I’ve been lucky enough so far with my Lada 1200 to know what screws hold what bit of trim. The door cards were easy to remove, and the seats came out without a problem. Albeit the previous owner had already removed them! With welding and other metal work looming, I decided that the dashboard needed to be removed. The question I had though was – how?
Getting information when you only speak English
Getting information in regards to the Lada isn’t exactly difficult, until you want that information in English. I have an Autotec manual and the Haynes manual for these Lada’s, but they’re not exactly brimming with information for each version of the Lada that was made. So while my Haynes manual spoke about how to remove the dashboard from a Lada, it was referring to a Lada Riva. Not the Lada 1200/2101 that I’m working on.
So I went about studying the dashboard in my Lada 1200, and worked on the basis of if I saw a screw or nut then it should be removed. That tactic worked, to a point, until I got to removing the speedometer and heater controls from the dashboard. If you want to see the progress of how I stumbled along the dashboard removal path, then you can watch the video here:
Watch how I remove my Lada’s dashboard
While the above video goes on for nearly 40 minutes, the process in which you remove the dashboard is relatively easy. So if you haven’t got time to watch the video on my YouTube channel, here’s the step-by-step guide on how to do it yourself!
Note: these steps relate to the Lada 1200, Lada 1300, Lada 2101 and Lada 2102. You may find that these steps will work on newer models of Lada, but I’m unable to guarantee that.
Tools needed to remove the Lada’s dashboard
To remove the dashboard from your Lada, you’ll need a handful of basic tools. These will be:
- Phillips screwdriver
- Flat head screwdriver
- Small (practically tiny) flat head screwdriver
- 10mm spanner
- 10mm socket
- 1/4″ ratchet with extension bars
- A camera – so you can document your own progress to refer to later when you reinstall it!
Steps to remove the dashboard from your Lada 2101
Step 1: You’ll make life easier for yourself (I think) if you remove the cowling around the steering column. It’s held together with 4 screws. Unscrew these, and the cowling will split apart.
Step 2: There are four screws on the bottom of the dashboard along the length of it. Unscrew these. Yours may or may not have metal collars around the screws which make it easier to find them. If they don’t, they may be sunk in to the dashboard. So look for a hole, and then use a screwdriver to see if there is a screw hiding in there.
Step 3: Remove the black tips from the heater controls. Using your small flat head screwdriver, you can pull them off of the stalks. There’ll be a little clip on the black tip, slide the screwdriver to free this from the stalk.
Step 4: Remove the hidden screws under the heater control. These probably won’t have a metal collar on them so will be fairly hidden. Again, use the phillips screwdriver to investigate the holes to see if a screw still lives there.
Step 5: Back when the Lada was designed, smoking was cool and every car came with an ashtray. This, for whatever reason, goes behind the heater controls, so can become a problem later on. The inner draw will pull out, but the casing of the ashtray needs to be removed as well.
Step 6: There are four nuts holding the dashboard to the chassis, these are accessed through the speedometer housing and the glovebox. So start with the easier side, open the glovebox and you’ll see two 10mm nuts above the opening. I used a 10mm ratchet spanner to start with, but you would be better to use an extension (or wobble) bar with short 10mm sockets. If you can find your 10mm socket! Otherwise, you can use a 10mm spanner on these.
Step 7: To access the nuts behind the speedometer, you need to remove the speedometer! This can be tricky though. If you’re like me with shovel sized hands you may need someone with smaller hands. To start, on my Lada 2101 anyway, there’s a plastic cover to the left of the heater controls. This should pop out. Then you can push the speedometer to the left (or right, if your car is right hand drive). There’ll be a clip that holds the speedometer to the dashboard, manipulate so that it unclips itself. It will then pull out.
Note: Be careful when removing the speedometer as the speedometer cable is connected to it, along with two wire blocks. You don’t want to stress or stretch these cables!
Step 8: You’ll see, now that your speedometer has been removed, the two 10mm nuts I mentioned earlier in Step 6. Removal is the same as that step, 10mm socket with an extension bar or 10mm spanner will be needed to remove it.
Step 9: Before you can properly pull the dashboard away, you’ll need to disconnect the wires that are plugged in to the heater controls, the switch gear by the steering wheel, and the little bulb that comes on when you open the glovebox.
Step 10: There should be absolutely nothing holding your dashboard to your Lada now. So, with that, you can pull it off. Gently of course, no one will thank you for visciously pulling this off like it was a hungry dog eating your steak dinner!
How do I refit my Lada’s dashboard?
In good ol’ fashioned Haynes Manual style – refitting is the reverse of removal. Essentially, follow the above steps in reverse to refit it.
There’ll be many reasons as to why you will want to take the dashboard out of your Lada. The beauty of the design is a product of the days when the technology was simpler.