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How difficult is it to replace an E30 dashboard?

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by Brian A, Oct 11, 2008.

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    Brian A

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    Rickbee guest

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    i found it to be a pain i have not changed mine yet after looking at my repair book and it said i had to take like everything out steering wheel etc.
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    MGarrison

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    Ya, I too would throw that job into the 'freakin' nuisance' category. I never installed one, just removed it in the course of taking my prior E30 apart. I'm sure it's do-able, but I think it would be a challenge to get it installed, because you do have to remove soooo much. If you tackle it, I'd say be prepared to take it apart slowly, and ready to take lots and lots of pictures so you can get all the wiring harnesses and everything else back together properly.
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    az3579

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    I've been told it's approximately a 14-hour job. Not worth the time, hassle, or cost, IMO.


    Just look at the cracks as wrinkles in someone's face; maturity.
    I'll tell ya right now, the cracks in my dash are from the millions of smiles it gets when it's driven evey day, and when I'm old enough to have wrinkles, I can assure you it's gonna be from a BMW (or hopefully the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, but I prefer both :D).
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    mooseheadm5

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    Hmm, I can pull one in about 2 hours. It is not as bad as you think. Pull the cluster, pull the glove box, pull the radio, the face plate of the heater controls (leave them in place) and drop the column. Can;t remember if you have to pull the center console, but that takes only minutes. It is actually only held in with something like 4 or 6 of bolts. The E28 is much harder and takes about 8-10 hours, the E23 takes waaaay longer. I have a spare dash, actually, if anyone is interested.
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    az3579

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    I am... crack free? :)


    Perhaps I misunderstood on the labor time for the E30... but then again, 2 hours for you is different. You've probably done it a million times.
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    mooseheadm5

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    3 times, but I have super powers.
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    MGarrison

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    You say that as if it was as easy as pie...! If there's an easy way to do that, some extra insight might be helpful for anyone attempting it. It was awhile ago, but I recall having the steering column secured by security bolts that had no head, and having to rather tediously cut a slot into them with an air-powered cutting tool (which took awhile it seemed, I seem to recall thinking about those bolts being hardened steel), just to be able to remove them with a screwdriver, and destroying them in the process. I don't recall the Bentley manual having anything to say about removing the steering column (could be wrong, it's been awhile), so.. what's the quick and easy way to do it?
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    mooseheadm5

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    You don't have to drop the column, but it gives you more room. The best way to get those bolts out is to chisel them. Get a good chisel and lightly tap a notch into the edge of the head (radially) to give your chisel a little purchase. Then angle the chisel so your next hit acts slightly tangentally to loosen the bolt. I have had to remove more of these shear bolts than I care to count, but once you get them loose a little bit, they come right out.
    A Dremel tool with a fiber reinforced cutting wheel is also handy.
    And don't bother putting in new shear bolts. Nobody is going to steal your car by taking it apart.
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    Brian A

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    Yeah, I've spend hours just trying to change the light bulbs in my On-Board Computer or trying to fix stiff ventilation controls. It sure seems like everything is hanging off of the dashboard console rather the other way around.

    Paul,
    It would really be helpful to a lot of us if you documented the details as to how you replace an E30 dashboard. Probably 75% of them are cracked and for most folks the project seems overwhelming. Bentley does not cover this project.
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    mooseheadm5

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    That'll cost you.

    Actually, I am swapping all my 86 stuff to an 89 and that includes one of my perfect dash boards. You guys will all have to wait, but I'll take pictures when I do.
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    Brian A

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    Fair enough. Best wishes with the project. I look forward to the "baby pictures".
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    granthr

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    The E30 restoration Guide talks very briefly on this. This book also makes it sound like a piece of cake, just a little time consuming. Remove instrument cluster, steering wheel, complete center console, HVAC/Radio piece. Let the glove box hang down, just unclip the straps. Remove plastic on A pillers and pull back the door seal at the leading edge near the dash. Then carefully unclip the wireing loom and HVAC ducts from the dash. Then remove! :D

    I have never done it and I am sure there are other things that need to be removed, but you get the idea. I plan to replace the dash at some point in my 318i. The only thing that bothers me a little is the that your VIN is riveted to the dash. Ideally I would like to reattach my VIN plate to the new dash. I am thinking I can drill out the rivets and get tiny black screws to attach it to the new dash. Just an idea.

    GR
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    mooseheadm5

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    Don't ever let the glovebox just hang down by the hinge if you can help it. The plastic at the back is fragile and will break. You only have to remove the HVAC face panel, but get to leave all the actual controls hanging, which makes it easier.
    You can easily drill and re-rivet your VIN to the new dash.
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    granthr

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    Paul:

    Thanks for the extra tips! I am aware of the weak hinge, I pulled my one glove box a number of years ago and it had obviously been out before, the hinge had some damage to it from the previous time it was removed. It did not look very durable.

    GR

    ecvchamp guest

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    Lucky?

    I Guess I Am Lucky, My 89 Has No Cracks. I Have Had Most Of My Stuff Out Of It In The Past And It All Comes Out Fairly Easy :)

    Arash2002tii guest

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    I guess I'm lucky too. No cracks on the E30 or the 2002. I had a problematic heater core in the E30 and my friend said about 7 hours to take the dash out replace the core and put the dash back in. I don't think replacing it would take more than 4-5 hours then, but I guess it all depends on how you work.
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    MGarrison

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    I swapped out the heater core in my '87 325is, it was pretty straightforward, no dash removal. I can't speak for other E30's. As I recall, it seemed like the pump could be mounted in two positions - note the positioning of everything on the original heater core (including the engine-side hoses) before you pull it, if you decide to tackle it.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Ha. You don't have to take the dash out. It may take you 4 hours total. It slides out hte side of the heater case once you get that side cover off. The worst part is a few screws that you need swivel tools for (and lots of patience and colorful language) but it is pretty straightforward. I think it pays maybe 2 hours to do a heater core on an E30.
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    Greg E34

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