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Unread 06-14-2013, 01:20 PM   #1
Registered User
1989 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Burnsville, Minnesota
Posts: 52
Dash frame/ Dash pad replacement, Walk-Through 89 YJ

Here is my first ever walk-through on this forum. Let me know if I've missed any information, or if you have any questions.

Que89yj will be posting pics since I have yet to accomplish 50 or more posts to unlock posting pictures. I will label these pictures alphabetically.

I recently purchased a 1989 Wrangler YJ 2.5L 5 Speed Manual that had some work needed to be put into it. I figured I'd learn on an easy car with not much to it. A lot of the work still needs to be done, especially the body. The Jeep I purchased was sitting behind a barn for 6 years. The previous owner got it running fairly easily, though I'm not sure of all what he had to do to it to get it running. With this said, it collected a good amount of rust that still needed to be taken care of even after I purchased it.

The previous owner never did any body work to get rid of the rust holes, oxidation, or anything like that.

The first thing I noticed when driving my new Jeep was an extensive amount of rattling coming from behind the dash frame and pad.

I pulled the radio and center gauge cluster bexel out, and immediately noticed that the dash frame was rusting through everywhere. There actually was multiple brackets that were supposed to be there on the dash frame, that were inexistent due to the frame rusting through completely.

Also, I flipped the windshield down and noticed the dash pad mounting holes (That you thread bolts through to the frame, made of plastic, were ALL completely cracked off. My dash pad was literally just hanging there by two '#8 coarse thread 3/4 inch long dash mounting screws. That, and the weight of the windshield pinching it against the dash frame itself.

I knew these had to go, but couldn't find new OEM parts for these two pieces anywhere.

I resorted to eBay and found both parts, luckily, in pristine condition. I ended up paying about 50-60 dollars for each part, the dash pad and dash frame. Under 120 dollars later, and after they had shipped to my door step, I started to pull the dash apart, one by one, to replace the old frame and pad for my dash.

Here's a step by step walk-through with information on how to do this.

Pictures will be posted shortly after I post the directions, since like I said, I'm unable to post pictures yet.


1)Remove all bezels with a phillips head screwdriver. This includes the dash bezel, speedo/tachometer bezel, and glove box (Which is a little bit more involved, and I'll get to that.
1.1: Speedo/Tachometer Bezel: 6-8 screws for the bezel, and it comes off in two parts. These two parts are the indicator lights and the larger bezel around the switches/3 3/8" gauges.
1.2: Make sure you DO NOT snap the tabs off of the bezel that goes over the indicator lights. There is one on each side at the bottom. They've discontinued these parts, and they're even hard to find used/salvaged.
1.3: Center Cluster Bezel: 6 screws to take this off, three on top, three in the middle of the bezel itself.
1.4: Glove Box:
-Three dash screws that are needed to be taken out with a phillips head screwdriver before anything, located on the top of the glove box, mounted to the dash pad.
-Once you have these screw off, you'll need to take out the radio to get at 2 nuts and bolts that mount the glove box to the frame securely. (See Instructions Below)
-For the 89 YJ glove box, there are two bolts with nuts threaded on them on the left of the glove box, behind the dash, and two of the same on the right, near the speaker bracket. Take these out with a socket wrench. You may need to get an extension adapter on the wrench itself to get at the nuts without stripping them.
-The glove box now should come right out. You may need to hold it up while taking off the last couple bolts, otherwise it might fall and get damaged.

2)Remove the radio. The stock radio has 4 to 6 phillips head dash screws holding it in place. It has been a while since I've done this. Unplug the harness from the radio, as well as the antenna. Now you can pull the radio out of the dash frame.

3)Remove instrument cluster gauges. This is about 7 dash screws, phillips head as everything else so far.

4)Remove heater climate control. This is extremely difficult, and requires patience. There are multiple cables and one hose that, if you snap the fitting that plugs in to the control module, you'll need new cables. I'm not sure if there are oem replacements of these. The fittings snap in place, but are made of plastic and crack easily. The trick is to unhook the clips from the control module with a needlenose, or a flat head screwdriver. Once again, extremely carefully. The easiest way to do this is from the back on a couple of the cable clips. There is an opening if you unscrew a cover on the opposite side of the control module, which gives you a little more access to the clip itself. Note which color goes to where, otherwise you will end up having different problems with your heater control module. I noted these colors with a photo of where they go before i started taking them all off.

