Tuesday, September 4, 2018

There is always something!

Dateline - 09/01/2018 - Working a few odds and ends on the Jag this weekend.  First, I worked on installing the rear window seal lock bead and chrome.  As I've said before, I really hate working with rubber seals.  What a PITA!  As it is, I got the lock bead in place and half the window chrome before my hands got too tired to work on it anymore!

Second, I wanted to get to the Jay Leno benchmark of "Done," which is a working horn.  I had already installed the horn relay when I detailed the engine bay (https://leapingv8s.blogspot.com/2015/12/christmas-2015.html), but I never installed the actual horns.  So I was rooting around under the car, trying to figure out where the horn was installed before but I couldn't figure it out, so I decided to hang it off of the bottom suspension cross brace.  I also wanted to make a bracket to brace the transmission fluid cooling lines to the radiator because they are just hanging out there and vibrating while the engine is running.  So, I did both with the same job.  Came out pretty nice too!

Next was wiring the horn.  Since I didn't modify any of the electrical system for the horn, I figured this would work right out of the gate.  It didn't.  The Jaguar has an interesting electrical system (surprise!) in that the ignition needs to be on for the horn to work.  I didn't realize this until I did some research and looked at the Lucas horn relay and the Jaguar wiring system. So, after an hour of tracing, reading on-line and looking at schematics, I figured it out and got the horn to work.  Well...it worked from under the hood, but not from the horn switch in the steering.  So, I pulled the horn switch out and realized that the brass rod that is supposed to run from the center conductor inside the lower part of the steering column that makes contact with the switch is missing!  MISSING!  I have no idea where this rod is!  I looked in every box, every cubby, every place I could think of and nothing!

Center Conductor in fixed part of Steering Column
Missing connector from center conductor to horn button.
Fortunately, I was able to create a conductor our of 12 gauge wire with a crimp splice that slides over the main conductor at one end and connects to a socket on the switch on the other.  It will work fine, but I can't believe I lost this part!

So, to make sure that I really did lose the piece, I decided to clean my entire garage!  Yup.  I cleaned the garage that had not been cleaned in NINE YEARS! I opened very cabinet, cupboard, drawer, box, package, crate, sleeve and plastic bag!  I sorted.  I packed, I moved and I organized. 

After 16 hours of cleaning I filled up two 33 gallon garbage bags full of junk to go to the dump and now know where everything is at in my garage.  Everything, that is, except that damned horn connector!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Bumpers are in!

Dateline - 08/23/2018 - I got the bumpers back from the chromer!  They came in two boxes.  One had the front bumper and the four overriders, and the other had just the back bumper.  When I saw the box that had the front bumper was in, I was thinking, "I'm going to end up sending that back, I know it!"

Crush box with front bumper in it
But after opening it up, everything was fine.  They sure did a lot of packing of these though.  They were wrapped in plastic, white butcher paper then heavy padding wrapped in packing tape!  The back bumper had a wood brace placed between the arms to make sure that they did not get bent in shipping.  Very impressed with the packing.

So, after getting the bumpers out of the significant wrapping, I test fitted them on the car.  Back bumper was fine, but when I put the front bumper on, I thought they had re-welded the mounting brackets in the wrong place!  They did not align with the mounting bolts.  So, now I'm thinking, "I have to send that front bumper back. That's a real pisser!"  But then I thought about it for a moment and realized I better research this before I get too upset.  So I pulled out my trusty SNG Barratt catalog (great reference) and saw that there are brackets that are mounted on the bumper.  I did some digging in my parts boxes and sure enough, there were two brackets that I had already sandblasted and painted and had ready to go, I had just forgot about them!  That's what happens when you pull something off a car and then have to remember how it goes back together, nine years later!

Here are the bumpers:
Bumpers and over riders.  Back bumper is closest.
I'm not going to install the bumpers until I can get the car back to paint for that final buffing, polish and glaze.  Hopefully next week.

Wow!  I really have just about everything done!  

Monday, August 13, 2018

So Close!

Dateline - 08/10/2018 - Spent the weekend putting the car back together.  As in my last post, I only had a few things to do, but they took a lot of time.  I started Saturday off by going to the Department of Licensing and getting the car registered under the old plate (see https://leapingv8s.blogspot.com/2018/05/good-news-and-bad-news.html).  So, now my car is officially a Collector car!  $45 to register.  Not bad.

Next I picked up where I left off on the trunk.  I needed to install the backup lights, the chrome strip that runs under the the trunk lip between the backup lights and the license plat with its LED lights.  This all took about an hour to do.

I started working on installing the latch for the trunk, but realized I needed to tap some threads and I didn't have a tap the right size, so I put that off until Sunday.

