I have come a fairways on my decklid vent build and thought that I would share it all with you. This modification is definitely not for the faint of heart as the decklid has to be cut up pretty extensively to fit the new piece, but the pictures will speak for themselves. I have no prior experience in bodywork and have never attempted anything like this before. the only other project that I have done with fiberglass is my battery box in this thread : http://www.fiero.nl/forum/A...050818-2-062364.html
My purpose for this thread is to encourage people who are not confident about doing this on their own. Hey, if I can do it so can you! Anyways, on with the information:
I purchased the fiberglass piece from gdjetski (AKA Golden) as can be seen in this thread:
The price seemed reasonable and I must admit that he shipped the piece quickly. When I picked up the piece from the post office I was concerned because the packaging was extensively damaged, so much so that Canada Customs attached a form indicating that they had to repair the packaging. When I got it home and unwrapped it this is what I found:
Needless to say, I was quite disappointed. I contacted gdjetski and he had indicated that he had never had a vent arrive in such poor condition and he refunded $60.00 of the original $100.00 amount, he could have just as easily blown me off but he seems to be an honest person. Afterwords I asked if he had any pictures or instruction on how to install the vent and he sent me a number of pictures. It was interesting to notice that in one of the pictures he sent the vent shown also had cracks as seen in this picture:
I think that these vents vents have a structural weakness at the edges and I would suspect that most of them will arrive with some sort of damage. Just a warning to those of you who may be interested in doing this as well.
My decklid also has some small structural cracks as seen below which seem to be at stress points:
I wanted to repair them and asked for suggestions in this thread:
Thanks to all who responded.
As can be seen, the new front bolt hole is too close to the bulkhead to allow for a nut and washer. The rear hole now sits so that it penetrates two layers of fiberglass that have about a 1" air gap between them. It is important to me that this looks like something that came from the factory, or at-least as close as I am able so I also cut out notches at the front of the bulkhead as well as larger holes at the rear hole that would allow for nuts and washers. These holes and notches were then finished with plastic tubing that was cut to size and bonded with Corvette Panel Adhesive. The tubing was then trimmed to final size once bonded:
While this was being done I also tackled the structural cracks. I first ground out the cracks a small amount using a Dremel tool and cutting disk. Once that was done I flexed the decklid so that the cracks would "open" up and applied Corvette Panel Adhesive to both sides. The decklid was allowed to return to normal shape so that the cracks would close up and adhere together. Excess adhesive was removed to create a more or less flat surface.
Here are a before and after shot:
Once set this had filler applied to is and it was sanded smooth.
Once this was complete I then began the test fitting of the decklid vent:
The rear portion of the vent overlapped the new wing bolt holes and so it was trimmed down using and jigsaw:
gdjetski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The packaging was REALLY flimsy cardboard that had absolutely no rigidity at all. The piece was given no support and of course cracked at the locations shown above. The crack locations are areas that are not rigid or reinforced enough on their own to withstand the flexing that occurred during transit. Again, I suspect that most of the vents delivered will have some cracking unless he changes the way he packages them. Additionally the piece is quite thin and could use an extra layer or two of matting.
Back to the information:
With the vent taped the decklid I traced out its outline onto the decklid. Once that was done it was removed and holes were drilled at the corners to allow me to start cutting the top of the lid with jigsaw. Here I am removing the lid and thinking I must be crazy, I mean either this is going to work or I'm going to ruin a perfectly good decklid:
And here is my trusty shop assistant Cedric:
So taking a deep breath I began to cut, a little bit here and a little bit there
I should also point out that there is a wiring harness for the decklid release that runs from the front of the decklid to the rear bulkhead through the passenger side decklid support. Care needs to be taken to not damage this harness during the cutting process.
I had also cut the openings for the vents prior to bonding as the piece was smaller and easier to maneuver than the entire decklid. It turns out that I had to re-cut the openings but more on that later
Once I was satisfied with the fit, I bonded the vent to the decklid again using the Corvette Panel Adhesive. I used a number of clamps, screws, heavy objects, basically everything but the kitchen sink to hold the vent in place. The fiberglass vent is not and exact fit, close but not exact, and it is a bit if effort to get is to fit properly.
I'm sure that those of you who are more experienced at this than I am are shaking their heads but hey it worked!
I forgot to mention that I ground out some of the top layer of fiberglass where the two long "tabs" shapes that I had cut the trailing edges of the vent into would sit. This was done to have a more flush installation that would require less filler later. I also reinforced the back of the cracked areas with fiberglass matting prior to bonding.
Here it is with the clamps, screws and weights removed and some initial sanding done:
In the last picture you can see that when I was grinding for the tabs I actually cut thorough the decklid in a few spots. I was not too concerned as I was going to be fiberglassing the underside anyways.
Part of the challenge of this mod is where the cut lines are located. The trailing edge requires a cut through a panel that would be fully visible with the decklid open.
Here is a picture that gdjetski sent to me:
You can see a cutline that runs across the width of the decklid part way between the rear bulkhead and the middle bulkhead. This line also extends into the two outside panels. I used a strip that was cut from the decklid during the fitting phase and adhered to to the vent and the decklid to provide support to the trailing edge of the vent. Once this was done and the vent was bonded I layed in fiberglass mat to reinforce the panels that had been cut and to make a uniform surface over the underside of the panels:
The panels were then filled using a non clog filler, smoothed, filled smoothed etc, etc until the surface was uniform. Fiberglass was also applied to the saw tooth portion of the vent to adhere it to the inside support rails of the decklid:
Along about this time, I was reading through this thread:
In this thread Archie's guys are installing the same deckid vent for one of his customers. Archie mentions that this vent piece was one of the thinest pieces of fiberglass that he has ever used and that it needs to be reinforced. Once the openings are cut he is absolutely correct, the piece is flimsy and flexes in the centre. So I applied some additional fiberglass to the underside of the vent.
Here are a couple ov pictures from Archie's thread showing how they cut the decklid and fiberglassed the underside:
I did add some additional fiberglass on the underside for more stiffness but I felt that more support was needed.
