.jpg

 

I also tried to fix the inscriptions on the console finisher piece.

IMG_20140509_222538.jpg

 

It looks ok, but you can see the 'ghosting' left over after I used some mild abrasive to remove the paint that was 'overspray'. I'm thinking I'll get some blutac and cover the white indents then repaint with the vinyl paint to get that nice satin black look again. I don't know if there is a better method. I would assume there is, so my method of paint, wipe with damp cloth didn't work so well I'm afraid. I had to use a bit of steel wool to remove the excess which left that ghosting.

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So to finish up, I decided to use blu tac to cover the insignia on the center plate. It was a bit fiddly and just requires patience and taking your time to get it right.

 

IMG_20140512_212904.jpg

 

Using a very small screw driver I tried to feed the blu tac into the indented parts to cover them before painting over with black paint. I found that a very very small amount of blu tac was required. Simply roll it out like play dough to get a long thin line of blue tac and then feed that into the shape you need.

 

It was hard to get this perfect, but I was really aiming for 'close enough' and good from far ;).

 

I covered the rest of the console with painters tape and hit the area again with black paint (to fix the scuffed looking surface).

IMG_20140512_220127.jpg

 

As you can see it came out pretty good.

IMG_20140512_220122.jpg

 

If you look really really close you can see a couple of small spots where it's not quite as black, but you would have to be looking very closely and considering the fact that I don't even know if I'll use a rear defogger or parker lights on my early 240z and might just use the blanking plates it's definitely good enough for me.

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  • 5 months later...

I'm thinking about taking this on as I currently have my console out but hoping for some input/guidance:

 

  • My console is in 2 pieces - looks like someone has at one point either tried to remove it without undoing the bolts that hold the choke in place or they have just ignored the fact that the console was cracking significantly.  Will fibre glassing etc be strong enough to hold together the completely snapped pieces ?  The break is right where the choke handle bolts are. I'm worried that trying to fix it might just not hold !
  • Could someone possibly post a pic of how the choke handle bolts are meant to look once everything is fully installed.  I think oversized bolts may have been used in some spots with holes drilled in the console to handle it.  There were 3 or 4 bolts visible from above, with all bar one having small nuts on them.  It looked pretty awful to me and I'm sure not how it would have come from the factory
  • In the 72 onwards Australian delivered 240Zs what is supposed to be in the void in the  middle of the fuse cover ?

 

Intention is to get this as close to factory looking as possible.

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When I did mine, I plastic welded first, then followed by fiberglass and bondo, then paint.  It wasn't fully separated like yours though.  It was only holding on by about 1cm on one side (one side completely cracked, and the other just about to go).  Its pretty solid now, so I'd say you could get away with it if you get a good join going. 

 

For the plastic weld I beveled the edge along the crack a tiny bit, welded (melted) the two sides together (shifting material from one side to the other - i.e. "mixed" the two halves together), then put on a bit more using zip ties as the filler material.  Then moved on to the fibreglass.  Just make sure you don't soften the rest of the structure too much or you'll be having to warp you console back into shape ...

 

Not sure about the bolt problem though.

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Andy, it sounds like plas-weld or fibreglassing wont be strong enough, given its it 2 pieces. Heres my 5 cents...

Make a 1.5mm steel plate / tab say 70-80mm long, using 2 part epoxy or even ramsett chemset, adhere half the tab to one side of the console, leave it for a day or two , then epoxy the top of the plate blending it into the console, leave to set again.. Then line up the 2 parts of the console so the plate overlaps the other part of the console but make sure there is a 1-1.5mm gap to allow epoxy to sit between steel and console..use clamps,or whatever is lying about to ensure the 2 parts dont move, after youve applied the epoxy...you will have 1-2 mins with epoxy, but 10 seconds with chemset  to line everything up. After another 24 hrs, heavily coat the steel tab and both sides of the console again to form yet another " topcoat" of bonding..

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I have been meaning to mention on this thread that I was put onto a product called QBond http://qbond.net/ which I used recently for demister vents in my RX-7.

