In which Libosaurus channels her inner mechanic, part 1

My vehicle is equipped with only the most outdated, antiquated of technologies for the auditory soothing of the senses, its capacity limited to radio waves and audio CDs.  It might as well only be able to play Edison Cylinders, or have a Victrola mounted to the dash.  Get with the times, 8 year old motorized contraption!  Lasers are not cool enough to be The Future™ anymore.

To upgrade my poor old car from Junky Jalopy to Music Machine, I bought me a brand spanking new stereo with USB input, direct iPod/Pad/Phone control, and a spiffy  multicolored display.  Its purdy.  The bracket and wiring harness arrived in the mail today, which means its time to start installation!

I’ve never done any work on my own car.  Once, I replaced the headlights all on my own,  and that was a Big Deal that I was very proud of.  Even making it to the auto parts store to acquire bulbs was an accomplishment.  I’ve never seen my car naked, stripped of its greasy, crumb-coated, coffee-stained trim.  And yet I am embarking on a project which will involve removing the center console trim AND the entire instrument console from the center of the dash.

Destruction, not construction, has always been my area of expertise.  But for this I would need finesse, patience, a firm yet gentle touch, and a careful following of procedure.  None of these are my strong suits; my tool of choice is a sledgehammer or Sawzall and I don’t have the patience to read instructions fully.  Or at all.

But I’m confident that I can do this just fine.  Know why?

I watched a youtube video on how to do it.


I’m pretty sure the video skips some steps in the removal process, and at the end the stereo is magically back in place.  In the glorious tradition of Chilton Auto Repair Manuals, the implication seems to be that Installation is the Reverse of Removal.  Also, I only watched the video once.   But I’m still pretty sure I can handle this.

My favorite part of the video is where the guy very confidently said:  “I know it sounds like I’m breaking my car but don’t worry – its supposed to sound like that.  And hey, if you mess it up, this trim piece is probably only like $10 anyways, don’t worry about it.”

Right on, man.  Right on.

This wouldn’t be a Bad Idea without the maximum possible number of poorly thought out impulsive acts and distractions.  So an hour before my work day was even over, I skipped out to go begin the process, fetched (some of) my tools, and headed out to the car.  Yup, playing hooky to go work on my car.  Bad.   I then got distracted by the disturbingly filthy windshield that I’ve put off cleaning for 2 weeks now, and just had to take care of that first.  WHAT?!  Don’t look at me like that, it was mandatory.  For serious.

My memories of the video were already fading to dim, dusty reel-too-reel silent films, the mustachioed villain cackling maniacally as he prods at the unseen metal tabs that hold the trim in place. Despite this, I managed to rig up my 3-in-one painter’s tool with tape just like in the video, and jumped in.


Amazingly, the first trim piece came out without an issue. The second piece put up a little more of a fight, and I ended up gouging the plastic.  Luckily, on the inside where it cant be seen – no cosmetic damage, and shockingly no structural damage either.


At this point my cat, who had previously been sitting on the hood watching the whole ordeal with her usual air of detached interest, decided she had better come investigate more thoroughly.


Catastrophe cat disapproves of my piss-poor prying technique.

The third piece – which was pretty much the whole center console – came out easily as well, with a lot of tugging and twisting and worrying bending of the plastic.


I swore I was going to buckle or crack this flimsy plastic, but as you can see I got it out in one piece. The only casualty is the blank cover which flew out and hit me in the forehead, but I can pop that back in.

This tiny amount of success bolstered my confidence enough that it was time for a much needed break; the project has been abandoned at its very early stages in a state of disarray until I have enough time to do the stereo replacement in one fell swoop.  The next step involves removing the switch for the hazard lights, which apparently renders the car undriveable.  I’m not quite crazy enough to do that until I don’t need the car for a few days.

About libosaurus

Some have said that I am a fearsome dinosaur. Others claim I am an excellent cook. I say, they're both right.

Posted on March 16, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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