I am going to be checking my OBD port on my 2004 Subaru WRX for loose pins. The problem is that access to my OBD is uncomfortable at best (it's below knee level and pointed down). Even if I can successfully diagnose bad pins (a relatively simple procedure), replacing or reseating the pins will be an enormous hassle unless I can get the port and cable loose from the dash.

So, what is the procedure for disconnecting the OBD port from the lower dashboard? This appears to be a relatively straightforward plastic clip somewhere in the housing but I would prefer not to gorilla the problem and make it worse.

NOTE: I am not talking about getting the pins loose (that is when you slide off the white retaining clip). I just want to end up with a cable and port that are no longer connected to the dashboard so I have more convenient access.

  • IIRC It's just two tabs, Sometimes they use screws to hold them in place. – Ben Jan 24 '18 at 0:09

From a NASIOC thread about the same procedure on an 03 (also same on my 02):

The OBDII port is two-piece. First remove the housing by reaching behind, pinching the sides and pushing it towards the floor.

Once that part is out, the piece will be dangling by the wiring harness. Now the actual port can removed from the plastic housing by pulling the harness backward out of it (i.e. up, towards your dash).

You can now put the harness where ever you like, and place the plastic shroud back into the dash piece.

  • And fit the two toggle switches for diagnostic and flash mode while you're under there... (I mean, if you're into that sort of thing . . .) – SteveRacer Jan 25 '18 at 3:41

tl;dr: gently pry it loose from the driver side and push it out from behind the dash

This is actually easy to do and yet all the online posts seem to be completely wrong (at least relative to my car).

Here is a picture of the area that we are taking about (this is the view from your lower shin when driving the car, if you have eyes down there): Close up of the OBD port

In that picture, you can see the OBD port (the connector with many little holes) and the shroud that it sits in. That shroud is what we are trying to get loose. Looking at the upper left, you can clear see what looks like the back side of a clip that fits the shroud into the rest of the dash (and you’d be right to think so).

What many of the posts online recommend that you do is a variant of “reach behind the dash and squeeze super hard and magic or something.” What you’ll see in the next picture is why that strategy falls down: Shroud out of the dash

What you can see in that picture is the shroud out of the dash (so I did figure that it out, obviously) and my thumb showing about all of your potential squeezing area (i.e., not much). The clips are quite a ways down and, since the OBD port will be in the way, there’s basically no squeezing that you can do that will get things loose. If we had more room behind the dash, I’d recommend sliding a thin shim or pry bar down the side of the shroud but it’s quite cramped back there.

The solution is quite simple: get a non-marring stuff pry bar and carefully lever out the shroud from the driver side while pushing from behind the dash. You’ll likely have to do both sides.

The result will be the shroud and OBD port sitting just free of the dash. There won’t be much slack at all and, if you need to do anything to the port itself, you’ll want to pop it loose (one clip on each side to the left of my thumb in the picture).

Installation is the reverse of removal: just push things back in place and they will snap back.

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