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Removing Dashboard / Replacing Heater Matrix


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#1 AndrewC

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Posted 05 April 2005 - 12:53 PM

Toyota Sera ñ Replacement of Heater Matrix

This was written by Sera masochist Simon Guerrero, who wrote this as a guide to changing the heater matrix which requires removing the dashboard.

Note: There are a lot of electrics which need unplugging. I used a permanent marker to mark plugs/sockets with ëAí, ëBí, ëCí etc to allow me to match plug with socket.

1. Remove trim running under footwell and along under the door. These are pegged in (pull gently!) and fastened at the footwell with 1 x plastic bolt on each side of the car.

2. Remove glove box ñ 2 x screws under the base holds the hinges onto the dash.

3. Remove ash tray ñ unclip moving part of ashtray and undo 2 x screws holding base in.

4. Remove the plastic cowling under the indicator/washer stalks, fastened in with 3 x screws.

5. Remove the flat plate under the steering column, directly over the driverís knees. Fastened in with 4 x plastic pegs ñ Press the centre of each clip so it's recessed. The panel will lift off without any effort at all. To reseat, push the centre of the pin out (so it protrudes from the clip, rather than being recessed), the panel can be offered up, then push the pins so they're flush again.

6. Remove hi-fi trim then hi-fi (locate two metal levers in ashtray space and pull apart while pulling hifi out (can be done with one person if you move one lever at a time ñ they can actually lock open, as they tuck behind a tiny bit of metalÖneeds practice!

7. Remove plastic cover over central tunnel (handbrake/gear area). Itís held in by 1 x screw at the top end, where the ash tray was, and 2 x screws at the back end, either side of the tunnel, down by the seats. You may need to remove the seats to do this, or you could use a right-angle phillips screwdriver (like the ones you get free with much Ikea furniture!). Two more screws are located at either side of the lower front end behind the carpet (poke around with your finger to find a small recess in the carpet). There is a little removable panel just under the tip of the handbrake lever which can be pulled out to lift the cover past the handbrake. To remove the cover pull it apart slightly at the front end. <Edit provided by Tobias>

8. Remove the trim at the sides of the windscreen, between the roof and the dash. These are pegged in so just pull gently. If, like me, you have an alarm fitted, the sensor wire will run behind these and needs to be carefully left dangling, or tucked under the sun visors.

9. Remove gear knob (unscrew) and gear gaiter.

10. Remove the horn panel from the centre of the steering wheel, held in with 1 x screw under the base of the wheel. Carefully unplug the spade connector connecting the horn to the panel.

Note: Before removing the steering wheel, make sure the car is parked straight, and the steering wheel is aligned correctly. Itís best to use an indelible pen (e.g. CD pen) to put a mark running across the top of the spline and across the bolt holding the wheel on. That way you can align the wheel correctly when itís put back.

11. Remove the steering wheel ñ undo the bolt and toothed washer. To remove the wheel, you either need a clever steering wheel remover, or brute force. I tend to sit in the driverís seat, brace my feet in the footwell, and tug the wheel hard from left to right until it works loose.

12. Remove the washer/indicator stalks ñ 3 x screws in a ëYí shape hold it in. You will also need to unfasten 2 x wiring plugs. Note that the top section of cowling over the steering column wonít come out ñ you need to carefully hold it up while easing out the stalk assembly. If anyone knows how to remove this cowling section before the dash is off, please let me know!

Elfenstar to the rescue: "to remove the top of the steering cowling, other than the 3 screws that attach the bottom to it, there is a screw for the behind the steering wheel facing the driver. If you turn the steering wheel and look at the top right of the cowling, you will see this screw"

13. Instrument binnacle cowling ñ use a flat bladed screwdriver to carefully ease off the two rectangular plastic covers on the underside of the cowling. Underneath are 2 x screws, which hold in the cowling. Remove the cowling.

14. Instrument binnacle ñ remove 3 x screws at top of binnacle. Open the bonnet and locate the speedometer cable. The end of this unscrews. This will allow you to gently pull the binnacle from the inside until you can access the back of it, where another screw fitting holds the speedo cable in. Undo this end, leaving the cable in place. Unplug 3 electrical plugs. Remove binnacle.

15. Dashboard ñ remove 1 x bolt behind instrument binnacle. Remove 2 x bolts at the base of the windscreen, right at the back corner of the dash on each side. This is impossible to do with a socket wrench as thereís not enough travel ñ you need a 10mm spanner, used very carefully without scratching the windscreen.

16. Base of dash at the corner of the door ñ remove 2 x bolts, one on each side of the car. On mine, the left one has a spade connector under it to earth the alarm/central locking system.

17. Remove 2 x gold-coloured screws/bolts at the right and left side of the gear stick.

18. Remove 1 x nut at the left of the base of the glove box, above the wiring assemble. Remove 1 x screw below the right hand side of the glove box. Remove 1 x gold-coloured nut at the centre of the dash, behind the hi-fi. There is a washer and a spade with a brown wire under it.

