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I have a 1970 GTO; that has plenty of things done to it over the years. Up front, several of the items on the left gage are not working, the dash tach is completely out of the panel, Radio and speakers are gone; and I need to replace the clear plastic that has the white lettering under the sliders for the heating/cooling. So the question is, do I really need to pull the full dash out of the car to get access to this? Can I gain access from the top by removing the dash pad, or am I just going to run into sheet metal?

Any good diagrams that show all of this? I haven't found anything in the shop manual or the other references I have at my disposal.

Any have any guidance or maybe a few pictures of what I am in for?

Thanks!
-Mike
 

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Bear posted this earlier link for a '69 & the steps are near identical for a '70-72 dash OR or a 2nd Gen Firebird dash.

http://www.gtoforum.com/f146/69-dash-removal-60898/#

To add to Bear's well written response, I would add:

-take time to carefully unbolt the under dash AC ducting, dont destroy it. Really nice condition plastic ducting is getting harder & harder to find. 25 years ago, that's the type of parts many of us gave away.

-carefully remove the factory radio/stereo or aftermarket stereo. Oem radios/stereos had a small stamped steel bracket that mounts off the rh back side of the radio & stretches down to the bottom of the dash structure where it attached with a small bolt that comes up from the bottom.

-I've found it best to start from the passenger side, removing glovebox door, glove box liner, working to the driver side, & eventually, the stamped steel "speed nuts" above the glove box area, holding the molded dash to the rh side if the metal structure of the dash. Doesn't hurt to have an extra set of hands when it's time to carefully slide he molded dash back towards ones body.

-As Bear mentions, it's a lot easier with the front bucket seats or bench removed. I would also add to that, take time & remove the console & auto shifter, if car is so equipped. One of the most exasperating experiences ive had pulling these molded dashes was on a dash asm i learned a costly mistake on. This was decades ago, the result was slightly chipping the leading edge of the dash asm when the dash rolled into my lap as I kneeled on the floor. The part sticking up was the auto shifter w/o the shifter handle. Ever since that day, I've always removed the floor shifter when removing or installing nice dash assemblys.
 

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I can vouch for everything Bear and Pinion Head have written. I am in the process of reassembling the instrument panel in my '72. Seems someone(s) got in it, didn't know what they were doing and ended up doing more harm than good. It's almost ready to be reinstalled, but I've had to repair or replace almost every piece in it. Removing the front seats is the only way to go. We left the console in but we covered it and the shifter with a couple layers of bubble wrap to protect it. If you haven't begun yet, take plenty of photos under the dash showing where the connectors are plugged in. Before climbing out from under the dash, make sure the turn signal relay is hanging freely from its wires. It snaps into a retainer that is part of the instrument panel's frame and will try to come out with the dash when you pull it out of the car. When you're ready to pull the dash, get someone to help you get it free, walk it out the car, and set it on your workbench. Cover your bench with towels or an old blanket first. As the panel comes toward you you'll see the main wiring harness tucked into a plastic conduit of sorts between the bottom of the dash pad and the top of the guage cluster. Remove the harness from that conduit piece and the instrument panel will be ready to come out of the car.
 
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