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Guide: 760 88+ / 960 / Mk I S90 -V90 RHD dashboard removal & heater core replacement

bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
edited October 2022 in Articles & Guides

(This thread is a work in progress until this text is removed)

This guide covers the COMBU type unit with air conditioning and ECC fitted in RHD cars only; LHD cars will be different.

"Step AAE#" refers to the Green Book designation for the process in LHD cars, if it exists.

References / sources of pics, etc :

  • TP 31127/1 Green Book ("Body Fittings - Interior - Climate Units, 740/760")
  • RobertDIY video - 'How to replace the heater core in the Volvo 960'
  • writer's experiences

Before you begin:

  • Order the following / have these on hand:

1 x replacement heater core for RHD COMBU unit - OE p/n is 1307277-2, but the 20528 heater core made by is readily available, well made, less expensive... and ships from the UK to OZ in about 10 days.

5x dashboard clips - p/n 1348040   

1x replacement 4-port heater tap - Gates HV5631 or similar with 5/8 inch fittings

2x Calibre CH1780C or similar Z-shaped heater core hoses. (One of the OE heater core hoses for RHD cars is now NLA, so some improvisation is necessary)

8x good quality hose clamps for 5/8 heater hose. Adding the 4-port heater tap means you'll need 4 more hose clamps - 4 at the heater tap; 2 at the heater core; 2 at the engine.

(if your system suffers from loss of face-level air under acceleration, etc) Replacement vacuum motor(s). You may as well replace the perished one(s) while you're in there. Complete replacement 2-port units are AC Delco p/n 15-71438 or GM p/n 1996686, or @asiandriver sells a replacement seal for them.

Many, many replacement cable ties. Cable ties are a central design element of the Volvo 700/900 series.

  • Tools list (minimum)

7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19 mm sockets with a variety of extensions (and preferably also combination spanners of same sizes)

Hose pliers

Needle nose pliers

Wire cutters

A variety of flat blade screwdrivers - small and large

A variety of Philips head screwdrivers - small and large

A magnet (for collecting errant screws that want to screw around with you)

A plastic trim tool

A variety of Torx bits /drivers - you will need at least T10, T15, T20, T25, and T30 sizes.

An Allen key (for size, see Step AAE10)

  • Prepare the car (Step AAE-0, not in Green Book)

Park the car so that the front wheels and steering wheel can be rolled backwards or forwards enough to point straight ahead. (You'll see why later).

If the car has power front seats - before disconnecting the battery, raise them and move them fore/aft so you can easily access the four 14mm bolts which secure the seats to the floor.

Empty out the centre console and oddbins box under the radio of personal effects.

All set? Let's begin.....



  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited October 2022

    Steps AAE1 & AAE2 from the Green Book - image reversed:

    Notes: panel below glovebox removal

    Once the panel is off, you'll need to disconnect the foot-level courtesy light. There's a cable tie (of course) which holds the connector to the lamp body.

    Notes: glovebox removal

    Not all the glovebox screws are shown in the LHD diagram above. There are two more screws inside the glovebox itself. This is one of them - the one's inside the glovebox on the LH side. There's another on the RH side.

    Also, when you remove the glovebox, you're only removing the box itself at this point; it's not like a 740/940 where the whole glovebox door and box are removed as a single unit.

    See those two Torx screws just above the glovebox lip? They hold the passenger's side air bag unit in place.

    Glovebox door frame removal; passenger side airbag removal; LH duct removal - not covered in Green Book

    Remove these two T25 screws, and the airbag lifts up and out.

    Carefully unplug the airbag, and now you have a big hole in your dash, plus a glovebox door (not in pic) getting in your way.

    The airbag support / glove box door support frame is held to the dash proper with a series of T10 screws. To remove this frame, first remove the shiny curved metal trim piece which runs around from the LH air vent to the centre of the dash. It's held in firmly in place by one little black plastic mould clip. If you need to replace that metal trim piece, they're different between cars with passenger side airbag, and those without.

    Next, remove these T10 screws, and clip the 3 cable ties which hold a wiring harness to it. One of these in the pic above is partially hidden by the airbag connector; the other two are its companions to its left and right. There are two more bigger Torx screws near the glovebox door hinge.

    Then you have an even bigger hole in the dash! However, this then allows you easy access to the duct for the passenger's face-level vent near the LHF door. It's in 3 parts - the LH side connects to the air vent; the RH side connects to the air mix box, and the large central part is then very easily removable.

    Pic below shows these 3 of the 4 components once they've been removed.

