RHINO RF 308

DASHPAD INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS

RHINO RF 308

DASHPAD INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS

Click On Any Tab For Instructions

RF308 USA MADE
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

100% of the manufacturing process on Rhino products has been completed in the USA. We believe that the United States Economy and our friends and neighbors prosperity is dependent on manufacturing jobs. We do not attempt to bash or down grade manufacturing in other parts of the world, we simply believe in supporting jobs in our neighborhoods and towns first. If we can create a superior product at a fair price here in the USA we believe we can compete in today’s market place.

The products you are reviewing are made in Bend, Oregon USA by craftsmen that honestly care about their end product, and the quality within. Each and every product we offer our customers is formed, poured, trimmed and packaged in Oregon at our manufacturing facility. In almost every case we have taken the initiative to use components and materials in manufacturing that were produced in the USA as well. This does require a commitment of time, capitol investment, and energy but we feel that this issue is important for all of us. Please let us know if our actions are important to you through an email, a blog or through your support and purchase of our products.

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 product you have purchased was made in America, by your neighbors, to fit your American Vehicle. Thanks for giving our company your consideration.

Tim and Chase Holland

RF308 INSTALL OPTIONS
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

The Rhino Fabrication RF308 Dash Pad was trimmed on our shop fixture to assist the installer in simplifying the installation. It is a custom pad that was never offered by the factory but was solely designed by our crew here at Rhino Fabrication. Because it is unique this pad does require additional skill to install. Please click on the Challenges tab.

Keep in mind that there are two possibilities or configurations for installing the RF303.

OPTION 1 Remove the windshield glass to install the pad.
Difficulty Level: Easy

OPTION 3 Installing the pad with the windshield glass in the vehicle.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

RF308 INSTALLATION PREP
1960-1965 FORD FAIRLANE, 1962-1963 MRECURY METEOR

Prior to attempting to install your new dash pad the following issues need to be addressed. We have found that with any dash pad install the easiest method is with the windshield removed.  Ok so don’t panic!  This pad can be installed with the glass in the truck. It is just easier without the glass installed.

  1. Remove the instrument cluster from the metal dash shell.
  2. Next you will need to remove the forward lower windshield garnish molding.  This molding is held in place with 8 spring clips and two Phillips head screws, one at each end near the “A” pillars.
  3. Care needs to be used when removing the spring clips as damage to the windshield molding can result if excessive pressure is applied during lifting upwards and away from the mounting surface. Note: If your spring clips are tired or damaged you may wish to purchase new replacements as the forward lower windshield molding needs to fit down tight for the finished install of the RF308 to look correct.  If your clips are tired or not correct, there will be a gap between the dash pad and the bottom of the molding resulting in an inferior looking install. Sometimes I have been able to reshape these clips for additional downward pressure of the molding. Possibly this is just me being very particular.

Caution: We highly recommend that your new dash pad is installed within 30 days of purchase. Your new dash pad does need adhesive for installation. The factory trim moldings will assist in securing the pad in position but adhesives are also suggested. 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 heat such as direct sunlight for any extended time. The pad will distort and be ruined if subjected to these conditions
prior the installation.

RF308 TRIM
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

Your dash pad is shipped to you in a slightly oversized state so that the installer has ample material to work with for a successful install. The pad will need to be trimmed along the forward edge under the windshield molding and also along the lower custom termination molding we include with the pad.

The very ends of the pad are left long so that they can conform to the “A” pillar in your vehicle.  The lower aluminum termination molding does require fitment to the “A” pillar for a complete custom look. This does require finesse but this is not a difficult task.  Once the termination trim is installed a razor knife can be used to remove any excess pad material.

RF308 CHALLENGES
1955-1959 Chevrolet Pickup

Because this is a unique pad, it does require additional skill to install. Below are a few tips that may help you in your quest for the perfect install.

You will be required to drill 24 small holes in the underside of your dash shell to allow the lower trim moldings to be attached. This is rather tight quarters so care needs to be taken. Also you will need to do very slight trimming to the trim as it intersects the “A” pillars. We say this because to do this install correctly you will need some skill. After all this is custom. If you want a look that very few have this is the accessory for you. Beware! If you are satisfied to have your truck look like everyone else’s this is not for you.

