RF315 Dash Pad Install Instructions
1960-1963 Comet, 1964-1966 Australian XP Falcon and Ute
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. Each pad is formed, poured, trimmed and packaged in Oregon at our small manufacturing facility. We have attempted to provide you with a functional and cosmetically beautiful product for your automobile that you can be proud of. We hope you have years of satisfaction knowing that the pad you have purchased was made in America. Our dash pad was crafted by American Labor to fit your American Vehicle. Please take pride in your purchase.
Since you have invested a great amount of your hard earned dollars to purchase this product we would like to provide you with some information to help you in the process you are about to attempt. We have provided you with the finest fitting product for your vehicle available on the market today. Your new dash pad has been hand trimmed to an oversize state on a check fixture that was created from a factory stamped article. This fixture requires a great amount of time and resources to complete but also ensures proper fitment of our product before it leaves our facility.
We also realize that every dash pad our customers receive will require some custom trim during installation to ensure the best end result. Do not assume this pad will magically fit your vehicle without some adjustment on your behalf. In saying this we mean that you may be required to remove foam on the backside, you may need to thin the foam in some areas to allow even fitment of perimeter trim ect. We have benched this product at our facility but it is up to the installed to make sure adjustments in the foam and or skin are completed to produce a perfect fit. You have purchased a soft trim product and soft trim required finesse and patience to complete correctly.
The install you are about to undertake is very difficult for some individuals and that is why we strongly recommend that if you are not highly experienced in soft trim installation, do not proceed. We suggest that you seek a professional to complete this install for you if you have any doubts of your talents regarding this install. When we suggest a professional we do not mean your buddy that once owned a similar vehicle. We are referring to a skilled individual that has the experience and tested knowledge to do the job correctly. As we stated before, we are very glad you purchased our product, but we are not overly anxious to sell you a replacement because you destroyed this new pad during the install. Please consider your skill level before proceeding. Once you cut, trim, mark or otherwise alter this pad you will not be allowed credit and or return.
If you wish to speak to us regarding your upcoming install just pick up the phone. We are always happy to talk to you or your installer and or provide tips to help with the install.
There are two methods in which to undertake this install.
- Method 1: With the windshield of the vehicle installed
- Method 2: With the windshield of the vehicle removed.
Although both methods may be used successfully, we highly recommend that the windshield be removed prior to the install. The absence of the glass allows better access to the pad and also makes the use of required adhesive safer and cleaner. Keep in mind that the positioning of this pad is key to having an excellent install. You get one opportunity when using contact type adhesives so you absolutely have to be spot on. Also we have pre trimmed this pad for the installer that has removed the windshield. Trimming of the forward edge and sides is slow and arduous with the windshield installed in your vehicle.
If you have decided to proceed we suggest the following:
Prior to attempting to install your new dash pad the following issues need to be addressed.
- Remove the right and left side A pillar moldings.
- Remove right and left lower inside windshield garnish moldings.
- Remove the speaker grille. This will allow access to the radio speaker and the defroster diffusers.
- Remove both defroster diffusers and the speaker.
- Loosen the Instrument Cluster (remove if possible)
- Remove radio speaker.
- Remove the stainless trim that encompasses the lower edge of the dash pad. Use extreme caution when removing these trim strips. They are held in place with spring clips and damage to the dash and/or the trim can result if handled improperly.
- Remove the two metal end caps that secure the end tabs on the dash pad.
- Remove and old foam or adhesive from the steel dash frame. This surface needs to be completely free of all foreign matter to allow for the best fit of your new dash.
We highly recommend you install this dash pad within 30 days of purchase. The longer you wait to install the more opportunity your pad has to morph into something that may better fit a new Fiat or Honda. We are dealing with urethane foam and thermal vinyl. These are two products that are created to shape and mold. We keep our inventory fresh so please do your part and install this item as rapidly as possible. Do not wait an extended amount of time to install. Your new dash pad does need adhesive for installation. The factory trim moldings will assist in securing the pad in position. Adhesives are suggested. We use 3M #38808 adhesive but super 90 is also a good choice. An ideal installation temperature is 70-80 degrees. This will allow the pad to remain flexible during the installation. Do not under any circumstances allow the pad to sit in extreme head such as direct sunlight for any extended time. The pad will distort and be ruined if subjected to these conditions prior to installation.
- Slide the dash pad onto the metal dash frame. Check the front edge and curved side edges of the dash pad. They should conform to the metal dash frame and the front edge (under the windshield pinch weld) where the garnish molding will later be installed. Use your hand under the dash frame to check the fitment of the speaker-recessed area of the dash pad to the metal frame underneath. Feeling along the rear edge of the speaker recess you will be able to tell if the pad is far enough on the frame. Gently press the pad forward to allow the pad to slip down into the recessed speaker area. If your pad fails to move forward enough to fit the opening it may be necessary to pull the pad away from the metal frame and observe the far ends of the dash pad where it contacts the metal frame of the car. Your dash pad may need some foam material removed from the backside of the pad where the ends of the pad fit onto the metal dash. Do not use excessive force on the pad or the ends could be damaged. We have minimized material initially in our manufacturing process but since each vehicle is unique your application may require the removal of additional foam. Take time to remove foam material in slow increments and check fitment often.
