JBugs Video Series

Beetle Dashboard Installation:

Video Overview:

Replacing the padded dashboard in your Beetle can be a time consuming job. Just the same, it is time well spent as the dashboard is the thing you see most in your VW Interior. Follow along as our tech as he shows you how to install a padded dashboard in a 1969 Beetle.

Video Tips:

Tools you will need:

13mm Wrench
Phillips Screwdriver
Bullnose Pliers
1/4" Ratchet
1/4", 6" Extension
1/4" 10mm Deep Well Socket
6mm Allen Wrench
Side/Wire Cutters
Heat Gun
Spray Glue

Video Transcript:

This is Sam with California Pacific JBugs. For our restoration series beetle today, we're going to be installing a new dashboard. Along with a bunch of new dash trim accessories to freshen up the dash in our 1969 Beetle.


A few notes before we get started. Here in our car, as well as many other beetles on the road today, the fresh air box, vents, and hoses in the trunk have been removed. If the box, vent ducting, and hoses are in place your car, they will have to be removed to access the back of the dash. As with any project of course, save all the hardware, parts, and any other miscellaneous pieces that comes off until the job is complete.


Our dash pad installation starts off a bit easier as the previous owner had removed the dash pad already. The process we go through will be pretty much the same up to installing the dash, as all the steps taken will be the same to get the original dash pad out. Installing the dash pad is a time consuming job and there are some tedious steps along the way.


Disconnect the negative post of the battery, before starting the disassembly of the dash. In the trunk, on the back side of the dash, remove the speedometer cable by loosening the nut and pulling away from the speedometer. Remove the speedometer by loosening the two Phillips head screws, one on each side, and then twist the speedometer to clear the mounting tabs and then move the speedometer back. Be cautious of the wiring and if any wires have to be removed, take clear pictures or notes so they can be put back in their proper place.


With the speedometer out of the way, remove the trim ring by straightening the four tabs that hold it in place to the dash. The dash grills at the left and right of the speedometer can be removed by straightening the four tabs, per grill, that hold them in place to the dash. In our case we have a dash speaker in place, which we won't be reusing, so it will be removed once the grills are off.


Our hood release cable was removed by the previous owner so we don't have to unscrew the bracket, from the glove box, that holds the handle securely to the side of the glove box. We remove the glove box, by removing the screw holding the strap in place at the bottom of the glove box. With the strap unscrewed the glove box can be pulled away. While we're in the trunk, if your original dash pad is in place, remove the two, 10 millimeter nuts at each top corner. On 1968-70 models remove the two, 10 millimeter nuts that hold the dash grab [handle] in place as well.


Now inside the car, we'll remove the ash tray by pulling it out and pressing on the metal lever at the back of the tray. Under the steering column remove the two Allen headed bolts holding the column to the dash. Unscrew the headlight, wiper, emergency flasher knobs from the switches. They are all standard thread so twist them counter-clockwise and remove them. To remove the fresh air knobs, if your car has them, pull the knobs straight off. The knobs have a tension clip, to hold them in place to the fresh air control post, so they pull off and press on. Remove the four Phillips head screws, two at each side holding the glove box lid to the hinges.


Remove the glove box trim ring by popping off the four plastic rivets, there's two at the top and one on each side. There's three more plastic posts and spring metal clips that hold the trim ring along the bottom side. If the ring is in good shape you can try and pry off those clips to save the trim ring. However it is most likely that the ring or the posts will break off. Remove the left and right glove box lid hinges by sliding them out of their mount. We have an aftermarket stereo, which wasn't wired up and we're not going to be reusing, so it's going to be removed. This process can differ from stereo to stereo, but typically involves pulling back two tabs on the steel shroud that houses the stereo.


After the stereo is pushed out the back, the shroud itself that's mounted to the dashboard can be removed. If you have an original knob style radio you can pull off the knobs and remove the nuts which would hold the radio to the dash. With the radio removed, you can remove the brake light warning indicator by pressing both sides of the housing and then pushing it back into the car. There are wires on the back of the switch, take a picture or make a note about the wiring positions so you can reinstall them correctly later.


At this point, if the stock dash pad is in place, remove the seven Phillips screws across the bottom and the two screws at the top and the original dash pad can now be removed. If your defroster vents are dried cracked out, brittle or need to be replaced they can be pulled out now as well. With that the disassembly is now complete.


We start the installation by installing the center; left and right dash vents which are popped into place in the openings at the top of the dash. Because the fresh air vent knob assembly and the dash grab handles are not available new, and we have holes in our dash for those, we're going to cap those off. We'll use two beetle and two bus black door hinge screw caps, to cap the holes in the dash pad. It's easier to install these before the dash is installed than after.


The new dash pad is set in place and held with two, 10 millimeter nuts which fit under the studs at the top corners from the trunk side of the dash. Back inside the car, install the two Phillips head screws at the top, and the seven across the bottom of the dash. Install the left and right dash grills by pressing the four prongs for each grill through the dash pad and then twist or bend those tabs on the back side of the dash to hold them in place. Install the speedometer trim ring, and bend over the four tabs on the back side to hold it in place. Re-bolt the steering column back to the dash, with the two Allen headed bolts. Install the headlight, wiper, emergency flasher knobs, by threading them clockwise into their switches.


At this point the fresh air knobs would be pressed straight onto the post, if we had them. Press the three wires, for the brake line warning switch, through the dash and then install those to the warning indicator using the note you previously made. Push the indicator and shroud back through the dash pad into place.


The most difficult portion of the dash pad installation comes with the glove box opening. We use a heat gun to first warm up the plastic. It helps us to mold the plastic more tightly to the dash opening. We use spray glue on the back side lip of the dash pad, and the metal lip on the opening to hold the lip in place. With the lip glued in place you can use an awl or in our case a Phillips screw driver, to locate and open up the holes in the dash pad for the seven plastic rivets which will hold the glove box trim ring in place. We've got two at the top, one at each side and three slightly larger rivets across the bottom. The rivets come molded with the pin built in to the top of the head. The pin needs to be snapped off the rivet before installing it. With the glove box trim ring in place, press the rivet through the ring, the dash pad and the dash sheet metal. Push the pin down with the back end of the screwdriver. You need to install all seven rivets to hold the glove box trim ring in place to the dash.


Now install the left and right glove box hinges through the slot in the trim ring and then slide them into place in the hinge brackets underneath the bottom side of the opening. With the glove box lid slid in place on the hinges, and the glove box latch installed, tighten the four Phillips screws. Install the glove box with the strap around it, and tighten the mounting screw at the bottom. Screw the bracket for the hood release cable to the glove box. Install the speedometer and tighten the two Phillips head screws. Reinstall any wires that may have been removed using the notes that you took earlier. Install the speedometer cable to the back of the speedometer and then reconnect the battery. With that the padded dash installation is now complete, and definitely much nicer to look at than what we had before.