5)Remove speedo/tachometer. My speedo was mechanical, and I had enough slack on the speedo cable to disconnect it without pulling it out of the transmission housing on the opposite side of this cable. The tachometer is just a plug and light bulbs from the harness itself under the dash.

(Picture D)
(Picture E)
6) Now for the fun part. You need to pull the steering wheel off with a steering wheel puller. I purchased a cheap one for i think 30 or 40 dollars of these from a parts store, and it had an adapter that worked for mine. If you do it wrong you could strip or damage the steering column, and need a new one. But, if you do it right, the wheel will come right off like it is supposed to.

(Picture A)

7)Drop the windshield.

8)Remove the dash pad carefully unless you are replacing it with a new one as well, like I was. There should be multiple bolts going vertically bolted into the dash frame, with NUTS AND WASHERS underneath the frame. It does not thread into the frame. In my case, the bolts and dash frame were so rusted from over the years I couldn't get the bolts out. I didn't have to take them all out to get the dash pad off, as I said before, none of the mounting holes on the dash pad were in order, and were all cracked off. Mine just literally lifted right up, besides to dash screws on each side of the pad, going horizontally into the frame.

I decided to make my own holes in the frame by drilling through the new frame, which I'll get to later on.

9)Remove the dash frame. If I recall correctly, it is held on by multiple bolts on each side near the speakers, as well as some bolts on top. My bolts did not come out due to the hardware sitting, rotting away for years. I had to use a tool they call an "E-Z Out" that attaches to a drill. That worked better than I thought.

(Picture B)

10) Install the new dash frame and pad first, then all of the gauges, control modules and glove box. Installation is the complete reverse of removal, and is a lot easier than the removal process.

11)Make sure you hook the dash harness up to the clip near the middle of the new dash frame. Its a plastic pin-style clip that holds the harness up. Do this before you mount the new dash frame. It is a lot easier that way.

(Picture C/ New dash frame uninstalled)

Also, since I went all this way for a new dash frame and pad, I decided to replace all of the screws with stainless steel screws, since some of them were stripped. That, and to make it look nice and top it off. Here is the picture of the package I purchased from a fastener supply company online:

(Picture F)

Label has website and screw dimension and size on it. They work great!

(Picture G)
(Picture H)
Once again if I have left anything out, let me know. Also, I will send multiple pictures of this process shortly through Que89yj, he has helped me unbelievably through diagnosing and fixing this jeep. Props to him!

I will be doing more walk throughs on some of the things I have been doing in the future if you guys think this one is informational. Hopefully by then I will be able to post pictures.

wrangleryj89jp is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-14-2013, 02:05 PM   #2
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Schenectady, New York
Posts: 1,184
awesome... thanks and welcome aboard.
I look forward to seeing the pics so I know what the heck you're talking about LOL
[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="Blue"]Sean B. - Schenectady, NY - 95 YJ, 350/700r4/NP241, JB Shorty SYE, 8.8 rear, 2" BDS, 1" homebrew shackles, Daystar 1" BL, TJ flares, 35x12.50 General Grabber AT2 on 15x10 Bart D-Truckers, Polyshield polycarbonate windshield, HD over/under crossover steering
[/COLOR] [COLOR="Red"]swap/build thread: [url]http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/after-almost-4-years-finally-my-own-build-swap-thread-1542284/[/url][/COLOR][/FONT]
SeanB95YJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-15-2013, 11:51 AM   #3
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 171
You can post pictures via photobucket IMG code without hitting 50 posts and then they are also click-free. In the meantime, I'll post one:

I do look forward to seeing what you did though.
dcocch is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-15-2013, 01:02 PM   #4
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Burnsville, Minnesota
Posts: 52
Good to know. I'll get on that shortly. Que89yj has not responded, so I'll just have to use photobucket this time. Thanks for the info.
wrangleryj89jp is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-18-2013, 08:29 AM   #5
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: BrentWood
Posts: 100
Was so excited to see this thread till i realized there's no Pics
redbullrr is offline   Reply With Quote

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