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Truck #121616
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This method involves removing your dash, so if you dont know how, ill write up a how-to on that, but later...
with your dash out, remove the 5 screws holding the heating ducts on. 3 on the middle piece, and one on each of the side vents.
You can now remove the side vents from the middle vent. Then you want to draw a rough outline of where you are going to cut. This outline i have drawn should be more than big enough to fit most of the head units out there.


Cut along the line, and then you should have something like this:


Now you want to pick yourself up some of that aluminum heating duct tape. Cut strips of the tape and press it onto the heating vent. you want to keep the tape level with the lowest part of where you cut, so dont pull it tight. Do the inside as well as the outside, and when you are done, you should have something like this:


Here is another angle. Notice the lowest point where i cut, and see how i kept it level:


When you are happy with it, put it back into your dash, and slide your head unit in to test fit. Make sure you take into account for the RCA's and other things that plug into the back of your head unit that need extra clearance.
 

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hmm mine sticks out about 1/8th of an inch was thinking of just getting a thicker spacer ring on the outside, but might do this. How hard is it to take the dash out?
 

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Mine sticks out about 1/2 an inch...this is a good idea...if I did this I would go ahead and replace the heater core too, even if it wasnt bad
 

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I had luck fitting in my head unit by cutting off the safety bolt deal in the back, but I am not using the RCA's, so it fits fine. I never thought about how it would not fit with RCA's in. Im about to swap out my dash so I think I will do this in preparation for future upgrades. Thanks a bunch.
 

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Truck #121616
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Discussion Starter #5
hmm mine sticks out about 1/8th of an inch was thinking of just getting a thicker spacer ring on the outside, but might do this. How hard is it to take the dash out?
dash isnt too hard to take out... getting the harnesses off the inside of the dash is a pain in the ass though... when GM assembled the dashes, i bet you they built the harness onto the dash, then put it in the truck.

there are screws holding the harness on underneath the heating vents. pain in the ass.
but other than that, its about 4x 9/32" screws up top beside the defrost vents, and i think 4x 10mm bolts on the bottom (far left bottom by the foot vent handle, up beside the steering column on the right side, in the middle (if you have a 5spd, its behind the shifter base), and on the far right side by the foot vent handle).
to get the dash out, you need to take the panels off it (ebrake panel (the one that goes from the ebrake area to under the steering column), HVAC/light controls, gauge cluster surround, and the cluster itself). with the panels off, you need to remove all the wires attached to the dash.
If you have a rear defrost, you have the harness plug that is screwed onto the dash behind the light controls.
if you have power mirrors, you have the power mirror harness plug screwed into the dash behind the HVAC controls.
you have the light for the coil holder/ash tray, you have the light for the glove box.
you have the courtesy lights on the driver and passenger side. you have the computer and DRAC module to remove on the passenger side (uses 1x 9/32" screw to hold it in place)
you have the main harness comin in from the fuse panel... this is zap-strapped onto the back of the dash behind the cluster, and it dips down behind the pocket area under the coin holder and glovebox.
you have the horn relay and flashers tucked beside the ebrake area. there are 2x 9/32" screws holding it on... only thing is the screws are only accessable from behind. feel with your fingers, and you should find them easily. should be: left side at the top, and right side near the middle.
you have the speaker wires. the speakers use 2x T15 (i think) screws to hold the speaker grille on. with the grille out, use a flat blade screw driver on the plug and it should come off with little to no effort.

i think that might be it for wiring... you have the heater hoses running to the small vents just above the big side vents.


if you are doing this mod, it would probably be best to fix/replace a few things if you need to... once you have had the dash out, its easy to take out again, because you probably wont want to zap strap the harness in again.

reassembly is easy, just undo everything you did.

i STRONGLY suggest putting ALL the screws and bolts into a ziplock bag as you go so you dont loose them! TRUST ME ON THIS hahaa!
 

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Truck #121616
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Discussion Starter #6
I had luck fitting in my head unit by cutting off the safety bolt deal in the back, but I am not using the RCA's, so it fits fine. I never thought about how it would not fit with RCA's in. Im about to swap out my dash so I think I will do this in preparation for future upgrades. Thanks a bunch.
in some cases this works good, but out of all the head units ive had, none have that screw thing, and they all stuck out 1/4" to 1/2" so i thought i would write this tutorial for you guys who, like me, are sick of having your head unit fall out under heavy acceleration! hahaa!
 

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Now that I think about it, my newest head unit did not have the goofy bolt on the back of it, its a Pioneer sumthin, old enough not to have MP3 stuff in it but has a movie/picture whatever you want to call it background and what not. Works good when youre using regular speaker in stock locations, but its going to get trashed for better equipment soon.

My first head unit had the big bolt on the back and I had to chop that off. I used a GM install kit I got from Best Buy on both of the head units and they both fit in snug up against the duct back there. Technically they stuck out about a half inch from the dash but the install kit accounted for this.
 

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Truck #121616
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Discussion Starter #10
i used a heat gun to heat up the plastic then i shoved the radio in the dash...held it there for a few seconds..then removed.. i had a nice "dent" in the vent and the radio fit flush with no problems...

i tried that first with blue bitch, but the heater vent got a few holes in it, and blew hot air onto the head unit. resulted in early death :(
 

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When I did my blazer a few years ago, I also used a heat gun... and a 2x4 and a piece of pipe to heat and reshape the duct to fit the cd player in flush.
 

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Truck #121616
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Discussion Starter #12
to each their own, i guess.

my method would be good if you had a reason to rip your dash out, other than to just chop the vent up...
 

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dash isnt too hard to take out... getting the harnesses off the inside of the dash is a pain in the ass though... when GM assembled the dashes, i bet you they built the harness onto the dash, then put it in the truck.
Leave the harness connected to the dash. You have to unhook the computer, steering column, e brake fuse block (from under hood, 1/4 bolt in center) and a few other odds and ends but its much faster and you wiring harness will still be attached the correct way.
 

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Truck #121616
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2,860 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
yea, you could do that... but then the dash is about 5x heavier :p
 
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