We realize that every dash pad our customers receive will require some custom trim during installation to ensure the best end result. DO NOT ASSUME THAT THIS PAD WILL MAGICALLY FIT YOUR VEHICLE WITH OUT SOME ADJUSTMENT ON YOUR BEHALF. In saying this we mean that you may be required to remove foam on the back side, you may need to thin the foam in some areas to allow the even fitment of perimeter trim etc.  We have benched this product at our facility but it is up to the installer to make sure adjustments in foam and or skin are completed to produce a perfect fit.  You have purchased a soft trim product and soft trim requires finesse and patience to complete correctly. You will need to locate the lower molding mounting holes and carefully transfer these to and through the dash pad after it is glued down to the dash shell.  You will also need to ensure that the foam directly behind the lower molding is thinned as much as possible so that the clips can penetrate the dash skin and hold sufficiently.  None of this is that difficult for someone skilled at this type of task but for others it is a daunting chore. Compare a dash pad to installing seat upholstery. You would not expect to simply slide the new seat covers over your seats and have them fit without significant finesse and adjustment during the install.

The install you are about to undertake is fairly 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 if you have any doubts of your talents regarding this 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.

At the very least, call us for more advice please! We are glad to help

RF308 INSTALLATION
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

We have included with your purchase the lower garnish trim necessary to complete the install of your RF308 padded dash.  You may choose to polish, paint, or install this lower trim in the brushed aluminum finish as we have provided.  If you are really going after a specific look you may choose to create your own lower garnish molding. Whatever direction you choose please know that some sort of lower molding will be required to keep your RF308 dash pad looking it’s best.  Without adhesives and perimeter moldings the dash pad will creep, and distort over time with exposure to the elements. Do not attempt to install without adhesives and the perimeter moldings. Included with the garnish molding are the screws needed to install the molding.  Please be aware that every truck seems to have a slightly different location of where the lower windshield molding was installed, therefore we have manufactured the right and left lower garnish moldings longer than needed and you will need to trim these to fit your particular vehicle.  Since the molding we provide is fabricated in aluminum so take your time and use special care not to damage the molding. Remember, patience and finesse is the key when completing a project such as this.

Remove the dash pad from the provided packaging and inspect the entire dash pad.  Please observe that our craftsmen have performed a great deal of the preliminary trim and grind procedures while the dash pad was at our facility. Please don’t freak out if the tips of the dash pad show slight deformation from the packaging.  Later in the install you will trim the ends of the pad. The pad was fitted to our 1955 Chevrolet Truck check fixture to ensure that the fit and beauty of your pad is perfect before it was allowed to be packaged for transport to you. We have sacrificed a metal dash shell from a 1955 for the perfect ck fixture. During this inspection phase we have thinned the foam along the lower edge of the pad.  This thinning allows the lower garnish molding to seat tightly along the lower edge of the pad. A snug fit is required up against the lower edge of the dash structure in order for the glove box door to close correctly after the install of the pad and lower garnish molding. (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram A) Also we have tapered the foam in the ends of the dash pad.  This will allow the curved vertical portion of the lower garnish molding to seat tightly against the vinyl skin.  If too much foam is allowed to remain under the end termination areas it will show and distract from a perfect install.

