Dash and Binnacle Remove/Replace

Created: 7/19/2005

Last updated: 

Author/source: Josh Haldeman

NOTE - There are several routes to renewing your dashboard from sun damage. This process is common to all of them.

- Re-Dye the originals - good if it's faded or brown but not cracked

- Replace with the DMC Houston New Replacement

- Re-cover with new Vinyl - Josh does this.

Removal and Installation of the DeLorean Dashboard and Binnacle


Tools you will need:


-         10 mm open ended wrench

-         7 mm socket with short and long extensions

-         8 mm socket with similar extensions

-         17 mm socket with short extension

-         17 mm open ended wrench

-         Phillips head screwdriver

-         Flat head screwdriver

-         Small Standard or Needle Nosed Pliers

-         Flashlight

-         Patience!


Procedure #1: Removing the Binnacle


So you’ve decided you’re tired of that old binnacle and or dashboard all cracked and looking like junk?  Well, congratulations…this is one of the few projects that you can do in a weekend that will greatly enhance the appearance of your DeLorean’s interior.  The first step in this process is to remove the binnacle, or instrument cluster surround.  This is a relatively simple undertaking, and should not require more than 2 hours to complete, and most likely far less than that.


The first thing you want to do is position all your tools on the floor of the driver’s side of the passenger compartment.  Make sure that they are off to the sides, and allow you enough room to comfortably lay in the middle of the floor, without stabbing yourself in the back with any of your equipment.


Next, you will want to position yourself upside down in the driver’s seat.  The best way to do this, without hitting your head on the steering wheel, is to first put it up and as far out as it will go.  If you didn’t already know, you can tilt and telescope the Delorean steering wheel by loosening an adjustment knob on the RH side (as you’re looking at it sitting in the driver’s seat) of the steering column, under the kneepad.  Once you position the steering wheel out of the way, tighten the knob back tight, and climb into the car upside down.  Ideally you want your head and shoulders to be on the floor, your lower back to be on the seat, and your feet resting on the door frame, or elsewhere where your shoes won’t stain your interior.  Take a moment to get your bearings while under here.


Now you will want to locate your flashlight, and shine it up into the recess that is the underside of the DeLorean dashboard support panel.  The first thing you will notice is that your view is slightly obstructed by the duct that routes air over to the LH door.  You will want to remove this duct for better access to the area you want to get into.  To do this, simply remove the one Phillips head screw that holds the cadmium plated bracket surrounding the black plastic duct near the steering column.  This should be in the middle of your field of vision, as you look up at the underside of the dash.


Once this screw is out, you should be able to swing the bracket out of the way.  (don’t worry about bending it a little…it bends back)  Now, you will want to remove the black plastic duct, as well as the short “bellows” that attach it to the adapter in the LH most kneepad.  The best way to do this, is from the outside of the car, kneeling on the ground.  In this position, you will want to carefully remove the adapter from the kneepad.  You can do this by grasping the bellows at the back, while at the same time, twisting the adapter out.  It will come, but it likes to get hung up on the material on the kneepad.  Be gentle, and patient.  If it gets hung up, look for where, and release it.  These kneepads are expensive and there’s no point in ripping a good one just for this.  Once the adapter is out, the bellows should slip off the end of the black plastic duct, by again, gently pulling towards the door.  You can remove the duct by doing the same thing.  Try wiggling it back and forth a little if it doesn’t want to move right away.


Now you should have clear access to the area you need.  It’s time to get back into the car upside down.  Once under there, you will need to grab your flashlight again, and find the four really small nuts holding on the mounting studs on the bottom of the binnacle.  These are located in a rectangular pattern, with two towards the front, and two towards the rear.  The best way to identify them is by the large flat washers that are held in place by the 7 mm nuts.  Remove these nuts, being careful not to get hit in the eye with them as they come off, and set them and the washers aside.


Before you get back out of the car again, you will need to remove two additional 7 mm nuts from the front area on either side of the steering column near where it comes out from under the dash.  You may find it easier at this point to remove the driver’s kneepads, to gain easier access to this area.  If you are also replacing your dashboard, you will need to have these off anyway.  They are each held on by four 10 mm nuts in the four corners, and on the one nearest the console, a phillips head screw on the side also.  Remove these, and they should pop right out.  There is also a little leather cover that goes around the steering column that is held in place by four of these nuts.  You should remove it also, and set it aside when you get to this point.


