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Installing a F 355 Style Dashboard and Door Panels

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  • Installing a F 355 Style Dashboard and Door Panels


    Specialty Automotive/ Denny Patton   West Palm Beach, FL    561-333-6243


    OVERVIEW AND TOOLS REQ:  This install can take a considerable amount of time, but requires minimal tools.  It sure helps to have airtools to make the job go quicker and better. As a minimum you will need a Dremel tool with cutoff wheels and shapers to make the cuts, trims and openings that will be required.  You will also need a drill and bit set,  ¼” ratchet and 7mm, 10mm, and 13mm sockets, minimum,  Phillips reg. Screwdriver, T15 Torx driver or bit, pencil and marker, and a set of files and sandpaper (40 or 80) . The basic process involves removing the old and test fitting the new. This includes fitting all switches and doing all drilling etc.  You then remove the parts and have them upholstered.  I’m sure there are other ways to spray a texture coating, or paint, but it would not look as good.  Obviously, you then have to install back into car after having been upholstered.  Some auto upholstery shops could do the whole install for you.

    OTHER PARTS NEEDED: You will need about 6’ of 3” flexible tubing, from Home Depot etc. to run replacement  air vents.  This flex tube will fit into the opening in the factory airbox. I have used 82-88 VW rabbit vents , and there might be others that will work nicely ( have round transition).  Otherwise, general purpose round air vents will work.  Check with us for availability of aftermarket generic vents.

    IMPORTANT NOTE:  Make sure you know what stereo,  gages,  and switches you are going to use while you are doing the test fitting. You can add simple switches and changes later, but it is more difficult after the parts have been covered.

    DISASSEMBLY:   Remove shifter knob(auto knob has hidden retainer in front). Remove ash trays and the (4) 7mm screws holding in center shift trim.  Remove all front trim panels and switches with the T15.  Remove the radio, center console trim pc. Rem. The upper trim panel over the Inst. Cluster, (T15’s).  Remove the 7mm screws holding  the inst.  cluster in the housing, including the two coming in from underneath , accessed after removing lower trim panel.  Remove Radio,   A/C control head (careful with the temp control cable and retainer).  Remove GT gages if equipped.  Rem. Inst. Cluster.  Be careful removing the electrical connectors by pressing on side retainers with small screwdriver.  Pop out speaker covers, and remove the speakers,  remove the (2) screws under the cover going forward.  Remove the instrument  cluster trim piece (10mm bolts behind cluster).  The main dash can now come out This has 10mm bolts underneath at each side. Remove the bolts and 2-nuts holding steering column up and ease it down.  Remove the rear computer cover and the center console black plastic support.

    ASSEMBLY/TEST FIT:   Attach left side lower dash piece with (2) bolts and drill holes, then take off to assemble later.  It is easier to cut holes and bolt in the AC head, radio,  and all switches while on the workbench and out of the Fiero. You might want to play around with the layout in the car  before you cut holes.  Windshield def. Vents- you can glue in mesh into the air openings you cut in dash,( after you upholster). Or, another way is to remove the stock grille from the original dash and the appropriate holes are then cut in the repl. Dash. Leave a little clearance for wrapping the dash vinyl.    Set the new rear comp. cover in place . You need to drill and place a screw on each side of center console to hold up front edge of Comp. Cvr. or attach bumpers to underneath side of piece.  Next you have to cut hole in forward Ctr. Console piece for shifter. Auto and stick are different.  It’s your choice on auto, if you want to modify and use factory trim piece with indicators.  Cut this hole small and then widen out as necessary, its easier to trim, than having to add more fiberglass !   It’s possible to install the window and power mirror switches in the center console either on the side of the shifter,  or just ahead of the shifter. Make sure you have the room underneath for the wiring.  

    Now you’re ready to install the main dash section.  I install it with only two screws. I use approx. 3” large thread , self tapping screws thru both sides of dash into the A-pillar. Be careful where you drill into side pillar.  If you wanted to add more fasteners, you could use the two upper factory mounting holes underneath the windshield, but the screws would show.  

    Next ,  working outside the car,  trim the upper corners of the inst. Cluster to fit inside the cover piece.  Also,  there is some trimming of the lower screw holes req. before you can get the stock cluster to fit.   Trim the  front face to the same shape as the factory opening.  You need to make a custom trim plate to fit inside the new cover and trim out the face.  I would use 1/8” lexan, or possibly paneling.  Attaching the Inst. Cluster cover- if you want it clean , you have to fiberglass two bolts underneath the  cover at the forward section that overlays dash, and then place nuts from underneath.   Otherwise, you could have exposed bolts after the piece is upholstered.  Note- the factory metal L-shaped support is removed.   If you are going to use aftermarket gauges, you will need to either make or order a trim panel (check for availability) to hold the instruments and then attach to the fiberglass cluster cover.  

    Assemble all pieces and check for fit of the cover to the dash.  Sand as necessary.

    After all attachment holes drilled and test fitted, remove dash.    SPEAKERS- if you want speakers in dash, cut out holes. This is necessary   before you upholster,  or paint dash.  

    DOOR PANEL OVERLAYS-   Remove factory door panels and armrests.   Your choice to either remove old carpet with lacquer thinner poured on carpet to melt old glue then add new carpet, or leave original carpet in place.   Next you have the door overlays upholstered,   and have a door pull made with the same material, or similar material to  be attached first.  Plan the location so that attaching screws are covered by the new overlays.   Drill  (3) or (4)  1/8” holes and attach overlay to door , after assembling original door panel back to door.   Once again, if  you want to be fancy, you can attach overlays with thru bolts with nice heads  to original door panel first.

  • #2
    Re: Installing a F 355 Style Dashboard and Door Pa

    I used late 80's honda accord vents for the dashboard, they look pretty good...


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