Removing the Dash in your 280ZX

Removing the dash to get to the heater vents or wiring can look like a daunting task, But it is really not that hard to do. With the steps outlined below you should have it out within two hours.

Tools Needed

  • Steering wheel puller (optional)
  • #2 (large tip) Philips screwdriver
  • Large metric socket to fit shaft nut on steering wheel.
  • Basic metric socket and ratchet set


  1. Remove kick panels in both footwells. Store panels and screws. Remove trim around radio and A/C center vents, storing all screws and trim pieces.

  2. Protect the center console with a shop rag to avoid scratching it during the next step.
  3. Remove radio console, complete. This starts with small plastic triangular panels on the lower sides of radio console (1 screw each) then four bolts each side, two top, two bottom, on each side of console. Turn the bolts one turn with a ratchet, then use a #2 screwdriver to remove them. Unclip all electrical & antenna connections.

  4. Lift out radio console; store out of the way.
  5. Look under A/C control box and you will find two screws thru the dash into the console. Remove these with a stubby Philips and store them.

  6. Remove glove box door and inner box. Store the screws.
  7. Remove steering wheel with following procedure: (Disconnect the battery first unless you mind blowing the horn a few times.....) There are two screws holding on trim on the back (dash) side of your steering wheel. Remove them with a stubby Philips screwdriver. Remove soft cap from center of steering wheel (it goes back on with pressing and fiddling) and remove center assembly. You will see one wire coming out of the shaft and screwed to the wheel. That's the horn. Disconnect and don't short to ground or you get noise! Your goal is to loosen the large nut on the shaft, Mark the wheel and shaft so you can align them back on installation. Now loosen the nut but leave it on the end of the shaft and mount your steering wheel puller on he nut, using the two threaded holes in the wheel for the puller's support bolts. Tighten puller until wheel pops loose. Now remove puller, remove large nut and wheel and store parts in safe place and don't scuff up the wheel. NOTE: You can loosen the bolts under the dash which hold the steering column in place and remove the dash without removing the wheel.

  8. Remove upper and lower plastic steering wheel trim from steering column behind the wheel. Various screws are involved, all of which are standard Philips head.
  9. Remove the connections from the turn signal assy. and loosen the large screw which clamps it on to the shaft. Pull outwards GENTLY until you can drop it down and out of your way. Now you have all the obstacles cleared.
  10. Reach under dash and disconnect speedometer cable at the connection in the center of the cable - usually the housing connection is hand-tight.
  11. Remove all electrical connections to dash. These are ALL located on the passenger side above the footwell - they're color coded and multi-pin connectors. If in doubt - you'll find out which are the necessary ones when the dash comes loose.
  12. Remove four flat plastic plugs on top of the dash, exposing the top screws. Leave these screws till last.

  13. Remove four large screws across the bottom of the dash. These are readily visible - two are located immediately next to the radio console, two further outboard.
  14. Remove the four screws across the top of the dash. IT'S READY TO COME OUT! Double-check electricals and speedometer cable before pulling so you dont damage them.
  15. Now wiggle dash and lift slightly, pulling toward you. It will come loose when you lift it out of the support notches on the brackets which the lower four bolts screwed into.


To re-install dash is the reverse of removal - BUT be careful to locate the speedometer cable correctly! There's a body brace under the dash which it can go above or below. As soon as the dash is in place, CHECK THE SPEEDO CABLE FIRST. If you located it incorrectly, you'd better pull the dash back out far enough to get it right BEFORE you get everything else connected!

NOTE: make sure to locate the steering wheel on the splined hub correctly to keep it centered.

Sources used on this page:

  • 1979-1983 Datsun Factory Service Manual