I purchased an ABS plastic (felt lined) firewall pad from Classic Parts and was looking at the logistics of installing it on a running truck. My plan is to remove interfering cables, capillary tubes and wiper hose and slot the top of the pad where the main wiring harness passes thru. My issue appears to be that the ABS panel is too rigid to pass over the steering column.
Has any of my fellow ‘bolters installed one of these pads, and if so, can you offer some advice?
The pad I bought thru Classic Parts, has an ABS plastic face, with some type if fibrous padding. The issue is the plastic does not bend very well and appears that the steering column is in the way. It would be perfect to install before passing anything thru the firewall (including the steering column), as it’s a really nice pad. My initial plan seemed like a solid plan until I found it was too rigid. I’m wondering if I can remove the upper steering column mount where it attaches to the dashboard and slip the pad behind.
I would really appreciate some input from any ‘bolter that has installed one of these pads.
I installed one of those and it was a bit of a bear to get into place. I could not figure out what I was supposed to do with the giant plastic retainer pins. I was definitely not willing to drill holes in the firewall for them to fit through. I used the stock retainer pins, but had trouble with lining up the pad since they needed to go through the middle of the semi-prepunched holes for the giant plastic pins. I suffered through it, but never again. I prefer the soft covers. Wish I had better news for you. Maybe you can sell yours to someone who hasn't read this yet.
Today I installed my firewall pad. I didn’t have to remove the steering column, but it was not easy. Aside from having to re-route five electrical wires, disconnecting the oil pressure line, draining the radiator, low enough to remove the temperature sensor bulb, temperature gauge line and vacuum hose for the wipers, I also had to remove the bracket for the cowl vent which stuck down too low. Doing so, also involved removing the ignition switch housing, as the cowl vent bracket and the ignition switch housing share the same mounting hardware where they both are attached to the lower dash, something I struggled with when I re-installed it.
I followed my original plan and sliced the pad where the main wire harness goes thru the firewall. It’s so high up on the firewall, nobody will ever see it anyway, and I was not going to cut and splice any of the harness. To get it over the steering column, I bent the pad. It was really tight but I was able to wiggle it into place. Once the pad was in place, I installed a couple of pad retainers to hold it until I check out the position of the pre-punched holes. They were not centered very well and I had to enlarge a few. It was easily accomplished using a Dremel with a barrel sanding attachment. Once I routed the removed lines thru the firewall and installed all of the grommets, I installed the remainder of the pad retainers. Most, I was able to install, but the two on the top center were way off. I ended up drilling new holes, a task not easily accomplished with padding between the firewall and the ABS plastic face. So I wouldn’t wrap the padding up in the drill bit, I drilled a tiny hole from the engine side then used a drill slightly larger than the firewall hole, drilling from the inside. The bit still grabbed the padding, but I was able to stop before I did any real damage. It took me almost four hours.
It looks great and a 15 mile test drive proved, that I accomplished what I had set out to. At full engine temperature it’s allot cooler in the cab and it’s also, allot quieter.
Aside from a having a bit of back pain from having to contort myself in ways the human body was never meant to be contorted, I’m very happy with the results.