I recently completed the replacement of the upper dash on my truck and I wanted to share a few photos.
While I've read about people replacing the upper dash panel without completely pulling the dash from the truck I don't see how that's really possible and certainly would be much more difficult. It took me a couple hours to pull the dash since this was the first time I've done it, but I feel I could do it in under an hour now. I've got lots more pics, but for the most part it's a pretty straight forward process. I followed the steps in the factory service manual. and it was tedious but certainly doable.
Here's a link to the relevant pages from the 1997 factory service manual
Here's the dash prior to removal. I had already pulled the bezel and disconnected from the cowl.
I fixed some of the broken plastic support structure with 1/2x1/8 aluminum strip epoxied in place to add strength
Attach the side molding and side defrost vent tubes to the dash panel before attaching the dash panel to the dash (do both sides).
Using a dremel tool I had to widen the slots on some of the duct connetors in order to get them to attach to the dash defrost vents without having to put pressure on the dash panel to make it fit. I would not be surprised to find that many dashes from the factory crack because the plasic panel is stressed to make it fit the ducting.
Don't forget to transfer your VIN from the old dash
Here's the finished product