Now you can safely egress from the car, and return repositioning yourself in the seat normally.  The binnacle will now be loose, and in fact, at this point, it is only held in place by the upper speedometer cable and the two electrical connectors that power the dash instruments and lighting.  To disconnect these electrical connections, the best thing to do is to lower the steering column all the way, and then tilt the binnacle forward.  If you then look at it from the side, you will be able to see the long wide electrical connectors and the speedo cable coming in.  To release the electrical connectors, simply grasp them at either end of the long sides, (it helps to have long skinny fingers here) push the snap connectors in, and pull the connectors out.  The speedometer cable is attached in a similar fashion, and in most cases, it simply slides out when the slack is removed.  If it doesn’t, it may be easier to disconnect it down at the lambda counter, and pull the whole thing up through its tunnel in the pedal box.


You have now successfully removed the binnacle!  You can remove the instruments from the binnacle by taking out the Phillips head screws attaching it from the back on the corners, and along the bottom.  Your core is now ready to be recovered.


Procedure #2: Removing the Dashboard



In order to remove the dashboard from the DeLorean it is necessary to remove most of the trim panels that block it in inside the car.  These include the following:


-         Kneepads, and door switch trim

-         The center console

-         Glovebox and lid


Because it is necessary to remove these other items to get to the dashboard, these instructions include steps for their removal.  If you already have these out, you can skip down to the section concerning removing the dashboard itself.


Removing the Three Kneepads


Removing the three kneepads is relatively simple, as long as you have a little patience, and a nice long 10 mm open ended wrench. A 10 MM "gearwrench" is invaluable for this too.  I’ve already talked about removing the driver’s side kneepads, so if you need more info on the removal procedures for these, please refer to the above section on removing the binnacle.  To remove the passenger side kneepad, the procedure is much the same…there are four 10 mm nuts in the four corners on the backside, and one Phillips head screw connecting it to the console on the side.  Remove all of these, as well as the air duct that hooks into the door adapter, and you are ready to pull out this kneepad.


You can now remove the trim pieces that hold the door plunger switches in.  These are called fascia panel ends.  First disconnect the plunger switches…you can do this by firmly grasping the electrical connector on the back, and pulling out.  There are two connectors for each switch, so make sure you get them all. 


The end panels themselves are held in place by three 10 mm nuts on the top and sides of the back of the piece.  The tricky part of these, is not removing the nuts, but removing the fascia ends themselves.  This usually takes some wiggling, and maneuvering to get them out.  You can carefully bend the top metal tabs, but don’t bend them to far, or they will break.



Removing the Center Console


To remove the center console, the first thing you must do is detach the window motor, dummy and defrost switches.  To do this, simply lift up on them from the sides, and then grasp them firmly by both sides of the electrical connectors underneath and pull apart.  Be careful not to allow the top of the defrost switch to pop off…the guts of this one are rather fragile and love to pop out all over the place when it’s opened. It's helpful to remove the ash try and press up on the switches from underneath.


Next, you will want to remove the console tray on the back, and the shifter plate on the front.  This can be done by using a Phillips and/or flat head screwdriver depending on how yours are attached.  Once the shifter plate is loose, lift it up from the back and slide it towards the rear of the car. (note: may be different on automatics) . Carefully lift up the front end far enough to access the electrical connectors that hook up the dashboard light rheostat and the clock if you have an 81 DeLorean.  To remove the console tray once the screws are out, simply slide it forward, to release the clip that holds it down on the back, and lift up.


Now you will have to remove the shifter knob, in order to slide the plate up over the top, and out of the way.  To do this, simply unscrew it by turning it counter clockwise.  Now slide the plate up over the handle, and set the entire thing aside for reinstallation later.On automatics first remove the handle by removing two phillips screws from the back side, and then one 9 mm nut on top of the shaft.


Now you have access to the six nuts that hold the console in place.  These are all 10 mm nuts, that are located in the following places:  2 in front of the shifter assembly, 2 behind it near the lighter, and two under the console tray in the back.  Using a socket and extension, remove all six of these, and any washers that may be under them as well.  You are now ready to lift up on the console.  You will probably want to stand outside the car, as you lift up on the rear part, as it sometimes gets stuck between the seats, and you have to maneuver them to get it out.  Once the rear part is up far enough to see, you will need to disconnect the lighter’s electrical connections.  Do this, and then lift on the front until it clears the radio bracket, and slide it out of the car, being careful not to damage the headliner in the process.  You might have to tilt the console sideways a bit to get it to come out…but it will fit.  You are now ready to tackle the glovebox and lid removal.


