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Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The table master said:
<SIZE size="150">Table of contents for this thread</SIZE>

<SIZE size="134">1) Repair How-To Articles</SIZE>

A)Dash Removal
B)Steering Column Removal
C)How to Replace your convertible top
This is just a quick list of common search topics. I am nice enough to have waded through the topics and selected the threads that best answer these common topics.

It is in works, so I will be adding more as time goes on. If you have a common question that you would like added, please pm me with details.


How to remove rear springs

How to remove axles

How to remove oxygen sensor

How to remove doors

How to remove fenders

How to remove ground effects

How to remove windshield wipers

How to remove door windows

Hot to remove a convertible top

Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
ggerg1186 said:
I removed two dash panels today. One from a 94 and one from a 93. After learning how to remove the 94 panel I grabbed my camera to document the 93 removal.

First things first, disconnect the battery. Next, you will need a set of torx bits/drivers to complete this job. Finally, GM is the expert in hiding little retaining screws. I will try to be clear where a tug will disconnect a retaining clip and where screws must be removed to get the part off. Your are dealing with 16+ year old plastic, be gentle, if it doesn't come off freely, find out why.

There is no particular order to removing the dash. I prefer to work in one spot until I get sore, then go to another spot to let the blood drain from my head. In the end, the job isn't hard, just time consuming. Keep working until the dash drops out.

First, give the horn pad a tug, it should pop right off. Be carefull not to pull the horn wire terminal off of the wire. (like I did)

Use a sharp punch to press the terminal barb and disconnect the horn wire.

Remove the external retaining clip and the steering column nut. If you are lucky, you might be able to give the steering wheel a tug to remove it. I just went out and spent $14 at the local auto parts store and bought a steering wheel puller.

A couple of quick turns will slide the wheel right off.

Remove the two screws secureing the top column plastic to the bottom column plastic. Slide the top platic off of the column.

Remove the three vertical torx screws securing the bottom plastic. Unscrew the tilt column lever and remove the bottom plastic.

Remove the four torx screws securing the column switches to the column. If you remove the windshield wiper switch first, you can jimmy the light switch off without removing the green plastic column spring retainer. I do not recommend removing the spring retainer.

Now look for the two torx screws securing the dash plastic above the steering column.

The external dash plastic has retaining clips at the top. After removing the two screws you will have to pull the dash plastic off. It is a snug fit, keep working back and forth. Be carefull not to damage the wires for the dimmer switch. Disconnect the wires for the two switches and remove the plastic.

Remove the screws securing the gage cluster. It is nice as there are no wires to disconnect.

Use a small flat screwdriver to remove all of the vents and speaker grills. They should pop off with a little effort. Don't forget the defrost vents up top on the dash.

Now open the glove box. Push/pull the glovebox switch and light out of its socket. Be careful not to break the bulb. It is very tight.

Remove the black switch bezel from the assembly. Push the assembly back through the socket and reconnec the bezel to the switch.

Remove all of the screws securing the glove box. There are a lot of screws. Save the ones you can easily see for last. When the last screw is out, the glove box will fall to the floor with no effort. If it doesn't fall, keep looking for more screws.

Now is a good time to remove the ECU from above the glove box compartment within the dash.

Look for this screw securing the dash frame to the firwall on the left side of the glove box compartment and remove it. The dash will not come off without removing this screw.

Remove the middle dash panel on the drivers side.

Remove the radio bezel. It should snap off without removing any screws.

Remove the radio.

Use a small flat screwdriver to remove the retaining clip on the transmission gear selector.

Once the clip has been removed the shift knob will slide right off. Remove the ash tray and find the screw at the bottom of the cigarette lighter area. The top console trim can now be removed. There are several retaining clips, so work your way around the trim.

Remove the climate control panel and disconnect everything.

Remove the power window switch (if equipped).

Find the four screws securing the front of the console to the dash. There are two on each side.