I purchased a piece of 1/2" aluminum bar-stock cut and bent it to match the vent curve and applied it like so:
The bar-stock was then fiberglassed in as well:
As you can see, the holes that I had previously cut for the vent openings has to be re-cut. Sigh, oh well live and learn.
The next phase consisted of sanding and filling, repeated as required. There are a lot of nooks and crannies on this vent, it's hard to get into them all for sanding. The corners particularly at the front of the lid are impossible to get any type of mechanical sander into so it must all be done by hand. This is a tedious process to say the least, my hats off to anyone who does this for a living. One of the unpleasant issues is all the dust that is generated. Lots of very fine dust that gets everywhere.
After this long process i finally ended up with this:
I also thought that I should post pictures of the tools and materials that I am using. Here are the resin, the Corvette panel adhesive and a fiberglass impregnated filler for more strength:
Here are the non-clog filler which is what I am mostly using and the glazing putty for small imperfections which I will discuss later:
Here is a picture of the assorted power tools that I have used:
and finally a sample of the various sandpapers, files, sanding blocks and shapes that I have found useful:
Once the primer was applied it becomes much easier to spot imperfections and areas that require additional sanding. in this picture there are small holes (bubbles):
Once the primer was set I applied glazing putty to the various dips, dents, and holes etc:
As you can see there was a surprising amount of filling to be done. You just cant see some of it until the primer is applied.
The the surface was vacuumed, blown off and wiped down once again and a second coat of primer applied:
I'm glad that I did this as it has now revealed further small imperfections:
Some of these
are really the quality of the decklid and some are finishing issues with my work. I'm going to work at getting most of these out of the finished product but I probably wont be successful in getting them all. This is sure a good learning project and again my hats of to those who do this for a living.
This is quite easy to do actually but if you have never done anything like this it does take some fortitude to make the initial cut. Zoom was also kind enough to send me a copy of the template that he used.
Here are some pictures of the vents after I installed them and did the initial filing and sanding:
Here a shot from the backside:
The instructions in Zooms thread are really easy to follow. I have converted the relevant bits of Zoom's thread to both word and PDF formats if anyone would like a copy.
In the mean time I have sanded the underside of the decklid and filled in the divot's, holes, hollows, pits etc. etc. that became evident under the light coat of black paint. And i have started sanding it....again.
Anyways what do you think:
I just flipped the deck lid over to get some shots and here they are:
What I did after the vent was bonded to the deck lid was take an angle grinder with an abrasive paper pad with a rubber backer and went around the lip of the fiberglass vent to remove a fair bit of material to make the transition between the vent and the deck lid less pronounced. I also sanded the cracks that were caused during transit and patched both the cracks and the other damaged areas with the fiberglass impregnated filler. This took a few applications to restore the damaged areas so they would match the original contours.
Additionally, the edge seams have been filled with the same filler and sanded smooth. One additional problem with this piece is that the mold that they used was not thoroughly clean and as a result there as little bits if some red substance caught in the gel-coat and has a rough texture. Needless to say the whole piece needs a thorough sanding. There are also some minor gouges that need to be filled.
There is still a bit of work to be done but I think it's coming along.
The first rib (at the front edge) wasn't open in the pictures that Golden sent me and it sits at a different angle that the rest of the ribs. I suppose that it could be opened up. I may give some consideration to this but bacause of the construction of the vent I think it would not be able to be cut to match the other three.
The final rib (at the back) is only about 1/2" high so you would end up with a very narrow slot and I don't think that it would be practical to do.
Here is a picture of the top of the scoop:
And a lousy profile shot, but you get the idea:
The top finish is much better than the deck lid vent but the bottom of course will require a fair bit of work to smooth it out so that the final product will look OEM. There is a bit of warpage but I think it will lay out fine once I start to attach it to the hood.
Here are some pictures from the Ebay add. first one with the dimensions:
And a finished look:
I hope to be able to achieve the smooth look of the one on the green car. I have seen one on which it appeared to be adhered to the surface of the hood so that there was a raised band around the scoop. It was not the look that I am hoping for.
This corner had cracked in a couple of places but the bottom layer of mat is still intact. I applied some Corvette Panel Adhesive while holding the cracks open. Then I supported it from behind with a small piece of angle iron clamped to the backside. This will hold the piece strait while the adhesive cures:
Here is a repair of a crack that cuts diagonally through the layers of mat. Again the adhesive was applied similar to the repair above and clamped shut:
The skirts have a few dimples in them from the molding process and they are being filled:
I don't imagine that any fiberglass part comes out of the mold and is perfect not requiring any kind of touch-up. Again the amount of work that will be required shouldn't be too much for these parts. I also tried out the new sander smoothing some of the seams and rough edges, if you can afford one of these I would highly recommend that you get one, it is great! I purchased mine though Ebay from this vendor - "autobodydepot". It is the Chicago Pneumatic Random Orbital Air Sander CP-7200S Mini Sander w/2" & 3" Pads/Sandpaper and Case.
I hvave forgotten to show the primer that I am now using thanks to the advice of Custom2M4 and 355Fiero. What I did was go down to the local Autobody Supply store and asked for advice on materials and preparation and explained what I was doing, they were extremely helpful and recommended the following.
Final sanding with 400 grit paper.
Cleaming of the deck lid with soap and water.
And a final cleaning with a degreaser.
I also used acetone as one of the steps. Here is the acetone and the degreaser.
I am using a high build primer. This picture shows the reducer on the left, the primer in the middle and the activator on the right.
For a sealer coat the recommended mix for this product (yours may be different) is 4 parts primer, 1 part activator and 2 parts reducer.
For a medium caot with some filling the mix is 4/1/1
For a high build coat the mix is 4/1 with no reducer.
Here is a picture of the detail spray gun that I am using. You will also need a water/oil filter to prevent fisheye and of course a good quality mask:
I have now seen the light about spray can versus real primer. The automotive primer is 1000% better than the spray can junk. It just flows on much smoother and covers way better.