Glovebox and Lid Removal


Begin here, by opening your glovebox lid.  You will notice four Phillips head screws on the tops and bottoms of each of the hinges.  If you can fit your Phillips head screwdriver into the opening, remove the lid by the bottom part of the hinges.  (the part that attached to the box itself, and not the lid)  If you cannot get your screwdriver in there, just remove the top screws, and then pull the glove box lid out with the hinge, by lifting it towards the roof of the car.  You have now removed the lid…congratulations…that was the easy part!


Now, it’s time to remove the box itself.  There are usually between four and six Phillips head screws around the perimeter of the glovebox insert top.  Remove these, and the glovebox should flop around in its hole.


If you haven’t already removed the air duct from the bottom, you can do that now, by slipping it out of it’s bracket attached to the bottom of the glovebox insert.


The last thing you have to remove, before you can take out the glovebox insert, is the latch itself.  There are a couple different theories on this one, but basically the best thing to do, if your glovebox worked before, is to mark the location of the latch…so that you can put it back the same way it came out.  Anyway…that said there are two screws with nuts on them going through the latch that attach it to the body of the car.  Remove these.


Once the latch is off, you can now lift the glovebox insert up through the top.  Be careful not to catch the bracket for the air duct on the side walls of the dashboard.




First step is to disconnect the easy stuff.  If you tuck your head under the dash on both sides, you will notice the speakers in the two corners.  Remove the electrical connectors from these.  They are not reversible, so you don’t have to worry about connecting them wrong when you put everything back…they should just hang nicely under the dashboard once disconnected.


Now you want to tackle the two 10 mm nuts that are on the side walls of the car, near the doors.  Remove them.  Now you want to find all the 10 mm nuts that are under the dash, securing it to the fiberglass body.  These are located throughout the underside of the dash, and at times, it may seem like you can never get them all…but it is possible.


The easy ones are up front, and you can get them, simply by feeling for them.  Their locations are two on either side of the glovebox opening, another is dead center in the middle of the dash, and one is on the LH side of the binnacle opening.  You should have already gotten the pair of nuts on the corners, when you took the fascia end panels out.  You can do a visual inspection to make sure that you got all of these by shining a flashlight up under the dash.


Now is the hard one.  Fortunately, there is only one of these, but it’s a royal pain in the ass.  Remember that nut that you removed right in the middle of the dashboard.  Guess what…if that felt like it was far back, it wasn’t.  There is another one directly behind it.  The best way to get to this one is with an open ended 10 mm wrench, turning it about an 1/8 of a turn each time.  Be careful not to drop the wrench while in there, because you will most likely be going to the store for a new 10 mm wrench, unless you have magnetic grabber equipment nearby.


Once this nut is off, the dash is loose…but it won’t feel like it.  Before you try and remove the dash, you have to consider whether or not to remove the speakers from it.  They are held in by two 8 mm nuts on opposite sides of each speaker.  You can reach them with a long extension.  You can take out the dash without removing the speakers beforehand…but it’s just easier to do when they are out of the way.


Now you are ready to pull out the dashboard.  The easiest way is to slide it towards the seats from one side about one inch…then move over to the other side, and do the same.  The mounting studs that you removed the 10 mm nuts from will start catching on their holes, to you have to lift up a little bit on the front of the dash as you are pulling.  I’ve found it’s helpful to place your hand between the dash and the body of the car, and pry a little bit around the holes.  Just don’t pry too hard, or you will break the fiberglass.  You may hear it cracking a little bit as you pry on the dash.  This is normal…and despite it, the body under the dash is actually relatively durable.  This part of the removal process takes patience, as you may find yourself moving from side to side quite often.  It is however, worth doing carefully to ensure that nothing breaks.


Eventually the dash will simply pop loose, and it will be ready to remove for recovering or re-dying or replacement.  The last step is to take off the VIN plate in the upper LH corner.  If this is riveted on, just drill out the rivets.  If it’s glued, use a flat head screwdriver and pry it up, being careful not to bend it too badly.  You can flatten it once it’s out.




The reinstallation process is very similar to the removal one, only in reverse.  If you have any questions about this procedure, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at jhaldeman@fuse.net, or by phone at 513-919-6523.  Thank you for your attention, and good luck with your project!



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