Next I started working on the back right door.  This door proved to be a total PITA.  Nothing was going right and I struggled with it.  It took about three hours of just fiddling and I finally got it all together and realized that the window was binding.  I had to take everything apart again to find out that the door lock rod that runs from the inside door handle to the door latch was getting hooked by the window regulator.  I just needed to bend it back into the correct location, but again, what a pain to put everything back together again!  I just hate doors!

There was one good thing that came of all the work on the door.  I had a problem with the back door latch.  Once I opened the door, the latch would not move back into place and I had to manually reset it before I could close the door.  I thought it was the door latch and was going to buy a new one.  But as I was fiddling with the door, I unscrewed on the latch bolts and the latch snapped back into place.  I realized that there are two lengths of special screws used for the door latch.  A short one that used for the latch, and a slightly longer one that is used for the inside door handle.  I used the wrong one (too long) and it was catching on the mechanism inside the door latch.  Easy fix!

As I posted last week, I ordered LED lights to replace all the running and direction lights on the car.  When I installed the lights and tried them, I found out that I don't have any turn signals or hazard lights.  This has to do with the old flasher relays that are in the car (one for turn signals, one for hazards).  How these things work is they have a bi-metal strip in them that heats up as current is pulled through it. The heat causes the bi-metal to bend and break the circuit (and make the sound you hear with a turn signal).  When the metal cools, it pops back into place and turns the signals back on.  This works great as long as there is enough current being pulled to cause the metal to heat up.  Unfortunately, LED lights pull almost no current, so the flashers don't work.

There are three ways to fix this: 1) Leave some original bulbs in the car (some people opt to leave the front bulbs original and the back bulbs LED), 2) buy a LED specific flasher unit, and/or 3) buy load resistors that you can put in parallel with the LED bulbs to put enough load to heat the the flasher unit.

Since my flashers relays are in the dash, and I could not even think of taking the dash apart again, I opted for the load resistors.  I bought four of them and installed two in the back (one on each turn signal) and the turn signals work great.  However the hazard lights are not working. If I put a regular bulb in the front, the hazard does work, so I need to install the two remaining load resistors in the front turn signals.  I didn't get to that this weekend though.

On Sunday, I started work on the left front door.  This door went somewhat easier as far as putting all the window pieces together.  It was still a very fiddly job and you really have to do things in the correct order, but after several hours, I got everything together, just to find out that I broke a wire off the power window switch that activated the back left window!  So I had to take everything apart again (is this a theme!) and resolder the wire.  Finally, I got the door together!  And there was much rejoicing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yciX2meIkXI)!

When I was going through all my chrome pieces, I realized that there was a bunch of chrome that went around the windows inside the car.  I left that off before, but decided to put it on.  This took about an hour of fiddling, but I does look a lot more finished now.

Finally, I ended the day working on the trunk.  I got a tap for the holes in the body that the latch mounts too,  mounted the latch, adjusted everything, and now the trunk closes and locks.  But I didn't like the grinding noise it made when I opened and closed it.  I originally thought it was the result of all the work I did rebuilding the trunk hings (see https://leapingv8s.blogspot.com/2014/12/its-december-and-its-time-to-work-on.html), and it turned out that it was, but not because of the hinges, but because the bolts I used to put it back together where rubbing against the inside of the trunk sides!!!  Now, If I was brave, I could have taken the trunk lid off, removed the hinges, ground the bolts down, then remount everything.  But I'm not brave, so several strong hits with a hammer on the trunk sides, and the lid moves like it should.

So, not much left now.  I'm still waiting for my window molding lock tool to come in.  Once I get that, I can installed the window lock and the chrome that goes around the windshields.  I've got a new Jaguar lettering for the trunk on order since I destroyed the one I had pulling it off for paint. So I need to install that and the "V8" and "350" badges.  I should also have my bumpers soon, so will need to install those.  Then it's time to get the front end aligned and start driving it.  I still have a few fiddly things to finish, but its very, very close to "done"!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Putting It All Back Together Again...Again!

Dateline - 08/04/2018 - Now that the car is back from paint, it's time to put it all back together again.  I started in the front with the grills, headlights and side markers.  Then I moved to the right back and installed the right tank cover, tail light and side marker.

I was going to start on the window chrome pieces, but there is a "locking strip" the is supposed to be inserted into the window seal that presses the rubber tight against the window and the body.  I didn't install this originally, but I thought better of it this time and wanted to install it.  After working on it for about an hour, I thought to myself, "There must be a tool for this."  Sure enough, I found out that there is a tool for this and ordered it on Amazon.  Should be here next week!  Then I started on the doors.

