Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

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Dave L2
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: North Essex

Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 10:57

After finding that the Leather Trim on my dash had finally succumb to the heat I spent my summer holiday following Zed Carer's lead and stripping out my dash to attempt a leather repair. For anyone else who wants to attempt this I have written this guide to help. It is based on the Dashboard, removing and installing sections from the Bentley Service Manual so can be used in conjunction with that. There will be some differences in procedure between this guide and the Bentley version because things like disconnecting the battery happens slightly different here than in Bentley simply because two of the bolts are inaccessible if you do it in the order that Bentley specify.

The idea is that each stage is linked to from this first post hopefully making the guide easier to navigate. Each stage post is also linked back to this first post for the same reason.

I spent quite some time considering if I could tackle anything on this scale and being concerned about trim not going back as well as it came out. I was also worried about introducing rattles that did not exist prior to removal, so I can sympathise with anyone having similar thoughts. Let me put some of those concerns to rest by saying that these cars are built so well that almost every piece is held in place by a screw or bolt and there are no cheap plastic clips to break that would require replacing on reinstallation. That said there were some parts I replaced as a matter of course, things like Heater Control Unit bulbs simply because it made sense while the whole thing was out. I also replaced screw caps I expected to damage on removal as well as the Driver's Side Dash Top vent which was broken anyway.

All parts are from Elms Bishops Stortford.
Part NumberDescriptionQtyPriceNotes
51.16.1.949.793Cap12£1.25 eachThe screw caps from the lower sections of the dash and the Glovebox
63.21.7.167.000Bulb1£2.60 eachCigarette Lighter Bulb
61.13.8.353.797Bulb Holder3£7.67 eachHeater Control Unit & Ashtray Bulbs
51.45.8.399.931Cap3£8.48 eachThe bolt caps from where dash meets windscreen
Before starting make sure you have a system for storing and labelling bolts, screws etc. we used coin bags. Also you will need something you can label wires with we used small scraps of paper and sellotape to secure. You will also need the code for your radio, if required, and you might want to make a note of your presets :) You will need a new cable tie for the handbrake boot. There is also a BMW prying Tool (BMW Special Tool 00 9 321) available and a Headlight Switch Removal Tool (BMW Special Tool 61 3 100) if you really want to go nuts, both can be replicated with a small flat bladed screwdriver wrapped in insulation tape to avoid damaging trim pieces.

I should probably also mention that this guide is based on a Aug 2000 built car with the MRSII SRS system and might be slightly different to yours.

One final word of warning before beginning, DO NOT RECONNECT THE BATTERY WITH THE AIRBAGS REMOVED. Doing so will cause the SRS warning light to illuminate which will then have to be reset.

Basic Steps
Remove trim under right side of dashboard - Under Dash Trim Right
Remove Glove Compartment - Glove Compartment
Remove Driver and Passenger Airbags - Air Bags
Remove Steering Wheel - Steering Wheel
Remove Centre Console - Center Console
Remove Instrument Cluster - Instrument Cluster
Remove Headlight Switch & Steering Column Switches Switches & Electrical Accessories
Remove Dashboard - Final Removal Steps
Disassemble Dashboard to access Leather Trim - Disassembly
Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:05, edited 13 times in total.

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Dave L2
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: North Essex

Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 10:58

Removal of Under Dash Trim - Right

Before getting to the Under Dash Trim Pieces there are two screws that hold the Centre Console in and need to be removed first.

Move both Seats as far forward as they will go and tilt the Backrests to vertical. This gives you access to one screw on either side of the rear of the Centre Console.


Move both Seats as far back as possible and disconnect the Battery.

In the Right Footwell turn 2 * Plastic Trim Clips (1 each side) ½ a turn each and remove Pedal Trim Panel.


Remove 4 * Screw Caps and 4 * Trim Screws (there's one on the other side of the steering column) and lower trim to access cables behind.


Disconnect plugs from Alarm Control Unit and OBD and remove Under Dash Trim piece.


