by Dick Benjamin
Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Interior -> 1967 Dash Pad Removal OR Imperial Home Page -> Imperial by Year -> 1967 -> Dick Benjamin's 1967 Refurbishment -> Dash Pad Removal
The dash pad on the 1967 Imperial is held to the metal inner core of the dash casting by 14 fasteners of 4 different types. It is possible to remove the pad without much additional disassembly, but it is difficult and painstaking work. Getting in a hurry will almost certainly result in a damaged pad. The usual damage is a crack in the inner foam core, such that the covering will split or at least make a depression that is very visible.
The fasteners are as follows:
A: 4 chrome Phillips head trim screws, 2 at each end of the dash. These can usually be seen by opening the doors wide - on some cars the chrome trim piece that extends down the A pillar must be removed for access.
B: 3 cad plated Phillips head sheet metal screws that go up into the pad from the underside of the projecting edge of the dash. Two of these can be seen by looking upwards from the floor, just ½ inch away from the surface of the main dash bezel on the driver’s side, plus one on the glove box side of the dash, just to the right of the HVAC controls, but in line with the two on the driver’s side. The screws on the driver’s side can be removed with a right angle Phillips driver without taking the bezel off, but it is a long and tedious process. The one on the right side is fairly easy to remove.
C: 3 3/8 hex nuts with captive washers that are buried up behind the glove box, roughly behind the grab handle. The only way to access these is to fish your hand up behind the glove box, and the spacing is very tight. I found it easier to unscrew the glove box fiberglass box from its mounting so that it can shift a little to allow my hand up there. (The fiberglass or cardboard ‘box’ is very difficult to remove without damage, as it really doesn’t fit through the door opening without bending it, so if you can avoid doing that, it is worth doing.) If you feel all the way toward the right end of the dash, you will feel a series of small nuts, threaded to studs that protrude from the dash casting toward the front of the car. The only way to get a tool on these nuts is to use a very short nut driver, or a ¼ drive ratchet with a short extension, fitted to a 3/8” socket. There are more of these up there than you need to remove for this job, just take the last 3 toward the right, the others hold other items. If you remove the right air vent first, it makes life a little easier, as space is really cramped by the AC air duct back there. By the way, you do not have to remove the grab handle, it is not involved with holding the dash pad in place.
D. 7 spring type “snap through” retainers, exactly like the ones that hold inner door panels on most cars. These are captive in the pads, in fact they are molded into the foam core, so you must be careful not to damage these; there is really no way to replace them. These retainers snap through from the top of the dash. 3 of them are just about ½ inch rearward from the leading edge of the pad. The left most one is near the curved left edge of the pad, the second one is in about 6 inches from there toward the center of the car, and the 3rd is in a corresponding location on the passenger side of the car. The other 4 are situated around the speaker cutout of the dash pad, and can be seen and removed after taking down the vent control panel.
If you try to pull the pad upward to snap these retainers out of their holes, you will almost certainly pull one or more of the retainers out of the foam, so don’t even try it! The only safe way to get these to pop out of their holes is to push them up from under the dash. To do this you will need a long arm, a good light, and a pair of pliers that can squeeze the clip’s “knees” together to make them pop up through the hole in the dash. Do the ones around the speaker cutout first, this will help you develop a technique for when you tackle the hard ones.
A couple of things to watch for are:
If the car has twilight sentinel, you must remove the ambient light sensor from the top of the dash before starting this whole project. This can be done from under the dash - the sensor extends down into the dash near the left corner of the windshield, and is held in place by a “tinnerman nut”, which is a spring steel barbed retainer that is really not designed to be removed without damage. The only way I know to get these off is to pull on the 4 sharp tangs that dig into the plastic sensor stem, one by one, working your way down the stem slowly until finally the retainer comes all the way off the stem. I use a dentist’s tooth scraping hook to do this, but any sharp pointed tool with a hook on it should work. If you have to, sacrifice an ice pick by bending the last ¼ inch of the tip over at a 90 degree angle (use heat to avoid breaking it!). The twilight sentinel sensor has a 2 wire connector on it, which is too large to go through the hole in the dash, so you must either push out the individual copper contacts, or cut the wires and then re-solder them when you reinstall the sensor.