The doors are such a pain.  They really are.  Tight spaces.  Sharp edges,  just not fun.  Starting on the front door, I had to install:

  • Rear view mirror
  • Door Lock
  • Door handle
  • Vinyl water barrier
  • Outer Window scraper and chrome trim
  • Outer Window chrome edging
  • 1/2 of the B-Pillar Chrome (half is on the trailing edge of the front door, the other half is on the leading edge of the back door)
  • The window
  • The 1/4 light (e.g. "Vent window") and frame
  • Power window motor and regulator
  • Widow stop (lowest down position)
  • Door panel
  • Arm rest
  • Window Switch
  • Arm rest pad
  • Door threshold
All sounds easy, but of course, it wasn't.  The first challenge was doing things in the correct order, which I didn't.  The second challenge was the vinyl water barrier.  What a PITA.  All together, it took me about two hours to get the door together.

Then I started on the back right door.  Things to be installed on that door are:
  • Install rear 1/4 light glass into frame.
  • Install 1/4 light
  • Door Handle, 
  • Water barrier
  • B-Pillar chrome
  • Window scraper and chrome
  • Window
  • Power window motor and regulator
  • Window frame top (comes out so that you can pull the window out)
  • Re-install door seal that I had to take off to get the 1/4 light and window out.
  • Window outside chrome
  • Chrome piece below the 1/4 light
  • Window stop
  • Door panel
  • Arm rest
  • Window Switch
  • Arm rest pad
  • Door wind lacing
  • Door threshold
This door went slightly easier but I got about 2/3 of the way done when I got to 7:00 pm and decided to call it quits for the day and finished it on Sunday after my bike ride.

On Sunday, I finished the door, installed the rain gutter trim, then moved to the back left of the car, installing the left fuel tank cover, tail light and side maker.  I then started working on the trunk lid by installing the trunk knob, chrome "wings" on either side of the knob, and the trunk seal.  At that point, it was getting hot in the garage and I was burning out, so I spend about 1/2 cleaning my workbench, and called it a day.

Since I have all the side markers and lights off, I decided to go ahead and buy LED bulbs for all the running, direction, brake and backup lights.  Not cheap, but they should look good on the car.

So, what is left?
  • Backup light frames
  • Trunk chrome strip that runs between the backup lights
  • Trunk emblems (need to buy new ones)
  • License plate and frame (need to get the car registered with the old plate - See https://leapingv8s.blogspot.com/2018/05/good-news-and-bad-news.html)
  • Left front door
  • Left back door
  • Left rain gutter trim
  • Front windscreen seal lock
  • Front windscreen chrome
  • Back windscreen seal lock
  • Back windscreen chrome
  • Front bumper - still need to get back from chromer
  • Back bumper - still need to get back from chromer
The list is getting smaller and smaller!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Car is Back from Paint!

Dateline - 07/31/2018 - July ended with another hot day in the Pacific North West, and with my car returning from paint.  They were still polishing out the paint when I got to the paint shop at 3:30 and said that they would not be done until 5:30!  We talked it out and they said they can finish the buff-out by 4:00 ish, but I would need to bring the car back for a final polish and seal. We went with that plan and by about 4:15 they had finished and had it loaded and back to the house by 4:45.
At the paint shop getting polished
On tow truck leaving from paint
Arrival at the house
In driveway
Back view
Rear - right view
Moved the car into the sun for left side
Front left side
And front side - Oooo!  Shiny!
And...its favorite spot in the garage!
Also, the chromer contacted me to let me know that the bumpers are done.  Now I just need to get them shipped back.  Waiting on a quote for that.

I will start putting it back together this weekend.  Now that I have the door panels off and the windows out, I am going to spend a little more time fixing some items that I didn't take care of before, like putting a plastic vapor barrier in the doors, which the original had, but I didn't put back in.  I also have a few wire connectors to the front headlights that I'd like re-do.

I can't believe this car is almost done.  I hope to get some drives in August and September.  Let's see how it goes!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Back to Paint

Dateline - 07/07/2018 - The car went back to paint on Friday!  The paint shop expects to have it for two weeks.  Once it's back, I can put it back together and drive it!  In the mean time, I need to register the vehicle with it's new-old license plate, and find out the status of the bumpers.  Hopefully they will bee coming soon!

Here are a couple of pictures:
Back of car just before leaving for paint
Right Side
Left side
Very blurry picture of car at paint.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Need New Paint

Dateline - 06/09/2018 - I finally managed to hook up with the paint shop this last week and drove the car down to the shop.  The paint guy was very impressed with the car.  He really liked what I did with the interior.  He said it looks modern but classic.  He was also impressed with the custom upholstery and carbon fiber work. 

So the news on the paint is that they are going to need to repaint the entire car!  Makes since.  That way they don't have to match any colors.  He did say that he saw some shrinkage (not sure what that means) and quite a few chips from putting the panels back on, so a repaint will make it look nice and fresh.  But it does mean is that I needed to strip the car of all the chrome, door handles, side windows, door panels, etc., and tow the car to paint and back. 

