Replacing the Mk2 Fiesta low spec dashboard with a high spec version.
One of the most popular upgrades for any low spec Mk2 Ford Fiesta is to replace the dash with the nicer version from a high spec car. This guide applies to UK right hand drive vehicles and details how to do it, including how to adapt the wiring to power the new instrument panel.
Finding a dashboard
The high spec dashboard was available in three main colours, grey, blue or black, the most common (and easy to find) choice is the grey version.
The chances of finding a Mk2 in a breakers yard are decreasing by the day so your best bet is finding a dashboard for sale on a forum or Facebook group. Cars such as the L (after 1986), Ghia and XR2 came with the high spec dashboard as standard. It's improvements over the low spec version include a glove box with closing door, 3 speed heater controls, a mounting hole for a radio and four way speaker control joystick, central heater vents and a larger instrument cluster with either rev counter or analog clock (L models), and a handbrake warning light.
Removing the high spec Fiesta dashboard
Unless you are buying a dashboard that has already been removed from a high spec dash, then you will need to carefully dismantle the dash and instrument cluster from a donor car. Start by carefully prizing out/ levering off the steering wheel centre cap to expose the 21mm nyloc nut that secures it to the column.
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Removing the low spec dash dashboard
To remove your existing low spec dashboard, you will need to start by removing the steering wheel. The wheel can be removed by prizing out the centre cap and then undoing the nyloc nut that is hidden underneath it. You will find it useful to use a long breaker bar to undo this bolt whilst holding the steering wheel firmly as it's pretty tight. Once the nut has been removed, grab the steering wheel with both hands and pull it sharply towards you to release. If you smack yourself in the face then marvel at your own strength for a few minutes and carry on. The next step is to remove the steering column shroud covers. The top part is attached with one philips screw, and the lower with 3 screws.
With the column shrouds removed you can access the four dark grey screws holding in the indicator stalks.
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Upgrading the heater unit
There are two main heater units types fitted across the Mk1/Mk2 range, however a part number revision was made in 1987. The high spec units are almost identical, except have a piece of plastic missing which allows air to be output to four vents rather than two.
|Part Number||Spec Level||Finis|
|77FG 18478 DA||Low Spec||6051136|
|77FG 18478 EA||High Spec||6051137|
|87FG 18478 AA||Low Spec|
|87FG 18478 BA||High Spec|
Even though the heater boxes are the same, the heater controls that attach to the dash do differ between dashboard versions, so make sure you have the correct ones and their associated cables and wiring
You dont necessarily have to replace your heater box with a high spec version, but if you still want the additional vents to be functional you can still use your low spec heater box anyway. Carefully removing a square of plastic from your low spec box allows it to perform in the same way as a high spec version, please refer to the diagram below for the area to cut, which can easily be removed with a dremel or sharp/knife/ hacksaw blade (think safety first please!).
Wiring the instrument Cluster
Low Spec Fiesta Instrument Panel
Connecting wires from a low spec connector to a high spec
To convert your low spec loom to run a high spec dash, you will need to replace the single 13 pin connector with the high spec 13 and 6 pin connectors. Make sure that you use soldered connections and insulate them properly to prevent possible fires.
The table below shows which pins on the high spec connectors, you should connect your low spec versions to. For example Pin 1 on the low spec connector should be split into two with one wire feeding Pin 13 on the high spec large connector, and one wire feeding pin 3 on the smaller of the two connectors.
|Low Spec Plug||High Spec Large Plug||High Spec Small Plug|
|Pin 1||Pin 13||Pin 3|
|Pin 2||Pin 2|
|Pin 3||Pin 12|
|Pin 4||Pin 11|
|Pin 5||Pin 6|
|Pin 7||Pin 4|
|Pin 8||Pin 8|
|Pin 9||Pin 9|
|Pin 11||Pin 5|
|Pin 12||Pin 4|
|Pin 13||Pin 7 & Pin 10||Pin 6|
The low spec dash doesn't have a rev counter or handbrake warning lamp, so you will need to wire those two items up using your own wire to the pins on the high spec dash listed below. Please not that the high spec dash from L models includes a clock so the rev counter wiring doesnt apply in this case.
|Extra Functions||High Spec Large Plug||High Spec Small Plug|
|Ignition Coil||Pin 2 (if rev counter fitted)|
|Handbrake Warning||Pin 1|