Hi, I'm Kevin Tetz working with LMC Truck to bring you some technical information and how-to videos that are going to make your truck restoration a little bit easier. In this video we're going to show you how to fix a problem that's unfortunately pretty commonplace in these Dodge trucks that are getting a little bit of age on them, and that is the disintegrating dashboard.
Let's take a look. Now, over time combined with heating and cooling cycles, ultraviolet damage just absolutely takes its toll on not only the dash, but the instrument bezel as well. Fortunately for us LMC Truck has a great solution to both of these problems. Now this is going to be the last dash pad you ever need to buy simply because it's an improved composition over the original equipment. All of the colors match the OE colors, they've got great UV resistance, and the grain looks completely original. This dash is fully loaded, it's an all-in-one part with side vents, anti-squeak pads and the rubber A-pillar seals. Now even though our dash pad comes fully loaded with the anti-squeak pads in place, there is a felt anti-squeak pad kit that's available for your truck if you need it.
Now the second part to our project is the dash bezel itself. It matches the color, gloss, and texture. The OE comes fully loaded, vents already installed, and has a steering column seal in place. Because we're completely disassembling the dash to properly install these components and being very careful around airbag modules, I'm gonna give this a 4 out of 5 on a difficulty scale.
As far as tools you're gonna need to do the job, not that complicated at all. You'll need basic hand tools- a quarter drive socket set, ratchets and a long extension. I prefer the ratchet wrenches if you need a box wrench and you'll need some tools that will help you release the multi pin clips under the dash for the wiring. Some markers in case you have to label things and you're gonna need some light since you're under the dash. I like the headlights but they look a little silly.
Now step one of this project is actually under the hood disconnecting the negative terminal to your battery because there's an airbag module capacitor that needs about 20 minutes of zero power to fully discharge and make it safe to disconnect. By the way, you diesel guys make sure your second battery is disconnected as well.
You'll need access to the airbag module, so remove the floor console if equipped or the module cover. With the console out of the way we remove the bracket to get access to the bolts that hold down the airbag control module. With that unbolted it was unplugged and set out of the way.
Scuff plates and kick panels are removed for access to the dash retaining bolts. The lower dash panel gets removed. Disconnect the multi pin plugs under the dash that connect the dash to the cab. Loosen and remove the metal instrument panel brace and disconnect any wiring that might be clipped to it and set it aside. Clip any zip ties holding wires to the steering column. For models equipped with automatic transmission you must remove the shift indicator cable before lowering the steering column and rest it against the driver's seat for easier removal of the dash assembly. First I'll unscrew the tilt lever from the column then there's three T15 screws that hold the two plastic covers together, pull that apart and keep up with the screws. Unplug all the wiring harnesses that are attached to the steering column. It might be necessary to cut any zip ties that the factory used to hold the wires in place. Zip ties should be replaced during reinstallation. Grab the dash bezel tightly and pull sharply towards you to release the pins and remove it. Remove the bolts from the radio and pull it out of the dash, disconnecting the wiring. Remove the four screws securing the HVAC control unit and gently pull it out from the dash. Now remove the multi pin plugs, the two nuts holding the vacuum line from the cluster, and pull free from the back of the unit itself. Here's where you want to pay close attention to how your temperature control cables and vacuum lines are routed behind the dash. Push them through the wiring harnesses and out until they're loose underneath the dash. Removing the glovebox is easy- simply push forward on the backside of the box pocket which pulls the pins inward and the box comes out easily. Loosen but don't remove the two bolts that hold the dash in place at both sides. Here's where the long extension comes in handy. Remove the perimeter bolts from the top of the dash under the windshield. These are unique length fasteners so make notes where they came from and tag them for reassembly. Now if you're replacing the dash on an 02 like ours you're gonna have to get behind the fuse panel here and release a couple of multi pin plugs. Now it's so tight I couldn't even get a camera in there to show you but I used a pick tool like this to hit the release tab then it can be done. You're just gonna have to stand on your head and and breathe shallow for a little while, but trust me you can handle it.
With the dash removed and sitting on a bench top for easy access you can remove the screws holding the defrost duct to the dash pad. The passenger airbag is next- be careful these are expensive. Set it off to the side for reassembly. Now the rest of the upper dash screws get removed and the dash is separated from the lower dash framework. Since we had them, we decided to put the anti-rattle pads right over top of the original ones just to be sure. Now, the new LMC dash gets installed using the included hardware. Now this is one of the biggest reasons to do this with the dash assembly out of the truck, so you can properly align the screw holes on the back side because you can't get to them with the dash in the truck. This properly aligns your defroster ducts and makes sure that there's a nice seal and you're not going to lose the defrost function. It's the proper way to do it. The passenger airbag module goes in, gets bolted into place at the bottom and pushed back in slots on the top side. Don't forget your glovebox striker or the airbag module plug which plugs into the harness on the dash frame before it goes in the truck.
Okay, so the dash is in the truck, set into place, but still set back from the firewall. This way we've got room to get in behind the glovebox open, we can plug in our connectors, reroute our massive cables for the radio controls, radio antennae, and the accessories that this guy has on his truck. After reconnecting all the dash wiring we brace the dash, install the two screws on the left and right side at the bottom, then pushing on the dash, pivoting it upward on the bottom screws, screw it into place at the five locations on the top of the dash pad. Now you can reconnect the steering column harnesses and the original steering column itself gets bolted back into place. Making notes when you disassemble your dash about wire routing, cable ties and grounding straps and braces really pays off when you're putting things back together. Take the time to take notes at disassembly, you'll thank me later. The steering column covers have small clips that hold them together, as well as screws. Be patient reinstalling these. Now the tilt lever can go back into place as well as the fuse panel cover. The audio head unit goes back into place and the HVAC control unit gets reassembled and reinstalled. Now it's safe to reinstall the airbag module under the dash and the bracket that holds it down securely. The new dash bezel is simple to install. Carefully line up the spring clips to the dash and then gently push, maybe with the heel of your hand, until it's seated all the way around. There it is, wow that's nice. Reconnect your battery cables and test your lights and switches before hitting the road. The new dash fits well, looks original, and along with the new instrument bezel brings back the interior of this truck to a showroom-new look.
There you go. Restoring the interior of your Dodge truck just got easier and we hope that we've shown you that with some simple hand tools and investment of your time and some well-made parts from LMC Truck, well, now you know how to install the last dashboard your Dodge is ever gonna need.
Thanks for watching, I'm Kevin Tetz.