To be prepared this weekend I spent a day taking everything off the car except the front and back windows and the gas caps. I took my time and bagged all the hardware individually so it should go back together much easier then it did last time when I spent hours looking for the correct hardware or odds-and-ends parts.  I also found a few things that I need change while the parts are out of the car, so this will be a good time to take care of those items.

Front stripped
Back stripped
All the parts off the car
So, I need to call the paint guy next week to find out when they can fit me in.  He said he needs a couple of weeks to finish up a Nova project they are working on right now, then they can do my car.

If all the timing works out, this will mean that I may get the car back about the time the bumpers come back from the chromer.  Could mean I can finish it all up at one time.  That would be cool!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Good News and Bad News

Dateline - 05/19/2018 - I have some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that I have finally sent my bumpers off to be re-chromed this weekend.  My friends Roland, Joe and I went to the Monroe Auto Swap meet this weekend and I ran into a chrome shop that has a local rep.  He came to my house on Sunday after the meet and took a look at my bumpers and quoted me a price.  Probably not the cheapest, but I had a good feeling that they will do a great job, and I didn't have to ship them someplace.  He took them with him.

Now for the bad news, best chance of getting the bumpers back will be early July, so it looks like I am going to miss the Greenwood Auto Show this year, yet again!  It was starting to get untenable anyway because I still need to get the paint straightened out and I keep playing phone tag with the paint shop.  I don't think he could have the paint done for the show either, so there you are!  I do want to get the car going for driving this summer though, so I'm going to keep pressing.

On another front, Roland told me about a very interesting classic/vintage car rule in Washington.  Once your car is over 25 years old, you can get collector car plates as long as you are not going to use the car commercial use.  The nice thing about collector plates is that you only pay for them once, and you never have to renew the tabs!  That's really cool!

But the fun doesn't stop there!  The standard collector car plates are, well, a little funky.
New Collector Vehicle License Plate
These are the plates I've seen on most cars.  But Roland told me of rule that, if you get an original plate that has a year tab that is the same as your vehicles model year, you can use that plate to register your car!  Not only that, but you are not required to have a front license plate either!

Well, guess what they sell at the Monroe Auto Swap, old license plates!  So, for $50, I got a 1971 rear license plate in really good shape, to put on the car!  Now I need to take it down to the Depart of Licensing and get my title changed to this plate and I'm good to go!  I may have to pay for one more registration, but after that, I'll be done.  Plus, the old plate, that looks like this, but with a different number:
1971 Washington License Plate
Will look pretty good on the car.  I particularly like the unique year tab with the yellow and black.

Roland had a really good idea about the license plate frame, I should see if I can find a frame from Lew Florence, which was a dealership in Seattle of British cars in the 70's.  Or, I could research were the car was originally sold (I believe it was to a doctor in Seattle) and see if I can get a frame from that dealer.  Both would be pretty neat to have.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Got the Car Out of the Garage!

Dateline - 05/05/2018 - Didn't spend a lot of time on the car this weekend.  I needed to take care of my unruly yards.  But, I did finish the center console, and backed the car into the driveway for some pictures.  See below:

In the driveway - front view
Rear 3/4 view
Rear view

Back with center console
So, most of the interior is done now.  Just a few items to clean up.  I now need to get the car to paint and get the front end aligned.  The rest will probably wait until the winter.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Looking Hard for Things To Do!

Dateline - 04/28/2018 - Well, I'm not done, but I'm REALLY close! 

This weekend I focused on the last items in the car.  First, I took out the cyclops center brake light and painted it the same cranberry color that the back speaker grills are painted.  Makes it look uniform in the back.

I also painted and installed the front speaker grills and speakers.  I got an enamel mixed that matched the color of the door vinyl so it looks very uniform.

One of the jobs that was outstanding in the front of the car was to finish the center storage box and install the armrest.  I created a new insert out of fiberglass the prior weekend, so this weekend I trimmed and finished in using carbon look vinyl, installed it into the center console with the USB adapter for the radio inside of it, and installed the armrest with all the original hardware. 

I also spent a great deal of time on the back center console.  I figured out how I would install the carbon fiber piece, which required glassing a piece of brass stock onto the back of the panel so that I could run some screws from the inside of the storage box into the panel.  The bottom part of of the panel is held in using brass brackets riveted to the bottom edge of the panel that run back and down to fit over the center cross brace of the console itself.

I've been having a hard time getting the finish I want on the carbon fiber piece. I've sprayed and sanded several times now and can't get the smooth finish I want, so I've sanded back all the lacquer and I'm going to put one more coat of resin over it to try to smooth out the few imperfections.  So I have a few more days of work on that before I'm finished.

