How To: Remove the dash from a 2nd Gen! | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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How To: Remove the dash from a 2nd Gen!

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Spdrcer34

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I searched EVERYWHERE for a comprehensive write-up on removing the ENTIRE dash assembly and I couldn't find a single one...Since it was my first time removing a dash from a 2nd Gen, I didn't know EXACTLY how difficult it would have been. I have removed NUMEROUS 1st Gen dashes, so I KINDA knew what I was getting into, but I wanted to know if there were any tricks I needed to know or anything like that, it was pretty straight forward. And believe it or not the 2nd Gen dash came out faster than a 1st Gen!

To get the dash out, you need to remove the A-pillar trim, and toe kick panels. If you don't know what those are, or how to do it, THIS project just may be over your head.

Okay....here it goes, complete with thumbnail pictures, just click on the picture and a full size version will appear in another window.

This job involves interaction with the airbag wiring, and controller. I CAN NOT EXPRESS ENOUGH how important it is to disconnect the battery!!!

This write-up also assumes that you have the Center Console removed already.

Lets start by removing the plastic panels that hide the mounting hardware:
I found the dash top panel is a little tricky to get out with out damaging anything...Insert a SMALL flat head screw driver, and pry up on the black plastic panel. You can see how the clips are oriented, and how close they are in these pictures:



The next part that comes off is the fuse panel cover:



And finally the panels under the steering column. The plastic panel uses a few 7mm anodized gold screws, and 2 more black screws in the Hood Release handle. The metal panel under the plastic utilizes a handful of 8mm (5/16") bolts.



Now that you can see under the dash, it's time to start disconnecting the plugs on the steering column. If it plugs in, un-plug it. EVERY WIRE that goes from the dash assembly to the Steering Column assembly disconnects within about 6" of eachother on the dash wiring harness. Once the steering column wiring is all unplugged, move over to the passenger side kick panel. There are a few more wires that need to be un-plugged over there, including the Fuel Pump Inertia Switch, and the Air Bag Controller Box.



Once you get the 'small' things unplugged, you need to move onto the 1 large connection on the far left of the firewall. From the Engine side of the firewall, you need to slide the Power Distribution Center up and away from it's mount to gain access to the 10mm
bolts that hold the 3 seperate medium connectors to the 1 large connector you saw from the interior. Once that is done, and the 3 connectors are moved out of the way, push a small flat head screwdrive in the Left and Right sides of each connector to release the clips from the sheetmetal. Once released, the connectors will fall towards the interior of the vehicle.



After you get everything unplugged, it's time to drop the column...


Now you can start un-bolting the dash assembly from the firewall.
Start with the 2 black 7mm screws nearest to the windshield



Then move onto the 13mm bolts along the windshield


Finally the 3 side bolts (13mm) can come off and you can pull the dash away from the firewall


With the dash pulled away, you can now disconnect the steering shaft, and shifter cable. Over on the passenger side you need to disconnect the Radio Antenna and unplug the Blend Door Servo Motor plug


Once you have the shaft and cable un-done, you will see 1 last large wiring connector that needs to be unplugged. It is held together by a single 10mm bolt.


If you have done it correctly, it will pull away from the firewall.

Now, with your dash out of the way, you can do a number of things...

Replace your Blend Door the HARD way
Replace your Heater Core
Change the Dash Wiring Harness over to add EATC/Information Center

I'm sure I will be continuing to update this write-up..but for now (11/28), I am done...

Ryan
 
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section525

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Very cool, Ryan! I'm planning on pulling mine out for a cage build. This will help a ton.
 
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J.A.F.E.

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Very nice write up, thank you. How long did it take you?
 
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Spdrcer34

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I was taking my time, taking notes, and taking pics, and it took me about 2 hours by myself.

Note that I didn't take the gauge cluster, or the radio out. There is no need to take them out if you are removing the whole dash assembly.

Now that I have done it, and have pictures, I think I can do it in 1.5 hours....the fastest I have ever taken a 1st Gen dash out was 2 hours, and the first time I did it, it took me 3.5 hours.

Ryan
 
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adambodkins

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Damn skippy since I just got laid off from work I am starting this first thing in the morning to get my dash painted or dyed thank you so much.
 
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Ohm

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I have had to roll my dash back twice on my 98 Explorer Sport, both times it was due to the heater core failing.

This write up assumes that you have already removed the center console, and I would just like to add that the first time I had to remove my center console I ran into a problem in that I did not understand that there were to metal tabs at the base (toward the back) that are slid into a slot in the body (sheet metal). The center console must be slide toward the rear of the vehicle to release these tabs.

This was a chore for me because A) I did not know they were there, and B) they were wedged in there really tight. I had to pry up on the metal body slot to make the opening wider to release the tabs from the center console frame.

To my knowledge my vehicle was never in any kind of accident or other incident that would have caused this condition, must have been factory installed that tight.
 
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Letha

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Do you have to pull this to replace a dash board instrument panel bulb?
 
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IAmTodd

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Thanks for the write-up! It will come in handy if I ever decide to switch to EATC, something I have been wanting to do for a while.
 
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Jaywalker

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The writeup is nice - thanks. Unfortunately, I'm unable to see pics hosted at ImageShack. Whatever it is they do differently from other image hosting sites causes my computer troubles...
 
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pardiville

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Ryan, great write up, I was wondering if you or anyone else would know how to adjust the shift select indicator? My Chilton is kind of vague on the subject and I just had a new motor put in and when in drive I,m showing I am in 2nd. Thanks for your time.
 
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Spdrcer34

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There is a thumbwheel type of adjustment on the end, under the dash..

Here is a close-up of the (broken) end...



Ryan
 
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pardiville

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Great pic. Mine was broke also and I was able to take a zip tie and put mine back together at the correct setting. Not sure how long it will hold but so far so good.
 
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Spdrcer34

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I just grabbed the end from an Explorer in the wrecking yard.

Got mine fixed in less than 10 minutes.

Ryan
 
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BrianDye

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Do you have to pull this to replace a dash board instrument panel bulb?

Nope, just remove the gauge cluster....
It can be done if you know how, or can see it on here, in about 30 mins completed and put back together, maybe even quicker.
 
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BrianDye

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Yessss! Now I can paint my bumper and almost be done with my interior LOL


And I am no joke, BOUND DETERMINED to get this done in under an hour...well i should say REMOVED in under an hour, not 2 1/2 LOL
 
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BrianDye

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Should I unhook my battery?
 
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Spdrcer34

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YES. Unhook the battery. I thought it was made VERY CLEAR...

Ryan
 
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BrianDye

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Ah yeah I meant to edit that post, I seriously read EVERY line on this write up like 5 times, besides THAT ONE!

I got my dash out finally, well not out, but away from the firewall, now im kinda stuck on what todo, im not sure how to disconnect the steering shaft, and gear selector...
 
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