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Old 22nd December 2013, 17:29   #1
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Default DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

This was bugging me a lot. After about 6.5 years of ownership and travelling almost the entire length and breadth of the country, I thought it was time to give the interiors a complete make over. Especially as I have lots of free time over weekends, what could be a more better way. I got around to removing the complete dash board and realised that there are many empty places beneath the dash which can be modified to hold a multitude of practical and useful addons, severely missing in the Indigo. The primary objective though was cleaning the cabin air filter and the AC coil. I was told by many that Indigo doesnot have a cabin filter. How wrong. It has one though only a flap kind and is more of a separator than an outright filter.

After opening the dash, took me about 2 hours to disengage all electricals and switches. there was lot of dust all around and took a while to clean everything off. With the 24 and 25 being non working days again, I think by the time I finish off the exercise the under dash would be squeaky clean.

Removing the steering wheel took a lot of time as I was wary of yanking too hard and yet it took a lot of yanking to dislodge it. Otherwise the principle is simple. There is a lock nut which can be turned counter clockwise to open but remember to let it stay on the thread towards the end or you will end up yanking the wheel straight onto your face. Letting the nut stay on the tread prevents injury as you yank off the wheel towards yourself off the rod.

Removing the blower assembly was again slightly tricky as 2 screws are so well into a crevice towards the firewall that it took a lot of turning and twisting to get them out.

The coil fins were clogged and I sprayed them with water and then some ease of bang. I let it stay for a few minutes and then watered it down again. The water got carried away from the assembly by the overflow pipe while the small tub collected the spill off. Ill let the pictures do the talking now.
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Last edited by GTO : 23rd December 2013 at 15:03. Reason: Adding paragraph spacing for better readability. Thanks!
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Old 22nd December 2013, 23:17   #2
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Default re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

Excellent job! I have to say that you were very brave to attempt this task of removing the dash because I have seen properly seasoned mechanics shy away from the task of opening the dash. Although from an engineer's point of view it may seem like a systematic dis-assembly of wires and components, taking apart a dash of a car with a non OE music system itself can turn into a monumental task. Kudos to your bravery.
And you also cleared the doubt of many Tata Indigo users that some form of filtration is present in the ac system of the car.
A little word of caution while assembling the dash would be to make sure all the ac air diversions work properly and that no air leaks to the windshield vents when not desired, as it may be troublesome during monsoons.
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Old 23rd December 2013, 03:21   #3
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Default re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

Wow, what a complex job.

Congrats and Hats off.

You certainly know how to handle complex things and have patience and guts.

For my 7 year old Santro, I've tried many mechanics and everyone was postponing the opening of Dashboard for the sake of cleaning the Cooling Coil.

I am quite sure my coil is as dirty as you have shown in the pic, however still I am afraid of doing it on my own.

I am a big D.I.Y. type, still thought of opening it gives me nightmares.

Your post certainly is making my D.I.Y. itch go wild, but I don't want x-mas holiday in garage so let me hunt for a helping hand or a mechanic in coming weeks to do this.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd December 2013 at 15:12. Reason: Typos
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Old 23rd December 2013, 15:13   #4
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

Thread moved to Technical Stuff.

Thanks for sharing
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Old 23rd December 2013, 15:20   #5
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

Wow! That really is a tough DIY. Though i'll never attempt this, just wanted to know if its safe to dismantle the steering wheel on a car equipped with front airbags ? I've read of a few cases where airbags have malfunctioned or the airbag error appearing on the cluster.
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Old 23rd December 2013, 20:58   #6
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

Quote:
Originally Posted by msaudf View Post
Excellent job! I have to say that you were very brave to attempt this task of removing the dash because I have seen properly seasoned mechanics shy away from the task of opening the dash. Although from an engineer's point of view it may seem like a systematic dis-assembly of wires and components, taking apart a dash of a car with a non OE music system itself can turn into a monumental task. Kudos to your bravery.
And you also cleared the doubt of many Tata Indigo users that some form of filtration is present in the ac system of the car.
A little word of caution while assembling the dash would be to make sure all the ac air diversions work properly and that no air leaks to the windshield vents when not desired, as it may be troublesome during monsoons.
Thanks mate, well as they say fools rush in where angels fear to tread, lol. Anyway, yes remembering all the electricals is tricky but fortunately most of the plugs are custom designed to fit only a particular slot, so with patience I hope everything will work out fine. Plus I plugged most of the things back post dash removal and found they all worked. Another major thing I noticed is that how easy it is to use the existing fuse box for routing all the extra electrical gizmos that we may want to install.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghpk View Post
Wow, what a complex job.

