Because of the peeling paint of my car's interior components, I decided to renew my dash and consoles. Like many 10 year old cars, the ABS plastic had become brittle. Many of the mounting flanges and “snap” prongs were cracked, broken or completely missing. Purchasing replacements was cost prohibitive or not possible due to availability issues. After much thought and dumb luck, I've stumbled on to two methods for repair and recreating these broken/missing pieces.
For simple cracks or broken pieces that were in one or two pieces, I first super-glued the pieces together and let them dry. Next, I used JB Weld to reinforce the break. I'm sure that any other two-part epoxy would work. This doesn't exactly make the prettiest fix, but it is strong and should last for a while. In some cases, I used electrical tape to create a “mold” to hold the epoxy in place.
Here's a picture of a spot where most of the hole surround was gone. Ugly, but functional (after I drill a new hole).
I had three other problems that required a different approach. First, one of the tanged prongs that secure the instrument panel bezel to the instrument panel was broken and missing. Second, one of the flanges at the bottom front of the bezel was broken and in tiny pieces. Third, the driver's door latch handle mount was broken and MIA.
I used an epoxy casting material called Easy Cast. This product is design to create paperweights and jewelry. It's a two part product with a resin and catalyst. I bought some children's modeling clay to create molds for the components. In the case of the missing prong, I pressed the clay around the existing good prong and then placed it into the position of the missing one (see pictures). If I were to do this again, I would use “air dry” modeling clay as I think it would yield a better mold, however it might be harder to get the mold to release.
Follow the directions included with the product for mixing. After 24 hours the mold can be removed. At this time the cast is still quite pliable and can be “tweaked” to adjust for position, etc. After 72 hours or longer, the cast should be fully cured.
Here's the mold impression being made of the good prong.
Here's the recreated prong, mold removed, not fully cured.
Here's the mold on the missing flange with epoxy in place.
Here's the recreated mounting flange with the mold removed
Here's the cured mounting flange, filed/sanded and ready for a new hole to be drilled.
Only time will tell if this procedure will last. I do know that it was a great deal less expensive than having to buy all these dash pieces new...if you can even find them.