  1. Slide the dash pad onto the metal dash shell. Inspect the resistance of the dash pad. You may need to slowly and carefully trim away some extra fabric near the perimeters of the pad. Do so very carefully.  There are stand offs for the lower windshield molding where the clips install. Don’t trim there yet. We like to run the fabric down the forward slope of the metal dash frame for now but how you choose to terminate the forward edge past the molding is completely up to you.  (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram C) for trim suggestions. Once the dash pad is fitted to the metal shell (fitted not glued yet) you will need to test fit the lower aluminum garnish molding. The molding will need to fit snugly into the inner curve of the dash. Please visually inspect the curved portion of the molding running up to the “A” pillar. As we mentioned this aluminum molding will need to be trimmed by the “A” pillar in a future step.
  2. While holding the molding in position look to see how it fits in regards to the raised area that holds the instrument cluster. Both moldings should encounter the instrument cluster area with similar setbacks. Do not worry about installing the instrument cluster yet, just use the raised areas there for reference so that you position the lower moldings correctly.  If you see a difference in the setbacks (ends of the moldings to the raised instrument cluster mounting area) you need to figure out why.  One reason may be because you may not have the moldings pushed tight enough into the curved area of the dash. Adjust the moldings, and then and only then proceed.
  3. When we begin an install of the lower trim moldings I like to start with the large right hand molding. Start by counting from the top right moving left and select the #5 hole in the molding. Push the molding in tight against the inside edge of the dash shell and drill the pilot hole for screw #5. It is very important to center your pilot hole on the molding hole to keep the mounting screws flush after installing them.  Loosely install a screw in the #5 hole, then move to the #3 hole, and again drill a pilot hole. Caution: Do not tighten the screws yet! Leave them loose to avoid bending the moldings.  Install a screw in the #3 hole you just drilled.  This sequence seems to keep the molding parallel to the metal dash frame and allow the installer to proceed without damage to the molding. Next do #2 then #12. You may observe now that the end of the molding near the “A” pillar will need custom trimming to match your application. (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram B). Do not trim the end yet. Take five, do some inspections and move to the driver’s side of your vehicle to begin fitting the short aluminum molding.
  4. On the driver’s side I like to begin by drilling the pilot at #15. Inspect the fitment at the cluster area and at the A pillar. I then do #17, then #18, installing screws after each pilot hole.  Now that both moldings are semi installed you can get a better visual for the next step. Once both lower moldings are gently secured fit the forward lower windshield molding loosely into place.  The trim you will perform on the forward edge of the pad is critical. (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram C). The pad needs to terminate as far forward as possible under the lower windshield molding.
  5. Examine how much of the dash shell is visible forward of the lower windshield molding.  This painted area needs to be protected from adhesive and not covered by the dash pad fabric. If the windshield of your vehicle is out this is easy but is more difficult to trim later if the glass is installed. The forward windshield molding does not cover much. We suggest that only a small square of material be trimmed where the clips will penetrate the standoff. If you cut a large notch for the clip insertion you will probably ruin the pad. I don’t like to make any cuts for the clips until the pad is glued down. If you cut early and install this pad even slightly off line the lower windshield molding will not cover the cutouts and you will see the notches you made just aft of the molding. Only attach this molding using the two stock screws you removed from the molding previously. Yes I realize that the molding cannot be installed with the ends untrimmed.
  6. You need to examine your intersection of the upper and lower moldings at this time and determine how much and where trimming is required. Mark it with a fine tipped marker or tape. Don’t bother with using the molding clips now. You will need to determine how much of the ends of the aluminum moldings need to be trimmed away. On the last two installs we performed we filed a slight notch in the ends to better fit the lower windshield moldings. I believe that each truck windshield molding will fit slightly different from another so this is where you need to get creative in your fitment of the aluminum molding we have provided.
  7. Push in on the curved vertical portion of the molding and examine how it intersects the lower windshield molding. Ideally it should butt into the lower windshield molding and require a straight cut or trim but some installs require that the installer cut a slight notch to better fit the end of the lower windshield molding.  As I mentioned every application seems to be slightly different so take your time. You can slightly bend the molding ends to intersect where you want them to be, slightly forward or aft.
  8. Once you have determined and marked the fitment you need for the aluminum molding ends you may precede with the trimming.  I prefer to remove the 6 or so screws and cut the molding away from the area of my finished dash, then reinstall the trimmed moldings and re-inspect the fitment. Once you are satisfied go ahead and drill the remainder of the holes and install the mounting screws.
  9. After all of the molding mounting holes are drilled and the screws are installed it is time for the final fitment. Gently snug up the lower molding mounting screws. Recheck the pad for fitment. It is now that you need to ensure that the foam directly under the lower aluminum garnish molding is thinned to the point that almost no foam remains. (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram A).The objective is to allow the lower molding to sit as tight against the steel surface as possible. This helps also to keep the molding from being distorted. If you leave too much foam under the lower molding the top of the glove box door will contact the molding. We have experienced that some glove box doors need adjustments and shims behind hinges to achieve proper fitment to the pad and the dash shell. On our personal 57 we thought the door fit was fine until we examined it closely, then we discovered we simply had never scrutinized the prior fitment. Another point of inspection is the forward windshield molding fitment. Examine if the molding fits down against the pad as you desire. Now is the time to adjust, remove foam, add filler material, etc. This will be almost impossible after adhesive is applied.completed.
