Fix that reflective chrome dash trim! | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free! This box and some ads will disappear once registered!

Fix that reflective chrome dash trim!

pj07Limited

Member
Joined
October 18, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
City, State
Springfield, Mo
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Sport Trac
I purchased an 07 sport trac just about 4 months ago and I really like everything about the truck except that on overcast days the chrome trim reflecting on the windshield is just unbearable, one week of cloudy weather and I had to do something about it. (I have been lazy about writing up this post).

Anyway I thought I would share how I solved the problem without resorting to some fugly dash cover, or spray paint.

First remove the trim:

The trim around the instrument cluster is firmly secured to the dash, I do not recommend attempting to pry it off. Instead, take the whole panel off, there are only 2 small screws at the bottom of the panel that need to be removed.

DSC02537_2.jpg



After removing the bottom screws, there are two tabs that secure the top of the dash, simply pull the panel straight towards your chest and the clips should come out. Also there is a hose-like thing(circled in red, no idea what it is) attached to the panel in the lower right-hand corner, it is attached with the standard black clip-together that Ford likes, you need to un-snap it.

DSC02540_2.jpg



To get the vent trim off is a little tricky, I recommend removing the driver-side trim fist because the dash seems to be more flexible and allows the trim to pop out easier(I actually just pulled mine out with my hand). You can then examine it to better understand what you are dealing with on the passenger side. The vent trim has securing tabs on 3 sides (top, left, and right, the bottom is not secured). To remove the passenger side trim I used a small screwdriver and pulled the trim outward while pushing in on at least one of the tabs with the small screw driver. I'm warning you, it's tricky and frustrating.(the securing tabs are circled in red below)

DSC02548_2.jpg



Here is what the trac looks like with the trim removed.

DSC02534.jpg


here is the trim.

DSC02542.jpg


This is the point where you need some carbon fiber wrap(google it if you are not familiar with it). I am not going to cover the details of using the stuff, there are instructional videos on youtube. I will give a couple of tips though; For the circular vent trim I recommend cutting out the center and securing the carbon fiber wrap to the inside of the circle and then heating and stretching the wrap to the outside. I tried working from the outside to the inside the first time and had to redo it. The good thing is that if it doesn't look good you can peel it off, it peels off cleanly. Heat is your friend, I used a hairdryer and when you heat the wrap it takes the shape of the trim. On the vent pieces I wrapped the trim over the back, but on the instrument panel trim you have to cut the wrap off at the edge of the trim since you can't separate the trim from the panel.

I used 3M DINOC carbon wrap which already has the adhesive back. (it is actually vinyl but looks like carbon wrap). I have had it installed for at least 3 months now and there are no signs of it attempting to peel off or anything.

Here is the result.

DSC02557.jpg


DSC02596.jpg


DSC02600.jpg


For the door handles I made a template with a piece of paper and then used it to cut out the carbon wrap and simply stuck it on. I left a little chrome showing around the edges for two reasons. The door handle are confusing enough, I think a little chrome showing helps identify it, also by not putting the carbon wrap up to the edge I think it is less likely to get peeled off. I also did not wrap it all the way down the front of the handle, just about 2/3 of the way.

DSC02656.jpg



I attempted to carbon wrap the top of the shifter but I do not know how to remove the chrome top and it didn't seem like it would hold without being able to wrap the carbon wrap around the edges of the chrome cap. If anyone knows how to remove the shifter cap and the chrome trim around the base of the shifter please post it here. I would like to wrap them in carbon as well but I more than happy with my results. The carbon wrap seems a little shiny in the pictures but I cannot see it reflected in the windows at all, even if I search for it. My chrome-trim induced migraines are history.

P.S. Make sure you pay attention to the direction of the pattern on the carbon fiber, the trim only goes on one way and you want the pattern to go in the same direction on all pieces.


Update:
I had some time so I carbon wrapped the chrome trim around the shifter this weekend. This piece is easier to wrap than the dash trim because it is flatter.

The shifter trim can be pried up with a flat screwdriver or something similar.

DSC03370.jpg


DSC03375.jpg


DSC03389.jpg


DSC03381.jpg




Merry Christmas.
 
<

Join the Elite Explorers $20 Gets rid of the ads!

Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




kkreit01

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 14, 2002
Messages
453
Reaction score
1
City, State
Olathe, KS
Year, Model & Trim Level
'08 Sport Trac V8 2wd XLT
Looks great. The chrome trim around the shifter console just gently pries off as well. (You have to remove it to get the stereo out.) I too do not like the chrome trim. The one around the shift probably bothers me the most. My side windows are tinted -- which may help the glare from the vents.
 
<



pj07Limited

Member
Joined
October 18, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
City, State
Springfield, Mo
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Sport Trac
Thanks kkreit, I'll have to see if I can pry the shifter trim off when I have some time, I thought it was attached better than that.
 
<



crankinaway

Member
Joined
October 26, 2009
Messages
35
Reaction score
0
City, State
Vancouver
Year, Model & Trim Level
2010 STA
Looks good, but sometimes when I look at carbon fibre I get dizzy?

How did you get it to conform so nicely to the curves?
 
