Suede Dash Trim For Late Model F-150 (applies to other Ford trucks too)
By Tyson Murphy
cost of the project (assuming you
have all the necessary tools) – $25
- Can of 3M 90 Hi-Strength Adhesive (got this at
Home Depot for about $4)
- Suede in your color choice. I got mine from Field’s
Fabrics. Here is a direct link to the page with all the colors:
costs $39.97 per yard. For my SuperCab, to do the radio bezel, ashtray, front
door trim and the tray on top of the dash, I used ½ yard ($20).
- Flathead screwdriver (make sure its clean)
- T-20 Torx driver
- 7mm socket wrench
- Razor Blade
- Rubbing alcohol (to clean the pieces and to keep
your hands clean during the process)
- Open the ashtray
- Pull out the bottom edge of the radio bezel and
work your way up releasing the 3 clips on each side. (Be careful not pull
it out too hard).
- Unhook the Passenger Airbag wire at the top
(this is the wire you have to be careful of when pulling out the bezel
since they didn’t provide much slack).
- Unhook the wires for the electronic climate
control (if you have it)
- Unhook the wires for the cigarette lighter and
backup sensor (if you have it)
- Now you should be able to set this piece aside.
- Take a 7mm socket and remove the two nuts at the
top of the ashtray. Once these are removed, lift the ashtray up and out.
- On the back of the radio bezel, there should be
about 6-8 clips that hold on the lower piece with
the cigarette lighter and backup sensor. Just pop those out from the back
and remove this entire piece.
- There are four torx (T-20) screws that hold the
electronic climate control in place. Remove these and the unit slides out
- There are also three hex screws (same size) that
hold on the Passenger Airbag light. Remove these and set this unit aside.
- On the back you will see about 9 white rubber
bumpers. Just pop these off.
- There will be clear round plastic "sticker" on
the 6 metal clips that hold the bezel to the dash. Remove these and set
- Use masking tape to tape the 6 metal clips that
hold the bezel to the dash (see picture above). These are covered in a felt-like
material to reduce squeeking noises, so you don’t want this to get damaged
in the process.
- On the ashtray, slide a razor blade under the
little chrome strip and pop it off.
- Now you should have both pieces broken down to the
bare minimum – only plastic. (You can disassemble the ashtray a bit more,
but its not necessary).
- Clean both pieces well with alcohol.
- Cut your suede leaving about 2" around the
- Turn your felt upside down and spray it with 3M
- Spray the top surface and edges of the bezel
with the adhesive.
- Let both sit for at least a minute.
- I find its easier to
take the bezel and set it on the suede. Line everything up nicely.
- Once the two are together, pick the bezel up and
smooth out the suede from the center to the outside edges, making sure
there are no bubbles or wrinkles.
- Once you have it nice and smooth on the flat
surface, start working it around the edges.
- Once the suede is nicely wrapped around the
edges, you will begin cutting out the holes in the middle.
- The big hole where the stereo goes is the
- Use your fingers to make sure the suede is
firmly stuck to the inside edges so you can see the exact border.
- Now take a sharp razor blade and cut an X-shape
in this hole. Be careful not to cut too close to the edges.
- With the 3 other oval shaped holes, I made one
cut lengthwise and then several angled cuts toward the rounded edges.
There is no real "proper" way to do this. Just make sure you can wrap the
fabric through the hole without any bunching up of the fabric.
- Once all your holes are cut, turn the piece
over. Do not cut the excess fabric yet.
- This is a tricky part…You will notice the nozzle
of the adhesive spray has three setting. Turn it to the setting that will
give you the smallest spray stream. And carefully, spray the edges on the
back where the fabric will adhere.
- While the adhesive is setting up, begin trimming
the excess fabric off leaving enough to wrap around the edge and adhere to
- This is where the creativity comes into play.
You then begin carefully wrapping and adhering
the fabric to the back. Make sure there is enough to adhere, but not so
much that it will bunch up. You will need to trim some edges, cut off some
excess, but you can do it.
- The four corners are the hardest part to get
right, and this you will need to do what you feel most comfortable with.
Here is how my corners look (from the front you can not see any creases –
just pull the fabric tight and the creases will go away):
- I find it works really well to have a flatblade
screwdriver handy, I use it to get a good solid contact with the fabric
and the adhesive on the back….it makes a nice "seam"
- While you are doing all of this, make sure to
keep your hands, tool, and work surface clean. Any little bit of extra
glue that gets on the front surface can mess up the entire look!
- Once you are done with radio bezel – admire your
- The ashtray is easy and doesn’t need much
instruction (just be sure to tape the rest of the ashtray off so you don’t
get any overspray on it). If you can do the bezel, the ashtray is cake!
- Once you have finished the ashtray, use your
fingers to find the original holes where the little chrome strip attached.
Use your razor blade to poke those holes out, and then you can use a small
Philips screwdriver to open them up a bit more (make sure its clean!)
- Then you can pop the chrome strip back in place.
- Reassemble all the pieces to the back of the
radio bezel and install in your truck.
- An additional step you can use to help keep the
suede clean (especially if you use a light color) is to go to Foot Locker
or a similar store. They have this water/stain repellent spray for suede
shoes. Give the suede a few good coats before you put everything back
together and it will give you a nice bit of protection!
- Next on the list: the tray on top of the dash
and the door trim pieces…