19. Remove 1 x gold-coloured nut behind the centre of the glove box, which holds the dash to the front brace strut. A spade holds a pair of black and white wires behind this, with another black wire behind them.

20. Unplug 3 x plugs from amp, removing the cable assembly which plugs into a hole in the metal frame.

21. Remove t-shaped plastic ducting under steering column. Remove 1 x screw holding small rubber vent tube to the left of the steering column.

22. Remove the bonnet release catch with 2 x screws.

23. Unclip fuse box from wall under driverís side. Remove gold-coloured bolt + washer to the right of the fuse box (a spade holds a pair of black and white and brown wires under it, also earths an alarm/central locking wire on mine). Unplug 5 x plugs in the fuse box. Unplug ignition plug. Unplug small yellow plug directly behind binnacle.

24. Unplug 3 x plugs to the rear right of the glove box.

25. Thick cable behind the left of the dash ñ unplug 2 grey plugs on left. Unplug white plug and slide cable assembly off bracket. Remove 1 x bolt + washer at base of cable assembly holding a large, wide spade connector with black cable (also a black alarm/locking cable on mine). This bolt also holds in a (rather rusty) assembly with 2 x white plugs. Unclip large brown assembly from metal frame. Unplug yellow 2 pin plug from the a/c box (marked ëDensoí).

26. Locate thick black cable by the driverís foot rest (behind amp) and make sure itís not in the way. Carefully remove dash (use help if necessary) and lift it out as far as possible, resting the right hand side of it on the driverís side floor. YOU CANíT TAKE IT COMPLETELY OUT WITHOUT CUTTING WIRES ñ in fact, if you have central locking/alarm, there will be wires everywhere! Be careful!

27. There are three x black boxes fastened to the bulkhead at the base of the windscreen. They are (from left to right): heater fan, a/c and heater matrix. Remove 1 x screw from the top of the heater matrix box and remove the small piece of ducting from the top of the matrix box.

28. Remove metal strut brace across car: remove 2 x gold bolts on the left, 1 x nut at the top of steering column (fastening to bulkhead), 1 x nut at the left of the hi-fi amp frame, 2 x nuts on the right side of the hi-fi amp frame, and 4 x bolts on the right side of the strut brace.

29. Remove 4 x silver bolts holding in hi-fi amp. Remove 1 x bolt underneath steering column fastening to bracket on bulkhead.

30. Remove 2 x black screw/bolts fastening heater fan box (1) to a/c (box 2) and a/c to matrix (box 3). Remove 1 x gold nut above matrix box. Remove 1 x gold screw to ducting, left front of heater matrix. Remove 2 x gold screws holding cable assembly to lower front of heater matrix.

31. Locate a small box with a rather odd graphic on it, lower front of heater matrix. The graphic is like a graduated white-orange-red sign. Remove 1 x screw to right of it.

32. Remove 3 x gold nuts which hold a/c box (2) to bulkhead. Remove 1 x black screw between fan (1) and a/c (2). Remove 1 x gold nut to right of matrix box (3) holding box to bulkhead. YOU SHOULD NOW BE ABLE TO SEE THE TOP OF THE HEATER MATRIX, WITH TWO COPPER PIPES GOING OUT THROUGH THE BULKHEAD.

33. Lift bonnet: locate the two coolant pipes going in through the centre of the bulkhead into the heater matrix. Use a pair of pliers/grips to unclip the metal spring clip on each one and lift it clear of the rubber hose so itís loose on the matrix pipe.

34. Remove rubber hoses from matrix. These will probably be very tough ñ I spent a while gently easing a thin, flat-bladed screwdriver carefully between the hose and the pipe, until I could work them loose. Be prepared for a few nasty scratches, bruises and cuts as thereís very little room for manoeuvre. Be careful as there may be coolant lurking in the pipes, which makes a real mess. Also take care not to lose the spring clips from the hoses as they come loose. Leave the loose hoses hanging in the engine bay. Remove the two rubber seals around the matrix pipe in the bulkhead.

35. Back inside the car, remove the final 3 x gold nuts from the heater fan box (note that the bottom left one has a black plastic clip over it to hold a wire). All three boxes should now be slightly loose.

NOW ñ you will note that the a/c box overlaps the heater matrix box. The a/c box is held in by the a/c piping coming in from the engine bay. If you donít want to disconnect this (I suggest you donít as youíll lose all that precious a/c gas!), you will need to CAREFULLY, with a combination of brute force and skill, gradually ease the matrix box out from underneath the a/c box. Eventually it should come far enough out for you to be able to lift the heater matrix itself out of the box. Whoopee!

The heater matrix can now be either replaced for a new one (about £200 in the UK!), or it can be repaired by a radiator specialist. Depending on the damage, it may require the seams to be re-soldered (cheap), or it will be re-cored ñ this involves de-soldering the casing of the matrix, and replacing the central core (the thin pipes and the copper fins), then re-fitting. Typical cost of re-coring in the UK is around £65 + VAT. The specialist will also pressure-test the radiator to ensure no leaks are present, and will usually offer a substantial guarantee ñ often lifetime.

