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I believe you're right about checking for chafed wires. I just need to figure out how to get the dash apart without ME blowing a fuse!
I believe the link to taking the dash panel off no longer works unless I'm missing something. They make you pay for the instructions now. http://www.carstereoremoval.com/htm/stereoremovalBuickRiviera95_99P.htm
In any case, I'll try and describe it as best I can.
First step is to remove the filler panel under the dash ledge. It is held in by little plastic anchor clips. If you look at the anchor clip, there is a small center pin. Use a small phillips screw driver or awl to push the pin in one click. Then grab the clip, and it will pull right out. To install the anchor clip, push the small pin from the back side 2 clicks so that the pin is now above the flat side of the anchor clip. Install the anchor clip in the filler panel, and push the pin flush with the head. Very simple once you do it.
Now pull down on the filler panel, and pull it rearward, and it will come out.
Now open the doors. There are side panels that pry off. The driver's side is easy. The passenger side is held in by one 7mm screw that you can only see if you open the glove compartment. After removing that screw, the panel pries off like the driver's side. Just be gentle, both panels have plastic tabs that can break.
Behind each panel is a 7mm screw that holds each end of the dash by a strap. Remove these.
If you look up at the top of the dash, under the top ledge, right where the front edge of the filler panel was, there are about seven 7mm screws across the length of the dash, that need to be removed. After that, push up on the dash ledge, and the dash panel will pull out. It helps if the steering column is tilted all the way down. Remove any electrical connection from the back of the dash panel, and you can remove it completely.
One thing to remember. The dash panel has tabs on top that must go BEHIND the tabs for the upper dash ledge. It is easy to put them in front. It will bolt up but the holes in the filler panel will not line up for the anchor clips.
Hope you can follow that, and it helps.