Dashboard Removal and Install (1 Viewer)

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Aug 6, 2018
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Phoenix, AZ
When I started this adventure, I couldn't find a ton of information on how to do this. A few people told me it could be done and gave me some solid tips, but overall I didn't have too much insight.

I figured this would be helpful for anyone needing to remove their dashboard for some reason or replace it like I did with mine. I wish the best of luck and the lack of brittle plastic to all those who attempt this project. Start by completely unplugging your battery because you are playing with airbags. I'll try to remember everything as well as I can while writing this. Feel free to ask questions to jog my memory if something isn't coming out like you think it should.

Sorry in advance for not taking tons more pictures. I will try to write out the things that I don't have photos. The time crunch was real when the clock was running with my hired help @JunkCrzr89. Thanks for your help!

The main reason for replacement was staining/discoloration and a large crack/peel.

IMG_20190527_130755.jpg


Shout out to @JunkCrzr89. Thank you so much!
IMG_20200915_162455.jpg
 
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Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
678
Location
Phoenix, AZ
First, I sourced a used better condition dash for a reasonable price. It was really helpful to uninstall that one myself prior to tackling the removal and final install.

You can start either in the center console, the driver knee panel, or the passenger side. Doesn't really matter, it all has to come out.
  • Glovebox - 2 screw/bolts at the bottom and it comes out.
  • IMG_20200914_223719.jpg

  • Plastic behind the glovebox - 3 screw/bolts. Unplug the glovebox light switch and just pull out and twist the airbag connector to fit through its opening when you pull the plastic over the latch.
  • IMG_20200916_182125.jpg

  • IMG_20200915_121700.jpg

  • Remove 4-6 10mm bolts in each of the corners of the opening you've created by taking the glovebox parts out. You can see some of them in the above photos.
  • Remove 2x 12mm bolts that hold the airbag to the frame. Will require some muscles/breaker bar.
  • Pull up on the door sill - its just 3 yellow pressed clips. (Same on the driver side)
  • IMG_20200915_121711.jpg

  • Remove the kick panel - 1 plastic knob screws off from a stud. Pull horizontally towards the back of the vehicle. (Same on the driver side) You can get by not removing the dead pedal on the driver's side.
  • IMG_20200915_121728.jpg
 
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  • Remove grab handles from the A-pillar (2x passenger and 1x driver).
  • IMG_20200914_223725.jpg

  • Pull the A-pillar trim piece. Just pull horizontal towards the center of the vehicle to release 2-3 pressed clips then pull out at a 45-degree angle to release from the dash/windshield area.
 
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Joined
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678
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Center console - this is mostly clips, be careful to not break them. You can use a trim tool here if you feel necessary.
  • Put the transmission in N/D/2nd somewhere not forward and put the T-case in the middle position.
  • Pull up on the cup holders and around the shifter area. This is held in by clips and comes out as one piece. Unplug the PWR ECT and seat warmer switches. Again they are all different - can't get them mixed up.
  • IMG_20200914_224529.jpg
  • Remove the ash try.
  • Remove the ash tray/12v plugs - this is just clips and pulls out towards the rear of the vehicle. The trim tool was helpful here.
  • Remove the climate control/radio fascia. Again just clips. Mine were very brittle. Be careful! It helps if you remove the empty panel on the right first to give you something to grab on to.
  • IMG_20200914_231114.jpg

  • Unplug the climate controls. They are all different plugs, so don't bother trying to label them.
  • IMG_20200914_231124.jpg

  • Remove the radio - 4 screws and unplug it. This is a great opportunity to upgrade your headunit since you're already removing it and you will soon have the amp easily accessible to do the bypass wiring. That's a different story for a different thread...



