Dash panel tips and tricks by Chuck.
The renewed interest in dash panels caused me to go back many months and find the below post I did to help with the install which, BTW, is very, very easy and quite fast. These tips will just make it easier for those doing it.
Past post updated.
I've received and replied to over 70 PM's requesting info on the dash kits so am assuming some will order the kits and being, I believe, the first customer to install the kit thought what I learned would be helpful. The below applies to the Walnut Burl I ordered but should probably apply to all kits.
General: The kit is excellently packaged so any shipping damage is very unlikely. The peices are very flexable and very well done. Great quality. You will simply peel the sections off the paper as you need them. Save the large peice of cardboad to place the peices for heating as explaned below. I found the shape and any contures of the panels, fit and finish, to be excellent.
1. Do read the instructions.
2. In the kits, dash and door, I ordered I received 4 3M 94 Primer tubes. This is not enough so when ordering be sure to get at least 8. My opinion. The Primer is an accelerator for the adhesive on the back of the panels and MUST be used on any long section edges like the door panels, waterfall etc. and absolutely must be used anywhere there is a curve. You can also order a tube of Bond Prep # 4298. This is also an accelerator in a larger tube and I suggest you do this. Having too much accelerator is much better than not having enough. On my coming GXP I will use it on the entire curved surfaces and on the entire door panels. The tubes have a soft built in end that use use like a paint brush over the surface before you apply the panel. It makes the bond very strong. You do not need it on perfectly flat surfaces but then again it doesn't hurt either.
3. Primer. You will receive small white about 3 inch long tubes. This is the primer, accelerator. It is activated for use by pressing quite hard on the black dot on the tube. You will hear glass break. Press it hard a couple times. On the end of the tube is a round section much like a round paint brush with a flat bottom. The accelerator will flow into that and you then paint the accelerator on the area needed. Now the problem. The accelerator in the supplied tubes evaporates really fast once opened and will be gone before you know it so work fast. The surface you put it on will hardly show it and in my case did not stain the surfaces at all. A couple places it was about 1/8 inch beyond the edge of the trim I simply wiped it off with alcohol after installing the panel. After applying wait around five minutes which gives you time to open another tube and use it if needed. Now when you place the panel on the proper area the primer will cause the adhesive on the back of the panel to work quickly and adhere properly and quite strongly to the vehicle. Without the primer you may not have a good tight fit on curved surfaces. On flat surfaces like around the sound system you do not need the primer but it won't hurt to use it. NOTE: When installing a panel just put it in place very lightly, barely touching, then be sure all is aligned the way you want it. If not you can carefully peel it off and move it. When you are satisfied with placement just push firmly on it everywhere. A cloth with something like Glass Plus on it to make it slide easily over the surface is a great help pressing it on. These panels are very easy to work with and you do not have to hurry. The accelerator dries quickly after applied so is dry when you install the panels. That's the way it works.
4. Warming the sections. Charlie told me at the dealers that placing the sections in the sun for a few minutes helped. Being a cloudy day I used a worklight. I placed the sections I was about to install on the cardboard I kept from the shipping container and let it stay about 10 minutes. I clipped a worklight onto a cabinet door anbout a foot above the floor with the cardboard on it. The light has about a 8 1/2 inch aluminum shield/reflector with a pretty heavy duty clamp and cost around $10 at Walmart. I used a 75 watt bulb.
5. Surface prep. You must be positive that all areas the kit will be installed on are completely free of anything at all. Meaning if you have been using something like Armor All it has to all come off. Use alcohol and a micro fiber cloth. I had never put anything on my dash etc. so it was pretty clean but I still wiped it down fully with alcohol.
6. Installing. Once area is clean and, if appropriate, primer/accelerator is installed just peel the covering off the back adhesive of a pre heated panel and carefull apply it in position. Press firmly into and around any curves and rub along flat ares to make sure contact is good. One thing to watch for is around the door handles and waterfall drink tray be sure the panels you install do not have an edge overlaping an area that blocke the tray or handle. I'm talking about like a 1/16th inch here so pay attention. This is very easy. NOTE: You will have time to peel a panel back a bit and make small adjustments.
7. Afterward. I used Glass Plus and a micro fiber cloth and wiped it all down. Later I wiped Meguiar's Quick Detailer on it and it really looked fantastic.
SUMMARY: This is really very easy to do so do not let the above deter you. If I had had these instructions and it had been a sunny day I would have been able to do both the dash and door kits in about an hour. As it was I had a learning curve and spent about an hour and a half much of which was allowing parts to heat up under the light. With the kit instructions and the above information I provide you will not have have the learning time.. And lastly. No you do not need to be mechanically inclined to do this. I'ed say if you are mentally a bit higher than dumb you should do fine. After all...I am a graduate of Fernbank Grade School up the holler in WVA and had no problems.
I do have a degree in playground science though.
If you have any other questions just PM me. I'll do my best to be of help.
Have fun..You'll love any color or kit style you choose and your Sol will look great. Suggest you print this out.