  10. Ok, yes, I know it’s a bummer but remove all the lower aluminum moldings and the lower windshield molding. Now is the time to clean and color the dash pad if you desire a color change. There is a write up on how to color a dash pad on the Rhino Fabrication website if you need help. If you are planning to keep the pad black you may wish to spray a top coat of black spray to change the sheen. A top coat is not necessary but simply personal choice. During the forming of the dash pads the sheen changes slightly and picks up a semi gloss finish.  My personal preference is to apply a light coat of SEM Black as this offers a lower gloss surface which to me is a better looking pad with reduced reflection during bright sunlight. Once the pad is the finish color and sheen you desire you are now ready to apply the adhesive.
  11. Our favorite adhesive is 3M 38808 spray adhesive.  Others can work but we just like this product.The key to using contact adhesive to install a dash pad is to always apply two coats of adhesive.  Allow the first to tack out (dry to the touch) and then spray a second coat. We seldom coat the entire surface of the pad because it creates a real bugger to install.  Also when using contact adhesive on opposing surfaces, you get one attempt and only one attempt.  If you position the pad incorrectly you will probably destroy the pad before you remove it or even adjust it. We find it very important to use adhesive along the perimeter or the pad, about a two inch stripe will do. If the windshield is removed you can easily spray the adhesive and allow it to tack out on both the back of the pad and on the metal dash shell.  After the second coat tacks out use small 8”or 12” squares of heavy 4 mil or thicker plastic sheet to place between the glued surfaces.  These plastic shingles, as they may be referred to, will allow you to position the pad exactly before making the contact between the two surfaces. Once the pad is perfectly positioned, pull out the plastic shingles and press the surfaces together. Ok, so your windshield glass is installed already, I hear your panic! Then go on to Step 12 otherwise go to Step 13. Use the contact adhesive or a similar product but apply it to only one surface. Another adhesive our customers suggest is 3M trim adhesive in a tube.  This can be your best friend if you have the glass installed or have limited room to work. Remember, the key to a great install is to use adhesive and the trim moldings together.  Don’t be fooled into thinking you can skip the adhesive. I like to use adhesive on the forward edge of this pad because the defroster areas are open and there is an unsightly mess that will certainly be seen if the correct install is not completed. I usually use an acid brush for applying the adhesive on the lower edge of the pad. The method of application is up to you here. Just remember to use adhesive.
  12. I usually pre-trim for the defroster ducts but this can be done after installing the pad too. After the pad is installed reapply the lower aluminum molding and snug up the screws. Be really careful not to distort the trim.  The lower molding needs to be tight in order for the glove box to close correctly. On every install I have performed I have had to adjust the glove box hinge screws to make it perfect.  I believe that the fitment of these Chevrolet truck glove box doors was pretty poor from the factory so take your time. If you need to use some shims here or there and possibly even alter the hinge mounting holes to get a correct fit that is what needs to be done.  This part of the install may be more than a one beer task.  Again, take your time.  I always hate this part on these trucks but it can be achieved with patience. I have even made the mistake of distorting the aluminum trim by getting too aggressive with the screw driver.  If you need to bring things back into alignment use a wood block and a dead blow hammer to tap the lower aluminum molding back into the proper alignment. Remember, its tap, tap, tap, it in!
  13. So it is time to install the forward lower windshield molding.  You will need to notch out sparingly for the clip locations.  Be very careful.  As I said before, this molding does not cover much. I only trim to the center of the standoff, or better yet only cut a small slot in the vinyl dash pad skin for the clip.  If you cut any further aft on the standoff the pad will creep and the slot will show to the rearward edge of the molding.  You will be starring at this unsightly mess forever.  Do not trim more than you need to. I even go so far as to cut a small slot for the clip and apply adhesive to that area under the vinyl. Once the clips are installed in the molding position it end to end for correctness and install the two screws in each end of the molding. Just start the screws, then press the clips down into the stand offs.  Once the clips are seated tighten the two end screws.
  14. Now it is time for the instrument cluster. This was intentionally created to be tight. It will install tight so don’t panic, it will go in.  Try not to scratch the vinyl when pushing in on the cluster. Again, use finesse!
  15. After everything is reinstalled I use a very sharp razor knife to trim the ends and perimeter of the dash pad. This creates a very clean and professional look to the install. Remember there are some really great pictures of the dash pad on our website.  These will help you envision the finished install.
  16. Well, by now you should have a great looking dash pad installed in your ride.  It is unique, it is classy and you have bragging rights! Remember, we love to hear from you.  What you liked, what you didn’t, all of it. Send us some pics of your ride and it may end up for others to see on our web site if you allow us to publish.  We won’t use last names to protect you but we would love your pictures and your input.Thanks for being our customer, call or write me anytime.

