Spent the day taking dash and instrument cluster apart so I could remove the shift indicator bezel and lens (to replace). Got the three retaining screws out and thought I was home free - but the bezel and lens won't budge. Feels like they're still bolted in. Trying to be gentle while handling yet still apply enough pressure, the piece really won't come out. There's an odd looking piece of rectangular metal lined up with a rectangular hole in the bezel. Please tell me this is not screwed in from other side somehow....if it is I have no idea how I could ever remove it. What am I doing wrong???? Any advice appreciated and thanks.
This flat headed bolts has a serrated flange headed nut on the front side that secures the shift quadrant bezel to the painted dash piece over the steering column as seen in pictures below. I believe you are going to need to remove the lower dash cover. loosen the steering column hanger brackets, especially the front, and pull the steering column down and back to expose the nut. I always access this nut and other fasteners with column out and dash out ... but believe that would give you access to the nut on front.
Very helpful, thanks Jason. I'm furious that nowhere - absolutely nowhere - does the shop manual give any hint that the entire steering column has to be removed to get the g__damn instrument bezel out. If it did, I would never have wasted 40-odd dollars on a new shift bezel lens. IF ANYONE WANTS THE SHIFT BEZEL LENS PM ME, IT'S YOURS.
Well, the column doesn't have to be removed, just lowered a bit. If you have not already dropped the lower dash cover below the column there are just 3 Phillips Screws, 5 7/16" bolts and 1 star screw to drop and disconnect the ashtray harness. From there you are only looking at 2 cradle bracket bolts that hold the steering column firmly in place against the column. Loosen the bottom a tad, and and loosen the top more.. might need to remove. Then gently/firmly pull back on column until it clears the collar lip, then let it drop down just enough to get access to that nut. There should be a need a lot of couulum movement ... pulling intoward you about 1/2" and dropping about 1" or so. It will be attached at the steering gear via the rag joint and it will have some give for the movement, but not a lot so you don't want to just jerk the column back and out.
I'm amazed you got that far with the instrument cluster and all still in the dash so I wouldn't let a bit more work stop you.
Thanks Jason. I did take the bottom off and the way mine is set up there is an odd bolt (not the usual hex pattern) with rounded edges that none of my wrenches can manage...plus the angle is almost impossible to get access from above which it needs, can't be done from bottom. The screw is set so high up I guarantee all I would accomplish is to ruin my steering in some way and never get it back right. I notice not all of the shift bezels have this...there's one on ebay that is just the three screws, probably from a later incarnation of the cars. Somebody realized how totally ludicrous this design was I guess. Too late for my car. I gave up and put the lower dash cover back. I will have that clear shift bezel lens on Ebay until the day I die - nobody ever buys my stuff. How wonderful.
I guess I'm confused by the "odd bolt (not the usual hex pattern)" statement. Once lower dash panel is removed and column is pulled out and dropped you should see the flang head nut as seen in my picture on the tilt column. The non-tilt has a tab built into the outer chrome bezel but a similar attachment.
When I took the lower cover off, I could see the bracket and a hanging device, sort of a hinge on one side and a bolt on the other, holding the column up. There was a bolt on the underside that would not budge, so I looked above and saw the weirdly shaped nut holding it down on the topside. With flashlight I could see the bolt we're talking about holding the bezel. But I could not get the oddly shaped nut holding the hanger for the column off for anything, not at that angle or with conventional wrenches. Even if I had removed it, the space was so tight I doubt I could have gotten access to the bezel bolt by lowering the column an inch. It's buried in there. Amazing the shop manual makes no reference to any of this in the "removing the instrument bezel" section. Bad design, period.
The lens is on Ebay (where it will remain for the next 40 years), if anyone wants it: https://www.ebay.com/itm/324629774754
Boy, does that explain a lot - picture #2 is my exact same setup. I'll give it another try today going from underneath. This is really helpful - thanks so much, Jason!
Success! I was able to lower the column without touching the floor brace - glad because the rubber boot is on tight and didn't want to crack that or mess it up. I got the lens out and am repainting the bezel. THANK YOU for all the help - I never would have gotten the job done without it.
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