 

These are made of ABS plastic (I assume) and UV exposure causes them to weaken and crack. As you can see getting them out meant breaking it into several pieces.

IMG_20140918_203509.jpg

 

After using the product I was able to get them to bond together again.

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The QBond product is most suitable for filling cracks and gaps, I found and think it didn't bond as strong as advertised because of perhaps oils and other crap pregnated in the plastics. I tried to clean with wax and grease remover but I  think it needed an even more thorough clean and these parts are extremely fragile. I found that it wasn't worth repairing them because if I stress tested them, they cracked in a new spot so I was chasing my tail, I tried to repair them because Mazda wants $160 for new plastic vents  ??? and you thought S30z parts were expensive!

 

I would try fiberglass underneath with plastic body filler on top and I'd also try the QBond stuff also. The only downside of the QBond is it's very expensive. Wear gloves when using it and try to avoid letting the fumes it gives off get near your eyes as it irritates them. It's potent stuff!

 

The good thing is you can sand it down and it hardens relatively quickly. Although not as quickly as the commercials would suggest. I do think it's the perfect material for this sort of repair though.

 

Video of QBond in action.

(a bit more entertaining).

 

I ordered it through an eBay seller, got the bigger kit for $50 as I am guessing I'll be using it a bit.

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

Hope you don't mind if I add a few photos of additonal console restoration that I am doing at the moment.

First area I have tackled is the rear ashtray (its a 2+2) console.

The small cross piece was broken off and out of shape.

So I fashioned a backing plate with a lip edge, filed it out to size, then drilled a couple of holes so the araldite could latch onto the plate. 

The plate is held in place by the ashtray clamping bracket which I have fitted until the glue has properly hardened.

I glued and plastic welded the broken piece with a soldering iron and cable tie as filler as recommended above first, then filed off the excess material.
I used a cable tie around the whole rear end of the console to hold it all together while doing this.

Then I made up a backing plate

 

Step 1. Make a suitable sized backing plate out of some sheet metal. I folded the edge over last.

.

IMG_0720_zpsa9yaicwm.jpg

 

Step 2. Trial fit.Had to bend the ends for the inside radius of the console.

 

IMG_0722_zpslnefyyhy.jpg

 

Step 3. Drill glue holes. Mix the glue, clamp it in place. Hope it holds.

 

IMG_0733_zpsq7brccrb.jpg

Edited by Groundhog
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I have my existing console which has been messed with before. In very poor condition compared to a replacement that Simon in Brisbane sold me. Thanks!

Here's what I mean by being messed with.

IMG_0719_zpshqvt5f90.jpg

 

Anyhow in the process of swapping bits over I noticed a slight variation in the ashtray bracket.

IMG_0716_zps5qq2rziq.jpg

 

I worked out from the FSM and the wires that there is a light fitted to the ashtray on my latter console. If you look at the photo above you can see the wiring and the light bulb socket (very black).

The bracket on the underside is for the light and there is a small plastic lense in the ashtray. Who would have thunk it?

IMG_0718_zps2ch3d19p.jpg

Edited by Groundhog
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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 thought I'd try and reshape it by making a mold out of craftwood and heating it with a hot air gun to get it to reform.

Here's the start.

Console%20Lid%202_zpsddjtkzv8.jpg

The skin wasn't too bad with a few small chunks missing.

After removing the inside lid, nearly all of the screw posts had disintegrated.

Console%20Lid%20Inside%203_zps2imi3gvw.j

One post had been repaired previously with araldite.

Console%20Lid%20Inside%202_zpsfgylcehu.j

 

I de-skinned the lid to find it full of cracks and out of shape. If you look closely you can see some of the cracks.

Console%20Lid_zpskkfnhx9b.jpg

 

I decided to bite the bullet and get all the cracks plastic welded as there were so many of them some almost all the way across. I can tackle the screw post recreation but having a lid in one piece was step 1. The plastic weld guy says its ABS Plastic.

Edited by Groundhog
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