Dash Pad Replacement - windshield down?
After a search for info on dash pad replacement, and almost tearing my old pad apart trying to get it off, I thought these notes might possibly help someone out. The stock dash on a cruiser has always been one of my favorite things about these old vehicles, and I just invested in a new main top pad (OEM) and finally found the lower right pad (missing in PO action) used, on-line (it's on the UPS truck).
Pulled the plastic knobs and the main lower screws (the ones you can see from the bottom) on the old top pad and I guess I thought it would just pop up and off. Others refer to using a screwdriver to slide in and disengage the hidden retaining clips - that wasn't working for me. I pulled around a bit on my pad, tried to find/see the hidden clips and it seemed like it was coming free for a while. What I was really doing was force-pulling the hidden hardware mounting screws (9) out of the pad, where the angled clip-strip is joined to the pad.
The missing solution for me was folding down the windshield, so one can actually see what's going on with the hidden hardware. In my case the hardtop's mounting screws were already out, so I pushed up the front hardtop, folded the windshield down and let the top fall back in place. Once in there I could see the sheet metal screws holding the clip-strip to the pad and how it was locked in place. Used a small angle-screwdriver to remove these screws and the pad came right off (unplugging the little dash light). You can then easily remove the angle strip with its integral locking clips (and see how they work). Mount the angle strip to the new pad (or back to the old one) and whole thing is ready to snap back in place as a unit on reassembly. It seems like a one way thing to me - made to push/snap on, but not to just pop off. Kind of an impressive setup, I didn't expect so much going on backside to just mount the pad.
Below, the clip area with pad removed... and the clip strip in place, viewed from down under.
Second photo (below) shows everything removed.
The new OEM pad came from Toyota, under $400 with a small break (no hardware included). That was around January 2009 and I can only guess what's available now. In the past a few guys around here (Bay Area, California) seem to be buying up what Toyota has left and charging $500+ (and saying they are discontinued at Toyota).
Note some say the windshield does not need to fold down to replace the pad. I managed to lift the front enough (by myself) without removing the top completely. I lifted one side, then lifted the other with one hand and folded down the windshield. And if you're putting a new pad on, you need to remove that old strip (hardware) anyway to attach it to the new pad. I've not seen tons of FJ40 dash pads, but I've some with dash pads that rattled at the top. Mine was "factory tight" until I went pulling on it. My point is why pry around on the clips with the windshield up - if it can come apart easily with the windshield down and no stress on the pad? Pull hard enough and the metal that's bonded to the pad material will begin to come loose.