    Dash speaker / tweeter removal and solar sensor disconnection - not covered in Green Book

    There's a trick to this:

    • Carefully pry the little plastic cover up and off the speaker grille.
    • There are then two T25 Torx screws which hold the plastic frame which hold the plastic cover in place; remove then carefully. (These were very badly broken on my car, and these parts are NLA).
    • To remove the tweeter speaker, use a screwdriver to gently push down the centres of those two washer-like clips. The complete clips then lift out. As does the speaker. Which means you can disconnect the speaker connection.
    • The solar sensor for the ECC sits on the LH side speaker grille (different from 940), and there appears to be a squarish hole in the dash through which this sensor's plug will pass though. I have some bad news: it doesn't; so firstly you will need to disconnect this sensor from the harness. That's easy to do now that you have a great big hole in the dash. Of course, be prepared to snip the ubiquitous and inevitable cable tie which holds this connection in place. When you eventually remove the dash panel, the LH speaker grille and this sensor will be dangling, unless you're prepared to undo the sensor's plug from the sensor (I didn't). Picture below shows how the solar sensor's plug is too big to fit through the square hole.

    There's more to remove from the LH side of the car, to be covered in Step AAE3.

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited October 2022

    Step AAE3 from the Green Book - image reversed

    Notes about footwell panel

    For RHD (and because this image is reversed) here are two T25 screws which hold this panel in place:

    Here (note this pic was taken before AAE2).

    And here.

    Like a 740/940, you need to peel the LH door's weather seal back a bit to remove the panel.

    Unlike a 740/940, you don't need to remove any screws from the lower floor trim to remove this panel. Unscrew the two screws, move the panel forward, and it's out.

    Notes: LH A-pillar trim removal

    Opinions may vary, but I believe when dealing with antique NLA trim, it's best to know how these clips work and where they're located before work begins to remove the trim parts.

    This is the bear - sorry, bare - LH 'A' pillar with the trim removed. Note there are 3 clips of two types.

    The upper two clips are metal spring clips. The third clip, made of white plastic and appearing below the black grommet and above the wiring for lighting and sunroof motor, is more of a peg-type clip.

    Below is the underside of the LH 'A' pillar trim, in which the lower fitting (for the peg clip), and where one of the two spring clips can be seen.

    Knowing this should make it easier for people to remove this NLA / hard-to-get trim part without trashing it.

    This trim part is removed by -

    • Removing the courtesy handle above the LH front door - peel back the trim ribbon [5] on the handle [4], then undo the four T25 Torx screws which hold it in place. Picture below shows the handle detail.

    • Then, lift the front part of the trim panel behind the handle up so you can undo the hidden T25 Torx screw which is easy to miss. This one holds the very top of the 'A' pillar trim in place. Pic below; note the screw hole on left of pic near the worn-off paint line is the first screw hole for the courtesy handle. (This one looks a bit second hand, since it's not this car's 'first rodeo'....)
    • Once that screw is out, move the above-door section of trim and the top part of the 'A' pillar trim around, so that they're sitting the opposite way from how they'd normally sit. Meaning the top part of the 'A' pillar trim is now sitting on top of, rather than below, the above-door section of trim. (Basically, so the black bits in the pic above are sitting on top).
    • Gently but firmly (old plastic, y'know) pull the top section of the 'A' pillar trim in the vicinity of top metal clip, to release it. A little twisting helps. POP!
    • Gently but firmly pull the middle section of the 'A' pillar trim away from the pillar to release the middle metal clip. POP!
    • Then, gently lift this trim part upwards and outwards, so that you're lifting the trim part off the lower peg clip. (If you heard any POP here, expect to get busy doing repairs to the trim).
    • When you go to reinstall this trim piece, it's a simple matter of sliding the trim onto the positioning peg clip, then pressing the middle and upper spring clips into place by hand.

    Other notes:

    • We've talked about the solar sensor in ECC cars, and how it's in the speaker grille, haven't we? Some cars may have these sensors mounted in the A-pillar.
    • Get used to cutting cable ties; there's plenty of 'em! But it's important to note where they originally hooked up.

    Once done, it's time to swap sides, and move onto the car's RH side - the driver's side - in Step AAE4.

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited October 2022

    Step AAE4 from the Green Book - image reversed

    Notes on Step AAE4:

    There is no knee bolster on the RH side on a 95+ 960, so that's covered (if you'll pardon the pun).

    Notes on removing the RH lower cover under the steering wheel

    See image above and note holes for:

    * Two T25 screws under the steering column when the panel is in place.

    * One plastic clip - to release, turn 90 degrees.

    * One more T25 Torx screw, located inline and forward of the plastic clip.