Congrats and Hats off.

You certainly know how to handle complex things and have patience and guts.

For my 7 year old Santro, I've tried many mechanics and everyone was postponing the opening of Dashboard for the sake of cleaning the Cooling Coil.

I am quite sure my coil is as dirty as you have shown in the pic, however still I am afraid of doing it on my own.

I am a big D.I.Y. type, still thought of opening it gives me nightmares.

Your post certainly is making my D.I.Y. itch go wild, but I don't want x-mas holiday in garage so let me hunt for a helping hand or a mechanic in coming weeks to do this.
A simple advise is to go to your service centre and ask them to remove the dash for you. Come back and do the rest yourself but you will need to take off the steering wheel again. Once you are through cleaning part, you can refix it yourself.
I got around to doing it as I did not find anyone here ready to do the job, including the TATA guys who told me that there is no filter to clean and there is no point in cleaning the coil, imagine that.
A private mechanic, though offered to do it but asked for 3500 bucks and well I was not so convinced that I was willing to spend that much for getting the coil cleaned which may or may not be dirty, as per the TASS people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shashank.nk View Post
Wow! That really is a tough DIY. Though i'll never attempt this, just wanted to know if its safe to dismantle the steering wheel on a car equipped with front airbags ? I've read of a few cases where airbags have malfunctioned or the airbag error appearing on the cluster.
Most of the cars having the airbag would have the dashboard in two parts, correct? Remains to be seen if dismantling the lower part of the dash would need removing the wheel. However, there are a lot of videos on you tube that show how to remove the airbag from the steering. But then again I would think twice and rethink twice more before doing it myself and unless it was real live or die situation, would stay away from this itch.
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Old 23rd December 2013, 21:11   #7
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

Well done !!

I opened the thread with great enthusiasm, however one look at the opening pic told me that its not a DIY for people like me. Too complex
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Old 23rd December 2013, 21:53   #8
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Great job!!
Is your indigo fitted with a behr unit? Later models came equipped with a subros unit which is more service-friendly than complex behr systems. My 2009 indigo cs has a subros system which is working flawless even after exposed to extreme dusty.conditions of allahabad
My ac guy somehow claims to have cleaned the ac coil by a hose and a tub placed in the passenger footwell area to collect dripping water early thus year before summers.

@ghpk: sir are you from allahabad? I tried sending you a pm but was unable to do so!
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Old 24th December 2013, 17:19   #9
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

Sir what a difficult diy . Post this cleaning of the cooling coils, did you find any improvement in cooling efficiency of the airconditioner?
Another question - can't the cooling coils be cleaned using an ac neutralizer as done by another bhpian in his ford fiesta ( if I remember correctly)?
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Old 26th December 2013, 15:15   #10
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

That is an excellent DIY and probably the best way to spend lazy weekends @wanderenomad.

That bracket you see towards the passenger side was used in Pre-2005 Indigo's to hold the ECU.

It would be a good idea to fix the air diverter flap in recirculation mode permanently because these units have a very common issue of the flap getting stuck in fresh air mode or switching erratically from re-circ to fresh mode.

Also, with recirculating mode, coil will remain clean for longer duration.

Next time when your AC's cooling decreases, remove the dashboard, recover the refrigerant, remove the coil, pressure wash it, replace all the o-rings, flush the lines, replace the receiver-dryer assembly, evacuate the system, fill fresh gas and enjoy chilling ac. Should cost you around Rs. 3500/- for refrigerant, receiver dryer(~Rs.1500/-), o-rings, compressor oil, labour for gas charging.
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Old 26th December 2013, 23:21   #11
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

Today, finally wrapped everything back together again. It was infact way easier than taking the dashboard off. Went on a short biking trip and hence could not complete it over the 24-25 off days. Not tested the AC yet, but I think the real test of cooling would come only later during the summer as my efficiency had not fallen to such levels as to become very pronounced. But all in all a very satisfying DIY.
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Old 9th June 2014, 21:30   #12
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Default Re: DIY: Cleaning under the Dashboard (including air-con coil)

The AC got tested a lot during the rare high temperature and high humidity of the past few weeks and I must say, boy am I glad that I did all the cleaning. The AC chills even during the peak hot noon almost immediately, in fact I have to either run it at speed 1 or 2 max if I need to use my glove box chiller.
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