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Is it time to replace that cracked and hard dash pad on your Falcon or Comet? If so there is more than one option available. Not all aftermarket dash pads are the same. MAC’s Antique Auto Parts manufactures a dash pad that is a perfect fit. MAC’s put considerable effort into manufacturing a dash pad that fits right and it is made in the USA to boot. It is not a difficult task to replace your existing pad, but patience and care must be exercised so that the dash pad is installed correctly.

Part #: 41-37520-1 - Dash Pad - Red - Falcon & Comet
Part #: 41-37518-1 - Dash Pad - Blue - Falcon & Comet

Old dash pad is a recovering over the original. The cover hides the original details.

Three dash pads; MAC’s reproduction on left, an original dash pad in the center and the recovered original on the right.

Dyeing the Pad

The first step in replacing a dash pad is to dye the pad to match your interior. Dyeing is a simple task, but proper preparation is a must to get the OEM finish and color match. The first step is cleaning the dash pad. MAC’s recommends that Tide powdered laundry detergent be used to clean the dash pad. It has proven to be an effective cleaner to remove any residue due to the manufacturing process and handling. Once the dash pad has dried, a coat of vinyl preparation spray is applied, remember it is a good idea to do these steps in a well ventilated area, wear an approved respirator and vinyl gloves. Vinyl preparation spray is a bonding agent that will lock the vinyl dye to the pad so peeling will not take place.

Part #: 41-75606-1 - Sem Vinyl Prep (14 Oz Aerosol)

A nice light coat is applied to the entire pad and allowed to dry for about 30 minutes. Once the vinyl preparation spray has dried follow with the color dye to match your interior. Spray nice thin coats and allow drying between coats, 10 -15 minutes is enough time between coats. Spray each coat at a 90 degree angle to the previous coat. Apply enough coats to get full coverage, expect about 7-8 to be required. Obviously the final color will affect the number of coats required.

Part #: 41-75656-1 - Interior And Vinyl Paint, Black - 13 Ounce Aerosol)

Removal of the Old Pad

The underside of the dash pad is retained by chrome trim strips. On each side is a small strip retained by two screws. Remove the screws and carefully wiggle the side trim from the center trim. The center trim is retained by spring clips, carefully slide either a trim removal tool or a putty knife under the trim and gently lift up to “pop” the trim off. Once the lower trim is removed, the old dash pad can be lifted up to break any glue bond that may exist between the pad and the metal dash. The upper back edge of the dash pad is also retained by metal spring clips that are molded into the dash pad. Again, using a putty knife or trim tool, carefully pry the dash pad away from the metal dash. Once the pad is removed, use a solvent cleaner to remove any old adhesive that remained on the metal dash.

Cleaner, vinyl preparation spray and dye.

New dash pad with one coat of dye.

The old dash pad is removed and the surface cleaned of old glue residue.

Masking tape is applied to protect the paint finish while the dash pad is being trimmed to fit.

The underside trim is temporally put on to act as a guide for trimming off the excess.

Carefully trim the excess dash pad that protrudes beyond the underside trim.

Installation of the New Pad

Installation of the new dash pad is a reversal of the process of removal. A little adhesive is required to keep the dash pad from sliding around. There are a couple of options, I prefer to use double sided carpet tape, but a few dabs of weatherstrip adhesive will also work well. Place the dash pad and install the underside trim, sit back and admire your handiwork.

Finished! This can easily be accomplished in a day. Notice the crisp lines in the molding, much better than what was removed.