    Process: Remove the Torx screws, then release the plastic clip, then swing the panel down to the right.

    Beware of the plastic peg on the left side; it plugs into the lower section of the dash.

    You will also need to disconnect the dealer-fitted alarm switch, and the footwell lighting connector.

    The aperture on right of pic is where the hood release handle passes through the panel.

    The picture below shows the inside of this panel.

    Note here how the alarm switch committed seppuku and will need to be replaced; be prepared for this if one is fitted. If it's intact, disconnect its wiring.

    Also, unplug the footwell courtesy light harness and then the panel can be lifted free of the car.

    It then joins the vast and growing collection of other parts which need cleaning now they've been removed.

    Step AAE5 from the Green Book - image reversed

    Notes on Step AAE5:

    • Removing the RH footwell panel

    The engine ECU is hidden under this panel, and is the same as LHD cars, so the reversed image above isn't quite accurate.

    One T25 Torx screw releases it. You will also need to peel back the door seal.

    • Removing the A-pillar trim panel

    This requires a similar process to that already done on the LH side. The RH side is also set up with 2 metal clips, and one lower plastic peg clip. (You can see the antenna there for the door remote).

    However, there's usually no courtesy handle on the driver's side; instead, there's a pair of plastic covers to cover the holes where the handle would attach. In order to release the A-pillar trim, you need to remove this cover, and the single Torx screw which holds its retainer to the upper trim panel.

    On this cover, there's very short piece of what appears to be plastic ribbon that's similar to the handles. Don't try to pry it out the same way you remove the ribbon from handles, or you'll break the cover (don't ask me how I know...) The process to remove it is unclip the cover [9], then remove the T25 Torx screw [10] holding the clip retainer [8] to the upper trim panel, and then you can get to the hidden Torx screw at top edge of the A-pillar trim. 

    If you did what I did (and broke the cover), here are the part numbers for these covers, if you want new ones from GCP.

    9144016 is beige for 95+.

    There are still plenty of steps left to do.

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited October 2022

    Step AAE6 from the Green Book - image reversed

    Notes on Step AAE6

    • You don't need to remove the fusebox on RHD cars as part of removing the dashboard.

    Notes / images - Defroster grille removal

    • While removing the plastic defroster grille at the windscreen edge of the dashboard, while simultaneously making your best efforts not to break or damage this huge piece of plastic, you may acquire the distinct feeling that the car is fighting you every inch of the way. This is expected, and quite normal.

    The process of removing this part isn't as simple as the Green Book makes it appear.

    The 760/960 demister setup is a totally different design to the 740/940 dash types. Unlike those versions, there's no separate demister air nozzles which attach to the heater and the underside of the dashboard top. Instead, a manifold on the top of the heater blend door box (and bolted to the firewall) channels air to the screen via a pair of cavities in the firewall.

    Here are 3 of the six rectangular cavities in the firewall (below) into which the 'tongues' from the demister fit.

    Note also (1) missing f**arse clip due to breakage and (2) one of the 12 grille clips (ditto).

    These two holes under the wiring loom in the pic below show where air from the heater box enters the firewall cavity - the black 10mm hex screw of right side of pic is one of 2 bolts that holds the (missing) manifold to the firewall.

    This 760/960 type defroster grill has a total of six outlets, each of which have two plastic clips on the underside. Pic below shows one outlet of the six, viewed from underside.

    Each of the 6 outlets has a 'tongue' on the underside of the trim, which poke down into those cavities along the top of car's firewall near the edge of the windscreen.

    Pic below shows one of the 6 'tongues' - this one is the RH side - viewed with the visible edge of the grille at the lower part of the picture.

    Each of the 6 demister ducts also has 2 clips which hold it into the holes in the firewall. Photo below show one which broke off on me (remains in pic above), and one survivor. Miraculously, the other 5 ducts (10 clips) didn't break.

    Why all the pictures .... they're just to show you the hidden parts of what you're dealing with, so then you won't have to replace that gigantic piece of plastic.

    Removal of the grille entails much careful lifting, twisting, and unclipping of the 12 hidden clips within each defroster nozzle.

    After that ordeal, you may wish to take a break before moving on to Step AAE8 and removing the centre console.

    I did.

