Somebody said it does not have to come out but, for me, it was a lot easier to take it out. As a matter of fact, I took the whole "black box" out. The evaporator and the heater core are inside this box.
I did not have to take the steering wheel out. I just worked around it.
One more thing, you can buy the rubber replacements for the actuators for aournd $5 instead of the whole thing from George Murphy. Do a search under his name.