1971 - best way to get behind dashboard to replace things?

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Aug 4, 2013
Portland, OR
I know this is a pretty lame question, but my 71 is so pristine (only had it a year now) that I get fearful taking things apart and have been taking the rig to the local LC mechanic (yes I'm very fortunate) for things that I would have attempted on my FJ60 which is in far rougher shape.

My cowl vent is leaking into the cab and upon inspection the top gasket is shot and both hoses are in bad shape. I ordered all the replacement parts and they're on the way.

My problem is that its nearly impossible for me to reach up to where the hoses connect up top - everything is in the way. I'm also a big guy and getting back in there is a challenge all in all.

Could anyone share tips on the order to remove things etc to get at things like that?

I have a 66 that I’m doing a frame off. My suggestion would be to remove passenger seat, than the heater box. U should be able to lay on your back and reach up in there . Good luck!
You might try removing your drivers seat. I lay on my toolbox lid, To be safe you could remove the toolbox lid. Fill the tool box with books, towels, blankets ect... Then fill the drivers footwell until comfortable.

Is your OEM cowl vent seal intact? If you pull the grate and it’s there, I personally would leave it if the drain hoses turn out to be crumbling. I installed the aftermarket seal as a preventative measure. I hate to say this, but my findings were that the replacement seal was too firm to conform and create even a water “resistant” seal. So I would first install new hose and run a bit of water to test. If you do decide to install the aftermarket cowl vent seal, position a light to shine on the vent when closed. Then from under your dash look up at it for gaps with light shining through. I ended up reinstalling my old seal, it’s far superior IMO.
U should be able to lay on your back and reach up in there . Good luck!
Been there, done that (65, soon for 63 FJ45). I think in a few years this should be an Olympic sport.
Thanks for the replies!

I hope I can avoid removing the heater but I'll definitely start by taking the seats out so I have a little more wiggle room.

Been meaning to take out the driver seat to fix all the broken springs anyway!

Good tip on the main gasket - I ordered one from CityRacer as well as the gaskets and hoses.

The original is in there, and I hope the new one os better - mine has the texture of a sea sponge! I'll hold off replacing that until I do the hoses and re-test everything.
last ones I did, I removed the guage cluster and worked in from there for the driver side.
passenger side, I think I removed the defrost tube and was able to get in that way.
I put a plank/piece of plywood on the floorboard that stretched outside by about 4 feet, propped up on custom 2 x 4 sawhorse. That way I could lay down flat and easily reach up into the dash area. Works on either side. Didn't help to install the cowl drain hose...my hands are too big to push it onto the nipple. So I just 'corked' the nipple
You can remove the air duct that runs between the heater and fan, along with the defrost vents. You can also remove the ash tray, so you can see better. As Metioned earlier, the gauge cluster and heater can be removed too.

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