  • The next part would be easiest with the seats removed, but I did it just by removing the front two bolts and kind of hinging them backward.
  • You are removing the forward part of the center console, which is screwed (2x) to the dash under the ashtray.
  • Remove the 4 bolts at the base of the center console.
  • Remove the screws on the side of the console. I think there are like 4-5 on each side. I left the ones furthest in the back.
  • Tip the rear part of the center console/armrest up and work it free from the front piece.
  • Remove the last screw that holds the forward piece, close to the forwardmost screw from 2 steps above.
  • Release this piece by a pressure clip on each side, again close to the 2 screws mentioned in the step just before this.
  • Remove the 2x screws from under the ashtray area if you haven't already.
  • Remove this piece from the dash by putting the rear part at about a 45-degree angle while pulling back. Be careful here.
 
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Center Console Continued:
  • The next part would be easiest with the seats removed, but I did it just by removing the front two bolts and kind of hinging them backward.
  • You are removing the forward part of the center console, which is screwed (2x) to the dash under the ashtray.
  • Remove the 4 bolts at the base of the center console.
  • IMG_20200916_160406.jpg

  • Remove the screws on the side of the console. I think there are like 4-5 on each side. I left the ones furthest in the back.
  • IMG_20200916_160313.jpg

  • IMG_20200916_160320.jpg

  • Tip the rear part of the center console/armrest up and work it free from the front piece.
  • Remove the last screw that holds the forward piece, close to the forwardmost screw from 2 steps above. Can be seen from an internal view below.
  • IMG_20200916_160311.jpg

  • Release this piece by a pressure clip on each side, again close to the 2 screws mentioned in the step just before this.
  • Remove the 2x screws from under the ashtray area if you haven't already.
  • Remove this piece from the dash by putting the rear part at about a 45-degree angle while pulling back. Be careful here.
 
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Driver Knee Panel and Cluster:

  • Remove the black panel just under the cluster. It is held in my clips. Put your hands on each side and pull towards you. Unplug the dimmer switch.
  • IMG_20200916_154539.jpg

  • Remove the bolts/screws that you can see on the bottom.
  • IMG_20200916_154505.jpg

  • Remove the plastic panel by pulling out. After the couple bolts/screws on the bottom, you just have clips holding it in place.
  • Remove the *thermostat*? with 1x Philips head.
  • IMG_20200916_153611.jpg

  • Unplug the rear vent window switches, mirror adjustment and rear locker switches. Again, all different except the window switches. Those are easy to tell which one goes where just by how the wires are bent when you go to re-install.
  • I left the hood release and the gas cover release attached and just dropped this panel in the footwell.

  • Remove the metal pan via 4x 10mm bolts.
  • IMG_20200916_153427.jpg
 
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Joined
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Steering Column and Cluster:

  • Remove the 3 screws holding on the plastic steering column cover. 1 on each side and 1 on the bottom. Careful when separating the top/bottom parts here.
  • IMG_20200916_153129.jpg

  • Rather than remove the steering wheel, I found it easier to just drop it down. Mine only had 2x 14mm nuts and would only drop down 2-3 inches, which was enough, but the 1999 that the donor dash came from had 4 nuts and dropped all the way to the ground. Either way works fine.
  • IMG_20200916_144059.jpg

  • Remove the 4 screws holding the cluster. 2x in the lower corners and 2x accessed vertically.
  • IMG_20200916_143222.jpg

  • Loosen the 2x 10mm bolts that hold the wiring harness into the cluster. These just come out in the cluster. You can't remove the bolts (don't ask how long it took me to figure that out).
  • Pull the cluster and you're getting so close!
 
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The dash is nearly loose. It is now just being held in by a bunch of 8mm screw/bolts that are securing the wiring harness and about 5x push/pressure pins. These 8mm bolts will make you want to quit. They are difficult to access, hard to locate, and on top of all of that, the plastic can be brittle.... Good luck! I used a ratcheting 8mm wrench, a 1/4" 8mm ratchet, and occasionally an extension on that ratchet. Once you have some of these undone, you can access some of them by reaching around the dash from the windshield/firewall side.

