View Full Version : Dashboard dissasembly, shifter fix, and other DUW goodness

08-26-2006, 06:33 PM
So I got my new LEDs today. One dozen blue 5 led side-emitters with a vibrating pocket-pussy attachment. (not really, they don't vibrate). After a trip to the junkyard to harvest a couple odds and ends I arrive home to rip the dash out of the car. In case anyone was wondering, here is a set of pics and stuff that describes how to get the instrument cluster and steering column apart in a Lincoln, and how to pull the shifter handle. The instrument cluster part of the dash only needs to come apart if you're fooling with the shift lever's spring. The column will open up and the instrument cluster will come out independant of one another.

Yes, I know these picures suck. The camera is horrible and my hands aren't exactly super steady. This makes a rather poor mix for up-close detail shots. Deal with it.

Pull the trim pieces in the middle of the dash. They are just clipped on, and will pull straight off. Use a small screwdriver underneath the edge if they're being stubborn but stick a rag under the screwdriver so as not to damage the rest of the dashboard.


Remove the screws along here, and the ones at the top of the panel going along the dashpad overhang. Use a flathead screwdriver to press in on the clip on the back of the power antenna knob and slide it off. The upper dash panel will now come away. I find it easier to shift the car into 1 and tilt the steering wheel full down to get it out easiest.

Remove the panel directly under the steering column. There are 2 screws that hold this in, and it slides straight down and away


Remove the 5 screws from the bottom of the column shroud


The two halves of the column shroud will come apart now. The upper one has a split directly below the shift lever to get it off. The lower one just comes straight down. It helps to fool with the tilt to get the upper and lower off the column itself. At this point you may do whatever you're doing in here. I happened to pull it apart to fix the floppy shifter my car has. It was due to a busted return spring. Here is how to get the shift lever out and how to change the spring.

The shift lever is held in with a single pin. Drive it out and the shifter comes away.

To actually access the spring that was causing the issue in my car, I needed to remove the instrument cluster. Since I was doing this anyway for the LED install, it made sense to fix this in one shot.

Pulling the instrument cluster:
Remove the 4 screws, one at each corner, or if you have a car like mine, there may be between 0 and 4 screws

Unplug the speedo cable. There is some wierd trick to this that involves squeezing the plastic ring in just the right manner. I have no idea what the magic is, usually after swearing at it for 15-20 minutes the damn thing just falls apart for me.

Unhook the shift indicator mess. Unhook the wire from the inner cable off of the arm on the shift rod.

There is a plastic ring around the column that often breaks. If its not broken, remove the screw. If its broken, just pull it off, or cut the wire tie.

Pull the instrument cluster away and unplug the electrical connector from it. Just in case anyone is curious, this is what the shift indicator mechanism actually looks like. You can see the broken collar.

To get the spring out, there is 1 T15 torx screw holding a bracket in place. Remove this

The spring and the rod comes out. This is what mine looked like, and the new spring is there on the right. All the little chunks were bits of the old spring. Any wonder why it didn't work?

Installation is the reverse of removal, etc, etc.

Since all this was about installing the LEDs, I suppose a bit of info related to that might be nice too. There are 6 lights illuminating the dash of a Townie. You can probably get away with just swapping out the bulbs, but for max illumination the blue plastic domes should be removed. This requires pulling the face off the instrument cluster, and removing each of the guage "pods" in order to pull the old bulb covers. I'll get pics of what they look like installed once it gets dark.

08-29-2006, 02:03 AM
is that spring breaking what makes the shift lever floppy??? where did you find this spring???

08-29-2006, 11:45 PM
Yeah, the busted spring is what makes the shifter floppy. I found one in a junkyard car with the column half ripped out of the car.

08-29-2006, 11:53 PM
aahhhh another project for the pile :D

08-30-2006, 12:30 AM
Where can you get a replacement spring? Mine's kind of floppy.

08-30-2006, 12:32 AM
I think you just need some porn.


08-30-2006, 12:49 AM
funny that didnt work on mine its still floppy?

08-30-2006, 12:52 AM
You need some viagra...

08-30-2006, 01:12 AM
Where can you get a replacement spring? Mine's kind of floppy.

I got mine from the junkyard. Its possible you can get one new from ford. Its probably the same thing used on a lot of other vehicles.

08-30-2006, 08:27 PM
Did I go to far?

08-31-2006, 01:41 AM
Damn, and I thought I was bad about tearing interiors out!!!! I know how it is... you pull one little spring out, then you see something else, then something else, etc etc etc.....

09-01-2006, 02:15 AM
I probably wouldn't have done it if I hadn't seen that car in the junkyard with the dash partially ripped out. It gave me a chance to study how it all worked. I should have snagged the shift lever from that one tho, it was in better shape than mine. I should have also taken the MF switch so I could get my flash to pass functionality back. I lost that a while back when my MF died and I swapped it with one from an 84.