Two Screws, Or Not Two Screws: That Was The Issue

posted Apr 8, 2012, 3:39 PM by Jonathan Imberi   [ updated Jul 14, 2013, 7:50 PM ]
Those last two pesky screws in the dash occupied way, way too much of my time! I thought I would recap the various methods I tried over the course of a week to remove the screws:
  • used nut driver while prying from behind with screw driver
  • used nut driver while pulling forward on the dash
  • used flat piece of metal to push on the screw from behind while turning with nut driver
  • used toothpicks from behind to get teeth to grab...lost toothpicks
  • used razor blade to pry behind screw head while turning...very dangerous...scratch that idea
  • used needle nose visegrips on screw head to pull while turning and just about put the visegrip though the windshield when it slipped off...waited for heart to stop pounding
  • used needle nose visegrips on screw head to pull while turning and landed on my butt in the rear seat well...that could have been so much worse
  • used rubber mallet to tap the metal retaining clip to one side or the other and then tried to turn it out
  • used ice pick to try to create more tension on clip
  • tried to use hacksaw blade to cut off the shank of the screw and broke the blade
  • tried to use the broken hacksaw blade to cut off the shank of the screw and cut myself
  • decided to drill out the head of the screws, very slow process...broke drill bit
  • tried larger drill bit...very hard screw...not getting anywhere
  • it was suggested to use WD-40 as a cooling agent...this helped a little but did more to splatter everything in sight... also WD-40 does not taste very good
  • switched to a larger bit and now the head started turning...no way to hold it
  • tried using C clamp to put pressure on screw from behind...clamp slipped...no good
  • ready to cut dash into pieces to remove...Sara wants to take a look at the problem
I had been working on the dash issue as I had free time over the last week, but it is important to note that I was always working on the problem alone. When Sara came down to look at the source of my frustration and incessant grumbling\cursing, she said, and I quote, "Have you tried using the drill to turn them out? Maybe you could even pry with the screw driver while the drill is turning." 

Out of all of the things I had tried and that had been suggested to me this was not something I had considered. What did I have to lose? After putting the nut driver bit into the drill and while prying from behind with a screw driver, the screw came out like there was nothing wrong with it! I could not believe it! I was ready to try the second screw fairly confident that it would not work twice, however it came out too. It took a little more prying from a couple of different angles but it did turn out.

Words of Wisdom: Always keep your wife close by; you never know what she will come in handy for!

After the screws were out it was just a matter of unhooking the various clips that held the dash wiring harness in place on the back of the dash. This required me to become somewhat of a contortionist. Laying on my back using mirrors to see what I was doing was only part of the challenge - I also had to figure out how to get my arm(s) in between there to unhook the clips.

Once the dash was removed I worked on removing the jute padding along the top of the dash. I wanted to save this, but it was just deteriorating in my hands as I removed it. I also wanted to remove the firewall because I could see some rust issues going on along the bottom edge of the firewall on the drivers side. The firewall itself was crumbling in that area.

Here are some pictures with the dash removed. I will post pictures with the firewall removed once I start getting the wiring out of the way.