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Dashboard Removal Tutorial - With Loads Of Pictures

tutorial dashboard removal interior

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#1 martinroger

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:07 PM

So ... first off, I know this is the wrong section to put a tutorial in, but I cannot start topics in the adequate sections. Some mod please move it if deemed worthy ?

Then .... DISCLAIMER ! There are different ways that the dashboards seem to be attached, some with more screws than the others. I have it easy with only 3 screws, but some people have more. Whatever your case may be, BE GENTLE when lifting up the dash plate ! If it resists, you probably have forgotten a screw, which may or may not be behind the "VX220" plate on the passenger side. You will need to drill it out probably.

Tools : for this you will need a slender Philips screwdriver, some car upholstery tools (£6 on Amazon), some patience and possibly small pliers. Additional tools you may need are radio keys to pull your head unit (brand-specific) and I can only recommend a hoover to clean the probable mess.
Quality gloves are also advised as some aluminium bits are not deburred and you may end up having some cuts on your manly hands.

For those who just want the pictures : here they are.

Step 1 : Sit down in the car, make sure you have ample light and that doors are unlocked. Check that you have all tools ready and at hand.

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Step 2 : start by removing the dash plates. The light cluster plate should just require the trim removing tool pictured below. It is a good opportunity at this stage to check or upgrade the velcro holding that plate.
The tool :
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The light cluster plate :

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Step 2 bis : the main dash plate may be a pickle. It is normally secured by a couple plastic clip rivets and by a plastic bracket nearest to the steering wheel. I would recommend starting by "peeling off" the edge closer to the passenger door, as somebody may have switched the rivet there for some velcro (which I would advise). In my case I still have a rivet near the heating controls so I used the notched end of the trim removal tool to gently pop the rivet.
Be VERY GENTLE as these plates can easily crack near the openings. It is a good idea to "feel under" the plate with the trim tool for extra attachments.
Once all the rivets seem to be out, the plate will need to be very gently pulled towards the passenger door to disengage the plastic finger near the steering column.

Leveraging the rivet with the notched end of the tool.
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The plastic rivet in my case :
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Step 3 : once the dash plates are safely out of the way, it is time for the head unit to go. Some need you to remove the fascia to be able to insert the removal keys to pull the unit out. You can use the trim removal tool to gently pop the fascia off the radio cage. If you have detachable face, it is advisable (often needed) to pop it out before attempting to remove the fascia bezel.

Removing the head façade :

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Popping the fascia off (nevermind the façade still being there) :

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#2 martinroger

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:08 PM

Part 2 :

Step 4 : once the fascia is out of the way, it is time to extract the head unit. You will need a set of brand-specific keys (easily found for cheap on eBay or Amazon) that most often slide between the cage and the unit itself, on both sides. They will have a barb in most cases that should be turned towards the head unit. Once the head unit, unclip the cables on the rear end.

The keys for a Sony Head Unit :
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The keys in place :

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The head unit slid out, with cables still attached :

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Step 5 : extracting the cage. This one may be the first true test to your patience, as some people use too many barbs on those head unit cages and make it impossible to extract it. You WILL need to extract it to access one of the dash screws, so arm yourself with patience and small tools to "unbend" the barbs holding the cage in the dash. I have found an old knife blade, some steel wire knotted as a lasso work a treat to pull the barbs towards the inside. If you are changing the head unit for a new one with a new cage, just blast the hell out of this one.

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Step 6 : the easy screws .... in my case there were two screws holding the dashboard in place on the passenger side : one accessible through the head unit hole just created, and another one in the small square hole next to the VX 220. Apparently sometimes people have more on that side.
There was also a harder screw to get to on the light cluster side (next step).
A handy lamp will help you greatly locate the screws.

The screw in the head unit compartment (you can also see the rivet hole near the heater controls to hold the previously mentioned dash plate) :
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The screw near the VX220 number plate. A bit pesky to get to :

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#3 martinroger

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:09 PM

Part 3 :

Step 7 : the harder screw. For this one I recommend completely removing the light switches cluster. To do so, grab the trim removal tool and gently undo the four plastic clips holding the cluster in the aluminium plate.
Then pull out the cluster, undo the plugs in the back of the buttons, take a picture if you fear forgetting their locations. It is a good time to take the buttons out to spray some WD40 in their back hole if they are becoming a bit stuck.
Push the plugs back in the hole, and with the door opened, prone outside to get a view of the screw. You will need a narrow shaft on your screwdriver to get to it easily (do what I say, not what I do in the picture !).

