Got a whole lot done today (and the past few nights). The dash has been removed, and the stubborn heater control button was finally disconnected from the dash, along with the horn button. On a whim, I wired the horn button to the horn and tested that setup on the Bronco’s battery, and low and behold it worked… so that’ll be one more thing carried over. The steering wheel came off and was set aside as well.
The two big-ticket items for the day were to get the dash frame supported, and to remove the steering gear / column. The dash frame was starting to sag and fall apart since it’s so rotted at its base on the passenger side, and disconnecting it from the firewall didn’t help any. I dug up a strip of wood, cut it to various sizes, and with the pneumatic staple gun did my best to support the frame in every way necessary. It seems pretty stable now, but I sure as hell wouldn’t lean on it.
The steering gear and column had to come out since it’s all one unit, and would prevent me from removing the firewall. The gearbox took a bit of wrenching, but came apart rather easily all things considered. The collar on the shaft that bolts up to the firewall had already been disconnected from the firewall earlier, but the bolts holding the two halves together weren’t coming off any time soon. I ended up loosening them enough so that I could coat the shaft in WD-40 and slide it down far enough to remove the whole assembly. From here, I’ll likely continue removing items from the firewall until I can remove it and study its setup.