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SAAB c900 Dash Fascia Removal

Lots of projects in the wings in The Dungeon. But while I have reasonably good weather here and can work outside, I'm trying to fix some stuff on Saabmarine #2.

I wanted to take care of a few things at once: the clock isn't keeping time (losing 6 hours a day!), the trim around the fascia/dashboard has pulled away in a couple of places, and I also want to service the instrument light dimmer.

What this means is I need to take out the fascia and the instruments themselves.

This might seem like a daunting task, but if you're patient and label everything, it's very straightforward.

There are four long bolts that hold the fascia to the dash. Two are on the left side of the steering wheel; you see them here.

Later cars (this one is a 1991) use Torx fasteners - these bolts are T15s.

Keep the bolts in order as you remove them. They are 4 different lenghts - they are also marked with rings to identify them (I'll get some pictures later).

Third bolt is to the right of the steering wheel...
...and the fourth is behind the ashtray. Just take the ashtray out and you'll be able to access it.

You may read in the factory manual or elsewhere that the steering wheel must be removed. Not so. There's plenty of clearance with the steering wheel in place.

With the screws removed, you'll be able to pull the fascia slightly away from the dash on the left side.

You can see that trim piece I need to reattach. I'm tired of looking at it hanging off like that.

I suppose I should have mentioned you need to take the radio out of the dash. I forgot, mainly because I took the old radio out a month or so ago. I'm going to put a new one in soon.

Here's the view through the DIN slot for the radio.

The screwdriver is pointing to the heater control rod. That needs to be disconnected.

Pull and wiggle gently on the control shaft and the swivel connector will pop off. This is what it looks like when it's removed - there is a flat metal tab on the heater knob, and the rod just clips onto it.

Next we need to remove the connector from the back of the air direction control. You'll see all of the vacuum hoses that run to it. Don't touch them! If you disconnect any hoses, you will have a heck of a time getting them back on.

There's a gold-colored clip that holds the connector to the body of the direction control. Just push back the top of the clip.

Here's the connector end after removal. Mine has red paint to identify the top.

The vacuum direction control is one of the things I love about old 900s. It's so much fun to switch the knob and hear the 'click-whir-whoosh' of the vacuum in the lines and the different flaps opening and closing.

I love using it, but I wouldn't have to troubleshoot all the lines. Fortunately, in the four 900s I've owned, that system has been very, very reliable.

Now that the heater control and the air direction controls are disconnected, we can move the fascia out a bit and get to the switches.
This part is very straightforward. I'm not going through it bit-by-bit. Basically you need to disconnect all the wiring for the dash lights and various switches.

In the picture above, the red arrow points to one disconnected switch - in this case it's the fan speed switch. You can see the mating connector tabs below it.

The yellow arrows point to some of the other connectors that need to come off. The switches will slide out from the front if you need better access to their connectors.

The best advice I can give you at this point is: label everything! And gently but firmly pull and wiggle connectors to get them out. If they are hard to disconnect, you may be able to use a small screwdriver as a lever to separate them.

Don't forget the headlight, seat heater control, fog light switch, and mirror switch on the left side.

With everything disconnected, the whole fascia/panel comes right out.

Remember: this car was built largely by hand. Yes, it was put together on an assembly line, but it was hand-assembled for the most part. That means it's relatively easy to take apart!

Next we'll get the instrument panel out.


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