How to Remove the Center Console in a 1998 Ford Explorerby Mathew Godfrey
The 1998 Ford Explorer's center console provides an area to put cups, hold the shift knob and the emergency brake. If you ever have to remove the carpet or get to the shifter linkage, then the console has to come out to gain access. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes to do. It's not very difficult in theory to remove the center console, but it does take quite a bit of strength to pull the center console out of the vehicle.
Remove the package tray and cup holders by grasping them with both hands and pulling them out. Once these are removed, the wiring block under the stereo will be visible.
Loosen the bolt holding the wiring block in place with a screwdriver until you are able to unplug the harness. The harness can be unplugged by hand and will not have to be removed from the console.
Remove two gold-colored bolts with the screwdriver on each side of where the wiring block used to be.
Look down in the front of the armrest, and you'll see two more bolts identical to the ones you just removed. Remove these bolts with a screwdriver as well. You might want to use an extra long screwdriver because of the location of these bolts. You might need needle nose pliers to remove the bolts once they've been loosened.
Pull the console straight back, while you are sitting in the back seat. This will take quite a bit of force, because there are two metal "fingers" holding the center console in place, but pulling it through the rear is the only way to remove the console. The "fingers" are an added safety measure in the vehicle, but will let go with enough force. The center console will have to be pulled back and then up to be removed.