Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Upper and Lower Dashboard Removal

My task list looks like a lot of stuff is going to happen in and inside the dashboard, so it's time to pull it out.  I couldn't find a description in the Haynes manual or any blogs or tech articles, so I'll document it here for posterity.

There is a lower dashboard and an upper dashboard.  It looked to me like I needed to remove the lower one first, so that's where I started.  I first removed the obvious showing screws, then carefully explored forward.  There is a phillips screw on the far left side of the dashboard where it wraps around, in a hole possibly covered by a plug.  There is a mirror of this on the right side too.  There are five large screws along the bottom of the lower dashboard.  At this point the lower dashboard should pull away from the underframe.  Be careful of the left and right air vents as you gently pull.  Here is what the lower dashboard looks like pulled from the car.  I'm putting the hardware for each removal into its own ziplock bag, and labeling with a permanent Sharpie marker.

Next came the steering wheel.  It's in the way and I need to pull it anyway to work on the windshield washer switch and the indicator return function.  My car came with an aftermarket Momo steering wheel which has six flat-head hex machine screws.  Those came out which released the horn plate.  I disconnected the wire to the horn, exposing the big steering wheel nut.  It's removed with a 27mm or 1 1/16" socket.  You may need a steering wheel puller or you may be able to wiggle it off.  Be sure to put a small tape marker on the wheel and the steering column housing so it will be easy to align when you put it back on later.

I carefully removed the ashtray (and will have to think about a different use for this space!).  Remove the two phillips screws you just exposed.

Now comes the upper dashboard.  There are two nylon nuts directly behind where the instruments were.  You can only loosen with an open-end wrench.

Now come the tricky nuts.  All of the bolts that hold the upper dashboard in place have their heads embedded in the dashboard.  This means the dashboard bolts slide into holes and nuts are tightened in place.  There are 2 nuts above the hole for the left-hand air vent and two mirrored in the right-hand air vent.  There is one nut to the left and to the right of the instrument panel hole.  Two bolts remain just above the radio slot, and you definitely have to remove the radio (if you have one) to get to them.  That's it!  Since there are so many bolts in so many hole and they're at different angles, it takes some jiggling and persuasion to get them all out.

One happy side-effect of this is I figured out how to tighten the floppy glove compartment.  There is a metal strap that hooks into the right-side of the box, loops around the back and ends at a metal bolt on the left side.  To tighten the glove box, just snug up the nut on the bolt.  Now mine is rock solid!