Dashboard cap

General conversations about BMW E28s and the people who own them.
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yingste
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 07, 2019 11:22 PM
Location: IL

Dashboard cap

Post by yingste »

I was wondering if anyone has had experience with the molded dashboard caps that are available for the e28. Do they look good enough, or at least better than a cracked dash? I'm debating if it's worth it to pull out my old dash and have it leather wrapped when I redo the interior and the rest of the interior or if this will get me close enough to a good dash. The interior work I plan on doing is still a bit off while I finish paint and engine/drivetrain refresh so I was wondering if these would even be worth it. If you do have one installed would you mind sharing a picture or two?
stuartinmn
Posts: 9004
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by stuartinmn »

This search link should turn up a number of previous posts on the subject: search.php?keywords=%22dash+cap%22
TurboE28
Posts: 585
Joined: Apr 27, 2006 8:37 PM
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by TurboE28 »

I had a dash cap that I recently removed. It doesn't sit well, doesn't look right IMO. Dash mat looks better and it was only $10.
RetiredDoc
Posts: 1238
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Aiken SC

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by RetiredDoc »

My experience was that it looked good originally. This was when I used the e28 as my commuter car. It was garage-parked at home and out of the sun in a parking deck at work.

Then I had some work done at the BMW dealer. They kept the car three days, and for most of the time parked in the summer sun while they were waiting on a parts delivery. When I got the car back, the dash cover had popped free on both ends and had warped permanently.

My next move was to find a nice crack-free dash and to replace the original one.

So, in my experience the molded plastic cover is decent as long as you can minimize direct sun exposure and summer heat. If you don’t keep the car in protected parking, go for a new dash. And always use a sun shade when parked in the sun.
davintosh
Posts: 13844
Joined: Jan 28, 2009 2:05 AM
Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Contact:

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by davintosh »

My first e28 ('84 528e purchased in 2009) had one. I didn't realize there was a cap on it until I asked about the corners not looking right. It definitely looked better than the cracked dash it hid; really bad in that car! I no longer have the car, but still have the cap, hanging from the ceiling in the basement!
laguna30
Posts: 304
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Tenino, Wa

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by laguna30 »

The dash mats look as good or better over time
Don"t warp or curl up with age

added bonus - things don't slide as much til you corner at mach speeds
topher800
Posts: 291
Joined: Nov 24, 2009 10:44 AM
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by topher800 »

So I put a dash cap on about two years ago. I've attached some pictures. If you go this route, the gluing it is important so it doesn't rattle, and the sandbags to make sure it sticks everywhere...

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This is the only corner that didn't stay attached. I can probably slide some glue/caulking under there and re-weight it.

Image

Let me know if want some close ups of particular areas.
TurboE28
Posts: 585
Joined: Apr 27, 2006 8:37 PM
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by TurboE28 »

@Topher800, that looks really good! Mine never sat like that no matter what I tried.
RetiredDoc
Posts: 1238
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Aiken SC

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by RetiredDoc »

In retrospect, sandbags would have helped my dash cap install. I used a bunch of heavy books, and that didn’t distribute pressure over the whole dash.

Today, I’d get a bunch of gallon sized baggies and fill them with damp sand so they’d be easier to mold over the dash.
HayekFan
Posts: 362
Joined: Aug 19, 2011 8:20 PM
Location: AL

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by HayekFan »

@topher800, that dash cap really does look good (aside from the one corner). The vinyl grain texture is a little off but not bad. What brand of cap is that? Do your defrost ducts work normally?
topher800
Posts: 291
Joined: Nov 24, 2009 10:44 AM
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by topher800 »

HayekFan wrote: Oct 16, 2020 10:57 PM @topher800, that dash cap really does look good (aside from the one corner). The vinyl grain texture is a little off but not bad.
Agreed on texture. I can tell it is a cap, and I can now recognize them on BaT instantly. Two or three have had them, and I think the most recent one I saw had the same passenger corner not stick. Maybe this brand has an inherent twist. More glue and lots of sand in that corner.

I struggled between this, dash replacement, and something like Just Dashes. Just Dashes is expensive and ChrisKholer has complained here about fitment issues, figure I can always come back to this option. Dash replacement...and what, have it crack again in 5 more years? Cap was a cheap option, and I can still fall back on the other two options if need be.
What brand of cap is that?
Palco Industries.
Do your defrost ducts work normally?
As far as I can tell. Here is the most ill-fitting of the four vents (passenger side 2 are flawless):

Image
HayekFan
Posts: 362
Joined: Aug 19, 2011 8:20 PM
Location: AL

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by HayekFan »

Thanks for the pic and info. I'm mostly resigned to my cracked dash but if I get a wild hair I may consider a cap.
Nanajoth
Posts: 1535
Joined: Apr 19, 2008 6:38 PM
Location: GA

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by Nanajoth »

The Palco covers I've installed fit well enough.
Zeuropa
Posts: 58
Joined: Mar 12, 2016 11:22 AM
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by Zeuropa »

Hey topher800, thanks for the pics and tips. Very helpful! I'm always amazed that crack-free dashes still exist in the world - and wonder how long they'll stay that way. I for one am happy to see that a quality cap, properly installed, can look more than presentable.
BMWCCA2
Posts: 3638
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Central Virginia

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by BMWCCA2 »

Zeuropa wrote: Oct 25, 2020 11:48 PM I'm always amazed that crack-free dashes still exist in the world - and wonder how long they'll stay that way.
In my experience, the older dashes are less prone to cracking than later ones. My '85 535i has a perfect original dash. Every E28 I've had newer than that has had the normal cracks, like my '87 535is. The '85 has spent its life in VA and the '87 came from Chicago and Memphis so it can't just be geography. :dunno:
stuartinmn
Posts: 9004
Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Dashboard cap

Post by stuartinmn »

My theory is if the car isn't subjected to rapid changes in temperature it stands a better chance. In southern climates, this would be when you get in the car on a hot day and turn the a/c on full blast, in northern climates it would be from getting in the car on a very cold day and turning the heater on full blast. My car is stored during the winter so the dash isn't subjected to repeated cold/hot cycles (and I don't often leave it parked out in the sun during the summer so it doesn't get a lot of UV exposure) and the dash is still in perfect condition.

My car was built in 7/85, so maybe BMWCCA2's idea about older cars having better dashes is another factor.
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