TR dashboard shrinkage and replacement.                                                Courtesy Ferrari Chat contributors
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At it again, new windscreen and fix the dash shrinkage.

Well whilst the car is off the road having the KE Jetronic system checked over, it was time to replace the windscreen following a summer stone barrage. Ferrari Italy took three months to send the correct screen, which was right the third time around. Even with the VIN number they couldn't get it right. My car has a bronze tinted screen with ceramic dots at the top and no tinted band across the top.

Anyway, to do a screen properly you need to remove every skerrick of urethane from the window channel, which involves a good 4 - 5 hours of nasty labour with a sharp chisel and rotary wire buffs on a die grinder or dremel. Once that's done the car needs to be off to the panel shop and have the channels repainted ready for the screen fitment. Also, if you have a genuine screen with the twin radio antennae's in the centre, and a radio fitted, you will need to remove the dash to get that plug down and into the radio.

Seems that 99% of Testa's have some dash shrinkage around the vent holes at the base of the windscreen so it was a good opportunity to repair this as well.

Here's a question for you USA owners, right smack in the midst of Summer. My car drives me nuts when driving into a late afternoon sun. Visibility is so bad due to reflection on the windscreen from the black leather dash, and mostly from the flat slab surface on the top of the instrument binnacle.

I was considering getting the flat section with the vent shrinkage recovered in a fine knapped black suede or even steal a bit of BMW Alcantara. This would be easy to maintain, just blow off the dust with the compressor, never need leather feeding and wouldn't reflect the sun.

Problem remains what to do with the top of the instrument cluster. Has anyone redone their dashes and if so, what did you use. Pics would also be handy.

Not much left when they are down this far:
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Old 07-02-2008, 04:22 AM
carguy carguy is offline
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Shiver-Me-Timbers Robert !!!! What have you done!

I commend you going that far into the car. This is a good topic to bring up. The dash in my car needs recovered also. Your ideas on using Alcantara and/or suede are good ones.
The large dash piece (crescent shaped - with vent holes) that goes up to the windshield and back under the glove box top piece, radio pod top piece, and instrument cluster is all that needs recovered for my car.
This panel had deteriorated in my car to a very bad state, so bad in fact that I was able to remove it in pieces without disassembling the rest of the dash! I currently have a home-made panel that closely fits the opening, covered in leather and looks it "so-so" but not great. I've been considering making a new crescent-shaped panel, that is a good tight fit, covering it in leather, and just slipping it into place.
This way it is easily removable for what ever reason in the future. I would like to see what others have done. So please all you f-chatters out there who have tackled this away!
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by uzz32soarer View Post
My car drives me nuts when driving into a late afternoon sun.
Visibility is so bad due to reflection on the windscreen from the black leather dash, and mostly from the flat slab surface on the top of the instrument binnacle.
A simple and very effective solution to this problem is to simply get a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Polarized lenses will filter that right out. I'll plug Maui Jim as I've never have a glare issue with them.

Wishing you good luck with the ambitious project!
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:24 AM
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Looks a right bloody mess doesn't it Jeff?

The crescent shaped top cover is really very well made but there were mistakes in the design. It's made of a strong corflute type material the same as the door trims. The thin leather is backed with a light foam to absorb imperfections in the corflute giving a lovely flat finish. The problem was that the leather skin or foam were never glued to the corflute. It's beautifully cut around the vent holes but instead of being folded through the vent holes and then being cut and stapled on the other side, Ferrari had their seamstress actually sew on another section that goes through the vent hole and is fixed on the back. This gave a weak point with a seam right on a shrinkage line. Silly buggers!

To compound further in the rebuild process, there is a strip of untreated steel flywire mesh glued to the rear to stop crap falling into the vent, and then this really nicely formed steel surround with tabs that fold under and hold it all together.

Then to really make life interesting, they left about 2 inches of leather hanging over the trailing edge and this has been glued to the steel upper dash cross member with a contact adhesive. Now, in typical Ferrari style, nicely hidden UNDER the glued trailing edge, there are four aluminium tabs screwed through the steel to ensure that it just doesn't get away. Hence the only way to get it all out without further damage is to remove the main dashboard to expose the trailing edge, gently pry the leather away from the steel to expose the four tabs, unscrew them and lift the whole thing out.

My problem has always been that the leather around the vent holes gets dry and with the screen in place there is no way to get any leather conditioner down there. I've had the Mrs spending ages trying to wipe in leather conditioner on the end of cotton tips and you still can't get around the back of the vents. It was so nice of Ferrari to realise this problem on the 512TR and 512M and increase the size of the black ceramic windscreen
edge so that it covers up this mess and no one can see it any more. Out of sight - out of mind.