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Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:11, edited 6 times in total.

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Dave L2
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: North Essex

Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 10:58

Removal of Glove Compartment

In the Left Footwell reach up behind the Glove Compartment to find 2 * Plastic Trim Clips. Twist ½ turn each to release Under Dash Trim Panel. Unclip panel and remove.


Remove 4 * Screw Caps and 4 * Trim Screws to release Glove Compartment and remove.


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Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:12, edited 5 times in total.

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Dave L2
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: North Essex

Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 10:59

Removal of Driver's Side Airbag

Notes:
  • Make sure the battery is disconnected. If you are following this guide in order you should have disconnected it during the Removal of Under Dash Trim - Right.
  • If you are following this guide in order then the required 10 second residual power discharge period should have passed but just in case make sure you wait 10 seconds after disconnecting the battery before proceeding.
Working below the Steering Wheel remove the Lower Steering Column Trim retaining screw and remove the trim.


From below the Steering Column disconnect the Airbag Harness plug.


From behind the Steering Wheel remove the 2 * torx head Airbag mounting bolts from the rear of the Steering Wheel. When reinstalling these bolts should be torqued to 8 Nm.


Carefully lift the Airbag Unit from the Steering Wheel and disconnect the Harness plug.



Removal of Passenger Airbag.

Using a plastic prying tool, BMW Special Tool or small flat-bladed screwdriver covered in insulation tape, gently pry up the Passenger Airbag Cover from the edge closest to the Seat. You will not be able to fully remove the Cover yet as it is secured with a Retaining Strap so you just need it loose.

Working underneath the Passenger Side of the Dashboard remove the 2 * Airbag Cover Retaining Strap mounting screws and remove the Airbag Cover and the metal bracket that the Retaining Strap is looped around.


Now remove the 4 * Airbag mounting bolts. When reinstalling these bolts should be torqued to 24 Nm.


Behind the Airbag and from underneath, disconnect the Airbag Harness plug and carefully remove the Airbag.


Both Airbags should be stored with the bags facing up so that if they were to fire the bag would deploy rather than propelling the whole unit up in the air.

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Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:15, edited 9 times in total.

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Dave L2
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: North Essex

Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 10:59

Removal of Steering Wheel

Make sure Front Wheels are pointed straight ahead and Steering Wheel is centred. Engage Steering Lock.

Remove Steering Wheel centre bolt. I had a bit of trouble with this as I only had a 3/8th drive 16mm socket and my 3/8th breaker bar is only 12" long. So I treated myself to a 16mm, ½" drive socket which meant I could use my 24", ½" breaker bar and the bolt came undone fairly easily. I was also a bit worried about having the Steering Lock engaged and working against it but I confirmed that instruction in a couple of places, including another guide on this site. When reinstalling this bolt should be torqued to 63 Nm.


Once the bolt is out and before you remove the Steering Wheel from the Steering Column mark both the Shaft and the Wheel so that you can check the alignment on reinstallation. Bentley talks about a punch or a scribe, we used nail varnish, a nice pink one :roll:

Insert ignition key and release the Steering Lock.

Now remove the Steering Wheel from the Steering Column.

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Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:17, edited 6 times in total.

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Dave L2
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: North Essex

Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 10:59

Removal of Centre Console

You should already have removed the first two screws as mentioned in the Removal of Under Dash - Right post.

Remove Radio - I'm not going into detail here as there are so many aftermarket units around and there is information on removal of OEM units elsewhere on this forum.

Remove Boot around Handbrake Lever and turn it completely inside out to access Cable Tie.


Cut the Cable Tie and remove the Boot.

In the left and Right Footwells remove the 4 * screw caps and 4 * Centre Console front retaining screws.


Remove the 2 * screws holding the Centre Console to the upeer sections of the Dashboard. These are inside the radio head unit cut out but they are at an angle so easy to get a good sized screwdriver on.


Remove the 2 * Cover Plate mounting screws, 1 on either side.