At this point you have one important element to complete.  Call your friends, grab a cold brewski and revel in the fact that you did it yourself.  It is a great feeling of accomplishment to complete the install of one of these early pads. Also the visual impact the install has on the beauty of your vehicle is wonderful. Enjoy and thank you again for using American Made Products from Rhino Fabrication, Bend, Oregon.

 

 

 

RF308 DIAGRAMS
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

1955-1959-Chevrolet-Truck-Dash-Pad-RF308

 

 

Click On Any Tab For Instructions

RF308 USA MADE
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

100% of the manufacturing process on Rhino products has been completed in the USA. We believe that the United States Economy and our friends and neighbors prosperity is dependent on manufacturing jobs. We do not attempt to bash or down grade manufacturing in other parts of the world, we simply believe in supporting jobs in our neighborhoods and towns first. If we can create a superior product at a fair price here in the USA we believe we can compete in today’s market place.

The products you are reviewing are made in Bend, Oregon USA by craftsmen that honestly care about their end product, and the quality within. Each and every product we offer our customers is formed, poured, trimmed and packaged in Oregon at our manufacturing facility. In almost every case we have taken the initiative to use components and materials in manufacturing that were produced in the USA as well. This does require a commitment of time, capitol investment, and energy but we feel that this issue is important for all of us. Please let us know if our actions are important to you through an email, a blog or through your support and purchase of our products.

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 product you have purchased was made in America, by your neighbors, to fit your American Vehicle. Thanks for giving our company your consideration.

Tim and Chase Holland

RF308 INSTALL OPTIONS
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

The Rhino Fabrication RF308 Dash Pad was trimmed on our shop fixture to assist the installer in simplifying the installation. It is a custom pad that was never offered by the factory but was solely designed by our crew here at Rhino Fabrication. Because it is unique this pad does require additional skill to install. Please click on the Challenges tab.

Keep in mind that there are two possibilities or configurations for installing the RF303.

OPTION 1 Remove the windshield glass to install the pad.
Difficulty Level: Easy

OPTION 3 Installing the pad with the windshield glass in the vehicle.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

RF308 INSTALLATION PREP
1960-1965 FORD FAIRLANE, 1962-1963 MRECURY METEOR

Prior to attempting to install your new dash pad the following issues need to be addressed. We have found that with any dash pad install the easiest method is with the windshield removed.  Ok so don’t panic!  This pad can be installed with the glass in the truck. It is just easier without the glass installed.

  1. Remove the instrument cluster from the metal dash shell.
  2. Next you will need to remove the forward lower windshield garnish molding.  This molding is held in place with 8 spring clips and two Phillips head screws, one at each end near the “A” pillars.
  3. Care needs to be used when removing the spring clips as damage to the windshield molding can result if excessive pressure is applied during lifting upwards and away from the mounting surface. Note: If your spring clips are tired or damaged you may wish to purchase new replacements as the forward lower windshield molding needs to fit down tight for the finished install of the RF308 to look correct.  If your clips are tired or not correct, there will be a gap between the dash pad and the bottom of the molding resulting in an inferior looking install. Sometimes I have been able to reshape these clips for additional downward pressure of the molding. Possibly this is just me being very particular.

Caution: We highly recommend that your new dash pad is installed within 30 days of purchase. Your new dash pad does need adhesive for installation. The factory trim moldings will assist in securing the pad in position but adhesives are also suggested. 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 heat such as direct sunlight for any extended time. The pad will distort and be ruined if subjected to these conditions
prior the installation.

RF308 TRIM
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

Your dash pad is shipped to you in a slightly oversized state so that the installer has ample material to work with for a successful install. The pad will need to be trimmed along the forward edge under the windshield molding and also along the lower custom termination molding we include with the pad.

The very ends of the pad are left long so that they can conform to the “A” pillar in your vehicle.  The lower aluminum termination molding does require fitment to the “A” pillar for a complete custom look. This does require finesse but this is not a difficult task.  Once the termination trim is installed a razor knife can be used to remove any excess pad material.

RF308 CHALLENGES
1955-1959 Chevrolet Pickup

Because this is a unique pad, it does require additional skill to install. Below are a few tips that may help you in your quest for the perfect install.

You will be required to drill 24 small holes in the underside of your dash shell to allow the lower trim moldings to be attached. This is rather tight quarters so care needs to be taken. Also you will need to do very slight trimming to the trim as it intersects the “A” pillars. We say this because to do this install correctly you will need some skill. After all this is custom. If you want a look that very few have this is the accessory for you. Beware! If you are satisfied to have your truck look like everyone else’s this is not for you.

