Dodge Dash Repair

Palco Industries’ Dashtop overlay literally models the way to make cracked and broken pickup dashes look like new


When you hear someone say, “Beauty is only skin deep,” take it to heart and be grateful Palco Industries knows how to take the ugly out of pickup interiors.

This ugly dashtop in our staffer’s 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 was glass-brittle and cracked in at least six places because of the constant exposure to the sun, extreme heat and cold over the years.

Pickups, especially the older ones, don’t age well with time; faded, blotchy paint and cracked dashes are commonplace among decade-old trucks that have been left parked outdoors most of their days.

That’s because the ultraviolet rays do a number on pigments and plastics – and for some reason, the Dodge Ram pickups made in the late ‘90s and into early 2000s seem to suffer the effects of aging more than other brands.

We see that every day as one of our staffer’s 2002 Ram 1500 Crew Cab looks, well, old.

Palco Industries’ Dashtop, cleaning supplies, a good scuff pad and a tube of silicone are all that’s needed to make a cracked dash look like new.

He keeps the truck in clean and very well maintained. Still, despite his best efforts, the paint is bad and the dash cracked in at least a half-dozen places.

So to rid the owner of an eye sore he has to look at everyday on his drive to the office, we turned to Palco for the dash fix: a Dashtop (; (800) 349-3274).

The one-piece dash overlay is made from the same molds as the factory, but in one piece instead of two. So the fit is good and the durability of the one-piece plastic overlay better than what came on the truck.

Installation is easy: An hour’s labor, a few clean rags, bottle of ammonia-based window cleaner or denatured alcohol, a couple scuff pads or light sandpaper, some strong tape and a tube of silicone adhesive are all that’s needed.

Clean the existing dashtop with a strong wax/grease remover so the overlay will have something to adhere to when it’s laid on top. Goo Gone, ammonia-based window cleaner or denatured alcohol work well.

In return you get a dash that looks like new and an increase in resale/trade-in value down the road.

Run a scuff pad or light sandpaper over the entire dashtop, making sure to hit all the edges and high spots around the vents. The more time you spend on this, the better the Dashtop overlay will stick. We used Gorilla Tape to hold down separated pieces and sanded down the high spots of the factory dash so the new overlay would fit properly. Dry fit the new Dashtop to make sure it 1) is the correct color, and 2) that it fits the contours of the existing dash. Trim and sand edges as necessary to make the fit precise. Clean and lightly sand the underside of the new Dashtop overlay the same as you did with the stock dashtop. Getting rid of the release compound on the overlay ensures a good bond. We siliconed fine screen door mesh to the back of each Dashtop vent opening to keep any items on the dash from falling through the Ram’s broken/missing vent screens. After the Dashtop is ready for installation, lay down a ¼-inch bead of silicone around the entire perimeter, staying about a ½-inch away from the edges so it doesn’t ooze out when the overlay is set in place. Don’t put adhesive in the center of the overlay as it will not allow the top to expand/contract. Once the top is in place, use whatever you have handy to apply down-pressure on the top, sides and edges until the silicone sets up. We used Gorilla Tape, some hand weights and rolled-up towels. Cure time is about 12 hours. Just like new. Dashtop overlay makes the old Ram’s dash look like it did when it came off the dealer’s lot a decade earlier.