At least with suede or alcantara you wont have to worry about conditioning it, just a quick blow over with the compressor gun once in a while to lift the dust from the pile and it should stay looking brand new for years.

At least that's the plan, unless someone has a better idea.

Last edited by uzz32soarer; 07-02-2008 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:05 AM
Shamile Shamile is offline
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Dear Ferraristi,

Holy Smokes !!

Wow.....super impressive job! So many of us have been asking how to remove the dash....and you've already done it....wish we had some pix.

On the colour...I'm surprised that the black was giving you such a bad reflection. I have that typical ugly brown and it doesn't reflect so much.

Hmmm....maybe Ferrari chose that colour for a reason...not that they got it in a bulk sale or something

I think black is better looking but I still think you will have a reflection problem no matter which way you go. I have a black dash on my Lamborghini with no reflection whatsoever.
In the Lambo, the dash sweeps away from the windshield. In the TR, the dash is straight out from the windshield. The straight dash with the angled windshield will always give you a reflection.

If you go with the suede or alcantara, the rough surface will hold dust and eventually will show up a white patchy shadow. In Florida we have a allot of dust in our dry season.
You can see it on the leather dash and it constantly has to be wiped off.

I don't have any shrinkage on my dash but hate the brown that I want to pull the dash to change it. I too face the same dilemma of conditioning that area around the base of the windshield.
The only thing I could come up with was a carbon fibre surface piece. I know, I know...carbon fibre in a TR doesn't go but what else can resist the sun, not fade or warp and not need any conditioning.
I don't know if they make a "less" shiny carbon fibre.

Do you have any removal tips for the dash?


Freeze...Miami Vice !
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:57 AM
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Sorry I didn't take too many pics pulling it all apart, but there are reasonable instructions in the owners manual, however there are many steps it misses out on.

I'll try and remember:

TIP: Pull the seats out first to give yourself some room and save damage to anything. 4 x 6mm Allen key cap screws. Too easy. Allow yourself about three hours inclusive of coffee (and/or Scotch) breaks.

1. Remove the console side panels, leather and carpeted on both sides.
2. Locate the 8mm bolts top and bottom of the centre console behind the odometer and fuel gauges. Unplug the gauges then undo the 8mm nuts and slide the gauge module out carefully.
3. Remove the two screws under the centre leather cover below the air vents and remove the cover.
4. Undo the two nuts and one bolt on that anodised bracket that you see behind this cover. Remove the bracket.
5. At the lower end of the centre console you will find four 8mm bolts holding the upper console to the lower console. Remove them and then remove the centre console.
6. Remove the leather gaiter around the steering column.
7. Remove the steering wheel. You will need a puller to remove the boss from the shaft.
8. Undo the 19mm nut on the steering height adjuster and remove the entire unit to allow the column to drop down.
9. Undo the two screws in the steering cover and remove the upper shell section. The part that has the VIN plate on it.
10. Undo the 10mm nut that holds the leather panel directly in the middle of the steering column and now exposed due to removal of the steering column cover shell.
11. After removing the leather panel, now undo the two 10mm bolts that were behind it that hold the instrument binnacle in place.
12. Remove the side kick panels that hold the speakers. (Both)
13. Unplug the dash and lift it out of the way.
14. Remove the 10mm bolts and nuts now seen behind the dash cluster.
15. Remove the leather trim behind the glovebox. Two screws underneath. This exposes another 10mm bolt. Remove this.
16. Now looking upwards whilst laying on your back and basically where your tweeters are you will see one 10mm bolt per side holding the black aluminium box tube. Remove these.
17. At this point (unless I've forgotten any) you can lift the dash away slightly but not completely.
18. Remove wires from AC sensor on drivers side of dash.
19. Remove tweeter wires on both sides.
20. Unplug your stereo (if fitted) as you will now be able to see the rear of the stereo unit protruding through the back of the dash panel.

Lift the dash out now and lay it somewhere carefully so as not to scratch the leather.

Now you can see the glued down section of the front crescent shaped panel as described in my former post.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:01 AM
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And just for Shamile I went and took some pics just now:
Attached Images







After chasing around for a few days I finally managed to locate a suitable piece of leather to recover the dash section. It's an Italian fine grain that is very difficult to find and is 1.3mm thick on a random thickness across the hide.

When the staples are removed from the plastic corflute there is too much damage to re use the plastic, so be prepared to make a new backing board from 4mm MDF sheet. On reassembly, the staples will hold into the MDF much better anyway. Make sure that you paint the MDF or seal it to prevent any moisture soaking into it.

Updated 04/06/2007