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Dash Free! · 2 November 05
A still life of fuse and wire, circa 1990 Ford Probe.
You must view it in full to appreciate the subtlety and depth of character bestowed within. There is a sublime sense of self that washes over the viewer. None of the trite vulgarities found in today’s modernistic attempts at expression.
Surely the artist has transcended his origins, his dauntless energy and ferocious curiosity propelling him beyond the bourgeois and downtrodden existence that so dramatically shaped his early years.
It also looks like he rides the clutch a bit…
Hello and welcome back to our show. Tonight we’ll be ripping the dash out of a defenseless car and maybe even saying a few swear words along the way.
First off let’s take care of a little housekeeping.
I was showing these pictures to my good friend Brian, the man with three first names, and when we got to the part where the dash was all ripped off he gave me this look and said:
“Why are you doing this?”
Now this is the guy who helped rebuild my old Mustang, ripped apart and put together his old Dodge van before driving it 2,000 miles, and regularly rode to work on a motorcycle in the snow and ice of South Dakota Winter back when we were in the Air Force.
So when he starts to wonder if I’m losing it I can only assume that everyone else came to that conclusion long ago.
First off: this is not necessarily the right way to build an electric car. It certainly isn’t the only way.
In fact I bet there’s tons of folks who don’t even peek under the dash when they make an EV. They buy a kit, pop out the old gas parts, put in the new parts, polish up the fenders and get about their lives.
And that’s ok. I just happen to like taking things apart and let me tell you…there’s a LOT to take apart!
Speaking of which, here’s the elusive onboard computer I was mentioning. It even looks more like a computer than the last module. I think IC603 might be an EPROM. Along with the groovilicious AM/FM Cassette Radio deck, Premium Sound Amplifier Module, and the Sub-Woofer Amplifier module maybe I can make big bucks selling them on Ebay?
Do you realize that the shop manual has a section on troubleshooting, removal, and installation of the Ash Receptacle and Cigar Lighter?
This thing is thorough!
After reading a few sections last night I finally unhooked all of the cables from the various air ducts and popped out the climate control console. What a monster.
It could all be done with a few solenoids and probably is on some cars. The thing is that solenoids cost more money and require more wiring, fuses, and documentation. Whereas a solid steel wire through a sleeve is a little cumbersome to install but all in all does the job directly.
Once the climate control thing was out I thought the center column would pop right out. No dice. Seems that there’s screws holding it from the inside. Reading through the whole dash removal section I came to realize that the center console and all of the dash is one, big steel, rubber, and plastic contraption to be removed wholesale.
To do that: remove side plastic covers, remove center instrument cluster and all steering wheel bracing, disconnect about a dozen nuts, remove various screws you missed the first time, wiggle, yank, curse, wiggle, slam, shout obscenities, remove another screw, unhook a couple wiring plugs, and viola, it is free!!
Did I mention this is a southern car? First clue was all of the sea shells I found. Second clue was the huge palmetto bug (Cockroach!) stuck in the heater coils. I tried to ease it out, thinking it would make a great picture, but the legs pulled right off.
Here it is folks, the naked truth about Eve!
I’ve taken the liberty to throw in a few arrows and text blocks to identify the major sections. If all goes well I’ll have the rest of this stuff out of here by the end of the night…along with that crispy palmetto bug.
The plan (yes, there is a plan) is to get the heating system out and cleaned up. There are two small “radiators” in the air flow path of this duct work. The first one right after the squirrel cage fan is for A/C, you can tell because there’s a small hose leading out from the plastic case to drain away condensation.
The next block is bigger and is for heat and is usually called the heater core. After that there’s this fascinating bit of flap works that redirects the air through any of three paths: defrost, vent, and foot level.
After that is yanked out I’ll probably start whittling away at the wiring. There’s a bunch of it that can go. Ditto with the thick rubber firewall insulation. Since we no longer have a noisy, hot engine and exhaust system all of these sound deadening panels and insulators aren’t really needed. I suppose you could make the argument that they help keep the heat in during the winter, but considering all of the glass in a car that is of little use.