We realize that every dash pad our customers receive will require some custom trim during installation to ensure the best end result. DO NOT ASSUME THAT THIS PAD WILL MAGICALLY FIT YOUR VEHICLE WITH OUT SOME ADJUSTMENT ON YOUR BEHALF. In saying this we mean that you may be required to remove foam on the back side, you may need to thin the foam in some areas to allow the even fitment of perimeter trim etc.  We have benched this product at our facility but it is up to the installer to make sure adjustments in foam and or skin are completed to produce a perfect fit.  You have purchased a soft trim product and soft trim requires finesse and patience to complete correctly. You will need to locate the lower molding mounting holes and carefully transfer these to and through the dash pad after it is glued down to the dash shell.  You will also need to ensure that the foam directly behind the lower molding is thinned as much as possible so that the clips can penetrate the dash skin and hold sufficiently.  None of this is that difficult for someone skilled at this type of task but for others it is a daunting chore. Compare a dash pad to installing seat upholstery. You would not expect to simply slide the new seat covers over your seats and have them fit without significant finesse and adjustment during the install.

The install you are about to undertake is fairly 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 if you have any doubts of your talents regarding this 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.

At the very least, call us for more advice please! We are glad to help

RF308 INSTALLATION
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

We have included with your purchase the lower garnish trim necessary to complete the install of your RF308 padded dash.  You may choose to polish, paint, or install this lower trim in the brushed aluminum finish as we have provided.  If you are really going after a specific look you may choose to create your own lower garnish molding. Whatever direction you choose please know that some sort of lower molding will be required to keep your RF308 dash pad looking it’s best.  Without adhesives and perimeter moldings the dash pad will creep, and distort over time with exposure to the elements. Do not attempt to install without adhesives and the perimeter moldings. Included with the garnish molding are the screws needed to install the molding.  Please be aware that every truck seems to have a slightly different location of where the lower windshield molding was installed, therefore we have manufactured the right and left lower garnish moldings longer than needed and you will need to trim these to fit your particular vehicle.  Since the molding we provide is fabricated in aluminum so take your time and use special care not to damage the molding. Remember, patience and finesse is the key when completing a project such as this.

Remove the dash pad from the provided packaging and inspect the entire dash pad.  Please observe that our craftsmen have performed a great deal of the preliminary trim and grind procedures while the dash pad was at our facility. Please don’t freak out if the tips of the dash pad show slight deformation from the packaging.  Later in the install you will trim the ends of the pad. The pad was fitted to our 1955 Chevrolet Truck check fixture to ensure that the fit and beauty of your pad is perfect before it was allowed to be packaged for transport to you. We have sacrificed a metal dash shell from a 1955 for the perfect ck fixture. During this inspection phase we have thinned the foam along the lower edge of the pad.  This thinning allows the lower garnish molding to seat tightly along the lower edge of the pad. A snug fit is required up against the lower edge of the dash structure in order for the glove box door to close correctly after the install of the pad and lower garnish molding. (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram A) Also we have tapered the foam in the ends of the dash pad.  This will allow the curved vertical portion of the lower garnish molding to seat tightly against the vinyl skin.  If too much foam is allowed to remain under the end termination areas it will show and distract from a perfect install.

