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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I'm exaggerating, but look at how the dash vinyl is slowly coming out above the outboard passenger air vent.

Is there any good way to stop this process? I can live with exterior wear, but I really want to keep my interior pristine to the extent possible.

 

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97 Thunderbird 4.6, 98 Mark VIII LSC
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I'm pretty sure all the 94-97 dashes do that. Mine has been like that for many years now and IMO it's best to not mess with it; it's just a result of the drying and shrinking vinyl.

There might be a way to slow it down with conditioning products but to say it's reversible is probably an exaggeration.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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Excellent suggestion. Will try that. Just worried that it'll then do it at the bottom, but definitely worth trying. Thanks!
There’s actually quite a bit more excess material on the bottom under the vent housing than there is the top, as you’ll see when you get there. The vinyl shrank as much as it did after 25 years, it’s not likely to recede further at this point, I did the spacer trick with my dash way back in 2007 and it’s still good, even after the color change, mine was actually worse than yours where the foam was visible
 

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1994 Black T-Bird 4.6 DOHC TR-3650
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Some Armor All on plastics / vinyls protects and beautifies... It can't hurt. I always do that for my cars
 
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Magic Shade is your friend. They are around $15 on Amazon. The ones in local stores aren't any good. It will keep the sun from making it worse, and could have mostly prevented it.

Yes to sunshades. No to Armour All or anything that makes plastic and vinyl shiny. It probably helps condition it, but do you really want to stare at shiny, tacky looking interior like cars on a used car lot? Any good it does is counteracted by attracting the sun more.

Al
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Better...
Let's see for how long.



Oh, and I noticed that Ford used maple syrup to attach these gaskets apparently:


Has anyone ever painted these? I'm thinking gloss silver to add some bling to the interior:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Don’t paint them, it’ll look like you painted them
:D ok ok, I hear what you're saying. But you know that customization itch...

I have done some nice work with silver interior paint. Below are a few examples from previously owned cars.

Any interior mod has to have the quality as if it came from the factory that way; otherwise yeah, it looks tacky.

I should try to find the pics of my Crown Vic interior...

Anyway, maybe I can scratch that itch by doing some more suede work instead.






 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think it looks like cheap silver painted plastic in every last one of those examples 😆
:unsure::unsure:... I mean I was always very pleased with my work.
On the other hand, when I discovered faux suede I found it was dramatically better than paint for interior customization, at least for flat surfaces.

In the Mazda3 4th Generation community, everyone wants to customize the window switch panels because they come in an easily scratched piano black finish from the factory. People paint, vinyl wrap, cover with Chinese overlays, hydro-print - you name it. I was the first (to my knowledge) to use faux suede; I love the stuff ever since.



 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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@XR7-4.6 , what about painting the speaker grilles? That could add a nice, modern metallic touch.
Seen it done, it looks bad. Especially on 96-97s with the plastic door grilles where much of the holes are blank.

Interior pieces are getting harder to come by on these cars, there might not be easy going back if you end up not liking or at least finding yourself indifferent to a personal touch. Personally I think silvery metallic paint in a car interior is tacky, reminds me of 2000s Daimler era Chrysler interiors or a Sony boombox of the same era
 

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Magic Shade is your friend. They are around $15 on Amazon. The ones in local stores aren't any good. It will keep the sun from making it worse, and could have mostly prevented it.

Yes to sunshades. No to Armour All or anything that makes plastic and vinyl shiny. It probably helps condition it, but do you really want to stare at shiny, tacky looking interior like cars on a used car lot? Any good it does is counteracted by attracting the sun more.

Al
I was about to comment on Armor All being bad for your dashboard, but it looks like that's a debunked myth and a bit of an urban legend. Nonetheless, I hate the glossy finish of it.

If we're talking about vinyl spray dressings, 303 Aerospace Protectant is the product to get.

What I recommend is ceramic window tint, even on the windshield. I wish I had done it long before I did, but there are 80%+ VLT films that look nearly transparent if you don't want the light filtering or if it's illegal in your state. You still get the benefit of 99+% UV rejection and a small degree of heat rejection.
 

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I need to shim the vents in mine as well. They are getting a bit saggy.

The foam is pretty much all falling apart in mine. When I took the dash out, most of it was turned to dust. Maybe that could be part of the problem with air flow in these cars? If it's leaking out it may be bleeding out pressure in multiple places.

Anyway I'm not about the pull the dash again and re-foam all the air ducts to find out.
 

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I need to shim the vents in mine as well. They are getting a bit saggy.

The foam is pretty much all falling apart in mine. When I took the dash out, most of it was turned to dust. Maybe that could be part of the problem with air flow in these cars? If it's leaking out it may be bleeding out pressure in multiple places.

Anyway I'm not about the pull the dash again and re-foam all the air ducts to find out.
But we need answers Kenz... 😁
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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I need to shim the vents in mine as well. They are getting a bit saggy.

The foam is pretty much all falling apart in mine. When I took the dash out, most of it was turned to dust. Maybe that could be part of the problem with air flow in these cars? If it's leaking out it may be bleeding out pressure in multiple places.

Anyway I'm not about the pull the dash again and re-foam all the air ducts to find out.
Having done it on mine I can safely say it’s not the magic bullet you’re looking for, unfortunately. If you feel uneven airflow between the four vents replacing the foam will help but it doesn’t increase the airflow from the rest
 

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As for matte silver surfaces, there is no surface in the '94-97 MN12 interior that's smooth or flat enough for that type of finish to look good, plus silver finishes aren't native to the interior or that era of automotive interior design in the first place.

The bulbous window/door switches, curved door handles, vents, and so on are all too rough in texture and too chunky to give that kind of finish. Silver doesn't work in these cars.
 
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