Dash Knee Pad

I had mentioned in a previous post that I had accidentally damaged my original dash knee pad. This post is to document what replacement pad I found and how I refinished it in preparation for installation. While it seems straightforward to me right now, by the time I have to refinish another vinyl part I most likely won’t remember what steps I followed.

My first step was to find a replacement. I searched the Mustang vendors’ catalogs and eventually found one at National Parts Depot. The description said the quality was poor. I thought, how bad could it really be, and went ahead and ordered the part. When it arrived, I opened the package and inspected the part. It was just as described. The embossed stitching was uneven and crooked, and the grain was wrong. I decided it was better to keep the damaged original rather than replace it with this new part. I dropped the whole idea of replacing the pad since no suitable new parts were available at that time.

Several months later I saw a post from Rick Schmidt on the Vintage Mustang Forums that he was having reproduction dash knee pads made to his specifications and that they were much higher quality than the other pad I had purchased. I went ahead and ordered the part. It came in any color you want, as long as you want black.

When the part arrived, I could see it had the correct grain and the stitching was even and straight. I stored the part away until I had an opportunity to refinish it in red and install it. I was in no hurry as I had bigger things to worry about and the original pad would work for the time being. Recently I decided to take a shot at refinishing the black reproduction pad in red.

I had some difficulty remembering the steps I followed in the past for refinishing vinyl parts. Luckily, I still had all of the products I had used on a shelf in my garage. I’m not positive as to what I had done in the past, but the steps I followed this time are:

  • Clean the part using a vinyl prep spray. The instructions on the can said to spray the part and wipe it off in one direction.
  • Treat the part with an adhesion promoter spray. The instructions on the can said you can apply multiple coats 10 minutes apart. I used two coats. After that the can says to dye the part within 10 minutes of applying the final coat of adhesion promoter.
  • Spray the part with vinyl dye in the desired color. I used thin coats. The first coat didn’t completely cover the part, but that was OK as I planned to use additional coats. I ended up with 3 coats, applied 10 minutes apart.