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Letters to the Editor - Paper Cuts - September 2002

Questions and Answers

Sep 1, 2002
Photo 2/6   |   paper Cuts painting A Dashboard
Dashboard Dilemma
How do you smooth out your dash with Bondo or fiberglass? The Bondo and the fiberglass don't stick. Can you please help? Everyone I talk to here in Ohio has no idea what I'm talking about. All I get is a blank stare.
via e-mail
To get the best possible answer to this question, we contacted Charles "The Kid Armstrong" from Oklahoma City who's now located in Prescott, Arizona, and he gave us the benefit of his expertise. Here is what he says. - Ed.
"OK, painting a dash isn't hard, but it's time consuming. Obviously, you first have to remove it from the truck and then thoroughly wipe the dash down with grease and wax remover. (I can't stress this enough, since most people Armor All their dashes a million times a year when they're showing.) I like to use rubbing alcohol and a Scotchbright pad, but only on hard plastic. There are two ways to go next, depending on if your dash is hard plastic or soft vinyl-covered plastic. If your dash is soft, you have to cover it with fiberglass. To do this, you must find the areas of the dash that are hard plastic and sand them with 80-grit sandpaper until they're sufficiently roughed up. Then lay the woven fiberglass blanket material over the dash, conforming it to the dash shape the best you can. This may have to be done in three or more steps to make it fit correctly by cutting the fiberglass weave into pieces that make it easier to lay out on the dash. Then spread your resin and let it harden. Again, you may have to do this a couple of times to get it shaped right. Now use bondo or putty coat to finish smoothing out the dash. If the dash is hard plastic or after you have succeeded in making it that way all you have to do is sand your dash really well with 80-grit sandpaper. Make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies, and don't worry about taking the texture out of the dash in this step, just ruff it up real good. Now prime your dash with a high-build primer. I prefer PPG K-36, but all paint brands carry high-build primers. Spray all the parts with about three coats. Let the parts and the dash sit for a day and then sand it with 220-grit sandpaper; if you go through to the plastic in any areas, reprime those spots. I always go back over the 220-grit with either 320-grit or 600-grit wet sandpaper. This smoothes the primer out for sealing and painting your dash. Good luck, and remember to have fun."
Charles Armstrong
Auto Art
Dept. MT
209 N. McCormick
Prescott, AZ 86301
(928) 925-8068
Nemesis Tacoma
What's up? My friend wants to bolt up some KMC Nemesis rims on his '99 Taco. He will be going with 20s. What offset does he need, and will he run into any other problems bolting them on? Thanks.
Mr. Gregory
via e-mail
Mr. Gregory,
Since the Nemesis is designed for a front-wheel-drive passenger car and comes in a 20x8.5-inch rim width, your friend is going to need wheels with at least a 42mm offset to tuck on his Taco.
Photo 3/6   |   paper Cuts 1988 Chevrolet S10
Hittin' My Switches
First off, you have a great magazine. I have a few questions I know you can answer. I have an '88 S-10 Extended Cab. Right now, it's lowered and has shaved door handles, emblems, a welded-in roll pan and tailgate skin, a shaved cargo light, and, yes, a roll primer. What's the difference with single and dual-port airbags, beside the obvious? I'm also getting a 10-switch switchbox. How many valves do I need to get the truck to do different moves? Thanks for your time, and keep up the good work. Every month I read your column, and it motivates me to get out there and work on my truck.
Peace out from the East Coast.
Jimmy B.
Thanks for the props. It sounds like you're building a really clean truck. The differences between single and dual-port airbags are just what you said, the obvious. Dual-port 'bags are mainly used in hopping applications when feeding and dumping air from the 'bag needs to be done as quickly as possible. The faster your system can accomplish this, the higher your truck will bounce. So if you don't intend for your truck to hop, then save the skrilla and buy the single-port airbags. If you want your mini to pull all the moves that a 10-switch box is capable of, then you are going to need an air system with independent control of each airbag. That would mean two valves for each corner of the truck. One valve will control the up motion and the other will control the slam. That's a total of eight valves.



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