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Dash removal

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  • Dash removal

    Going to try removing 1957 hawk dash in a 53 champion to do some rewiring . It seems it would be easier that way. Question is; how hard is it and is there any tips. I have a service manual for 1953 but not for a 57 . Thanks

  • #2
    Not much different between the two. Just remember, when the manual was printed, all those wires were still young and flexible.
    "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

    Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10,
    '51 Commander Starlight,
    '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
    '56 Sky Hawk


    • #3
      Since yours has been modified I don't know how your wiring harness was done so I am not sure if this will apply to you. On my 61 hawk the wiring harnesses don't have a plug where they come through the firewall like a modern car does. Nor do they have much slack to allow rolling the dash and doing wiring while it is still in the car. When I pulled my dash out, I had the harnesses disconnected from the rest of the car and pulled them back through the firewall as the dash was removed. When I put it back together with a new harness, I connected the harnesses to the back of the dash while it was on the bench. The harness was fed through the firewall first and then pulled through as the dash was maneuvered into place.

      Remove the steering wheel and turn signal arm and if you have a column mounted shifter pull it down to the lowest position to get as much clearance as you can to maneuver the dash out and then back in.

      Good luck
      "Trying to shed my CASO ways"



      • #4
        Through the years, I have learned that, almost all these projects, that are not an "everyday" occurrence, are not nearly as daunting to do, as you imagine before getting into it. First, don't get in a hurry. Take some time to merely sit in the car and study the assembly involved. On the assembly line, it was put together, in order, one screw, one piece, at a time. Not knowing your age, physical condition, or capabilities...depending on that, I would suggest you do no more than is necessary to accomplish the task.

        First, the windshield garnish moldings usually need to come out. Probably includes the rear view mirror. For ease of access, removing the steering wheel, is also convenient. Cables, such as hood latches, hand brakes, etc., separated. What I like to do, is put the screws/ bolts, that hold things to the dash, back into their holes for safe keeping. This ensures that they will be there during re-assembly, rather than having to chase down the bag or cup you put them in. If you do use a storage container for screws, nuts, & bolts, use zip lock bags, and take the time to label them.

        For the steering column, usually, you can merely remove the bolts for the column clamp, and it will drop down enough for you to manipulate the dash out. To protect the steering column jacket, drape it with a towel, or mover's blanket. Again, depending on your physical flexibility, you can lie on your back, and remove the speedometer cable, radio antennae, and all wires, that are "short run," that might not allow you to pull the dash back without risking breaking something or pulling off, leaving you wondering where it should connect. If your car has a radio, removing it, while the dash is still secured, will make handling the dash, itself, much less cumbersome. I usually disconnect all wires before removing a dash. You buy a box of little white labels with a string attached at an office supply store, like staples. They work much better than a piece of masking tape that might fall off.

        Once the back of the dash is separated from all its "tethers"...there is usually two main bolts/nuts securing it on each end. Remove those, and tilt the dash back and up over the steering column from the passenger side. If you find some forgotten wire, still attached, rest the dash on the (covered) steering column, and remove the wire. That's pretty much the procedure that has worked for me. Once repaired, or rewired, I often install the instruments, and reconnect the wires with the dash placed back "almost" installed, and held so that once I have everything wired up, I can simply push it in place, and reconnect the main dash fasteners on both ends. If there is a radio, it goes in last.

        That's my way, yours might be better. I have done it several times, and not all were Studebakers. Also, I will admit, I've probably never done two of these jobs the same way. Reflecting on the procedure...I wonder how many people, on an assembly line, were required to do this task, that a restorer does, working alone?
        Last edited by jclary; 06-22-2016, 12:09 PM.
        John Clary
        Greer, SC

        SDC member since 1975


        • #5
          Originally posted by rockne10 View Post
          Just remember, when the manual was printed, all those wires were still young and flexible.
          And so were we.
          RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

          17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
          10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
          10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
          4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
          5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
          56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
          60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


          • #6
            Piece of cake. the only way to go from this:

            To this:

            And then I went back to this:

            Only way to go when rewiring. Tear it ALL out from the start. Dash is a easy out and in.


            • #7
              The dash is easy out and back in. what my son and I did was cut the old harness outside the firewall, (I know it destroys it) then remove dash. Rewire dash one wire at a time. Then thread new harness thru firewall and repeat process, one wire at a time. You are putting new wiring in no big deal cutting old harness.

              Besides ..................your back will love you not being on a floorboard!
              It is an addiction!


              • #8
                I agree wholeheartedly with John with the only comment being: DISCONNECT your BATTERY BEFORE starting.
                Good luck as I'm sure it won't be as daunting as it does before you start.
                Keep us posted.