And here is the deck lid after the sealer prime coat:
I think it's looking pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. There are a few pinholes and the odd bit of sanding that may be required but not nearly the amount of touch up that the underside required.
I hope you guys are finding this thread to be informative, I've sure learned a lot doing this. If you had told me that I could do this a year ago I wouldn't have believed it!
The sanding of the glazing putty has been done and the prep work finished. I have now applied the final primer coat, the mix was thicker than the sealer coal that I put on previously. I have removed the tape and paper an here is how it looks:
And here are a few shots to give you an idea of how it will look on the car:
The wing stands are 6" high.
I am still hoping that some of you will have some suggestions for finishing the vent openings, I'm not sure that I want them to be completely open. Any Ideas?
So, for now I am calling this decklid finished until the car goes in for painting (several years from now at this rate ) There is a little clean up to do on the underside, just a wee bit of over-spray.
What do you mean about wing tips?? Got a picture?
Ahhh, I see. I think I remember seeing those in a recent thread, I'll have to dig it up. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about those yet.
Thanks for the picture.
GonsaiPK and FieroWannaBe:
I see what you guys mean. I looked around a bit and Curly's chop top has the extension too. It looks different when they are finished. I guess I will have to look into doing something similar. Also thanks for the comments.
Tonight I started on the hood vent install. I dug up the ole front hood and wanted to see how the Driven Vision's scoop would fit:
Hmm.... this thing is way more warped than I originally thought. It appears that it is mostly from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. Also the front to back curve doesn't match the curve of the hood. I also noticed that the closer I place the scoop to the front of the hood the more curve there is to the hood and the worse the gaps get.
Looking at the installed picture the front edge of the scoop seems to be at the leading edge of the hood BUT the scoop openings appear to be further back than what the openings are if the scoop is that far forward:
So I think that when they installed the scoop it sits back on the hood and the leading edge has been built up so that it extends to the front of the hood.
The mounting flange that goes around the perimeter of the scoop also overlaps the two lines that run from the front to the back of the hood on either side. Also the flange has been roughly cut and is not a uniform width around the scoop. Here I have marked the center line of the scoop and a uniform 3/4" line to cut the flange down to:
Once the flange out line and the approximate inside flange edge were marked I grabbed some paper to make a template:
The paper was taped down and I used a lumber crayon to trace the curve of the trunk seal lip:
I used the flange of the scoop to estimate the positions of the curved lines forming the intended hood opening. These lines ate approximately 1" inside the outside edge of the scoop and should be reasonably close to the inside edge of the flange.
The hood was then flipped back over and the front egde of the scoop marked and the template was taped for a trial fit.
I would like to remain reasonably close to the original contours of the hood. My concern is that when the scoop is attached and glassed in there will be a bulge at this overlap. So, perhaps I should remove a strip down the center of the scoop so that the two halves are close together. This would move the flange further away from the lines and make smoothing the edges much easier.
But I don't think that I like how it looks.
I decided to cut out an 1 1/2" strip out of the center and modify the template so that the holes in the hood are closer together as well:
I marked out the strip and cut the scoop into two pieces. After the cutting is complete I find some gaps between the gelcoat and the fiberglass. Arrgg! I took a ball-peen hammer and started tapping the raised surfaces and this is what I find... Air bubbles:
Shades of the rear deck lid. Is there some reason that people can't get the fiberglass to lay into the mold properly? Or is it just a crappy hand laid job? Man it's frustrating but at least it's fixable.
I then drilled two holes, one in each of the upper corners just to see how my marks on the top of the hood correspond with the underside. I figured that it's easier to patch two small drill holes than two large holes in case I screwed up. I checked the underside and sure enough the template had been placed too far forward. Darn rubber tape measures
I then re-marked the openings using the correct distance:
And drilled hole in all the corners so that the jigsaw blade could be positioned for cutting. I wasn't nearly as nervous cutting the hood as I was cutting the deck lid. It doesn't seem to be as big of a deal.
Here are the two openings:
I then cleared out all the dust and applied my trusty panel adhesive between the two layers:
And then clamped it firmly in place. The top layer flaps bent downward fairly easy and the bottom layer does not appear to have distorted:
I will let that sit overnight just to make sure it bonds and cures.
Also tonight I cut out the two scoop openings using a dremel c/w cut off wheels and a sanding drum to shape out the rounded corners. I then filled the air bubble with the glass fiber reinforced filler which will also sit overnight.
Holy Cow, What detailed work. It just keepsgetting better and better doesn't it. I love the TA fender scoops. However I think that I may try to do a set like the second generation style on my 79'. I know I have seen someone on here do this before. Where did you learn about the fiberglass? I have one experiance with it and it was not good, I am very intimidated. Thanks david[/QUOTE]
Thanks for the comments. I have learned, the little that I know about fiberglassing, from this forum and a number of other websites but mostly from just doing it. I started with the battery box because it wasn't something attached to the car and if it didn't work it would be no big deal. I would suggest that you do something similar just to get a feel for how glassing works. Here are some links that I have found to be helpful:
Thanks! I actually do have a 6" DA sander but forgot to mention it as it was really only useful for the top of the deck lid. I had done the majority of the top sanding some time back and didn't take a picture of it. But, here is a picture now:
You are right, it makes a big difference on the larger areas.
Speaking of air bubbles, I started to sand the two scoop pieces when I got home tonight, low and behold I found a number of additional bubbles that my "hunt and peck" method with the hammer didn't find. I guess my method wasn't very efficient. These all became evident when I was sanding so a word to the wise "sand your piece first thing and you'll find the holes"!
I removed the clamps from the hood and it popped back open! The Panel Adhesive didn't stick Well that's never happened before.
The adhesive chipped off the two surfaces quite easily. and is very smooth so I assume the the two surfaces are too smooth for the adhesive to bond to. I used the dremmel to rough up the surfaces, hopefully it will work now.
So I filled my new air bubles and may call it a night.
