Dashboard Upgrade

Posted by & filed under Engineering, Modifications & Upgrades.

The car orignally had no additional guages, however over time Water temp, Oil Temp, Oil pressure and now boost pressure have all been added.

These were orignally pop riveted to the dashboard, well time for a more fitting home, a new dashboard section.

And this is how.

Firstly we are working with firbeglass and carbon fibre with resin, it’s nasty stuff so be carefull !

Resin and catalyist, this is polyester resin, it’s cheaper but not as strong. However, it is easy to get hold of here and we are not doing strutural work. (Yes that is an old drinking water bottle, Al Jadaf is not famous for HSE !).

You have to mix very accurately, 0.5% for slow cure up to maximum of 2% for a fast cure. To much and it will overheat and be brittle, to little and it will not set.

Syringe to measure the catalyst.

Kitchen scales for the resin. Just don’t tell the wife.

Once it is mixed you will get about 10-15 minute pot life, as soon as the catalist is starting to work the colour will change and the clock is running.

Then you need the fibre, either glass. The strength comes from the fibre not the resin, more / stronger fibre and less resin is the best.

Or much nicer, carbon, much stronger fibre.

Lay the cloth out where you want it and then apply the resin with a brush, in a patting motion until the cloth is full wetted through.

And the use of paddle wheels helps remove bubbles and maximising wetting for minimum resin.


So now you know a bit about fibre work here is how on the dashboard.

Firstly make a buck or a positive model of the part you want to make. This is the base for the buck.

The dashboard shape.

Add the guage pod.

Fair it all nicely with filler.

Then paint, sand, polish, polish, polish and coat with mold release.

First layer, gel coat. this is like resin but thicker and with a colour. This gives the smooth surface finish to the mold that you need.

Then add the glass fibre. 2x 200 gsm CSM and 1 x 450 gsm.

All layed up and curing.

Cured and off the mold.

This is what we wanted the mold to make the part from.

Clean, polish the mold and the cut the carbon to fit.

Then start the lay up.

Once cured remove and trim.

A bit of wet sanding and trimming and you have the finished pod.

Now to hold the guages.

Firstly a flat pannel to form the face of the removable pod.

Then a tube to hold the guages.

Bonded together.

The drivers view.

Trim the pod to hold the gauge section.

Now its starting to come together.

Bit more trimming, sanding and a laquer.

This is the back side, the guages are held in place by hose clamps.


Gauges in

And all mounted

So from this

To this

Oh and how long did this take,  hmm figure about 40 man hours.


Hope you like, any comments, questions etc please leave a comment or use the contact us form.

4 Responses to “Dashboard Upgrade”

  1. chris

    like ya work Richard

  2. Spencer

    Mr Gadget man at his best

  3. Fredrik

    nice work..
    i have a few oil cooling related questions..
    do you hae any extra oilcoolers on your 120d?
    and do you have any problem at all with oil teprature..
    the reason im askingi that i got a 123d with abut 280hp. and am a litttle concerned that the oil temp migth be an issue when im on the track.. i have the performance seringwheel so i can monitor the water temp but in the diesel’s i doesent show oil temp

    • Site Admin

      Hi Fredrik,

      yes we do have an engine, gearbox and differential coolers on the car. diff and gearbox are easy enough to install engine is a bit harder as you have to remove sump to weld in fittings. we could locate any other point in the oil system we could place a cooler into and be 100% sure we wouldn’t have any issues with it.



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