Lift the 2 * retaining clips and roll the top of the Heater Control Unit inwards. There are 2 * locating pins on the bottom of the unit but it should just roll in without you needing to worry about them.


Remove the Gear Knob by pulling straight up, do not twist it as you pull because you will damage the locating lug inside the knob. Bentley says that this requires 90lbs of force but mine didn't seem to take as much effort as you would imagine 90lbs would be.

Using your prying tool unclip and remove the Gear Lever Boot which has 4 * clips on the left and right sides. Remove Sound Deadening material beneath.

The other arrow is behind the knob

Remove the Ashtray insert, the 2 * screws inside and lift out the Ashtray Assembly.

Now remove the Centre Console retaining screw that was hidden by the Ashtray.


The Centre Console should now be completely free so work behind the various areas of the console and push all Switches out and disconnect them (don't forget to label the wiring). The most difficult of these is the On Board Computer and I found it easier to leave it until the Console was almost out and then remove the 2 * screws holding to the Cover Plate. Once it was separated from the Console and the Console was out of the car it was straight forward to remove it's plug.




The Cigarette Lighter has a bulb and 2 * spade connectors. My bulb pretty much fell out in my hand but the spade connectors were very tight and not helped by the restricted working area.

There is also another Alarm Control Unit in the Passenger Footwell inside the side panel of the Centre Console, disconnect the cable before removing the Console.

Now lift the centre console from the rear and slide it backwards slightly to disengage the Plastic Locating Pins at the front by the Radio cut out. Once the Pins are disengaged the Console should slide over the Handbrake and lift out of the car. You might have to jiggle it around a bit and my Handbrake was adjusted quite tight so it was a bit fiddly. I had to really pull on my Handbrake to get it to move an extra couple of notches from where it normally sits but that was enough to allow the Console to come out. If yours doesn't have that level of movement you might have to consider releasing the tension in the cable but I'm not including that in this guide and I'm very glad I didn't have to.

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Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:23, edited 11 times in total.

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Dave L2
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Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 11:00

Removal of Instrument Cluster

Remove the retaining screw from the top of the Steering Column trim panel and remove the panel.


Remove the 2 * Torx trim screws that hold the Instrument Cluster and Bezel to the Dashboard.


Slide the Instrument Cluster towards you, minding the leather as you go and roll it on to the top of the Steering Column.

All three of the Harness plugs on the back of the Instrument Cluster are of the same type and are colour coded to their appropriate sockets. Each socket is also numbered 1,2 & 3 just in case, like me, you don't notice the colour coding while you are labelling the harnesses :head:. I'll explain how these plugs work using the Blue one in the photo as the example as it is the easiest to see. The plug has a curved shape to it and a hinged locking bar/lever across the top of the plug. In the photo the locking lever is White on the Blue plug. Putting your finger on top of the lever pull it towards you along the plug and the lever will roll around curved shape of the plug. This will release and disenge the plug from the Instrument Cluster as you move the lever. Repeat for the other two plugs and remove the Instrument Cluster.


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Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:24, edited 4 times in total.

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Dave L2
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: North Essex

Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 11:00

Removal of Switches & Electrical Accessories

Headlight Switch
Using your prying tool remove the Cap from the Headlight Switch Knob.

Remove the Lock Nut inside the Headlight Switch Knob and then unscrew the Knob from the threaded spindle. Mine was quite tight and the plastic feels a little brittle but it will move with the right combination of force and patience.


The Switch is installed in the Dash in the same orientation as shown in the photo (ignore the hairy leg). The two Locking Tabs are supposedly accessible without removing the Air Vent, but as that is only in with 1 screw I found it easier to slide the Air Vent out a little to access the Switch Locking Tabs. Once you have the Tabs released the whole Switch slides back into the Dash and out from underneath.


Remove the Harness connector from the Switch.

If you absolutely cannot get the Switch out there is a Special Tool as mentioned in the first post.