After we went and got some Chinese, played a game or two on the computer, I went back out. I pulled the clamps off and.....
Hey! It worked!
It's a pretty subtle curve and I don't really know just how much it will help air flow (if any) but it's gotta be better than a flat vertical edge. Besides I like the idea and it just seems more finished.
Tonight I added the filler pieces where I bent the top of the hood down. These fill the larger gaps between the two layers of the hood:
Again I used the SMC panel adhesive. The filler pieces were cut from the sheet fiberglass that was once the top of the deck lid. I also made the cut lines on the flaps larger so that these pieces go all the way down and make contact with the bottom layer. Once set I roughly cut the pieces to shape with a dremmel cut-off wheel and sanded to match the top and bottom contour of the hood layers:
The odd shape of the bottom matches the contour of the bottom layer.
Then I sanded and applied filler to the underside of the scoops. Since this will be visible through the hood openings when the hood is in the upright position I want these to look as close to OEM as possible.
And I also began sanding the top of the hood to remove both the paint and the primer to make sure that the scoop will adhere well when bonded and so the fiberglass will stick when it's applied as well.
This is tedious work and not very exciting. I will probably work on this over the weekend before I update this thread again.
The underside of the two scoops have been smoothed:
One side required much less filling and sanding than the other but they were not too bad. The finish is not down to 400 grit paper yet as the underside will require some glass work but it's much easier to work on these before they are attached.
I want to maintain the original hood lines as much as possible. I remember reading in Skitime's thread that he had created a recess in the hood surface to accept the mounting flange on the scoop. This would keep the top edge of the flange as close to the original hood surface as possible. I PM'ed Skitime to see what he used to make the recess. Skitime apparently used a circular saw while holding the blade to the right depth. I asked him about using a router but Skitime said that he had difficulty with the bit burning the hood. I didn't fell comfortable with the circular saw idea so in the end I did use a router with a new bit and didn't have any problems with burning. The router is a little difficult to control freehand but it worked quite well, my lines are not quite as strait a Skitime's but they will be covered anyways. Here is a picture from Skitime's thread:
And this is how my hood turned out:
The mounting flanges on my scoops also needed some work as they varied in thickness from about 3/16" to 5/15" in thickness with a few spots that may have been thicker. I ground the bottom side of the flanges down until they were more or less a uniform thickness.
After a test fit, I realized that I would also have to router a groove down the center of the hood:
It's very easy to do. I also did not make the center groove as deep as the others. Down the center line there is mostly only one layer to the hood and I didn't want to penetrate it which would only make more work when it comes time to clean up the underside.
Here is the bit that I used in the router, I don't think that I will keep it for wood use and fiberglass is extremely hard on cutting blades and edges:
This process of routering the hood produces a TON of dust and airborne fibers, make sure you are wearing the appropriate mask and face shield when doing this.
After cleaning the grooves and the scoop flanges it was time to bond the scoops to the hood. I "buttered" the underside of the flanges as well as the edge of the scoop opening that touches the hood with the panel adhesive:
The scoop was then placed in the grooves, checked for fit and screwed in place with drill point self-tapping screws. These little babies are great when you can't use a clamp:
Here is one side bonded and screwed down:
When the second scoop was buttered, the joint between the two halves was also buttered. Then it was placed and screwed:
When using these screws there will be penetration of the tip through the bottom layer but these will be easily patched and sanded when the bottom is finished.
After a quick sanding to get rid of the excess adhesive and a cleaning with acetone I applied the fiber reinforced bondo to fill in the remaining gaps between the flanges and the outside edge of the groove:
This was also sanded afterwards to provide a relatively smooth surface for the layer of fiberglass that is going to be applied.
There is one modification that I want to make to these scoops. The front edges sit too far back from the leading edge of the hood and seem to conflict a bit with the front edges of the lights. I want to extend the leading edge of the scoops forward. I cut two extension pieces from the scrap pieces that were cut out to form the hood openings below the scoops. These were shaped using a belt sander to match the needed contours:
They were left over night as well.
The screws were removed and the extensions and the filler were final sanded prior to fiberglassing:
After cleaning the fiberglass has been applied:
The fiberglass reinforced bondo was used to fill the gap because it has higher strength than regular bondo. I then used fiberglass over the joint as shown in the last pictures to prevent cracking. Does this answer your question or am I confused?
The picture that you posted is when I applied the fiberglass mat and resin. It is my understanding that there is a risk when using just bondo on a joint that, if there are any stresses involved, cracking at the joint may occur. The hood is subject to stress when it is being opened and when it is being closed, especially if allowed to slam shut. Also in this picture:
you can see that under the duct tape the leading outside corners of the scoops are elevated off of the hood due to the scoops not completely matching the curve of the hood. These corners had to be pressed down when the scoops were attached and this also induces stress.
The reinforced bondo was used because when I removed material to make the groove for the flanges it would weaken the hood surface. My grooves did not perfectly match the outside edge of the flange and so I wanted to add some reinforcement back into the remaining gap. It also smoothed out the groove so that the fiberglass would go on relatively smooth.
Is it overkill? I don't know, but why take chances?
Edit to add this picture which shows how the corners didn't sit down on the hood:
OK, I sit corrected! ( I always get it mixed up) I guess I should quit using the term "bondo" as the fillers that I am using are Evercoat. I checked their products page and the fillers I am using are all compatable with SMC. About the fiberglass resin, it is a Bondo product and is polyester but according to the can it too is SMC compatable. I have not noticed any separation issues with the fiberglass and the SMC but I guess time will tell.
You can see the overall shape starting to take on form. Here are a couple showing the low profile:
And the second coat has been applied:
Here is some more progress that I have made on the hood scoops. I have done most of the sanding on the top and have applied glazing putty in the more "obvious" defects and sanded it down as well. I didn't take any pictures of that as it's basically the same process as the deck lid. I did not want to finish the top off completely as working on the bottom will likely produce some marring and scratches on the top surface as it sit on the table. I will finish the top once the bottom is complete.
