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  1. #1
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    Default Installing new padded dash

    I need help installing new padded dash in 1961 vette. Thanks Ace

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    Default c1 dash install

    I figure you know you're getting into a fairly involved project.....
    Did you have any specific questions or was it general?

    I did a quick search on this forum but didn't find much. Check out Corvette forum C1-C2 and do advanced search, title only, for dash install-there are a number of detailed posts there with pics.

    While you're at it, you need to look at windshield posts, windshield glass, weatherstrip,wiring, gauges, kick panels, carpets, removing seats, steering wheel.....
    I'm planning on doing much of this when weather gets too warm here in central FL for car shows.

  3. #3
    Member firstgear's Avatar
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    How far along are you? Is the windshield off? is the instrument cluster out? is the grab bar out? dash insert out?

    Let us know where you are in the process and we can help from there.....

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    I have replaced windshield and rubber,have grab bar loose,dash inserts is out, have not done instrutment cluster which is the stopping point at this time. I'm putting brakes on tomorrow. I would like to drive down the road tomorrow when i get finished with brakes. I drove around the farm last sunday without any brakes because i needed a high. I still have some turning on engine, i set the valves again tonight. The right side still does't sound right . I may have washed plugs out on the right side. It sounds good on the left side and terrible on the right side. Sorry for getting cared away. Thanks for any help on the dash. Ace

  5. #5
    Member firstgear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 61vette View Post
    I have replaced windshield and rubber,have grab bar loose,dash inserts is out, have not done instrutment cluster which is the stopping point at this time. I'm putting brakes on tomorrow. I would like to drive down the road tomorrow when i get finished with brakes. I drove around the farm last sunday without any brakes because i needed a high. I still have some turning on engine, i set the valves again tonight. The right side still does't sound right . I may have washed plugs out on the right side. It sounds good on the left side and terrible on the right side. Sorry for getting cared away. Thanks for any help on the dash. Ace
    if you want to replace the dash pad the following items need to be removed....

    1. windshield
    2. instrument cluster
    3. dash pad end caps
    4. grab bar
    5. radio grill
    6. defroster air ducts
    7. dash insert

    Those all need to be in order to get the dash pad that is there completly off.

    Get those off, and we can work on getting the new dash pad on.

    BEFORE you try to cement the dash pad at the edges, you will want to trial fit your dash pad to get a feel of where it needs to to be tugged and pulled and what trimming and foam needs to come off.

    Al Knoch reccomends spraying the dash with Lemon Pledge, this will facilitate getting the pad on and providing some lubrication between the dash and the pad. I didn't spray any near the edges as that is where I was going to do my bonding.

    When you have the pad fitting like you want it, you need to trim it. This is where the sweat beads will form on your forehead! If you cut too much, the removed material will not be covered up by trim and if you cut too little then it is a bear to put back together.

    In the area near the windshield gutter (where the windshiled sits) I cut mine just enough to get it covered by the lower rubber trim. At first I tried to cut it so that the windshiled would sit down on it and grab it, but I already had enough problems trying to get rid of the gap between the windshield trim and the body, so I went for the absolute minimum. One thing I learned as I went through the process, the foam backing was my enemy and there was no such thing as removing too much of it.

    Every where I turned as I tried to get fit with the cluster or insert or you name it, I had take so little foam out, that it continually became an issue with everything else the way it would fit. So by the end, I was aggressive with foam backing removal near areas where there was fit with other components. After I got aggressive, it made things so much easier.

    Installing the cluster was something of a chore. I finally had Sharon come out and sit where the soft top would lay (seats out of car) and take both feet and push like help with her socking feet on both sides of the cluster so that it would go in far enough for me to get the nuts on the cluster studs. Talk about a major PIA! Of course this was befor eI learned about the value of getting rid of as much foam backing as possible. Are you getting the idea that foam backing is a major PIA yet? you get the idea....

    The insert was another major PIA area to get back in place along with the grab bar. Not that it was difficult, more like new things fit much tighter than old things coming apart. Take your time and measure and think many times before cuting.

    When the dash is where you want it, I bought the contact cement that is used to lay down formica counter tops to the backing boards. Hardware stores have this in a pint size or so can. More than enough. Get some toss away paint brushes and follow directions on can. Only apply cement about 2 to 3 inches around perimeter. No need to apply all over dash, plus rememeber that you have to drag this new dash pad over the dash, so if there is glue there, good luck getting it to move. Was much easier to glue around the edges by lifting up on it and dabbing the brush into the edge area once it was where you wanted it. Once you get it started it is much easier to continue.

    In my opinion, not real hard to do, jsut takes time and you need to go slow so as to not make a mistake such as cutting something too much or having the razor knife slip on you and making a bigger cut than you wanted.

    Couple of things to remember, that dash insert is paper thin aluminum and will mar with you just breathing on it. So when you install it, make sure that you have it where it needs to be, the grab bar trim pieces on the end, if the insert is not lined up exactly where it needs to be, you will easily mar the insert when you try to adjust where those trim pieces go (how do I know? I got to install a second NEW dash insert). Use the lemon pledge over the grab bar if you are installing a new one, because those grab bar end trim pieces do not like to slide down the grab bar, you will come to hate them, particularly if like me you decide that you have to change out a couple of times and then also decide on changing the color of the grab bar).





    notice in photo above that the grab bar trim pieces on the ends are not fully to the edges, as well as notice how the grab bar leather cover is bunched up, major PIA!


    notice material at bottom of dash that needed to be trimmed. After this was trimmed, we used the contact cement to make sure that it was held firmly in place.

    Then I decided that the grab bar needed to be torch red like the rest of the red in side the car and since I was taking the insert out because I had buggered up the first one I put in, I also swapped out the grab bar for this one...


    Final product, radio and heater/defroster delete...no dash speaker and defrosters.....


    By the way, Al Knoch made this dash pad up special for me. It is leather with the foam backing and radio delete.

    as you get questions, post them and we will try to assist.......good luck!

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    Herb, Thanks for the info. Your interior looks very good. I'm got lots to do on mine before i do dash . I want to get bugs out of engine before doing anymore on dash. Thanks Ace

  7. #7
    Member firstgear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 61vette View Post
    Herb, Thanks for the info. Your interior looks very good. I'm got lots to do on mine before i do dash . I want to get bugs out of engine before doing anymore on dash. Thanks Ace
    no problem, give us a hollar when you need help.....Herb

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