Took longer to get around to this than I thought, mostly because the car has been running so well, and I was so reluctant to take it out of service.

Finally, though, the small, annoying problems started to add up. Most of my gauges were out. There’s an odd squeak in the brake pedal (and they feel a little mushy). There’s no heat (and it’s almost winter again). The neutral safety switch is just a tiny bit out of adjustment.

The twin exhaust cleared the leaves off the driveway when pulling the car into the garage.
The twin exhaust cleared the leaves off the driveway when pulling the car into the garage.

Not to mention, I’ve got this replacement dash kicking around my garage and I’ve tripped over it more times than I’d care to admit.

So, finally, I pulled out the manual, found the relevant instructions and set to work. The first item is pulling out the seats, something I did in the driveway–I have room to work in the garage, but can’t open the doors widely enough to get the seats out.

With the seats out and the car in the garage, I began digging into the dash far enough to get to the six bolts that hold it to the firewall. The center console has to come out, as do the visors and the headliner trim all the way to the rear windows. The clock pod, with its cables, vacuum lines and wiring, need to come out. And so does the cowl–that louvered piece of sheet metal at the base of the windshield (easier than it sounds).

The view inside with the dash out.
The view inside with the dash out.

Those six bolts? Took a while to find them, and we needed the replacement dash as a reference before figuring it out.

At the end, the eight or so electrical plugs that connect the dash wiring to the car stood between me and a dashless car. Those things aren’t meant to come apart, and they put up a struggle.

In the end, I was triumphant, and the old dash is now resting uncomfortably in the driveway.

Tomorrow, I’ll be digging down to the heater core and measuring out a mile of vacuum line to replace.

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