Here's how the hood openings look from the underside once the scoops were bonded:
Thew black finish was removed to allow the fiberglass and filler to adhere.
In this shot you can see where I have quickly sanded all the high spots at the holes that were made by the screws when the scoops were bonded on:
And now after cleaning the surfaces with acetone I have applied two layers of fiberglass to the scoop/hood openings:
There is one tricky thing about fiberglass and that is getting it so sit down on tight curves and angles. Air pockets trend to form near these curves and having small pockets like this seems to be almost unavoidable. once the fiberglass set there were a few of these pockets. I will grind them out with the dremmel and fill them later.
So I guess I may have been a little harsh with my comments about the quality of the scoops and the deck lid vent from an air bubble point of view.
I applied some reinforced filler to the damage, let is set up and sanded it smooth.
I then applied a layer of fiberglass:
The holes will later be cut out with the dremmel to match the original shape.
I have also applied filler and sanded it down a couple of times to the opening areas:
And I have also started to fill all the screw holes:
The filling and sanding of the underside is complete. Here's how it looks after it was cleaned with acetone and then degreaser:
Then it was primed:
I guess I have a little more work to do.
Here are the pic's:
I did a little more work on the underside today. The glazing putty was applied and sanded down and the hood was prepared for paint:
And then a first light coat of paint was applied.
My experience from the deck lid taught me to expect some more imperfections to show up and so I wasn't too surprised to find a few. A little more work and some additional painting and the underside will be complete.
What do ya think?
Here are a before and after shot:
I purchased the body fillers and fiberglass from Partsource and the primer etc. from Calgary Autobody Supply which is by McKnight and 19th. Ave N.E.
It is my understanding that the stage two trim pieces can be attached using urethane adhesive (the stuff they use on windshields) as is bonds well and is flexible.
The stage 2 scoops come without any of the mounting holes drilled. You will have to use the stock pieces as a measuring template to mark out the locations on the stage 2 pieces.
Here is the upper edge of the stock panel:
And here is the new panel marked out:
Here is the lower edge of the stock panel:
And the new panel marked out:
I then used my drill press to drill out the holes:
The oval holes and the notches were then cut out using a dremmel tool with a cutoff disk:
The guys at the body shop supply store recommended that a urethane sealer/adhesive be used, the product that they have is Proform PF 224 and according to the tube it is:
- Recommended for applications that may be under stress and vibrations.
- It's a high density urethane sealer that eliminates shrinking often found in solvent and rubber based sealers. It can also be used as an adhesive for metal, plastic and fiberglass.
- Paintable in 30 minutes.
- Also sandable.
Here's a picture:
Here is a before shot of the car prior to doing any body modifications except for removing the wing:
Here are some various shots of the car now:
I think the changes are quite subtle but I like it. What do you all think?
One thing I realized is that I'm going to need to do the hinge pins on the doors. They have a slight sag and the door molding doesn't line up with the quarter panel molding groove. Pretty soon I'm going to be able to start putting some things back together, Yay!!!
I do think that I need to do something to the front facia, not quite sure what yet though. Any suggestions?
I have not yet started the installation of the battery box so I have yet to do any research into the cables. It sounds like you have though, let me know what you decide to go with. Out of curiosity have you tried any of the welding supply shops in town to see what they carry?
Thanks for the cable info! A + for you.
Lately i have been working on the suspension and I am finally at the point where I can start putting things back together for a change rather than just tearing stuff apart. Progress is being made!!!
You know, The only thing that was "wrong" with my car was that the clutch blew out. Here's the thread about it:
All I had to do was replace the clutch and I would have been good to go. But, NOOOO, maybe I'll do and engine swap once the cradle is out. But then I need to add some side scoops. Or change the deck lid, or the hood. Of course the suspension needs to be done, bigger brakes....
*Sigh* Anyways, here is the condition of the front suspension when I started.
The right side:
And the left side:
As you can see, lots of general clean up is required but over all the rust is minimal. In order to neutralize the rust I am using a product called Rust Mort (the green liquid). This product reacts with the rust rendering it inert and the color change from "rust" to "black" indicates that the process is complete. I clean the part off first and wire brush it to get rid of the really crusty chunks. After the Rust Mort is applied I usually let it sit overnight before I wash it off.
This stuff is an acid so make sure you wear eye protection and rubber gloves when using it.
And while all that was going on the wheel well itself was cleaned and painted.
And we of course had to have the ubiquitous "burning of the bushings" ritual/festival with great fire light and chanting in a circle as we burn the bejeebers out of the control arms. All this is necessarily done in secret to avoid angering the Eco-terrorists by producing great clouds of black acrid smoke which rise high into the sky as a blight upon the skyline of our fair city.
The control arms were then primed and painted with little ceremony:
OK, so then I tried to drill it out and use an easy out. No luck there. These bolts are hard little suckers and even though I did manage to get a strait pilot hole that was more or less centered but when I went to a larger bit I totally messed it up. *sigh*
The third method was to cut open the side of the frame where the bolt and interior nut are. Using a thin cutting disk in the angle grinder I cut out three sides of a square leaving the bottom attached and bent it out to expose the culprit. The remaining bolt shaft was protruding through the nut and I was able to weld a nut on it and extract it though the top of the nut. Sorry no pictures, I was too busy looking for thing to throw around the shop, I didn't want the camera to be one of them.
Once the bolt was out I hammered the opening flap back into place and welded it shut, primed and painted. Voila:
And here are some overall shots of some of the goodies that are going back into the car:
Man it sure feels good to actually put something back together on the car. I don't know about you but it's sure easy for me to feel that I'm never going to finish this. Having this done makes me think that I'm actually gonig to finish this... eventually.
Here are the bits that I'm keeping:
Now for a couple of questions. The second from the top coil on both rear springs had some sort of rubber "hose" tied onas you can see in this picture:
I assume that this is to prevent a rattling sound, is this correct? Secondly, do I need to keep this? (ie. new piece, reuse old or just delete it?)