While I was working on the car, I remembered that I forgot to put the left side passenger door stop into the B-pillar before I installed the upholstery.  So I had to remove the upholstery, which required removing the front and back door thresholds, the fuzzy edging on both sides of the B-Pillar, the shoulder mount for the seat front belt, the trim piece that fits on the upper part of the B-Pillar and a couple of screws.  After installing the door stop, I put everything back in.  Took about an hour.

Finally, during the week I sourced four Series III side fender badges from EBay and installed them on the door panels.  This was a relatively easy, if fiddly job requiring drilling holes in the carbon fiber panels and installing the badges. It really made a difference though, and I'm glad I got the matching ones since looking in the car, you would have really noticed the difference if I had kept the Series 1 badges.

So, from my list I have left to complete:

In the back of the car:

  • Lacquer and rub out the center console panel
  • Mount the center console
Front Interior
  • Finish center indicator light bezel
  • Mount dimmer switch knobe
  • Calibrate Speedometer
  • Buy carpet kit an install
  • Make left and right upholstery panels
  • Fix mismatch paint
  • Install bumpers
  • Install front license plate
  • Front end alignment
  • Headlight alignment
I'm going to see if I can get the car into the paint shop this week to find out what it will take to fix the paint.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Looking For Things To Work On!

Dateline - 04/21/2018 - I am now officially looking for things to do on the car.  I've gotten to that point! 

This weekend I:

  • Applied the carbon fiber over the fiberglass on the center console and sanded it back down to ready it for lacquer overcoat.
  • Mounted the cyclops brake light
  • Added a catch on the lower glove box so that it doesn't just drop open.  I needed something that would allow me to open the box completely because the fuses are behind it.  A simple catch made of bass stock, riveted into the side of the of the glove box worked like a champ.
  • Painted the centers of the hubcaps and installed them.
  • Painted the front speaker frames and grills

One item that took more work was the front center console insert.  When you lift the center console armrest, there is a very thin plastic insert that goes in to create the center glove box.  The original is in pretty bad shape, and with the addition of the new hand brake, I would have to modify the tray to fit.

So, instead of trying to fix and modify he original, I decided to make a new one out of fiberglass.  I created the buck from pink foam (of course) and then laid up two glass layers, one 10 lb and one six lb.  I had to chip away the foam, but when I was done, it was a perfect fit!  Just need to trim, sand and finish in the carbon fiber vinyl that I used for the other glove boxes and I'm good.

So, what's left...

In the back of the car:

  • Lacquer and rub out center console panel
  • Install center console panel
  • Mount the center console
  • Source and mount wing badges for door panels

Front Interior:

  • Finish center console insert
  • Install armrest
  • Finish the center indicator light bezel
  • Mount dimmer switch knob
  • Calibrate Speedometer

  • Make left and right upholstery panels
  • Buy carpet kit and install
  • Fix mismatch paint
  • Install bumpers
  • Install front license plate
  • Front end alignment
  • Headlight alignment
Not much left!

Monday, April 16, 2018

So Close I Can Taste It!

Dateline - 04/14/2018 - I can't believe it!  I'm almost "done"!  I put "done" in quotes because, well, you are never really done until you sell the car or die!  But I'm really, really close!

Since the last time I posted, I've completed both door panels and installed, which required completing most of the steps I had outstanding in my last post.  The only thing I need is to source the Leaper front wing badges that I use on the front door panels.  Here are pictures of the interior all together.

Interior with everything but center console carbon piece
Interior wide angle
Back seats with upholstered center filler

I also carved the center console carbon fiber piece from pink foam and did a layup of two layers of 6 lb fiberglass, which will be the underlay/support for the carbon.  Pictures of the layup process:
Foam buck covered in Saran wrap and two pieces of 6 lb fiberglass
After layup of fiberglass and covered in Saran wrap
Piece removed from buck.  Will put back on buck for placement of carbon fiber

Layup of end piece which is done separately.  Two layers of 6 lb fiberglass

I completed wiring the rear reading light switch and the USB charger.  This was a bit challenging, like most thing have been because, if I had known what I was going to do in the beginning, I would have done things differently.  First, the switches are not the same as the ones I used in the front of the car.  Those are not made anymore!  So I used something similar, but they are wired differently.  They have two LED lights, one that you can wire separately, and one that goes on when the switch is turned on.  I wanted the LEDs that you can wire separately to be connected to the running lights so that they would come on with the dash lights.  However, I didn't run any wire from the dash to do that.  Thinking about it for a bit, I realized I could easily splice a wire in the truck that runs to the outside running lights.  So, that is what I did and now the switches light when I turn on the dash lights.  I can't dim them like the front, but they are in the back and I'm not that worried about it.

