As part of the rebuild of the 1987 Sunsetter, we rebuilt and redesigned the interior. One of the projects within this rebuild was the dash, and I've seen many questions about replacing the dash in this era of boats so I wrote up this project to show you one option.
The dash on these boats was essentially a large vinyl sticker over gelcoat with tournament water ski time guides printed on it, and featured a 80s grid pattern. You can't buy this vinyl sticker anymore as a replacement. I actually really liked the dash and thought about re-creating the vinyl with my own custom tweaks to keep the boat closer to stock. It's a classic ski boat and I wasn't trying to completely change it. But some of the switches and gauges were also having issues so I ended up making an entire new dash w/rocker switches and white face gauges, which I bought as a set on Ebay.
I really wanted vinyl and was able to get some extra black vinyl from Malibu when they helped with my new interior. The goal was to make it more modern but to look like it could have come stock on this boat.
I started with a blank aluminum sheet, and cut down the basic shape. The challenge was bending the sides to match the contours of the fiberglass, because they had about a 1"rounded turn in them and had to fit. I could not find a way to achieve this in my garage. So I took the aluminum piece, with measurements and examples of the bend I needed, to a machine shop and they handled it no problem. Worth it.
From there I just needed to plan my gauges, switches and layout, and start cutting holes. I used poster board as a template for this step. Once the holes were cut out I heated the vinyl, and stretched it over the dash adhesive until it fit like a glove, and then installed the gauges.
All in all, I was thrilled with the results and it really added to the overall redesign/rebuild!