Thank you kindly!
The inside of the strut towers look good, no rust or visible wear. I'll just clean these up and give them a coat of paint.
I have also been working on the front of space frame. Here's how it looked before I started:
Over all not bad for a car that is almost 20 years old, just dirt and minor surface rust. As can be seen there were a few parts missing, the right hand support under the energy absorber and one of the lower fascia sheet metal supports.
There was some minor damage to the underside. The previous owner has apparently hit something damaging the left side "K" member and scored the underside of the front cross member:
And pinched the brake line to the rear brakes:
(sorry for the poor pictures)
Here's a picture of the "K" member out of the car:
The lower attachment and the bolt head were almost shaved off flat. It has now been replaced. There doesn't seem to be any other "damage".
After a little bit of work the front now looks like this:
Taking advantage of the day off I have finished the rear struts and they turned out pretty good, much better than how they looked coming out of the car.
Here are my next victims
And this is it in position:
It works pretty slick. Next I had to remove the 30mm hub nut on the ends of the haft shafts. I know that the manual says to use a large screwdriver to prevent the hub from turning but I used a deep socket slipped over the end of one of the bolts that holds the hub to the knuckle. I ten used the impact gun to remove the large nut. This worked quite well:
Once that was done I also used the impact gun to remove the 3 hub/knuckle bolts. If you can afford a decent compressor and tools it sure makes things easier.
To remove the hubs from the half shafts I used a 6" gear puller rather than the special GM tool. One was a real bear to get off but the other was quite easy to remove.
I also cleaned up the knuckles using the wire brush in the bench grinder and then I drilled out the tapped caliper holes and re-tapped them for the 12m 1.50 fasteners that are used to mount the adapters for the 11.25 brake upgrade.
The knuckles were then painted.
And while the paint was drying I also cleaned and painted the inside of both strut towers:
I know that I am going to need help with this so I hope you guys are up to the task!
So I have started the demolition of the interior:
The car currently has an aftermarket alarm system that was installed by the previous owner. I think it's an el cheapo model so I am going to remove it and restore the wiring to stock condition. As you can see in the next picture there are a couple of "kill" switches that were mounted to the underside of the cluster housing. I don't think these really did anything anyways:
Here's the shot with the cluster removed:
And the dash removed:
I was quite amazed just how little hardware actually holds the dash in place.
The first three are of course the back/undersides. you can see that the connections to the fan blower boxes are different, the Fiero's is offset towards the passenger while the Stealth's is basically central.
The next two pictures are of the ends of the dashes. I will need to make custom door panels to match the new end cap condition on both ends of the dash.
Here is a view of the tops of the dashes, as you can overall see the Stealth dash is considerably deeper than the Fiero's. As a result there won't be quite as much room in front of the passenger. I suspect that there won't be too much room lost in front of the driver. I will also need to see how this affects the shifter.
This next picture is quite telling. The Stealth dash definitely has a sharper radius on the curve where it sits against the front windshield (this picture exaggerates the difference). I will have to take some measurements to see if I will be able to trim enough off of the leading edge to match the stock radius. One good thing is that the defroster vents will line up although the Stealth has longer vents.
And another interesting detail concerns the glove box on the Stealth dash. The stock Fiero ducting cannot be used for the passenger side outer most vent as it will conflict with the glove box. The fan blower box my also interfere but I won't know that until I get it into the car.
Here is the Fiero:
nd the Stealth:
I will be using some of the information gleaned from these two threads:
I have done a search but cannot find any additional threads for this swap. Does anyone have any other information that they could share?
And after marking the names of the connectors that I could identify i removed the wiring harness:
Quite a bit of crap came out. I will hang onto it as who knows what may come in useful:
I knew from reading in 4.9 PFI FIERO's thread that it is going to be a reasonably good fit so I wasn't too worried about how it generally sits in the car. One thing that 4.9 PFI FIERO has that I don't is all the support brackets from the donor Stealth, I will have to fabricate all the brackets needed. I guess that one advantage to that is that I can make the brackets to suit what appears to be the best way to anchor the dash. So here we go:
It also appears at first glance that the glove box will not interfere with the fan blower box
Here are a couple of pictures of the top corners shot through the windshield. It appears that the front radius curves back about 1 3/4" further on both ends compared to the Fiero dash. I will have to see how much can be trimmed off without affecting the positioning of the top vents. It also looks like some sort of attachment can be made through the round speaker hole and the top vents that would line up with the mounting holes in the Fiero frame.
I will also need to fabricate some fiberglass inserts for the corners. That will be interesting as I don't have a test mule without the front windshield in place.
I am very happy with the overall fit, the side to side fit is exact and the console/steering column holes a excellent as well. I really think that this updates the interior and me likes it a lot!
The shifter will sit further forward than the stock Stealth one so the bridge between the front and back console openings needs to be removed as well to allow for this. I will need to make a template of the whole recessed area in order to make a plate for mounting the shifter boot, window/mirror controls etc.
Here are some more pictures through the front windshield. The defroster vents were removed and it looks like I can trim a bit off the front edge.
I marked out the center of the template and using soapstone I marked the center point on the dash:
I then lined up the template so it was square and marked it out again using soapstone. Using cardboard would be much easier as you can make it fit the contours of the dash:
It turns out that removing this much material will prevent the defroster vents from lining up so I have decided to leave it as it is and make the fiberglass infill's to suit.
I was also concerned about the fit of the console. I think it is too tight in the pictures above and exerts too much force upwards to make the back end of the console lay flat. I have trimmed the mounting tabs as you can see:
Placing it back into the car was easier and feels better. I will have to devise some other method of attaching the dash to the console now.