If the car has ATC, be sure that your replacement pad is from an ATC car, as you need the grille assembly which holds the ambient air temperature sensor that is right in front of the driver’s nose. That grille was also present on some non-ATC cars, probably those built in the last few weeks, but in a non - ATC car, it has no purpose.
If the car has the automatic headlight dimmer, the sensor may or may not be mounted through the pad - I don’t think it is but since I haven’t personally inspected one of these cars, I can’t be sure. Make sure you know how to remove that before you start on the rest of the project!
The following pictures may help to clarify what I have said above:
The above shows the 3 spring clip holes toward the left side of the car, #1 and 2 are in front of the driver, #3 is over by the speaker grille.
The above shows the 3 stud holes over the glove box. The nuts have to be removed from behind these holes, in other words toward the front of the car - where the sun don’t shine!
The above shows the 2 Phillips chrome plated trim screws on the driver’s end of the dash. In this picture, the dash is out of the car (this is the dash from my blue interior sedan), so it is laying on its back, with the gauges looking at the ceiling. You can faintly make out the underside of the ATC ambient air temp sensor grille, discussed above, right over the gauge cluster.
The above shows the old dark green dash pad from my 67 Convertible, laying on its back to show you its underside. I’ve tried to indicate the locations of the various fasteners.
This is a second view of the same information as given just above - it may be a little easier to see - the lines point to the exact location of the fasteners.
This shows the detail of the spring clip, unfortunately the angle of the picture doesn’t really give a good view of the part that snaps through the metal hole, but I think you will all recognize this as our old friend the door panel clip, just molded into the foam core.
There is also a good shot of the sunken hole in the underside of the pad through which one of the 3 cad plated Phillips screws will be install
This is a better, if somewhat out of focus, view of 2 of the three cad plated Phillips screws that go up into the pad . The underside of the ATC air temp sensor also shows clearly.
This is taken from the blind side of the dash (the dash is off the car, so the camera position is as if it were below the windshield), and shows the 3 3/8” nuts discussed above. You can also see the #7 spring fastener, still snapped through the dash metal casting. Here you can see the business end of the spring fastener, which is what you have to squeeze and push up through the dash to remove the pad. I number the spring fasteners from the drivers end, so this is the last of the fasteners to the right - note that it is just about in front of the edge of the glove box opening that is toward the middle of the car. This will seem odd, because all but this one fastener are from the speaker cutout over to the driver’s side. The reason is that the right end of the dash pad is held by the 3 3/8” nuts - apparently this added strength of this method was deemed necessary because this is where all the force goes when someone pulls on the grab handle. (Eat your heart out, 68 owners!).
This is the best view of the business end of a spring clip. #4 is the one at the windshield edge of the pad, at the driver’s side of the speaker cutout. This is also from the blue interior car (Is this car mint or what?!) The other three spring clips are at the corners of the speaker cutout, not visible in this picture because of the angle, but you’ll see them if you look all around the square cutout for the speaker. There are a total of 4 clips around the speaker.
I know this is very wordy - perhaps it takes longer to tell than to do, but it is a daunting task if all you have to rely on is the information in the FSM, which is sketchy, confusing, and wrong in a couple of particulars.
I believe the situation on 1968s will be very similar, but I don’t want to mislead anyone. I haven’t actually looked at this area of a 1968. Because of the absence of the highly desirable true luxury feature (the grab handle) on a 68, they may not have needed the 3 stud/nut retainer at the right end of the pad, and might have used 3 more spring clips to save money.
As usual, if I have not made anything clear enough, you are welcome to contact me directly at Dickb@sdccu.net
This page last updated March 19, 2003. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club