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Dash Replacement

Dash Replacement

Gregory Andrachuk and Wellington Allen

Gregory Andrachuk on Dash Replacement

I have done two dash replacements on pre 83 Series III cars, my own and a friend's. (My old dash went into his car!). If I can do it, anyone can, believe me. The trick is patience, and choosing to do it when you can leave the car for at least a day so you are not under pressure. It is really quite straight forward, I think. Getting the old dash out tells you much about putting the new one in, and you want to do that carefully so as not to scratch that expensive wood.

The first thing to do is to remove all those easy panels at the side and under the dash. They are simply held on by screws, of different sizes of course. It is helpful to use old margarine or yogurt containers to hold the bits and pieces. The AC panel must come out, and this is done on the early cars by removing the radio knobs and the slotted ring nuts, then lifting the panel carefully away so as not to disturb the fiber optic lines unduly. You now have access to the screws that hold the upper oddments tray which again is easily pulled away. No need to remove these pieces entirely, just to get them out of the way of the dash. Now the crash pad at the top is very easy -- Several screws under the lip. Push the cabin temp. sensor (above the glove box) through the pad, remove the map light and disconnect, and the pad comes off easily. Now you can see that the wood dash itself is attached to a metal rail by screws. Easy. But before removing, you must disconnect the instruments. Again this is a relatively easy thing because the connectors are foolproof. The tach and speedo are removed first (push in and turn counterclockwise. To make this easier, first remove the warning light panel, prying carefully at the edges. Once the tach and speedo are out, you can get your hand in to disconnect the smaller instruments, but THEY ARE NOT REMOVED FROM THE DASH. There are also bolts or screws for the dash at the bottom, in the console area. To remove the dash from the car, you need to remove the plastic covers from the steering wheel column (screws underneath, 3). The glove box should be unscrewed (open the door, and remove the screws which are NOT the hinge screws) and left in place. As you ease the dash away you will pull the soft plastic ducts for the AC openings away from the dash. If the dash has never been removed, these ducts may be taped in place. The tape is really unnecessary, since friction holds them in place. I think that is all for the removal, but it helps to have another person handy for manoeuvering. It is really simpler DONE than SAID.

NOW, installing the new dash. You must first transfer the AC louvres to the new panel. The center one is just a press fit. The end ones have neat little springs which are easy to remove and fiddly to replace. Just observe how they are fitted before removing from the old dash. The most critical thing is the transfer of minor instruments to the new dash. DO THEM ONE AT A TIME so as NOT to confuse the electrical connections, and make sure that they are fitted "level" in the new dash, or you will forever look at a squinty fuel gauge! The most fiddly thing is the fitting of the glove box door to the new dash since you must transfer the hinges and the locks. Remove the plastic mirror panel (6 screws). Fit the hinges first, but make sure that the door aligns properly. There is a certain amount of adjustment allowed after fitting, but not much. Fit the retaining strap, but be careful to do it by trying the plastic panel at the same time, or you will find yourself cutting part of the plastic away for clearance! The lock is easy, just a retaining ring, and the whole thing comes off, then screws for the lock on the inner side of the door. Once again, work slowly to fit the lock to the new panel. BUT WAIT!!!!! I have forgotten the most important thing!!! The wood dash has to be fitted to the old metal frame. Do this by borrowing the kitchen table, and putting a soft blanket down so as not to scratch the wood. Unscrew the old dash from the frame (many short screws). You will simply align the new dash to the holes cut in the metal frame for the instruments and AC outlets, so it is almost foolproof. But you should CAREFULLY start new holes in the wood (using the holes in the metal frame as a template) with a SHORT drill bit. You only need to relieve the stress on the wood. DO NOT be overly zealous about this!!!!!!! Once you have the new dash aligned and holes marked and the screws put in, you can begin mounnting the instruments and door as stated above. Now you can put the dash in the car! Here is where you really want another person to help (although I did it myself), so as not to scratch the wood getting it into place. Refitting really is just a reversal of the removal, and there are no real tricks. Don't forget to connect the minor instruments before putting in the tach and speedo. Make sure that the cabin temperature sensor is properly positioned in the dash pad opening, or you AC will not work acurately. Once the dash is in you may want to refit the door of the glove box by moving the hinges a bit. Now, a coat of carnauba wax on the wood is good UV protection. Your car will look fabulous. Again, If I can do it (twice, with no screws left over) then ANYONE can do it. Jaguars are made by men, not machines. At least the Series I, II and III cars were. This means that ordinary people can also do jobs like this. There are no "once only" fitting. Everything is made so it can be taken apart and put back together. Once you have done this you will have a tremendous admiration for the people who made these cars,and you will notice that the dash for your car was signed by the craftsman, and dated

The later Series III cars (83 to 92) will be exactly the same except for possibly the upper part of the console, but that too will be held on by screws, and in a similar manner. Perhaps someone can help about the removal of the AC panel with the newer, no knob radios.


Wellington Allen responds to Fitment Questions

1. The problem is that the new dash doesn't want to go in as easy as the old one came out. Will I need to remove the wiper switch housing to get it in?

It should fit, famous last words. Have you loosened the steering column to give you about 1/2-1 inch play? Have you removed the plastic trim around your ignition switch?

2. I'm replacing all light bulbs before buttoning things back up. Is there any other maintenance or replacement I should do now rather than run the risk of having to take everything apart again in the near future to do/replace something cheap and simple?

If your blower fans are noisey (ticking), now is a good time to remove and clean the motors (what's another project). Also: how does the rubber seal around the main vent look? A good cleaning of the vents and ducts doesn't hurt, either.

3. What is the best and easiest way to mate the side vent facing with duct work and achieve an adequate seal? When they came out they were taped but how any one could repeat the tape job with the body on is beyond me and I'm not about to remove the body.

This was a big problem for me, too, and was like a cloud over my head until I finished replacing my wood. Not just taping the ducts, mind you, but fitting them into place. But don't worry. What worked for me: Before you bring your dash into the car, first fit the rubber ducts onto the heater/air pipes and tape them secure. When you manuever your dash into position, connect the ducts to the vents in the fascia. Smear water around the mouth of the ducts as a lubricant, keeping them wet during the process of fitting them around the vents helps. I had removed all the residue goo from the old tape on the ducts so things slide easier. A screwdriver,short stem, is helpful, using it around the vents the way you might work a tire to fit around a wheel. Yes, it's tight!

I did the passenger side first (easiest). When I did my reinstall, two-three weeks ago, I had bolted the oil, volt, temp, fuel gauges onto the dash, and hooked up the wiring before installing the dash in its final position. I had the dash laying face down on the steering column, as I attached the wiring to these instruments. TIP: put a soft terry cloth bath towel over the steering column and on ed the duct to the back of the fascia vent. You thus have more room for your poor mangled hand to work back there. Putting in these two instruments after the fascia is in final place would be, on balance, maybe easier.

Finally, I did not find it necessary to tape the ducts to the fascia vents; they were tight enough once I got them in place!

BTW Don't forget about the three shims on the passenger side bolt, when bolting everything in place.


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