I would have to say that working as a flat rate technician is not always to your advantage. In my experience “over the last eight years” it seems harder and harder to beat your flat rate time. At the beginning of my career I was just banging out the work and trying to flag as many hours as I could and now my primary focus is QUALITY. The better job that you do for your customers the longer it takes and I always like to do those extra little things.
enough of that, let’s get to the point of this article. The pictures will be labeled in steps. To start out you will need an area to put everything. I usually put a blanket on the roof of the vehicle and place all removed parts in a stacking order. There will also be lots of clips, bolts and nuts. Some advice, have at least five separated containers for all you fasteners separating them in the steps that are broken down here. Took me a long time to be able to do these type of jobs without having any leftover fasteners.
You need to remove the steering wheel so first thing is to disconnect the battery and remove the air bag. I wouldn’t worry about the air bag exploding it takes a special low current high voltage spike to ignite the air bag. Nothing you will likely recreate on accident by removing and installing the air bag. Worst case scenario is you end up with an air bag light on in the end. Contact MDH Motors for a free air bag light re-set if you end up with the light on and don’t have the means of resetting it yourself. It does not re-set by disconnecting the battery. Disconnecting the battery actually sets a code. Now remove the steering console covers then you need to remove the bezel around the instrument cluster. There are two hidden screws to each side of the bezel, to the left behind the headlight switch and a small cover to the right. The instrument cluster has two screws and two electrical connectors behind it . Next you need to remove the heater control cover then the four screws behind the cover. Pull out the heater control to access the three heater control cables. Careful as to not lose the clips and I would mark what cable goes where…Last you need to remove the radio.
Remove driver and passenger side lower kick panels. All screws are located at the bottom. The top of the panels are attached with push clips. After removing the screws pull firmly downward. They can be stubborn but they will come off. Next you remove the center console. This model is a five speed. The center console comes apart in two main sections. Move both seat in the full forward position. Remove the screw covers and screws at each side of lower rear part of console (easy access from rear doors) remove rear part of console. Unscrew the shifter and remove the shifter cover. They’re just push clips. Remove the two 10mm nuts under the shifter cover and there is on a little bit to the rear. Remove the screws located at the front on either side of the console. Now also remove cup holder from console before removing the front portion of the console.
Now you need to open the hood and remove the wiper blade arms. They make wiper arm pullers, also a battery terminal puller will work but I use penetrating lube on the shaft splines and just work them off. Remove rubber trim and clips then remove the window cowl covers. At the back of the firewall inside the window cowl area there are three 10mm nuts remove them. Also locate ac inlet and the heater hoses. Drain the coolant and evacuate the ac then remove both heater hoses and the ac lines. AC lines will be a 5mm and then a 4mm Allen. Behind heat shield there are three 10mm nuts remove them and then there are two more 10mm nuts next the ac lines NOTE: bolt and nut size is only referred to as the size of the tool needed not the actual thread diameter.
Now it’s time to remove the dash. The previous step removed the upper nuts now you need to remove the lower 8mm bolts. I believe there is a total of 8 of them. Remove the dash while carefully removing the wire harness from the loop fasteners.
Remove the dash cross member but first you need to unbolt the steering column. The steering column is fastened with breakaway bolts for theft prevention. The best way for me to remove them is to use a chisel and hammer and either cut a groove in the bolts to re-install or just get new bolts. There are three more 13mm hidden bolts under and behind the steering column on the dash cross member. Remove the other 10mm bolts. It’s pretty apparent as to where they are being that the area that your working in now is pretty much wide open. Pretty scary looking but it’s not that bad once you get a feel for where everything goes. This is why at the beginning of the article I explained how to lay out your parts as you removed them into categories. Remove the dash cross member and proceed to the next step.
From here on out it’s pretty obvious as to what needs to be done. View the pictures for demonstration. To assemble simply reverse these steps.