  1. Slide the dash pad onto the metal dash shell. Inspect the resistance of the dash pad. You may need to slowly and carefully trim away some extra fabric near the perimeters of the pad. Do so very carefully.  There are stand offs for the lower windshield molding where the clips install. Don’t trim there yet. We like to run the fabric down the forward slope of the metal dash frame for now but how you choose to terminate the forward edge past the molding is completely up to you.  (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram C) for trim suggestions. Once the dash pad is fitted to the metal shell (fitted not glued yet) you will need to test fit the lower aluminum garnish molding. The molding will need to fit snugly into the inner curve of the dash. Please visually inspect the curved portion of the molding running up to the “A” pillar. As we mentioned this aluminum molding will need to be trimmed by the “A” pillar in a future step.
  2. While holding the molding in position look to see how it fits in regards to the raised area that holds the instrument cluster. Both moldings should encounter the instrument cluster area with similar setbacks. Do not worry about installing the instrument cluster yet, just use the raised areas there for reference so that you position the lower moldings correctly.  If you see a difference in the setbacks (ends of the moldings to the raised instrument cluster mounting area) you need to figure out why.  One reason may be because you may not have the moldings pushed tight enough into the curved area of the dash. Adjust the moldings, and then and only then proceed.
  3. When we begin an install of the lower trim moldings I like to start with the large right hand molding. Start by counting from the top right moving left and select the #5 hole in the molding. Push the molding in tight against the inside edge of the dash shell and drill the pilot hole for screw #5. It is very important to center your pilot hole on the molding hole to keep the mounting screws flush after installing them.  Loosely install a screw in the #5 hole, then move to the #3 hole, and again drill a pilot hole. Caution: Do not tighten the screws yet! Leave them loose to avoid bending the moldings.  Install a screw in the #3 hole you just drilled.  This sequence seems to keep the molding parallel to the metal dash frame and allow the installer to proceed without damage to the molding. Next do #2 then #12. You may observe now that the end of the molding near the “A” pillar will need custom trimming to match your application. (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram B). Do not trim the end yet. Take five, do some inspections and move to the driver’s side of your vehicle to begin fitting the short aluminum molding.
  4. On the driver’s side I like to begin by drilling the pilot at #15. Inspect the fitment at the cluster area and at the A pillar. I then do #17, then #18, installing screws after each pilot hole.  Now that both moldings are semi installed you can get a better visual for the next step. Once both lower moldings are gently secured fit the forward lower windshield molding loosely into place.  The trim you will perform on the forward edge of the pad is critical. (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram C). The pad needs to terminate as far forward as possible under the lower windshield molding.
  5. Examine how much of the dash shell is visible forward of the lower windshield molding.  This painted area needs to be protected from adhesive and not covered by the dash pad fabric. If the windshield of your vehicle is out this is easy but is more difficult to trim later if the glass is installed. The forward windshield molding does not cover much. We suggest that only a small square of material be trimmed where the clips will penetrate the standoff. If you cut a large notch for the clip insertion you will probably ruin the pad. I don’t like to make any cuts for the clips until the pad is glued down. If you cut early and install this pad even slightly off line the lower windshield molding will not cover the cutouts and you will see the notches you made just aft of the molding. Only attach this molding using the two stock screws you removed from the molding previously. Yes I realize that the molding cannot be installed with the ends untrimmed.
  6. You need to examine your intersection of the upper and lower moldings at this time and determine how much and where trimming is required. Mark it with a fine tipped marker or tape. Don’t bother with using the molding clips now. You will need to determine how much of the ends of the aluminum moldings need to be trimmed away. On the last two installs we performed we filed a slight notch in the ends to better fit the lower windshield moldings. I believe that each truck windshield molding will fit slightly different from another so this is where you need to get creative in your fitment of the aluminum molding we have provided.
  7. Push in on the curved vertical portion of the molding and examine how it intersects the lower windshield molding. Ideally it should butt into the lower windshield molding and require a straight cut or trim but some installs require that the installer cut a slight notch to better fit the end of the lower windshield molding.  As I mentioned every application seems to be slightly different so take your time. You can slightly bend the molding ends to intersect where you want them to be, slightly forward or aft.
  8. Once you have determined and marked the fitment you need for the aluminum molding ends you may precede with the trimming.  I prefer to remove the 6 or so screws and cut the molding away from the area of my finished dash, then reinstall the trimmed moldings and re-inspect the fitment. Once you are satisfied go ahead and drill the remainder of the holes and install the mounting screws.
  9. After all of the molding mounting holes are drilled and the screws are installed it is time for the final fitment. Gently snug up the lower molding mounting screws. Recheck the pad for fitment. It is now that you need to ensure that the foam directly under the lower aluminum garnish molding is thinned to the point that almost no foam remains. (Refer RECAP tab for Diagram A).The objective is to allow the lower molding to sit as tight against the steel surface as possible. This helps also to keep the molding from being distorted. If you leave too much foam under the lower molding the top of the glove box door will contact the molding. We have experienced that some glove box doors need adjustments and shims behind hinges to achieve proper fitment to the pad and the dash shell. On our personal 57 we thought the door fit was fine until we examined it closely, then we discovered we simply had never scrutinized the prior fitment. Another point of inspection is the forward windshield molding fitment. Examine if the molding fits down against the pad as you desire. Now is the time to adjust, remove foam, add filler material, etc. This will be almost impossible after adhesive is applied.completed.
