Congratulations on the purchase of your new dash pad from Rhino Fabrication. The pad you have purchased was made in the USA by craftsmen that honestly care about their end product, and the quality within.
RF301 Dash Pad installation tips
Fits: 1956 Ford
The Rhino Fabrication RF301 Dash Pad was trimmed on our shop fixture to assist the installer in simplifying the installation. Below are a few tips that may help you in your quest for the perfect install.
Keep in mind that there are three possibilities, or configurations for installing the RF301.
Remove the complete dash assembly from the vehicle and bench it for installing the pad.
Removal of the windshield glass to install the pad.
Installing the pad with the windshield glass in the vehicle.
Speaking to the difficulty of pad installation option #1 is the easiest continuing through #3 for most difficult.
The rake of the windshield glass on the 1956 makes it a chore to trim the front edge of the pad for exact fitment to the windshield gasket. If you have the time and patience a great install may be achieved but as we stated it is tedious. Also when you need to use any spray contact type adhesive on the very forward (under the windshield garnish) you will find it difficult to position the pad exactly without engaging the adhesive before you are ready. We prefer 3M 38808 adhesive but there are other options out there. Please be advised that the wrong adhesive can melt the foam. Don’t ask me if liquid nails will work because I will not suggest it.
Now one may ask why the dash pad is trimmed in the manner it is. We trim the pad with option #1 in mind so that the installer will have a bit of extra material to work with. Most jobs are done with the dash out of the vehicle. We realize that exact trim can never be achieved until the pad is positioned on your vehicle so to avoid any fatal errors we intentionally leave a bit of extra fabric intact for the installer to trim. Trimming of the forward edge will be required.
The key to installing the RF301 is to align the Glove Box Latch recess and work from there. The pad will need to be forced towards the right to achieve the perfect fit. We have left ample material on the ends to cover under the A pillar but trim the ends slowly and carefully. The A pillars on the 1956 do not cover as much as you might think. Many installers have trimmed too much too soon and gotten themselves into trouble.
Trim the excess fabric in the crown area long. Our pads are fabricated and shipped with a mass of material in the Cluster area. This is done to protect the pad during transport. Without this mass of foam and fabric the pad would most likely suffer from collapse in that area. When removing this shipping protector trim carefully and slowly. Trim to the point where at least 1 “of fabric extends forward of where the Instrument cluster trim hoop will attach. Do not trim this extra fabric until after the hoop trim is attached. I like to use light masking tape just forward of the trim mounting holes to protect the painted surface of the dash steel crown. I use an acid brush and apply a small band of adhesive under the crown trim hoop and also under the lower horizontal termination trim. This will help secure the pad under the trim clips. Remember your trim clips are most likely tired and have lost quite a bit of the holding power they once had.
In securing the pad use adhesive sparingly. Do not attempt to glue the whole pad. I like to apply a 1”-1.5” band of adhesive along the forward edge from A pillar to A pillar. I also prefer a small bit, maybe a 2” stripe across the top of the crown, then behind the crown trim and the lower termination trim as I mentioned previously.
So a recap:
Trim away the shipping block leaving extra material around the crown area.
Dry fit the pad while pushing the pad towards the right, slowly trimming the RH then the LH ends. Keep in mind you are aligning the glove box latch recess while doing this.
Trim any excess material from the forward edge of the pad, keep checking the coverage of the lower windshield garnish molding while doing this trimming.
Locate but don’t punch the holes yet for the lower horizontal trim, at this time trim the excess material from the lower edge leaving approx 1” extra below the lower trim mounting holes.
Locate the holes but do not punch them in the crown hoop molding. In the area just behind the hoop trim and the lower horizontal trim you need to smooth out those areas so that very little foam exists there. This will allow those old tired molding clips to fully engage.
Check the ash tray install and remove any foam that might impede the install of the mounting frame.
Check everything again,
Now check everything another time.
Once you are happy with the fitment and only then are you ready for adhesive.
A final note: many customers ask me how to trim off the pad under the ash tray. As far as I know the fabric there below the ash tray is just cut out vertically. I have never seen an original pad with any fabric intact in that area. If you have pictures of any other configuration please send those to me, I would appreciate the info.
Hope all this info helps you achieve a great install. This pad is a tough one to do correctly but with patience and finesse it looks great afterward.