The second challenge was the USB charger.  My original thought was to take the hot wire off the right had reading light switch to power to USB.  The problem is that the power for the reading lights is coming off a fuse block in the truck that is hot all the time.  This means the USB will be hot all the time.  I didn't want that because it's lit and would run the battery down.  I scratched my head for some time to figure out how to fix this issue (again, knowing five years ago that I was going to install this USB switch would have helped!)  Then I realized that the AUX switch that I wired into the dash ran to the trunk, and that AUX switch actually supplied a ground, not a hot.  When I put it in originally, I figured I would use it to run things in the trunk, like arming a NOS system and that I could use the fuse block in the trunk for power. So, all I needed to do was run the AUX wire in the truck back up to the USB charger and plug it into the ground side.  Voila!  Works like a champ.  The USB charger doesn't work unless I turn on the AUX switch up front.  A good compromise. And, if I do need to charge something overnight, I don't need to leave the car power on!  Here are pictures of the light switches:

Center switches with dash lights on.
Center switches with dash lights and reading lights on.
Center switches with dash lights and USB enabled

I tried to install my center brake light bar that I purchased years ago.  The mount that the light is in doesn't stand up tall enough to reach from the back parcel shelf to the bottom of the window, so I created some ABS plastic extension on the 3D printer.  I had done this three years ago, but once I tried to install them, I realized I couldn't because the back window is in the way now!  So, I got back on the computer and designed a new extension that has the screw mounting going in at an angle instead of straight down.  It's nice to have a 3D printer!  I ran out of time to install the light, but I'll get to that this week.

So, what is left?  Hmmmm.  I have to think about this.  To truly be done, I have to do the following:

In the back of the car:

  • Mount the brake light
  • Finish the carbon fiber layup and mount the center console panel
  • Final mount of the center console
  • Final mount of the center console arm rest
  • Source and mount wing badges on door panels
Front interior:
  • Fix the plastic center console insert and install
  • Install the center console arm rest
  • Install the glove box vanity mirror
  • Install a glove box door catch
  • Install a lower glove box latch system
  • Finish the center indicator light bezel
  • Mount the dimmer switch knob.
  • Calibrate Speedometer
  • Make left and right upholstery panels
  • Buy carpet kit and install
  • Fix mismatched paint
  • Install bumpers
  • Install front license plate
  • Repaint hubcap center caps
  • Have front wheels alighted
  • Have headlights aligned.

That's all I can think of!  Wow! The list is super small now!  Oh what a feeling!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Made Massive Progress!

Dateline - 04/01/2018 - Put in a solid 16 hours this weekend and made huge progress.  Here is what I completed:
  • Left and right door panels upholstered.  Just missing the center carbon inset
  • Left and right door panel window seals installed
  • Left and right door handles upholstered and ready for installation
  • Carbon insets, left and right window switch and center light switch lacquered 
  • Back seat middle insert shaped, upholstered and installed
  • Center console armrest upholstered
  • Finished left and right door handle arm rests
What's left to do:
  • Rub out all the lacquered parts
  • Install the door panel inserts
  • Install the door panels
  • Make Snap in brackets for door handle arm rests and install
  • Install window switches
  • Install center console arm rest
  • Install center console
  • Wire and install reading light switches 
  • And the BIG one: carve the center console carbon insert, lay up with carbon. lacquer and install.  This is going to be several weekends work.
If I have all the parts I need, all but the last one can be done in a weekend!  So, I'M REALLY CLOSE to being done with the interior!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Less Fiberglass, More Upholstery

Dateline - 03/18/2018 - I just realized I've not posted in awhile, so a quick catch up.  I've finished all the fiberglass work! Yah!  I still have to do the carbon fiber layup for the center console, but I will not do that until everything else is done.

I've moved into serious upholstery work now.  I'm about 98% completed the center console, which was a real chore.  Lots of little stitching and weird angles. I still have a few wrinkles to get out, but it's really close.

The covers for all three armrests are sewn.  All I need to do now is glue them on.

The right had door panel is getting close.  I created the center insert panel out of pressed board. It attaches to the door via four screws that mount into metal brackets.  This post (http://leapingv8s.blogspot.com/2011/12/great-movement-forward.html) covers how I did this for the front doors.  Same process for the back.   It will be covered with carbon fiber sprayed with clear lacquer. 

I also created the metal piece that the upholstery attaches to that keeps the correct shape for the door handle.  Because of the difficulty in trying to sew the door handle insert into the larger piece of vinyl that covers the entire door panel, I created a separate insert that is glued in, and then cut a hole in the large vinyl piece and use the metal bracket to keep the shape correct.  The insert is sewn and installed.

I've sewn the large piece that covers the door panel.  This was tricky because the upper part, which is in Burgundy color needed special attention to deal with the little raised part in the back that covers the bottom of the back quarter-light.  I made this harder on myself then I should have, but It is what it is.  I always enjoy a challenge!  I still have to say that Basting tape is a God-send!  I'm still amazed I was able to do the work I did without it and have it be as good quality as it is!

