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1955 Ford Part 73: Kick Panel and Under Dash Lighting

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Kick Panel and Under Dash Lighting


For the longest time, I have been waiting on small projects such as these because of their attention to detail. Way back last year I had installed the carpet, but if you look at prior blog posts you will find that the overall fitment of the carpet left MUCH to be desired. Since the cuts and hems were way off, I knew in advance of installing the kick panels that they would have to be trimmed if each side was going to slide into its position. I had purchased panels a long time ago from a restoration company and painted them to match. I made a 5 minute video explaining what I did to ensure that the panels fit under the dash, even with the problem of the carpet getting in the way. For me, it was easier to trim the panels than to trim the carpet.

Here are some clear photos of the process:

1. Cut a template to match on your new kick panel.

2. Place the template in position in the car to get measurements and angles of cut.

3. Trim the template until it fits snugly into the J channel on the door panel.

4. Transfer (trace) the dimensions and size of your template to the new kick panel and trim the kick panel to match.

5. Install your kick panel, raising it is as high possible before sliding it into the J channel and to the floor.

The next little project concerns adding an extra light to the dome light wiring. Back in the mid-50's, interior lighting was marginal at best. Ford did have an accessory called a map light that consisted of a bracket, switch, lens, bulb, and pigtail. The idea was that if you had to pull a map out of the glove box you could switch on the small light to read it. The bracket installed on the underside of the dash itself. These days, the brackets and switch are hard to locate since it was an accessory from Ford and not many were made. NOS units on eBay go for a few hundred bucks a pop. So, I decided to make my own. Here are some photos of the work. The accessory light snaps in and requires a 1 1/4" hole; it is readily available at most auto parts stores. Last year, I found several of these at a local hardware store for 1 cent a piece. Yep, that was $.01 each.

The bracket was made from left over sheet metal that I had used to repair the floorboard on the driver's side, and a step drill bit was used to make the 1 1/4" hole.

The vise was the "form" for the bracket. Before going much further to clean things up I did test the light itself.

Holes were drilled for mounting, and I broke out some of the Rust Prevention Magic to protect the bare metal. Just before the bracket was mounted under the dash, I did remove the coating at the places where a ground was needed.

I made my own wiring harness to splice into the dome light harness and away we went!

Here is a very brief video so that you can see how things turned out...

There is still enough room to add a switch on the bracket should I ever want to go that route, but to be honest I doubt if I will ever need it. The dome light switch will power both the bulb in the dome light housing AND the courtesy light under the dash. I may end up putting a light under the dash on the driver's side as well - not too sure yet. That driver's side is extremely tight already.

Next up is to test the new thermostat fan switch and probe unit that I am installing. This unit is fully adjustable. The picture below is exactly like the one I purchased but only has two terminals. Since I already have a relay, all I needed was a switch to complete the ground. (more on this later)

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