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2021 US Transit Driver side A pillar and dash trim removal PITA

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I am trying to route some power, antenna cables up the drivers side A pillar on my US 2021 Transit Cutaway (it is a Winnebago Ekko now, a class C RV)

The usual "puzzle, pull and break" way of removing trim has stumped me on this. I have looked at related posts such as this one and this one and also the video for the passenger side A pillar trim removal. Unfortunately they are either the wrong A pillar or mine is a different year and has different trim puzzles.

Following the video, I removed the driver side handle - 2 * 10mm bolts, easy. The rubber seal along the door does NOT want to come off on mine, I wonder whether it is glued and I would rip it if I yank too hard.
The A pillar trim can be pulled towards the cabin, as the video suggests, starting from the top. It does release at the top but the bottom is locked in, as expected. So I continued downwards to the driver side dash trim.

Vehicle Green Motor vehicle Automotive tire Car

(bolt/screw locations = red numbers, trim panels = green arrows)

After pulling the cup holder straight up (easy), I removed a forward facing 7mm bolt at location 1 and a downward facing 7mm at location 2.
After that I was able to pull the A pillar trim inwards from the top (location 3)
I tried pulling off the rubber seal (location 4), but no go.

Thinking I need to release the whole upper black trim piece that held the cup holder. But how ?
I pulled off the panel underneath the steering column (location 5, relatively easy, only 1 plastic standoff broken in the back sigh)
That allowed removal of a forward facing 7mm bolt at location 6
Then removed small trim panels 7 and 8 - no idea what those are good for since they don't reveal (to me anyway) any additional obvious fastener removal opportunities.
Now I am stuck....

Question 1: do I even need to go down into the dashboard trim to remove the A pillar trim ? If not, how ?

Question 2: if I do have to remove the dashboard trim (or whatever portion needs to come off), how do I proceed from where I am now ?

Thanks for any help, either generic (like "how to solve such trim removal puzzles" or specific "on the 2021, ...") !
Robert
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2022 MR AWD Ordered 9/14/2021
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I would recommend purchasing temporary (72 hours) access to the workshop manual. It is only $21.95 for 72 hour access and you will have the complete manual onlines. You will just need to setup an account.

Great information!
 

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2021 350 Cab 3.5L Ecoboost (Winnebago Ekko)
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank MN-gineer ! That is good info and I have previously subscribed for the 72 hours and gone into a "right-click" "Save-as" jihad. However, some of that information is just old or wrong. Case in point: the very panels I need to remove.

From their 2021 Transit Body Control Module Removal.pdf
and repeated in their 2021 Transit Instrument Panel Removal.pdf
Note how this driver side panel does not match the panels I have in my 2021:
Bottle holder @ lower left has no recess and does not appear removable from the front to reveal the two screws behind it, I have a mirror adjustment selector button to the left of the lighting knob, the two "no-op" flat panels (labeled 7 and 8 in my original post) are missing...
This must have been a different model or year
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Automotive design Automotive tire Motor vehicle Font Steering wheel
 

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The A pillar trim should pull off once you have the handle off. I've done this on both sides of my 21.

Tip is to start at the top, pulling it toward the center of the van. Be cautious of the tweeter connection as you remove it. There are several plastic pins on the back of the trim that ensure it's in the right position that you'll want to be careful of, too. As you rotate the top in toward the center those pins will come out of the metal slots and you'll be able to pull it up and out.
 

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While you don't have to remove the other dash trim to take off the A pillar the other panels on that side come off more or less like this (working from memory from when I did this a couple weeks ago):
  • Remove cup holder by pulling up
  • Remove trim panel from below steering wheel by pulling straight back from the dash.
  • There's another square-ish panel between that section and the cupholder that pulls out
  • The remaining lower section of trim has a few screws that connect it to the plastic framework. I think some of those are accessed via the cupholder area, and I seem to recall there's a side panel that faces the door that has to come out too.
  • That next big panel has the mirror, headlight, and e-brake connectors attached to it. Be warned that if you turn the van on with those disconnected it will complain loudly about the brake and the headlights default to on. These messages will go away when you plug everything back in.
  • If you want to really go crazy and remove the plastic framework you'll need to also loosen or remove the center console plastic, too 🙄
Good news is all of those driver footwell pieces use the same size trim screws, and most of the clips and screws are pretty obvious. The hardest part for me was dealing with the center console so I could get the plastic framework out to make room to easily access the BCM.
 

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2020 Ford Transit XLT AWD LR Wagon, 3.5 EcoBoost V6,
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You could use my method, but I don't recommend. Pull the panel really hard, wait for the clips and PITA parts break, do what you need to do and then get online and try and locate the new part for purchase. I'm getting better though!!
 

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If you are trying to get to the dash -Rather then messing with the trim, you can route a wire to the USB panel that in on the top of the dash, that easily pops out.
If you want to get power or wire up to the shelf I found I could just hide under the generous gasket trim and go from under the dash, hiding it behind the cup holder part of the dash -to get from it under dash to the gasket with out being seen. I added 12v / usb splitter at the back of the top shelf.
Connecting it to the existing dash 12v power, which I never use, seemed the easiest. The tap has a fuse, the splitter has a fuse and of course the 12 cig lighter has the factory fuse so that might be only downside if one of the blows
 

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A pillar trim pulls off pretty easy in my experience, just remove the handle and pull up (mostly) and out a bit
 
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If you are trying to get to the dash -Rather then messing with the trim, you can route a wire to the USB panel that in on the top of the dash, that easily pops out.
If you want to get power or wire up to the shelf I found I could just hide under the generous gasket trim and go from under the dash, hiding it behind the cup holder part of the dash -to get from it under dash to the gasket with out being seen. I added 12v / usb splitter at the back of the top shelf.
Connecting it to the existing dash 12v power, which I never use, seemed the easiest. The tap has a fuse, the splitter has a fuse and of course the 12 cig lighter has the factory fuse so that might be only downside if one of the blows
Nice post. I need constant 12v for a rearview mirror cam. The driver’s usb turns on and off with ignition. The 12v accessory outlet turns off after 30 minutes of ignition off. Do you have any good suggestions for a constant 12v in that general area? Thanks.
 

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Nice post. I need constant 12v for a rearview mirror cam. The driver’s usb turns on and off with ignition. The 12v accessory outlet turns off after 30 minutes of ignition off. Do you have any good suggestions for a constant 12v in that general area? Thanks.
All you’ll ever need to know:

 
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