I have also completed sewing the material for the right hand door handle, but have not glued it into place yet.

So, what is left:

  • Glue the vinyl on the right hand door handle.
  • Glue the vinyl on the right hand door panel
  • Finish right hand carbon fiber insert
  • Glue the vinyl on the three arm rest pads
  • Work to fill some low spots on the left hand door handle
  • Create door handle opening bracket
  • Create left door carbon fiber insert
  • Cut, sew and attach upholstery for left door panel and door handle
  • Carve foam center console buck for carbon fiber layup
  • Layup carbon fiber
  • Lacquer clear coat the window switch holders, reading light switch holder and door inserts
  • Install everything
So, still a significant list.  But I just keep hacking away at it and soon it will be done!!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Great Progress on Doors and Center Console

Dateline 2/17/2018 - Still working on the door panels, but made great progress.  I now have the mounts for both panels attached to the doors.  These are metal brackets with blind nuts welded to them.  These are used to secure the door handles, but do a good job of holding the door card on too.  On the front doors, I welded them to the door, but after taking the door cards off my 2000 Astro van to replace a window regulator, I saw the GM uses really big pop rivets, so I did the same this time.  Much easier to do and I didn't have to worry about throwing hot metal into my new interior!

Fabricated metal brackets with blind nuts riveted to door. (Note, missing two rivets because I ran out!)
To hold the door handles on, I used a piece of "L" stock as well as a metal plate that go inside of the handle.  After sandblasting and painting the parts, I test fit everything on the door and using 6 minute epoxy thinned with Acetone, I impregnated small pieces of fiberglass fabric and used them to hold adhere the metal parts to the fiberglass door handle.  I later put in a layer of 10 lb fiberglass using my regular resin/hardener firmly secure the pieces into place.
L bracket and metal plate before mounting in armrest
Metal plate after mounting

I also did some more form shaping and fiber glassing.  Last weekend I joined the two halves of the center console and fiber glassed them, making a small glove box that will be under the armrest.  This weekend I finished sanding and shaping the center console.

I also shaped and sanded the both arm rest pads and the center console armrest pad.  The center console pad has a wood inset at the base to give a place to screw the hing into. There is a corresponding wood piece into the console.

Finally, I fiber glassed one of the door arm rests.  I used my vacuum bagging tools for this.  Came out pretty well with just a little sanding needed.

Center Console, armrest and left & right door armrests. The left one is fiber glassed
Bottom of center armrest showing wood insert for hing mounting
Center console with armrest on top
At this point, the center console is ready for upholstery.  The door panels are almost ready.  I still have to made the carbon fiber inset attachments and shape the carbon fiber panels.  This will probably take a weekend to complete, but once done, I will be ready to move into upholstery work.

To be honest, I'm getting pretty anxious to be done with these doors and center console.  It was one thing when I was doing this the first time for the front doors because there was so much to do on the car that it was just another thing to get done.  Now that the car drive-able and practically complete, and I've done a set of door panels already, I'm getting to the point that it just needs to be done! I can see why so many driving projects never get done.  I need to focus!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Door Panels are a Lot of Work!

Dateline - 02/10/2018 - I think I forgot how much work it was creating door panels!  I'm making progress, but everything is a one-off and just takes a lot of time!

This weekend I joined the two sides of the center console and fiber glassed them together.  I have a bit more sanding to do, but it should be ready for upholstery soon.

I also worked on mounting the passenger side rear door panel.  I had to create the mounting brackets out of mild steel, which required making templates, cutting, bending, weld blind nuts, sandblasting, painting and mounting to the doors.  I got as far as welding the blind nuts. 

The other half of this is the door handle which requires a metal stiffener that is epoxied into the handle.  This stiffener is what the bolts go through to fasten the handle to the door.  It requires a lot of fitting and things have to line up perfect.  So I can't finish those until I get the mounts fastened to the doors.

Once I get the door panels to mount correctly, I have to work on the framework that holds the center carbon fiber piece.  After that, I can do the upholstery work.

There is still more fiberglass work to do with the armrests for the center console and both door panels.  I also have the do the carbon fiber top for the center console. I'm trying to get all of this done so that I can take the car to the paint shop, get the color corrected, then drive the car!  Must keep focused.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Up to my A.. in Fiberglass

Dateline 01/27/2018 - Still working in fiberglass!  Last weekend I glassed the center console pieces and sanded out the bubbles in one of the door panels.  This weekend, I sanded out the bubbles in the other door panel and the center console pieces, then I patched all the holes with more fiberglass. 

I also sanded the three switch holders and put a new coat of resin over them to fill in all the holes. 