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited November 2022

    Step AAE7 from the Green Book - image reversed

    Notes - centre console removal - order of removal

    • First, remove the two T25 Torx screws which hold the centre console to the lower dashboard. The two pictures below show firstly, the location of the RH side console attachment screw to the lower dash (which has been removed from car when pic was taken); the next one shows the 2 screw holes for the front of the console; RH closest to camera.
    • Then carefully remove [3] below as shown from the parts book drawing 68625 (new / good ones are getting hard to find). There are two more T25 Torx screws under this panel; remove them.
    • From inside the console cubby box, remove the cover on its floor with a flat blade screwdriver, then remove the two T25 Torx screws.
    • Slide the whole centre console back about 500mm (2 inches) if possible, or at least as far back as the wires will allow you.
    • Referring to the parts book drawing 68625, carefully remove the cover [2] - if you've slid the console back, you can lift up the forward end of [2] without breaking it. Then you will have to disconnect the transmission mode switch, the globe connected to the light bar for the two heated seat switches, the heated switch connectors from their switches, and finally the OBD2 socket from the cover. Then you can finally lift the cover [2] away intact.
    • From the back seat, remove the ashtray and holder, then disconnect the ashtray lighting and the centre console lighting.
    • The centre console can then be lifted up and out of the way.

    Step AAE8 - not covered

    Why? Because most RHD cars were equipped with SRS airbags.

    On to AAE9.

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited November 2022

    Steps AAE9, AAE10 - column shroud removal

    Notes on AAE10

    • The Allen key required is 3.5 mm.
    • You may find the lower column shroud, or the upper shroud, or both is/are broken - this is where the lower shroud commonly breaks - where the lower shroud attaches to the lower column. (They even knew replacements would be needed one day, so they put the replacement part numbers in there!)
    • The upper section of the column shroud is also poorly designed - four Torx screws poke through the lower shroud and hold it to the upper shroud, but the upper shroud isn't held onto any part of the upper column. The pic below shows where the two rear screw retainers from the upper shroud have broken off, and remained on the lower shroud due to a weak and stupid design.

    [insert pic]

    Replacements upper shrouds are available (at time of posting) from GCP. However, before replacing your intact one (or before you attach your new one) on reassembly, it's worth adding generous amounts of Araldite to secure those two weakly-held screw pegs which face towards the front of the car.

    Step AAE11 - Steering wheel airbag removal


    • The two T30 Torx bits each have a captive washer in the 960 steering SRS wheel, unlike the 940 SRS wheel.
    • You will need to turn the wheel left and right in order to get to these Torx screws, which means unlocking the ignition by inserting the key. You disconnected the battery ages ago, right? If not, do so before you touch this. If you didn't and you don't, the airbag may deploy.

    Step AAE12 - Steering wheel removal


    • 19mm socket and extension required to remove the steering wheel bolt. Use an indelible marker and mark 4 lines on the shaft and wheel at 12 o'clock, 5 o'clock, 7 o'clock and 9 o'clock (unequal spacing) before removal, so it's easy to put the steering wheel back in exactly the same place.

    • T20 Torx to remove the clock spring retaining screw and to lock the clock spring.

    Step AAE13 - Clock spring and stalks removal


    • T25 Torx for the 3 screw holding the clock spring, then two each T25 for each stalk.
    • You may need to snip some cable ties.
    • The indicator stalk will have two plugs - one for blinkers, the other on a cable which attaches to an underdash plug for the cruise control.
    • If you have one of the 48 wagons in Australia, the wiper stalk will have 2 plugs - one for windscreen, plus a short cable for the tailgate wash/wipe control.
    • All of these plugs only connect one way, so you don't need to label them - it takes real effort to mix them up.
    • The clock reel will have a green connector that goes to the underdash wiring loom for the SRS system.

    We're not there yet - on to AAE14.

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited November 2022

    Step AAE14 - Headlight switch gear & RH switch panel removal


    • Extreme caution is needed when removing this panel - the upper and lower spring clips which hold the panel to the dash are made of plastic, which is now old plastic. Being gentle will save you time and effort doing a repair with Selleys All PlasticFix and Araldite. (If necessary, use the All PlasticFix to stick the broken clip back into position along the broken edges, then use Araldite over the top of the broken edges for reinforcement).
    • On the 95+ 960, the headlight switch gear can be removed together with the panel.
    • The connectors for the switches on the switch panel only fit the switch they're meant to fit, plus they're colour coded. So there's no need to label what goes where, since each plug will only fit one switch.

    On to step AAE15, which is complicated and where much caution is needed.

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited November 2022

    reserved for AAE15 part 1

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited October 2022

    reserved for AAE15 - radio box

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited October 2022

    reserved for AAE15 part 3

  • reserved for AAE16

  • reserved for AAE17, 18, 19, 20

  • bgpzfm142Major Ledfoot @bgpzfm142 Launceston TAS
    edited November 2022

    reserved for 'getting to the heater core'

    drawing 68703 - reversed for RHD

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