The Driver's side Air Vent has the bulb in it that illuminates the Headlight Switch. The wires for this bulb can be disconnected at this plug which should be easy to find now that most of the dash is out. If you can't find it, find the bulb behind the Vent and trace the wires back about 8 inches to the plug.


Reach behind the dash on either side of the Steering Wheel and push out the Fog Lamp switch and the Headlight Pitch Adjustment switch. Disconnect the plugs for both and remove.

Steering Column Switches

These probably don't need to come out but it does make life easier when you are manipulating the Dash out and in. Bentley says disconnect the harness and remove the whole Assembly completely, I just removed the Assembly from the Steering Column and let it hang.

Remove the Steering Column Switch Bracket retaining screw.


Compress the Switch Bracket retaining tabs and push the Bracket down and off the Steering Column. I found these incredibly stiff and was quite concerned about breaking them, ease each tab a small amount at a time and do each in turn rather than trying to get one completely out before the other. This was also very stiff when reinstalling so I just took it easy until it finally clicked home.


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Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:28, edited 6 times in total.

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Dave L2
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Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 11:00

Removal of Dashboard - Final Stages

Remove the 4 * Dashboard mounting bolts, 2 at each end, in the area of the door openings.


Remove the 2 * Dashboard mounting allen bolts that are below the Centre Air Vents. Without a doubt the most awkward of the whole lot.


Remove the 3 * Trim Caps at the base of the Windscreen and the 3 * Bolts below. Also pretty awkward.


Unclip the 'A' Pillar Trim pieces but leave them attached to the Dashboard. These clip into the Dashboard but I couldn't get mine free and was concerned about breaking them so removed the Dash with these still intact.


The Dashboard should now lift out to the Passenger Side. Watch for where the Trunking of the Windscreen Air Vents fouls the Reinforcement Cross Member, it's tight but it a bit of wiggling and it comes out.

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Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:30, edited 6 times in total.

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Dave L2
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Location: North Essex

Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 11:01

Dashboard Disassembly

Working with the Dashboard on a flat surface covered with a sheet or similar...

Remove the 'A' Pillar Trim Pieces on both sides. These have plastic tounges with little locking tabs on them that hook into slots on the Dashboard.


Passenger Side

Remove the Side Air Vent Trunking retaining screw and remove the Trunking.


Remove the Top Air Vent Trunking and the 6 * Trim Panel mounting screws.


Lift the Passenger Side Trim Panel away from the carcass of the Dashboard.

Driver's Side

Remove the Side Air Vent Trunking retaining screw and remove the Trunking.


Remove the Top Air Vent Trunking and the 8 * Trim Panel mounting screws.


Lift the Driver's Side Trim Panel away from the carcass of the Dashboard.

Remove the 3 * Instrument Cluster Cowling Trim panel mounting screws unclip the Trim panel from the Cowling at the front and remove.


Remove the 2 * Instrument Cluster Cowling mounting screws and remove the Cowling.


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Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:31, edited 4 times in total.

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Dave L2
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  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: North Essex

Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Dave L2 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 11:01

Here's one I made earlier

So if everything has gone to plan you should now have this...


...and this...


...and a nice collection of labelled packets of screws.

Although looking at that last picture there seems to be a bit missing :?

I guess all that's left is to say, in the time honoured tradition...Installation is reverse of removal.
Last edited by Dave L2 on Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:32, edited 2 times in total.

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Southernboy
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Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Southernboy » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 14:14

Great write-up Dave. I've done the removal thing 3 times, and your guide is excellent for anyone wanting to do the job. I must add, I took the opportunity to use some black Hammerite on the large steel pipe under the dash when it was out. I notice yours looks like mine did...somewhat brown from the surface rust. :wink:
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Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by ('_')Z3 » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 16:47

Fab write up Dave, so many happy memories from when zedcarer and I did mine :roll:
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Re: Dashboard, Removal & Disassembly

Post by Brian H » Mon 12 Aug, 2013 17:53

Great write up and layout Dave. These sort of write up will are bound to help others as our cars get older. Well done :thumb:

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