'57 and '58 Imperial instrument panels : differences ...

(sorry for my poor english) When you look at a '57 dash then  at a '58 dash, at first glance they seem identical. Only the rear view mirror is now on the left side of the gauges rather in the middle of the upper dash.
But there are other minor differences that couldn't be forgoten if you want to switch to one from the other.

But first, how to remove the instrument panel ?

You must remove the whole instrument panel, it's impossible to remove the "right" side or the "left" side. It's also a very heavy item, around 80 to 100 lbs .. First thing is to remove glove box, radio, rear view mirror, heater cable, speedo cable, Torqueflite cable, oil gauge hose, all the wiring you could disconnect from instruments (antena, blower, ignition, etc..). Remove also the  steering column cover. You'll have also to remove the two windshield garnish moldings (#9) with one screw under the eagle medallion #16. Now you can see screws which attached the upper instrument panel #20 to firewall.
The dash is bolted in three other locations :
 - at each end you'll find a bracket #23 & 95. Easy to remove the bolt ...
- Remove also two bolts that attached the panel to the parking brake assembly, see pic of the "renforcement" bar.
- The most difficult is to remove the central bracket: this bracket is bolted (with cage nuts) in 3 places: 2 bolts to the upper firewall, very difficult to gain access to them  / 2 bolts to the service brake assy. , you must remove them. / 2 bolts to the #86 bracket (elongated holes) which are not very easy to remove if you don't remove the brake assy. ! But ther's no substitute : either you remove the upper bolts (to firewall) either you remove those to #86. I don't remember why i remove the upper on the convertible and the lower on the 4dr HT !!! Maybe on the 4dr the brake assy. was already removed ?
After you've removed all these bolts you can now pull a little the dash. You've still a lot of wiring to remove ...

The instrument panel is a two die-cast item assembly (#31 and #33) + a reinforcement lower bar (#24) + a steel "cover" #20 screwed on the upper area of 31 and 33.
The #33 is the same on 57 and 58 cars.
The #31 and #20 are the same except 1/ the rear view mirror base which is bolted to #31. You can use a #31 from 58 in a '57 car but not vice-versa (or you'll not have the mirror at the right place). 2/ the heater upper outlets (#17-18)  and speaker grille #5) are a one piece affair in 58 and three parts in 57 but i think that the #20 "cover"  is the same ..

Another problem is the #72 "panel control housing": this die-cast item is different on '57 and  '58. It's nearly impossible to see, i discovered that when i re-installed my "mixed" '57-'58 dash (i put #72 and 31 from a '58 car): the headlight switch was upgraded in 1958 with a single switch housing (see pics below) BUT the casting of #72 had to be changed ! So you can't use '58 switch on a '57 "housing" but you can use a '57 switch on a '58 panel, it's what i did but i don't remember what i did !!!. Ther's also a difference on the parking brake axle housing, see pics on this page Note also on this page that '58 speedo removing and installing has been improved ..
In fact the best is to re-use the #72 if you change the #31.

the #86 bracket location holes (which are also used for a semi circular bracket which support the steering column)
On the 4dr HT, i removed the central bracket bolts at the #86 bracket so the central bracket is still on the car. (4 dr HT) The #86 bracket is still attached to the dash On my convertible i removed the upper bolts (to firewall) so the central bracket is on the dash
'57 and '58 headlight switches
'57 dash from the rear before installing the dash. As the brake pedal is already bolted you must installed the upper bolts to firewall


#24 and #31. The bar is in the right position, not as on the drawing ! Why you couldn't use a '57 switch in '57 lower housing ..   the reinforcement bar #24 and parking brake bracket.



"technical page" summary


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