Dash Removal FAQ

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Courtesy of Art Main

things you need:
- 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 13mm sockets
- straight (screwdriver style) socket wrench
- small socket wrench
- larger socket wrench (with long extension)
- screwdrivers (phillips and flathead)
- needle-nose plyers
- time
- patience

The job  (pics below)

Okay, removing your dash is not something to be taken lightly. The angles you will need to get into and the tight corners you need to fit your fingers in all warrant a lot of patience not to curse bmw for making things so hard to get to.

That said, once you know the location of all the hookups and procedure to remove the dash, it's really not all that hard. It will take you plenty of time, and yes, putting it all back together takes just as long, if not longer.

You will be removing a whole mess of things and will wonder why in the world you need to, but as you go, you'll realize that the more things you get out of your way, the better.


Not included in the pics section is the removal of your center console (if you want to, you could probably do the job without removing the console, but mine was already out and it may help). You also need to remove both kick panels (the one below the driver's area and also the one squished in next to the glovebox). You will also need to remove the glovebox (included in the pics section). This is necessary so that you can get at the bolts on the right side of the dash.

Tips on installing the new dash:
One of the hardest parts on getting everything back together is to make sure the speedo cable and the retaining cable get routed in the correct fashion so you can get to them once the instrument panel is in. You may be at it for a while.

Also, once you have all the electronics hooked up (including the ECU), start your car, turn on your lights, blinkers, etc. Make sure everything is working before you complete the rest of the installation (kick panels, etc.).

Major connections shown in white.
Secondary or trim connections shown in green.
Wires hooked directly to dash or through it are orange.


Steering Column

13mm(x2 - one on either side of steering column)
Remove lower steering column cover (3x flathead screwdriver)

13mm(x1) inside steering column to drop down whole unit

Instrument panel

Once you get the retaining cable and speedometer cable unhooked, the instrument panel will come out. Be very careful, your panel is fragile. Don't force anything. If it isn't coming out easily, chances are the retaining cable got hooked on a wire. Reach under and guide the cable past the wires while you remove the panel.

Retaining cable hookup (turn to release and unhook)

Disconnect speedometer cable hookup (hangs down in amongst the mess of wires)

Gently pull out instrument panel (CAREFUL, do not force. See notes above)

Disconnect stuff as you go including speedo cable (circled)

Major screw locations

inside dash
left side
right side

Remove glovebox
You're going to need to remove the glovebox and the ECU (2x 10mm) to be able to get to the 9mm bolts holding down the right side of the dash and connecting the right side heater vent. You also need the glovebox out of your way so you can lie down on the floor to see the dash hookups (oh joy..)

8mm (x4 holding glovebox arms and x4 along back strip (shown))

Disconnect flashlight charger and remove cable
(use needle-nose plyers to bend back the retaining clips holding the wire)

Heater vent connections
The heater vents on the left and right sides have one 9mm bolt each and a retaing clip. Disconnect the bolt and slide the vent so it disconnects.
Remove all collapsable heater hoses (you need them out of the way).

Center heater vent removal shown later

9mm connecting heater vent (left side) - right side shown later


Major bolts (9mm x2) holding dash to frame

right side
(also showing location of 9mm holding heater vent on right side)

left side
The left side 9mm bolt is probably the most inaccesible bolt on your car. You will need to disconnect all of the wires shown below so you can even get to it.

Here's the little bugger!

another shot


Remove strips

disconnect instrument panel lights

disconnect center heater vent (retaining clips only)
disconnect dash snaps (circled)

disconnect climate control unit (3x screws)

Remove dash

Remove the dash SLOWLY. Do not force. I found it helps to tilt the dash a little bit towards you and work on getting the passenger side out first.

Make sure that as you remove the dash to keep an eye on all those wires to make sure you didn't forget to disconnect something.


yeeha! (god, what a mess..)


Installation of the new dash is reverse of removal (ha ha...)
See tips on installing the new dash at the beginning of this FAQ


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