It is worth noting that a lot of foam padding material is attached to the matrix which presumably makes it sit in the box without rattling around. If you have the matrix repaired, this will be removed. It should be replaced with foam padding which can withstand heat ñ 100 degrees to be safe. I used some grey packing foam (the type which comes with computer motherboards) and experimented by setting a pan of water boiling on the stove, then holding the foam to the side of the pan and checking it didnít melt. Unscientific, but it works.

Once youíve got the matrix ready, slide it back into the box and do all the above things in reverse! Good luck!


1992 Toyota Sera ph3 ï1977 Lancia Montecarlo ï 1999 TVR Chimaera ï 2005 Fiat Ducato Motorhome ï Norwich Photo Motorsport Photography ï Racing Exposure ï Facebook ï Twitter ï Instagram


#2 amashun

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 12:08 PM

thx Andrew :(

#3 rosco

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Posted 21 May 2005 - 03:52 PM

thats a very handy bit of info
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#4 Kevin Wadsworth

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 08:53 PM

a 5 minute job then ! :censor:

#5 Rich

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 10:43 PM

a 5 minute job then ! :censor:

I couldn't even read it that fast !

#6 RichardK

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 09:31 AM

The plastic pegs under the cowling:

Press the centre of each clip so it's recessed. The panel will lift off without any effort at all. To reseat, push the centre of the pin out (so it protrudes from the clip, rather than being recessed), the panel can be offered up, then push the pins so they're flush again.

170 cars in 25 years - 4 of them Seras!

Sera: 1991 Black Phase 2 Auto - 14725
Not Sera: Yellow 1998 SLK 230K, 1993 500 SEC (for sale), 2006 RX8 192, 2002 Twingo, 1989 Volvo 740.


#7 elfenstar

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 12:39 AM

Does anyone know if theres any way to just remove the darker section of the dash so that i can access the climate control box without removing the entire dash???

#8 AndrewC

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 07:53 AM

no, the dash is a one piece unit.

1992 Toyota Sera ph3 ï1977 Lancia Montecarlo ï 1999 TVR Chimaera ï 2005 Fiat Ducato Motorhome ï Norwich Photo Motorsport Photography ï Racing Exposure ï Facebook ï Twitter ï Instagram


#9 Scuzzy

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 08:19 AM

no, the dash is a one piece unit.

Haha wow that's horrible :thumbsup:

I was kinda hoping I could eventualy get a new dark part of the dash section for my sera to replace it where the previouse owner drilled in a Phone Holder.

#10 elfenstar

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 12:05 PM

So the darker section is glued onto the darker section rather than screwed/bolted or clipped on... damn... thats a hassle...

Is there anyway to remove the climate control unit by removing the dash couling?

scuzzy. you're in aust arent you? there are some really good dash restoration places in melb, sydney and queensland that can fill the holes and paint them over to match the rest of the dash (or in our case either the darker or lighter section). apparantly they can even replicate the patterns on the plastic.

Edit: this link might help dash restorations

#11 AndrewC

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 02:03 PM

Darker section - its just painted differently, but its one piece of dashboard - it doesn't unscrew.

If you want to get at anything other than the heater fan motor, its dash out time.

1992 Toyota Sera ph3 ï1977 Lancia Montecarlo ï 1999 TVR Chimaera ï 2005 Fiat Ducato Motorhome ï Norwich Photo Motorsport Photography ï Racing Exposure ï Facebook ï Twitter ï Instagram


#12 elfenstar

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 02:37 PM

Well i hope it coz i have a crap battery (which i'm changing tomorrow) then, rather than the bulbs for the climate control going dim before they blow.

Thanks andrew.

#13 elfenstar

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 07:59 PM

Andrew, you might need to update the plastic peg bit with what Richard K said.

Also for point 12, to remove the top of the steering cowling, other than the 3 screws that attach the bottom to it, there is a screw for the behind the steering wheel facing the driver. If you turn the steering wheel and look at the top right of the cowling, you will see this screw.

#14 Idiot4Hire

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 08:50 AM

11. Remove the steering wheel ˝ undo the bolt and toothed washer. To remove the wheel, you either need a clever steering wheel remover, or brute force. I tend to sit in the driverÝs seat, brace my feet in the footwell, and tug the wheel hard from left to right until it works loose.


Hi Guys,

I know that this is an old post, but I have an important safety tip for anyone attempting to remove a steering wheel using brute force.
I always loosen the nut that holds the steering wheel on only half way, then I work the wheel loose before removing the nut completely and taking the wheel off. I found out the hard way that when you are pulling the wheel towards you and it suddenly comes free it really hurts when it hits you in the face!!!

I hope this post saves someone else out there form an afternoon of pain.

#15 TERRA Operative

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 03:03 AM

I've smacked myself in the face more times than I care to admit..... :ninja:

I now leave the nut on the shaft too............




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