I was thinking about the ducting for the 4 front dash vents. I want to try to use the Stealth branch ducts for the two outer most vents as they likely have the required bends and offsets, or at least are close. I have to use the main plenum from the Fiero as it mates up to the flange on the blower box. So I started making some cuts to the Fiero ducting. The upper ductwork is for the Stealth and the lower for the Fiero with the cuts made:
The first thing was to see approximately where the two Stealth branch ducts would terminate. The left one would run full length but the right one will need to be cut shorter due to the Fiero plenum not being centered in the dash. I then marked out the plenum and cut where the stealth ducts are going to join. Here's the backside of the plenum:
The plenum once cut fit nicely behind the new dash but I could see that it is going to interfere with the left upper corner of the glove box Here's the glove box and it's upper shell:
I decided to notch the bottom right corner of the plenum to minimize the interference as much as possible.
I made a bracket to mount the air plenum under the dash. In the stock configuration the plenum and ductwork is actually mounted to the underside of the dash itself however I think it will be easier to install it independent of the Stealth dash and easier to align. The bracket is 10" long over all with a 1" offset using two 45 degree angles. The offset is about 2" from one end. Mine is actually 11" long but it doesn't need to be. I used 1 1/2" X 1/4" flat stock but it probably doesn't need to be that thick. It has also been predrilled so that I can use self tapping screws. Here is the bracket after it has been painted:
Here is a picture of the test fit in the car:
The bracket is attached to the hollow tube structural member that supports the steering column.
The duct connections on both ends of the plenum were then modified to accept a 2" ABS pipe coupling. I was thinking of using the Stealth ducts but they will need to be modified to fit. So the end result is that by using the couplings I have two options:
1. Use 2" ABS pipe and fittings. The pipe will simply insert into the coupling and the installation can be ridged. The draw back is that it will require more work and measurements to fit up.
2 Use 3" flexible duct. The duct can be clamped to the outside of the coupling. This allows me to ream out the ridge on the inside of the coupling resulting in a larger than 2" inside diameter, probably close to 2 1/2". It will also be easier to run the duct. The drawbacks are that it looks cheap (I know, no one can see it) the other is that the flexible duct doesn't flow air as well as smooth duct.
In order to insert the couplings I first cut multiple grooves in the two plenum ends so that it would give and allow the coupling to sit into the opening:
I used a thin cutting wheel in the angle grinder to do this. Make sure you wear long sleeves when doing this. Hot plastic burns
By the way, when I find a particularly informative thread that covers something that I will be doing I make a word document of the thread c/w all the pictures and put it into a binder. I have 4.9 PFI FIERO's thread all printed out:
Here is a shot with the dash, plenum and the plenum in place:
Its a little on the long side and will interfere with the glove box lid. Jeeze, do you think I drilled enough holes in the end?
But as you will see shortly it didn't stay this way for long.
The next bracket that I decided to work on is the center console support. This support is the one that supports the dash at the stereo/HVAC control opening. The dash sits to low just sitting free in the car and needs to rise up to allow the console to slip into place. 4.9 PFI FIERO in his thread built a bracket using some of the stock components:
I decided to fabricate one from scratch. The reason for this is that the stock piece is actually too narrow side-to-side and I wanted to maximize the space in between the supports. I made it using a 9 3/4" long piece of 1" X 1/8" flat iron and two 5" long pieces of 1" angle iron. Here it is being fitted up:
After welding and pre-drilling:
And after painting:
And with it mounted in position:
This piece needs to sit toward the front of the car when compared to the stock location and it also sits at an angle to match the angle of the Stealth dash.
The next brackets I made are for both sides of the steering column. 4.9 PF FIERO was able to use the Stealth brackets but since I don't have those I need to make them from scratch. I decided to make them similar to the Stealth brackets again using the 1 1/2" X 1/4" flat iron. Here are the ones that 4.9 PF FIERO used:
I was originally going to bend these into shape but I think it's harder to maintain the correct dimensions doing this so instead I cut individual pieces to length and welded them together into the correct configuration. Here is how I fit the pieces together:
After the pieces were tacked together I did a quick test fit to make sure I didn't mess it up and then welded the joints. Here are the two finished brackets, the one on the left sits to the left of the column and the other on the right. They are to be attached to the hollow structural member that supports the steering column:
Sometimes, measuring all this by yourself is difficult and you need some help!
Nothing like an extra set of hands.
So I pulled out the bracket and modified it to also pick up this location:
The offset in the picture above is in the new drop piece that I added. This will place the tip in the correct location. Here are the brackets installed in the proper locations:
The final positions were determined by holding the pieces in place and marking them out using soapstone with the dash in place. They were then fastened in place withe the dash out.
Here are the brackets and dash in place and bolted down:
I made the bracket using a piece of 1 1/2" angle iron and also welded a strip of slightly bent 1" flat iron to connect to the hinge/dash support:
I also replaced the lower mounting hardware on the sub enclosure as the new angle bracket will interfere with the stock bracket:
There is a second stock bracket on the left side of the sub enclosure. Whatever it is intended to mount to on the stock dash is no longer present so I made a bracket again using 1" flat iron:
And here is the whole assembly in place:
Here is a quick shot with the dash back in place. You can see that there is plenty of room for the sub, the ductwork and just about anything else that may need to go under the dash on the right side:
Well it looks like I have been able to more or less finish up the mounting points. It looks like I may have to make the odd adjustment but over all it has gone quite well. Here are the two final brackets for the top of the dash:
These are for the screws that will go through the speaker openings similar to what 4.9 PFI FIERO did in his thread. Here is my first attempt at modifying the speaker enclosures to allow an attachment to the new brackets. I first slotted the enclosure so that a modified washer could be inserted and held in place with adhesive:
However after thinking about this I realized that it wouldn't take much stress to fracture the plastic at the end of the slots. So I dumped the washers and attached some "L" brackets instead:
They seemed to have worked out quite well. The only difficulty is that the pocket is quite recessed and a little awkward to get the screw in place.
I really, really like it!
There are a few small alignment issues. The lower part of the dash appears to be slightly wider than the space available. As a result the opening for the glove box is compressed a bit (about 1/2") and the lower driver side dash panel is slightly popped so that there is a bit of a gap between the upper and lower portions.
The stock Fiero trim will likely need to be cut down a bit to increase the available space. You can see that there is a slight bow in the end pieces.