Find the two screws in the bottom of the rear pocket of the console. Pull the parking brake all the way back and work the top console plastic out of the car. Look for wires to disconnect from electrical components.

Find the four screws to remove the lower console plastic.

Remove the fuse box from the drivers side.

Find the two 10mmm screws securing electrical components under the dash on the right hand side of the drivers side. remove the ground strap too.

Use a christmas tree puller to remove all of the platic cristmas trees securing the wiring harness to the dash frame.

Make sure the battery is disconnected. Place the key in the ignition switch and switch to the "run" position. Press the plastic barb with a small flat screwdriver and remove the shifter lock cable.

Remove the lowest dash panel on the drivers side.

I do not know if the steering column has to be pulled to remove the dash. In both cars I had to remove the column anyways so it seemed reasonable to remove it. I think it will be easire to remove the dash with the column out fo the way. There are four bolts securing the steering column. Start from the firewall and work to the steering wheel.

Find the rubber bellow hiding the ujoint bolt securing the steering column to the steering rack pinion.

Find the single bolt securing the firewall end of the column tot he firwall.

Find the two vertical bolts securing the steering wheel end of the column to the firewall frame.

Now the column should slide right out. If it catches on anything, find out why.

You're almost done. Remove the four screws hidden in the defrost vents. There are two screws in each vent.

Now find the two bolts on each side of the dash. Remove these two bolts.

Place the transmission selector in first gear. Give the dash a gentle tug and let it rest on the floor. (Here is where I think it is a benefit to remove the column.

Find the two flexible vent tubes and remove one end of each tube.

Id you didn't remove the ecu before, you will have to do it now. I recommend removing the white plastic mount. It is cantelevered and would probably break with very little effort.

Remove the wiring harness on the passenger side.

Push the instrument cluster plug through its socket. Rotate the plug sideways and push it back through the hole.

Find all of the screws securing the HVAC ductwork to the dash. There are a lot of screws, if the duct doesn't slide right off of the dash, then you need to keep looking for screws. I would recommend to leave the entire duct stapled together.

Remove all of the christmas trees securing the wiring harness to the dash.

Untangle the wiring harness and slide the dash out. Do what ever it is that you have to do and put the dash back in.

There it is. I did this in about two hours. (Counting the phone ringing five times and stopping to answer it)

Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<SIZE size="150"> Steering Column Removal</SIZE>

ggerg1186 said:
I removed the steering column from my 93 z-24 today. I figured I would grab a camera and document the process.

First things first, disconnect the negative ground cable from the battery.

Grab ahold of the horn pad and give it a tug. It should pop off. Be careful not to pull too hard, as the horn button wire may pop off. Grab a sharp punch to press the barb of the horn wire connector and disconnect it. (The wire on mine broke...)

Remove the external retaining clip and remove the steering wheel nut. If you are lucky, you might be able to sit in the drivers seat, give the steering wheel a good tug, and remove the steering wheel. I spent $14 at the local car parts store and bought a steering wheel puller.

A couple of quick turns will pull the steering wheel right off.

Remove the two screws securing the column plastic together and remove the top column plastic.

Remove the three torx screws from the bottom of the bottom plastic. Unscrew the tilt column lever and pull off the bottom plastic.

Remove the electric switches with a torx driver. If you remove the windshield wiper sitch first, you can jimmy the light switch out without removing the green plastic spring retainer. I do not recommend removing the spring, it is difucult to get back on.

Remove the middle dash panel.

Make sure the battery is disconnected. Place the key in the ignition and switch the ignition to "run". Use a small flat screwdriver to press the plastic barb on the transmission shifter lock cable and pull the cable out.

Remove the lower dash panel

There are 4 bolts left holding the steering column on. I recomend working from the firewall back. The first bolt connects the steering column ubolt to the steering rack pinion. It is hidden under a large rubber bellow.

The second bolt is secures the end of the shifter column to the dash frame.

