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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - 'Pillow' dash replacement

Having been forced to re-do the wiring, I have just spent hours taking off the 4 bolts that hold my rather shabby pillow dash to the car. It's not something that I'd like to do again, and the dash is a mess.

What alternatives are there? I know Andy Jennings does a fibreglass LHD dash - has anyone used one of these? I've also seen a fibreglass "blank" of the frogeye dash - could that be made to fit?

I'm also interested if anyone has come up with a clever way of mounting them that makes fitting/removal somewhat easier. I'm wondering if dzus fastners or similar could be used to hold the dash to some metal structure behind.

Thanks for any advice,
Philip Dodd

Ebay is a good place to start for a good used, ... But i have a friend that made a wooden dash using a austin heally sprite as a templete to match his wooden steering wheel...very nice

No yhat it out... You might concider high end insulated spade connectors ob all your connections...with a spot a colored spray paint...that way future disconnection and reconnection to the corrcy spot are really easy
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Hi,

My concern is mainly about whether an alternative type of dash could be made to fit relatively easily. I hate the pillow dash with a passion.

There aren't many on FR eBay, but a couple on small ad sites - one pillow and one very shabby non-pillow late dash. I was attracted to the old frogeye type as the blank makes it easier to fit gauges where you need them (I have a small steering wheel which makes the standard rev and speedo gauge placing very sub standard. I wondered about wood too, but the rest of the car isn't very "wooden" :)

Agreed about improvements to the wiring - the loom will need replacing anyway, so lots of leccy stuff coming up.
Philip Dodd

Ill see if i can post some pics of the solid wooden dash....but it will be a few days as there on my other computer
Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Philip, I thought we were the only ones blessed with the pillow dash. You could just "de-pillow" it and paint it with wrinkle finish paint. My "pillow" was cracking so rather than put a cover on it or replace it, I just removed all the foam, did a little smoothing and some other small modifications (like the studs for the glove box door latch that come through the front of the dash) and painted it with wrinkle finish. Removal of the foam crash pad at the top of the dash leaves a large space above the instruments that doesn't look right, so I built a crash bar out of plywood, dowels and foam and had a friend upholster it for me. It was a PITA, but I like the way it came out.
Jack Orkin

Hi Jack,

Thanks for the feedback - have you got any photos of the finished result? I did wonder about taking the pillow off, even though that wouldn't really solve my requirement to make it a bit easier to put on/take off.

Mine's a US car imported into France, hence the pillow...

P.
Philip Dodd

A pic of Jack Orkins dash that I took last weekend at the Chattanooga British Car Show.
Rik

Rik Hogan

Rik beat me to it! Notice that the metal dash is not flat, but slopes away on the passenger side - gives you more knee room! Also, when you remove the pillow, it creates a noticeable gap between the dash and glove box door. I glued a piece of wood trim to the edge of the door to fill that gap in. BTW, Rik is the one that did the excellent upholstery work on the glove box door and crash pad. As far as the problem removing the dash, yes, its a pain, but how often are you planning on doing it? I did it once in 38 years and don't plan on doing it again soon! I put off doing the dash for a long time because I dreaded doing it. Turns out it was not as bad as I thought it would be. Used a label maker to label all the wires as I removed them. And, the nuts came off pretty easy. Think I may have removed the instruments first and with all the wires out of the way, you can lay on your back (remove the seats) and get to the nuts. Clean the studs and put anti-seize on them when you reinstall to make it easy the next time you have to remove it! Or, I think Moss sells a new padded dash if you'd prefer. Good luck and don't rush it!
Jack Orkin

Thanks guys. Mine doesn't have a glovebox (PO mod?) - I must say yours looks good, though I doubt my efforts at the upholstery bits would be as neat. The only thing is that that approach still doesn't resolve the problem that in my usual driving position, with my small steering wheel, my big pudgy hands are in front of both the speedo and the rev counters :/

I'll finish dismantling, and have a think, but your feedback and photos are really useful.

thanks again,

P.
Philip Dodd

This thread was discussed between 05/11/2012 and 12/11/2012

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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