Undoing the plastic clips :

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Pulling the cluster out :

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My "slender" screwdriver in place in the screw :

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#4 martinroger

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:09 PM

Part 4 :

Step 8 : once you think all the screws are out, try lifting the dashboard by a centimeter or two (that is up to one inch, for you imperialists !) to check that all screws are off. It should lift out without effort.
DO NOT YET LIFT THE WHOLE THING OFF.
You first need to locate and unhook the starter button plug. It should be a black 2-wire plug near the heater controls. It has a latch on it (as in the picture) in the middle that need to be pushed in as you pull to separate both bits, sometimes a small flat screwdriver or a sturdy fingernail will help get the bugger pressed in.

The starter button wires with plug (the latch is visible).
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The socket bit of the starter connector, unplugged and clearly out of the way.
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Another view of the starter button wires :
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Step 9 : At this stage start lifting up the dash board. BE WARY that there is a small metal rail that may scratch the instruments cowl, so keep the board pushed towards the front and take your time lifting things up. Putting a finger in there to clear the cowl is a wise idea.

As you lift you will notice that you can only go up to a certain angle and then the dashboard is stuck... see next step.

The rail near the instruments cowl
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As you lift, you will get stuck. Check that nothing gets tangled in your way :
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#5 martinroger

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:10 PM

Part 5 :

Step 10 : the wiggle dance : Techniques may vary, but I will let you know mine. It consists in lifting the corner on the passenger side higher and pulling it a bit rearwards, while maintaining contact with the passenger window. Wiggling the dashboard like so (up in the passenger corner, back, up, back) should progressively free the instrument cluster cowl from the ridges in the dashboard foam structure. Also watch the forward air inlet under the dashboard getting the SRS control module in the middle of the dash cavity.

The beginning of the slanted wiggle dance :
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Final, bonus steps : progressively you should be able to get the dashboard in the passenger side of the car and then out of the car. It is usually at this point that you want to check the air inlet of the dashboard for signs of cracks :

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You may also realise that your dash cavity is a land of dirt and dead leaves :

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It is a good point to devise a new gasket at the heater inlet with door draft strips (in brown in the pictures - 3mm was enough for me) :

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And even better... let Henry out of his cage under the stairway :

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When it comes to putting everything back together, just follow the steps in reverse order. Getting the screws in place WILL be a pain in the rear end. You should also watch for the forward locating pins on the dashboard so that they fit correctly in the corresponding holes near the windshield base. You can check them from outside with a lamp.

Oh ... and don't forget to reconnect the starter button !

#6 oblomov

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 01:28 PM

Nicely done. :)



#7 Arno

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 02:22 PM

Small addition... This method only works if the dash has been removed once already and has been modified.

 

There originally should be a metal 'hook' on the dash behind the speedo cowl which hooks under the plastic edge of the cowl. In that case you first need to remove the dials and cowl before you can lift the dash up/free.

 

Or.. This is some production variation and may be present on earlier cars and not later ones :happy:

 

Bye, Arno.



#8 martinroger

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 10:29 PM

Nicely done. :)

Thanks !!

 

Small addition... This method only works if the dash has been removed once already and has been modified.

 

There originally should be a metal 'hook' on the dash behind the speedo cowl which hooks under the plastic edge of the cowl. In that case you first need to remove the dials and cowl before you can lift the dash up/free.

 

Or.. This is some production variation and may be present on earlier cars and not later ones :happy:

 

Bye, Arno.

 

True. Apparently someone before me didn't know that and my dash cowl is cracked now. Guess I'll have to wrap it !



#9 r2mlb

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 10:46 PM

What 2 gauges are you running?

#10 martinroger

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 10:52 PM

What 2 gauges are you running?

Excellent question ! They are unbranded, and the wiring is a bit dirty. Oil pressure (I suspect the sender is fried) and voltage (lost ground on it, doesn't work as is).



#11 r2mlb

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 11:01 PM

Another job to add to the list then! Fair play though, you're cracking on with it. Making me think I need to get on with mine, I've been slacking. I've got LY87 :)

#12 martinroger

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 12:10 AM

Another job to add to the list then! Fair play though, you're cracking on with it. Making me think I need to get on with mine, I've been slacking. I've got LY87 :)

 

Definitely is on mine ! I am tempted by getting a second dash and by embedding the gauges straight near the starter button, I have seen somebody else do this in the forums... it looked rad (and frees a bit of the footwell). LY-s are the best - and safest, easy to spot :D



#13 Bigt

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 05:36 PM

This is really useful as I need to do mine, will crack on and get some of these maintenance jobs done I think.

 

Si







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