Here is an example of one of them holding the center of the wiring harness. There are 4x right here, on each corner of this box thing. There are many more. To access some of them, you will need to move around the defrost tubing. Most of them just pull out of their fittings except for the main windshield defroster. That one is held on by 3x 8mm bolts. Take this off to gain the easiest access.
IMG_20200916_143024.jpg


Pictures of the removed dash and this cardboard was helpful to make sure we didn't lose any bolts and that we didn't have any extras. New headunit installed. I haven't played with it much yet...
IMG_20200915_163456.jpg

IMG_20200915_163453.jpg

IMG_20200916_191444.jpg

IMG_20200916_190904.jpg


I hope this helps someone out! I'm sure I've forgotten a few bolts here or there, but you'll get there more or less by following this guide.
 
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JunkCrzr89

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Few additional notes from the hired help:
1) This would not be a fun or fast job to do by yourself. Get a helper. @knewstance lured me in with pizza and cold beer, which should be sufficient for any civilized human 🤪 Even with two of us, it took a couple of hours for removal alone, and we had already done this once before to get the donor dash.

2) Adjust both front seats all the way back before starting this job. You'll have a tough time accessing the center console side screws/bolts with the seats in any other position.
removing the front two seat bolts and kind of hinging them backward
☝This was also clutch for accessing the center console side screws. A JIS screwdriver was critical for removing these screws without stripping their tiny heads, too.

3) On both dashes that we pulled, a few of the 5 black metal pins at the top back of the dash (closest to windshield) did not pull out of their white tabs with the dash (circled in red below). Needle nose pliers and application of a few solid ugga duggas will get these pins pulled out so that you can put them back in the dash before installation.
IMG_20200915_163453_1.jpg


4) The FSM procedure for dash removal specifies removing the passenger airbag before removing the dash. However, we left the passenger airbag attached to the dash for both removal and installation, and instead simply removed the two 6T bolts that hold the airbag brace to the dash reinforcement bar. Torque spec on these two bolts when reinstalling is 32 ft-lbf. I have no idea if removing the airbag from the dash (per the FSM) would make it easier to access a few of the horrible zinc-plated (?) 8mm bolts that hold the wiring harness to the inside of the dash, but it might.

5) Installation of the dash felt easier and quicker than removal. I think this is primarily because of the seemingly endless number of hidden zinc-plated 8mm bolts that screw into the dash from *inside the dash*, which you have to search for like a never-ending game of Where's Waldo to get the wiring harness and brackets disconnected. Most (maybe all) of those bolt heads are facing towards the front of the truck and down. On reassembly, you'll know where they all go, but they're still a PIA to put back in. Accessing these 8mm bolts was the one part of the job in which having two people is a necessity, in my opinion. @knewstance and I were constantly switching back and forth holding the dash in contorted positions so the other could get a socket or ratcheting box-end wrench on the heads of these bolts.

6) Take your time and don't force anything. A lot of 20 year-old plastic tabs, fittings, and electrical connections that may break easily if you apply to much force.

7) If your heater core ever takes a dump, I wish you the best of luck, because there's still a lot of stuff that has to be removed after the dash is out to access it.
 

TheAshenWolf

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Thanks!

After quite bit of research and my budget in mind, I ended up with the Dual DMCPA11BT. I don't have much to say on it yet because my battery was mostly drained by the time I finished everything.
I'm assuming Android Auto / Car Play is wired with this kit.

How do you go about hooking in your phone? How did you run cables?
 
Joined
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Phoenix, AZ
I'm assuming Android Auto / Car Play is wired with this kit.

How do you go about hooking in your phone? How did you run cables?
Yes, wired AA/CP.
I'm not fully there with a permanent solution yet. Right now I just have the usb running from the headunit to the ashtray and didn't put the ashtray back in. I'm probably going to mount up something cleaner, I just need to do some thinking on how I want to do it.
 

TheAshenWolf

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Yes, wired AA/CP.
I'm not fully there with a permanent solution yet. Right now I just have the usb running from the headunit to the ashtray and didn't put the ashtray back in. I'm probably going to mount up something cleaner, I just need to do some thinking on how I want to do it.
My hope is to bring the cable in through this empty slot and then mount my phone with the @BenCC kit and Ram mount.


I'm assuming your phone charges while plugged in?

Is there any way to plug the cable in the front of the unit and remove when not in use?
 

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