  10. Ok, yes, I know it’s a bummer but remove all the lower aluminum moldings and the lower windshield molding. Now is the time to clean and color the dash pad if you desire a color change. There is a write up on how to color a dash pad on the Rhino Fabrication website if you need help. If you are planning to keep the pad black you may wish to spray a top coat of black spray to change the sheen. A top coat is not necessary but simply personal choice. During the forming of the dash pads the sheen changes slightly and picks up a semi gloss finish.  My personal preference is to apply a light coat of SEM Black as this offers a lower gloss surface which to me is a better looking pad with reduced reflection during bright sunlight. Once the pad is the finish color and sheen you desire you are now ready to apply the adhesive.
  11. Our favorite adhesive is 3M 38808 spray adhesive.  Others can work but we just like this product.The key to using contact adhesive to install a dash pad is to always apply two coats of adhesive.  Allow the first to tack out (dry to the touch) and then spray a second coat. We seldom coat the entire surface of the pad because it creates a real bugger to install.  Also when using contact adhesive on opposing surfaces, you get one attempt and only one attempt.  If you position the pad incorrectly you will probably destroy the pad before you remove it or even adjust it. We find it very important to use adhesive along the perimeter or the pad, about a two inch stripe will do. If the windshield is removed you can easily spray the adhesive and allow it to tack out on both the back of the pad and on the metal dash shell.  After the second coat tacks out use small 8”or 12” squares of heavy 4 mil or thicker plastic sheet to place between the glued surfaces.  These plastic shingles, as they may be referred to, will allow you to position the pad exactly before making the contact between the two surfaces. Once the pad is perfectly positioned, pull out the plastic shingles and press the surfaces together. Ok, so your windshield glass is installed already, I hear your panic! Then go on to Step 12 otherwise go to Step 13. Use the contact adhesive or a similar product but apply it to only one surface. Another adhesive our customers suggest is 3M trim adhesive in a tube.  This can be your best friend if you have the glass installed or have limited room to work. Remember, the key to a great install is to use adhesive and the trim moldings together.  Don’t be fooled into thinking you can skip the adhesive. I like to use adhesive on the forward edge of this pad because the defroster areas are open and there is an unsightly mess that will certainly be seen if the correct install is not completed. I usually use an acid brush for applying the adhesive on the lower edge of the pad. The method of application is up to you here. Just remember to use adhesive.
  12. I usually pre-trim for the defroster ducts but this can be done after installing the pad too. After the pad is installed reapply the lower aluminum molding and snug up the screws. Be really careful not to distort the trim.  The lower molding needs to be tight in order for the glove box to close correctly. On every install I have performed I have had to adjust the glove box hinge screws to make it perfect.  I believe that the fitment of these Chevrolet truck glove box doors was pretty poor from the factory so take your time. If you need to use some shims here or there and possibly even alter the hinge mounting holes to get a correct fit that is what needs to be done.  This part of the install may be more than a one beer task.  Again, take your time.  I always hate this part on these trucks but it can be achieved with patience. I have even made the mistake of distorting the aluminum trim by getting too aggressive with the screw driver.  If you need to bring things back into alignment use a wood block and a dead blow hammer to tap the lower aluminum molding back into the proper alignment. Remember, its tap, tap, tap, it in!
  13. So it is time to install the forward lower windshield molding.  You will need to notch out sparingly for the clip locations.  Be very careful.  As I said before, this molding does not cover much. I only trim to the center of the standoff, or better yet only cut a small slot in the vinyl dash pad skin for the clip.  If you cut any further aft on the standoff the pad will creep and the slot will show to the rearward edge of the molding.  You will be starring at this unsightly mess forever.  Do not trim more than you need to. I even go so far as to cut a small slot for the clip and apply adhesive to that area under the vinyl. Once the clips are installed in the molding position it end to end for correctness and install the two screws in each end of the molding. Just start the screws, then press the clips down into the stand offs.  Once the clips are seated tighten the two end screws.
  14. Now it is time for the instrument cluster. This was intentionally created to be tight. It will install tight so don’t panic, it will go in.  Try not to scratch the vinyl when pushing in on the cluster. Again, use finesse!
  15. After everything is reinstalled I use a very sharp razor knife to trim the ends and perimeter of the dash pad. This creates a very clean and professional look to the install. Remember there are some really great pictures of the dash pad on our website.  These will help you envision the finished install.
  16. Well, by now you should have a great looking dash pad installed in your ride.  It is unique, it is classy and you have bragging rights! Remember, we love to hear from you.  What you liked, what you didn’t, all of it. Send us some pics of your ride and it may end up for others to see on our web site if you allow us to publish.  We won’t use last names to protect you but we would love your pictures and your input.Thanks for being our customer, call or write me anytime.

At this point you have one important element to complete.  Call your friends, grab a cold brewski and revel in the fact that you did it yourself.  It is a great feeling of accomplishment to complete the install of one of these early pads. Also the visual impact the install has on the beauty of your vehicle is wonderful. Enjoy and thank you again for using American Made Products from Rhino Fabrication, Bend, Oregon.

 

 

 

RF308 DIAGRAMS
1955-1959 CHEVROLET PICKUP

1955-1959-Chevrolet-Truck-Dash-Pad-RF308

 

 

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