<



pj07Limited

Member
Joined
October 18, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
City, State
Springfield, Mo
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Sport Trac
If the carbon fiber look makes you dizzy you can get a plain colored vinyl instead, they make a matte black finish that would probably look good. metrodecals.com has some different choices. They even have wood trim looking vinyl.

To smooth out the curves you just have to heat the vinyl up until it becomes pretty soft and flexible, do this a little at a time as you work your way around the piece. It also helps to trim the wrap down to the least amount you need before trying to smooth it out, also making relief cuts inside and outside of the curves helps.
 
<



BigV

Well-Known Member
Joined
November 10, 2008
Messages
369
Reaction score
0
City, State
Dirty Jerzey
Year, Model & Trim Level
2008 Adrenalin
Did you over lap at all or did you cut the pieces as a whole. The job is top notch looks factory great job. I have the same feelings about the chrome it was not needed in this truck (with no carpet). They should have CF it like the window control plates to begin with.
 
<



BigV

Well-Known Member
Joined
November 10, 2008
Messages
369
Reaction score
0
City, State
Dirty Jerzey
Year, Model & Trim Level
2008 Adrenalin
That Metrodecal.com is awesome they even will send you a sample for .99 cents so you can see if you like it. I like the flexible carbon fiber it most looks like the factory CF already in the vehicle.
 
<



Sams01XplrSprt

Southern Cali Explorer
Joined
November 14, 2004
Messages
14,188
Reaction score
2
City, State
Newport Beach California & Bay Area California
Year, Model & Trim Level
2001 Sport (sold)
looks great keep up good work
 
<



pj07Limited

Member
Joined
October 18, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
City, State
Springfield, Mo
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Sport Trac
BigV, I cut all of the pieces as a whole, since none of the pieces are very large it doesn't take that much material. I bought one 1x4 foot piece of material and I still have probably about 1x1 foot left. If you end up needing to do the instrument cluster trim more than once though that may not be enough.

I agree, it should have been carbon fiber from the factory, or just about anything except chrome.
 
<



GreenMando

Well-Known Member
Joined
December 28, 2007
Messages
483
Reaction score
0
City, State
Columbia, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'08 Sport Trac XLT 4x4 V8
The chrome has never bothered me.
My problem is sunrise/sunset when the headlights are on and I can not read the gauges. Usually dialing down the dash lights make them appear.
 
<



pj07Limited

Member
Joined
October 18, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
City, State
Springfield, Mo
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Sport Trac
The chrome trim didn't bother me at all either on most days, but on overcast days with a grey sky, there was a white line across the windshield from the instrument cluster trim, the other trim was noticeably reflected too. I also have the heated windshield, which may make it worse, I'm not sure.
 
<



<



JoeCool6972

Well-Known Member
Joined
November 16, 2008
Messages
976
Reaction score
0
City, State
where ever I may roam...
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Sport Trac XLT
WOW, that carbon fiber looks good. But I have never had a glare problem with the chrome. I actually like the way it looks.

But IMO you should do the shifter top in carbon too.
 
<



Trac726

Member
Joined
June 11, 2009
Messages
48
Reaction score
1
City, State
Tampa FL
Year, Model & Trim Level
08 Explorer SportTrac XLT
Very very nice
 
<



pj07Limited

Member
Joined
October 18, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
City, State
Springfield, Mo
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Sport Trac
JoeCool, I would like to cover the shifter top too, but I don't know how to remove the thing. It seems like it has to be screwed on but I'm afraid I'll break something trying to get it off.

The round shape makes it difficult to cover smoothly and would be a lot easier to work with if it was removed. If anyone knows how to remove it let me know.
 
<



dave d dizzo

Member
Joined
January 2, 2009
Messages
47
Reaction score
0
City, State
Fredericksburg, VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
08 Explorer SportTrac XLT
Figures I would find this AFTER I put up my post for hints on how to remove those pieces. I am doing the exact same project. Looks great.

If you want to save $$ on shipping, MetroRestyling has the same stuff, same price, but free shipping.

Still trying to get that damn shifter cap off!
 
<



pj07Limited

Member
Joined
October 18, 2009
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
City, State
Springfield, Mo
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Sport Trac
Hope yours turns out well. I gave up on the shifter cap and just left it chrome, it's not so bad.
 
<



psycareyo

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2008
Messages
197
Reaction score
0
City, State
Plattsburgh, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
2010 STA Supercharged
The reflection from the chrome trim around the instruments drives me insane but I really hate the carbon fiber look.
 
<



Ptaylor330

New Member
Joined
December 29, 2010
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
City, State
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Sport Trac Limited
the shifter is held on with 3 tabs... (if it is like the f-150) mine popped off in my 2006 F-150 it didn't look like it was meant to be taken off... but once one tab broke off, it just pops on and off... I ended up having to super glue it back on... I love the carbon fiber look... not sure how it would look with my tan interior though
 
<

Join the Elite Explorers $20 Gets rid of the ads!

Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




GreenMando

Well-Known Member
Joined
December 28, 2007
Messages
483
Reaction score
0
City, State
Columbia, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
'08 Sport Trac XLT 4x4 V8
,,, I love the carbon fiber look... not sure how it would look with my tan interior though
I will try and take a pic soon. I have the tan interior and added the carbon fiber film. I have more than half left of a 1 foot by 4 foot piece. I used the cutout from the center of the speedometer to wrap the vents.
 
<



Top