The third and forth bolts are verticle and secure the column nearest the steering wheel. Remove these four bolts and the column should slide right out. If there is any resistance, find out why, or risk damaging something. GM is an expert in hiding little retaining screws everywhere.

Now you have a big hole in your dash....


Premium Member
17,284 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
<SIZE size="150"> How to remove your convertible top</SIZE>

original thread

88ragtop said:
First, I hope you are *very* handy, vert tops are a real bitch. Expect to spend the better part of 2 days putting it on if it's your first top.

Before you tear off the old top, make sure you have everything you need. That includes the top (duh!), rear curtain (window assembly), cables (2 or 4 depending on the year), top pads, well liner (if shot/discolored), and new tack strip if you need it. Other stuff you need includes Trim Adhesive, adhesive remover, masking tape, foam tape, 2 or 3 old (CLEAN!) blankets, good scissors, sharp utility knife & blades, basic hand tools, measuring tape, and last but not least a GOOD stapler, preferably pneumatic. If you need to replace the tack strip, you're going to need a drill and bits plus forstner bits (drill press is a damn good idea here) and a riveter & rivets. Depending on how the original tack strip is installed, you may need a 1/4" riveter.

VERY general overview here, shop manual covers it in much more detail.


1) Remove the rear seat, rear side covers (with the speakers).
2) Pull up the well liner, it's glued to the rear sheet steel.
3) Open the trunk and remove the 1000000 screws that hold the rear most trim around where the trunk & top meet. Remove that trim. Then remove 10000000 more screws and remove the metal strips that hold that from underneath.
4) Remove the single screw on the end of the side trim bars.
5) Go in the car, look under the well liner at the inside of the quarter panels. Remove the nuts (I think they were 10mm) from the studs holding the side trim bars on.
6) Go to the outside of the car and remove the side trim bars from the car. Be CAREFUL, the studs break if you look at them the wrong way.
7) Use 2" wide masking tape to cover the body directly below the tack strip all the way around. Apply several layers for safety. Tape the trunk edge as well.
8 ) Drape old blankets over the rear & sides of the car. Tape these to the masking tape.

Top Removal:
1) Go inside the car and remove the bolt holding the lower end of the side flap cables (if equipped)
2) Start on one corner of the top and remove 9 billion staples, working your way around the top until the top is free
3) Remove the welt strip end caps from the welt strip on the top
4) Unfold the welt strip and remove 10 thousand staples to free the welt strip.
5) Apply bandaids to cut fingers from sharp staple ends.
6) Unlatch top and raise 1/2 way so it will stay by itself.
7) Release the header strip (weatherstrip) from the front of the top frame.
8 ) Remove 10,000 staples to free top front edge trim (if equipped).
9) Remove 10,000 more staples to free front edge of top.
10) Loosen and remove the weatherstripping from the weatherstrip retainers on the top frame side rails. Not all of the weatherstrip will come off yet, be careful, it's old, hard to get and EXPENSIVE!
11) Lift up the top and remove the screws holding the weatherstrip retainers from the top frame side rails. There's 4 retainers. Remove the retainers.
12) Back into the car. Remove the nuts and screws holding the rearmost (back of the quarter glass) weatherstrip retainer on. Remove that weatherstrip & the retainers.
13) Remove the screw holding the front of the top side cables.
14) Remove the cables from the top.
15) Release the adhesive holding the rest of the top on.
16) Remove top from car

Rear curtain removal:

1) Remove 10000 staples holding the rear curtain to the tack strip
2) Remove 10000 more staples holding the rear curtain to the #3 (or is it #4??) bow.
3) Remove rear curtain assembly.

Well Liner removal:
1) Remove half a million staples holding well liner to tack rail.
2) Release adhesive holding the tack rail to the sheet steel.
3) Remove well liner and discard.
4) Replace blood soaked bandaids with new ones.
5) Curse at car.