- Remember you are only removing foam from the ends of the dash pad that might be contacting the rearward protruding points of the metal dash frame. Do not get carried away here. You can destroy your dash pad if too much material is removed during your fitment
- Slight trimming of the vinyl skin may be needed on each end of your dash pad. As the pad fits forward on the metal frame, the front ends will need to be relieved slightly to avoid tearing the dash pad. Use the metal end caps and the A pillar moldings that you removed earlier to test fit how much trimming is allowed. Now is the time to again make sure the pad drops into the speaker recessed area. This single step is the most important installation tip I can provide to you.Do not proceed until you have made sure that the recess of the pad has dropped into the recess on the dash frame. If you skip this step your pad will never look perfect. The speaker grill needs to be test fit once you believe the pad is positioned correctly. All of our pads will fit the speaker grill tightly. Don’t panic. We do this on purpose because without this fit your install will not look correct when finished. If engagement is not achieved the installer will need to sand or grind foam from the rear curved surface of the pad. We are referring to the curved surface where the pad makes contact with the rearward curved edge of the metal dash shell. Removal of additional foam will allow the pad to travel further forward onto the metal dash shell, thus allowing the speaker recess to engage the metal recessed area. Keep in mind that the pad you have is identical to our display pad that we use for trade and car shows etc. They do fit well, but like any other quality install it takes time and patience to make your installation first class. You would not expect to install a set of seat upholstery without patience and adjustment, so do not assume that your new dash pad is any different. Keep in mind that as the pad moves forward on the metal dash shell you may be required to trim away excess material at the forward edge(near the windshield pinch weld) to allow forward movement of the pad. If the windshield is removed you will have little or no trouble but if you have chosen to install the dash pad with the windshield in the vehicle expect some frustration and a much more difficult install. I have installed dozens upon dozens of Falcon Dash Pads and every time I install a pad in a vehicle with a windshield installed I swear I will never attempt it again. It is just a frustrating task.
- Once the pad drops into the recess for the speaker area you are ready to begin fine-tuning the outside perimeter of your dash pad. We have provided you with enough material on the dash pad to allow garnish moldings to cover the edges of the pad. Use extreme caution! Do not trim away too much material from the edges of your pad. Very little material, if any needs to be removed. Take your time! The appearance of your pad depends on it.
- At this point the forward most edges of the pad and the speaker area should fit well. Now is the time we like to get an idea of where the lower molding clip holes will be located. To do this we use a custom tool but you may use a plastic push pin instead. With push pin in hand reach behind the dash and insert the pin through the clip hole. With slight pressure you can see and feel the point of the pin pushing on the vinyl skin of the dash pad. DO NOT PUSH THROUGH THE SKIN. Instead mark the location of the clip hole with a marker. We use a fine tip silver marker but other markers could work. Once all the holes are located view that location from the front seat and feel the thickness of the foam in that area. There should be little or no foam thickness behind the lower trim. Too much foam will make it difficult to get the clips of the lower stainless trim to engage the dash shell. If you choose to thin the foam use a 36 or 40 grit adhesive sheet to sand the foam down a bit.
- Once you are satisfied with the fitment remove the pad and use your adhesives to attach your pad to the vehicle. We suggest a two inch wide band on the forward most edge from A pillar to A pillar. We spray this area with one coat, let it dry and then apply a second coat to get the best bond. Remember with a contact adhesive you are coating both the metal shell and the foam on the pad. We always use a barrier of fairly thick, possibly 4 mill poly sheet, to act as a barrier between the two glued surfaces. If you allow the adhesive to tack out to the touch you can use rectangular shingles of poly that overlap along the glued surfaces. Leave the edges of the poly shingles (usually 6” x 10”) hanging out the forward edge of the dash area through the windshield frame. Once the dash pad is exactly positioned slowly remove the center shingle and lightly press the two surfaces together to make the bond. Now keeping the forward pressure on the pad methodically remove the rest of the poly shingles one at a time.
- It is now time to fit and install the lower windshield garnish moldings. Do not tighten any of the screws until all screws have been started. Then gently snug all screws evenly. Do not over tighten these mounting screws as leakage of the windshield gasket could result.
- Fit and install both A pillar moldings.
- It is now time to install the lower dash pad trim molding. Apply light downward pressure to the dash pad and use a scratch awl to exactly locate the mounting holes for the trim clips. With the clips mounted in the trim molding begin pressing the molding into place. Apply pressure only directly over the clip location or the molding will be bent. Continue until all clips are seated. Install the chrome or painted flat end caps onto the dash pad. We then after close inspection use a razor knife to cut along the lower edge of the lower stainless trim. Angle your blade upwards slightly so the knife blade will not score the paint below the trim.
- Install and attach any remaining components removed during the install.
You should have a beautiful dash pad now installed in your vehicle. We hope that you enjoy the view each time you get behind the wheel. Thank you again for purchasing our product.