Here are pictures of all the panels and switches:

Door panels, arm rests, and center console sides with patches, awaiting final sanding
Switch holders with fresh layer of resin

I still have more fiberglass work to do!  I have to create the two arm rests for the door panels and the one for the center console.  I also have the top of the center console, which will be done in carbon.  I will not do that one until I have the center console upholstered and mounted.  I found out with the front center console that I'm not good at predicting how much extra space I need to account for with glass, foam and vinyl. So I'm going to do that one last so that it fits.

Monday, January 15, 2018

More fiberglass work

Dateline 01/13/2018 - Worked on more fiberglass this weekend.  Focused on the other door panel.  Pretty much the same routine as last weekend. The difference though is that I didn't wrap the panel as tightly with Saran Wrap as I did the other one and that caused some problems after the epoxy set!  I've got some lumps, air bubbles and bridging that I'm going to need to sand or cut out and repair.  Lesson learned, wrap it tight!

I also did the carbon fiber layup on the reading light switch using the vacuum bagging technique.  I had the same challenges as I had before, but the results turned out okay.  Will still need some finishing work and coats of lacquer, but it should be fine.

Finally, I got the car running.  I had to put some gas in it, but I did get it started pretty easily.  I've called the paint guy to look at the differences between the doors and the body but I need to drive the car over to the shop.  Maybe this weekend.

Well, that all to report!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Continued work on Door Panels

Dateline - 01/07/2018 - Continued work on the door panels and center console this weekend.  Sunday was a very wet day, which makes for a good day to work in the garage.  The morning started with getting set up for epoxy work, which means clearing an area, putting down cardboard, and prepping and staging everything so that it is ready to go, which included cutting three layers of 10lb fiber glass mat to fit the buck and one layer of peel ply.  This was the layup "schedule" for the part.  Here are pictures of the buck and the layup schedule:

Right back door-card buck

Fiber Glass layup schedule - three plies of  10lb fiber glass

I then started the actual layup by putting the first layer on top of the buck and started spreading epoxy.  It takes quite a bit of epoxy to do an entire door panel.  Fortunately I had gone to West Marine on Saturday to pick up more (105 Resin, 206 Hardener) because I emptied the container I had and made good dent in the new one.  I didn't keep count, but I probably used 15 pumps (the pumps are calibrated to deliver the correct amount of resin to hardener (1:5)) of resin to do the entire panel.

After the first layer was applied, I put on the second and continued to work epoxy into it to make sure it was completely "wet."  Once that was done, the third layer was applied.  As more layers are applied, less epoxy is needed because there is always extra from the layers below.  The key is to add epoxy where the fabric isn't wetting and making sure to squeegee the resin to bring as much to the surface as possible.  I use my hands (gloved of course) to move the epoxy around, as well as the stirring stick and a plastic squeegee. 

Once all the layers where done, I put the layer of peel ply over the top and then started wrapping the piece in Saran Wrap.  I could have used the Shrink Stretch material I got from Fibre Glast, but I knew that the Saran Wrap process works well and the peel ply will make it easy to remove.

Door panel epoxied and covered in Saran Wrap
Once the epoxy set (Monday) I was able to easily peel the Saran wrap and peel ply off to get the panel.  All it needs now is to cut off the waist and sand a few areas.

Door Panel with Saran Wrap and Peel Ply removed
I spent about three hours working the door panel and by the time I was done, I didn't feel like working on the other door.  So I did some work on the center console.  I stated last week that I was trying an idea to put the reading light switches in the center console.  Looking at it after a week, I really didn't like it.  So I filled in the hole I had cut with a block of foam and drywall plaster and looked for a new location for the switches.  I found it!  The switches will go on the back of the front center console, ahead of the cup holders.  This was the location of the rear air vent in the original car which I am no longer using. I didn't know what I was going to do with that area, so this seemed like a good solution.  I could put the switches there, in a holder similar in shape and size to what I used for the power window switches, and even use carbon fiber to keep the theme.

Open area above cup holders to be used for light switches
To prove that this idea would would, I cut a piece of foam to hold the switches and fit in the spot. It was perfect.

Foam prototype for light switches
Because I know the foam would not work well in the vacuum bag, I went ahead and modeled the part in Blender and printed out a couple of test parts on my 3D printer.  (Note:  The pink abs plastic is a leftover from printing a bunch of Lego "Pussy Hats" for a friend.  I have three lbs of pink plastic, and prototypes are just about the only use I can find for it!)

Light Switch Holder Blender Model

Light Switch Holder Blender Model
3D printed prototype for light switch holder in situ

Prototype light switch holder with light switch frames and center USB adapter in place
So now I just need to do a final print of part and carbon fiber cover it using the vacuum bagging tools.  I'm pretty stoked!