Tack Rail Replacement:
1) Remove the 500 rivets holding the tack rail to the body. Anything goes here: drill em out, cut em off with a cutting wheel, air chisel, whatever works. DON'T SCRATCH THE PAINT! It's easier to cut the backs off the rivets and reprimer that area. Less risky.
2) Save the tack strip sections as you remove them and label them as to where they go. It goes on in several sections
3) Get the new tack strip and cut to length using the old ones as a guide. Mark all the holes again, use the old ones as a guide. Drill the holes and countersink to make the rivets sit below flush.
4) Install the tack strip on the car using rivets. I used a little silicone sealant to make sure water couldn't get up behind the tack strip.

Metal prep:
1) All the spots where the top was glued need to have ALL the adhesive removed. Rub, scrub and rub some more until your hands hurt and you're about halfway done. These surfaces need to be clean, clean, clean.

Top Pads:
I'm not getting into this because it is somewhat complicated (like this whole jobs isn't right?!?) and the spacing between the bows is extremely important.

Installation of well liner:
1) Lay well liner on car
2) Temporarily attach to inside sheet steel using masking tape.
3) Stretch it out to fit nice and staple to tack rail.

Installation of rear curtain:

1) First, cut some kind of spacer (pvc pipe, wood, whatever) to lock the rear bow in place. Make sure the rear bow height is correct - VERY, VERY important, you need a shop manual to find this out for your year.
2) Find and mark the center point of the tack rail.
3) Find and mark the center point of the rear bow.
4) Align the dart (factory cut notch) of the rear curtain with the center mark of the rear bow. Attach rear curtain to rear bow with staples. Get it right the first time, it needs to be 100% straight.
5) Stretch out the rear curtain assembly and line up the center of the rear curtain with the center mark on the tack strip.
6) Attach lower half of rear curtain to tack strip with staples. Again, get it right the first time, there's no room for error - staple holes leak!

Top Installation (very, very general overview):
1) Install the new cables into the top.
2) Lay top over car in the approximate position.
3) Align quarter flaps of the top (should be marked with lines) with the rear tack strip and staple. You need to do this when it's warm because you need to stretch it like all hell!
4) Make sure the rear bow is in the correct position, and attach the top to the rear bow with staples.
5) Install side cables.
6) Stretch the top to the front and mark it's position.
7) Apply trim adhesive to the mating surfaces and let dry.
8 ) Stretch the top into position and attach to top frame with that trim adhesive. This is a ONE shot deal, or you're removing the adhesive and starting over.
9) Reattach the side cables.
10) Glue the quarter flap flaps onto the top frame.
11) Replace the (certainly shot after 10+ years) foam tape on the weatherstrip retainers.
12) Reinstall the weatherstrip retainers.
13) Reinstall all weatherstrip.
14) Latch top and readjust as per the shop manual.
15) Strech and staple the overcuts on the top at the rear bow location.
16) Cut to length and install the welt strip at the rear bow.
17) Install welt strip tips over welt strip ends.
18 ) Drill holes (from inside) through new tack strip and top for the side trim rails.
19) Reinstall side trim rails.
20) Line up and reinstall the rear trim retainer strips.
21) Insall rear trim.
22) Glue the well liner to the sheet steel around the seat.
23) Reinstall interior.
24) Get drunk and swear you'll never do this again.

That should about cover it. Go get a shop manual, you NEED it.

If you value your sanity, pay somebody to install the damn top. I am NOT in a big hurry to do another one.

Oh yeah, some pictures (not many, I was too aggrevated to take any more) here:


- Frank

* Dear god, someone PLEASE make this a sticky or something so I never have to retype this again!

22 Posts
that was a pretty good instruction on how to take out a dash, i also like the pics, but on removing the rorn wire all u have to do is grab the black plastic piece push in twist to the left and it will come straight out, they can sometimes be a pain to get off the button but it will save u a lot of time and effort
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