The Fiat 500 Abarth offers a seemingly endless array of customization options. One popular enhancement for the Fiat 500 Abarth is a carbon fiber dash panel. It gives the interior an upscale look and is used in the special Abarth 695 series available in Europe.
The panels are available from various manufacturers, and I sourced mine from 500 Madness. Like most, if not all custom parts, there are no instructions on installing these products as they are geared towards professional installers. However, an Abarth owner or regular 500 owner for that matter can do the install if they have patience and the will. Of course, some instructions would help so the following is how I installed a carbon fiber dash in my own Fiat 500 Abarth.
First a word or two of advice. These carbon fiber dashboards are hand made and require some handwork of your own to make fit. If you are insane about the fit of your radio, you may be disappointed because there can be variances in the handmade panels compared to the die cast factory pieces. This is not a simple remove and replace, 10 minute job, especially if you have an Abarth.
Warning: Disable the airbag system before attempting any steering wheel, steering column or instrument panel component diagnosis or service. Disconnect and isolate the negative battery (ground) cable, then wait two minutes for the airbag system capacitor to discharge before performing further diagnosis or service. This is the only sure way to disable the airbag system. Failure to follow these instructions may result in accidental airbag deployment and possible serious or fatal injury.
Eye protection. You will be using a high speed cutting device so don't take a chance.
The air vent pulls out from the front.
Grab your trim stick and carefully press them out.
This is what they look like installed.
Before you attach the bracket to the carbon fiber dash, test fit the dash to the car and make sure it is molded correctly and fits properly. You need to look at where the radio fits and all along the top of the dash where it meets the top of the dashboard. You are looking for gaps and to ensure the dash lines up with the radio. There are tabs that can be trimmed to adjust the panel fit. Take the time now before you attach the bracket or you will have bigger issues later.
Once you are satisfied that the dashboard fits, install the bracket to the backside of the dashboard. I layed the carbon fiber dash on a soft towel and pressed the bracket down firmly to make sure the tape had good adhesion. Sorry no pics, but I had my hands full! Make sure you use enough tape by the switches because if you don't the switches will move around when you punch the Sport button.
Reinstall the air vent and then hook the wire harness going to the center buttons. Don't forget this, because you'll have to remove the dashboard all over again (don't ask me why I know this...)!
Position the dash in the proper location and push to engage the bracket fasteners. They will snap in. Make sure the dash fits all around the edges. Pop it back off and trim the tabs if you are not satisfied. Remember this is custom work!
1.Tilt the steering column to the full-downward position.
2.Remove the two screws (marked in blue) attaching the upper column shroud to the lower shroud. After removing the screws, unclip the shrouds from each other by applying hand pressure along the seams where the shrouds connect on the sides, then remove the lower shroud. Don't be surprised if this is a pain to do! I had to use two hands to get this to pop apart.
3. Remove the column shrouds.
4. Remove the upper screw (red) and the two lower screws (green) and the cluster bezel will be free. You don't have to totally remove it, just move it so the boost gauge is out of the way.
This is what you'll be presented with. The left dash panel on a Fiat 500 Abarth is custom trimmed at the factory for fitment. Guess what, you'll need to do the same!
Again, pull off the air vent. Disengage the clips.
Air vent detail. I believe there are three clips.
Grab your trim stick and separate the inner bracket from the outer dash panel.
Success! The white spots are where the bracket was heat welded.
Use the inner bracket as a template.
Line it up as perfectly as possible...
Trace the cut out.
Where you need to cut. Yes, you need to cut this part out!
The panels ready to be assembled.
The 3M double sided tape ready to do its thing.
Assembled with the air vent attached. You may have to trim the dash panel to get the air vent to fit.
Once this is done, reinstall the screws that hold the instrument cluster down and assemble the steering column shrouds.
You are done!
Disclaimer: This is how I installed a carbon fiber dash panel in my Fiat 500 Abarth and is provided for entertainment purposes. If you have any doubts on you ability to do this work or have any issues, I recommend having it done by a professional. I am not responsible for any issues arriving from you reading this post. Use at your own risk.