This writeup will basically follow the 1998 factory service manual (FSM) for removing the dash. This should apply for all 96-98 ZJ's Unfortunately the FSM has text only instructions and is not always very clear, hence the reason for me doing this writeup. I have added steps the FSM left out as well as removed a couple unnecessary ones. Some of this may be a little simplistic for a lot of you but I wanted to cover everything for any beginners that may want to try to tackle this. The FSM has 32 steps and I will keep them in the same order here. I believe this is something everyone can do with a little patience. It is very important to keep screws, nuts, bolt, and misc. items separate and labeled. It is very easy to get confused when putting everything back together and this will help immensely. I used some plastic containers and labeled them for each section of the dash, ex. glove box or center console. Zip lock bags work great too.
A/C fitting disconnect tool. Honestly the cheap plastic kind work best in my opinion. They are about $10 at harbor freight or an auto parts store.
Stubby, offset,or ratchet style Phillips screwdriver
Assorted ratchet wrenches and extensions
8,10,11& 13mm sockets
Anywhere you see the word PRY here it is best to use a plastic trim stick, harbor freight sells a set for something like $7. A flat head screwdriver can also be used with caution not to scratch the crap out of the trim pieces.
Here we go...
1 Disconnect the battery. This is very important because it prevents the airbags from going off while disconnecting wires under the dash. The FSM suggests waiting at least 10 minutes before continuing after doing this.
2 Now its time to recover the refrigerant from the A/C system. However you choose to do this is your call. Keep in mind there is actually a federal law against releasing it into the atmosphere. Most shops will be able to recover it properly. It is important to make sure the is zero pressure in the system before you take the lines apart.
3 Now its time to move inside the vehicle. Remove the shift knob. For those who don’t know it just pulls off, but it takes some real force. Its easiest to put it in first gear to get a good grip and yank hard.
4 Place the transfer case in neutral and then pry up the two shifter bezels. Make sure to unplug the bulbs as shown here in the picture
5 Now apply the parking brake and pry up the trim piece under it. Then remove the six screws holding the center console in as shown in the pictures. Remove the center console.
6 Next, its time to remove the passenger side knee blocker. First remove the two Vehicle Information Center (VIC) bezel screws.
Now remove the single end screw, you will need a short or offset screwdriver. I used a socket type that went on the end of a ratchet wrench.
Remove the 4 screws under the glove box and the single screw holding the courtesy lamp
Remove the ash receiver by pulling down on the top until it pops out. Remove the 3 screws behind it.
Open the glove box and remove the 4 screw behind it. Keep in mind the two end screws are the longer ones while the two in the middle are shorter.
Lower the panel CARFULY and unplug the lamp connector. Be very careful here, there arestill 2 screws holding the panel to the VIC bezel and they are easy to break. To remove these screws, you will need a very short or offset Phillips screwdriver. If you cant remove them you can wait and take the whole thing out as one piece with the driver side knee blocker, but remember to support the weight of the panel to prevent it from breaking while you do so.
7 Pry out the pod switch bezels on both sides of the steering wheel. Careful not to break the tabs.