Al in all I am very happy! She is going to look great IMHO.
Any thoughts opinions or suggestions???
Oh, I want to start filling in the "A" pillar gaps, does anyone have any tips or hints?
IIRC, the Firebird dash guys used masking tape to make the form on the dash filler piece that they need. So based on that I decided to do basically the same thing. In order to do this though I needed something to attach the tape to along the "A" pillar and the windshield. On the pillar I cut a piece of plastic angle to length and attached it using double sided tape:
I then cut a piece of sheet styrene plastic for the edge along the windshield:
And then inserted it against the windshield and taped it to the plastic angle:
I then taped the crap out of everything!
You will likely find that the tape wont want to adhere well to you dash and trim pieces. I used a degreaser, the same one shown previously that I use prior to painting, to remove the goop that has been applied to the interior over the years. Worked great and the tape stuck! I had a real problem getting the tape along the windshield as my hands are simply too big. I soon realized that I could only get so far with the dash in the car and that it would have to be extended afterward.
Once both sides were taped up I applied the first layer of mat:
As you can see, it is tough to get the fiberglass and resin into the corners. I ended up with resin all over the windshield but it can be easily removed later.
Heck no, I don't want to re-upholster the dash! There is nothing wrong with it's finish so I would like to keep it "as is". The Stealth dash is essentially a plastic body with molded foam over top. I will get some close-up shots and measurements.
The plastic skeleton is about 1/8" to 3/16" thick.
That may work, I'll need to think about it.
The pieces are similar but not exactly the same. I think my dash is at a teeny bit of an angle so that the driverside is a bit bigger.
I have aftermarket vents to put into the top of the dash. I will take some pictures tomorrow.
I was thinking about incorporating some of the perforated metal into the infill pieces.
I have also been thinking that however the filler pieces are attached they will need to go in place after the main dash is already installed. Otherwise I think it might be too tight of a fit to pre-assemble and then move into place.
They still need more work and are a little wavy. The right side needs the corner built up a bit and the left one needs the round edge built up too. I was thinking about maybe seeing if there is some sort of vinyl that has a similar texture to the dash.
Thanks Bob, I'll have a look to see how I can do this.
After some more work on the fillers I thought I had better have a test fit with the dash in the car. Here are the pictures, first the driver's side:
then the passenger:
The fit isn't perfect yet. The strip along the windshield on the passenger side piece for some reason doesn't sit down onto the dash, it has the wrong curve and will need to be reshaped oh well, nobody said it would be easy. Mostly it is a relatively easy matter of fill a bit here and remove a bit there.
I am still thinking that covering these with vinyl is the way to go but that remains to be seen as finding a match for the pattern on the dash will be a challenge. If I end up painting them I think it will be the same color as the dash, otherwise they will be too obvious.
You can see how it site up in the red ellipse. In order to fix it I layed up multiple layers for mat and resin on the underside and then sanded the top down. I did this a few times until it has changed the angle and now sits flat.
Here are how the fillers now look:
Not a huge amount of difference in the picture but much better in real life.
I have also decided that these are going to be covered in vinyl. Here is a picture of the vinyl grain on the Stealth dash:
As you can see it's a fairly textured vinyl. My wife and I spent some time looking at various fabric stores for something similar but with no luck. Today Barbara found some websites with automotive vinyl and I think we found a match.
It's Corinthian Endurasoft Vinyl and can be purchased from This Site
I think it's a pretty darn close match.
The glove box needs to be slightly modified in order to clear some of the bracketry. On my first fitting I noticed that the space where the hinge mounts on the Stealth dash was actually 1/2" too narrow with the dash in the car. I first had to cut the bracket that I made for the passenger side that also holds the performance sound sub. It had to be cut 1/2" shorter and re-drilled for the fasteners.
Additionally the air plenum and the associated bracket interferes with the glove box itself. I first had to notch the back of the glove box:
I then inverted and rotated the piece that was cut out and reattached it using the Corvette panel adhesive:
I also had to infill the very bottom corner to complete the notch:
I also attached some plastic angles for some additional gluing surface. Once it was set I did another test fit and voila!
I now need to modify the insert that actually slips into the glove box opening before the door attaches. I also need to fabricate some pieces for the latch and of course, make it all look pretty
4.9 PFI FIERO:
Thanks, the mounting is actually easier than I tought. What concerns me is the electrical work.
I do have the stock Stealth instrument cluster and the aux gauges, I would like to try to get them operational. At the very least I want to maintain the warning lights, turn signal indicators etc. in the cluster. If I cannot get the stock gauges operational I will go with aftermarket units. The two that I am considering are Autometer gauges:
Either the Cobalt
or the Nexus
I Really like the Nexus line but they are spendy! You have to know that any gauge that has a complete animated demo c/w sexy voice is going to be expensive!
I did loose the left hand stop due to the trimming that was required. The right hand one is still usable so the door doesn't just drop fully open. The stops fit into the curved slots in the sides of the l;inner. I need to make a hasp for the latch mechanism as I didn't get on with the dash. It will go on the top if the liner and holds the liner in place along the top edge:
Now that was all done and in place I now have a fictional glove box:
That is one issue that I have with the stock Fiero interior, there is no glove box and the console storage compartment isn't really accessible while you sit in the car, at least not easily.
A similar triangular piece is also needed for the driver's side of the console:
Additionally, some sort of filler will be required at each end of the dash. Here is a shot of the driver's side for example:
I think that I'm going to start with the console. Here is a shot of the console:
As you can see in the red ellipse, there are a number of recesses at the tail end for a lighter, switches and a small storage cubby. None of these are particularly useful and the bottoms of these are actually to low. I decided to cut the console just after the shifter recess:
I will be making a custom console beyond this point so it just seems to be a logical place to cut. To attach the console a fabricated a small bracket out of two pieces of 1" flat iron:
And here is how it attaches:
It is screwed to the frame and the plastic end of the console with self tapping screws. The front of the console actually locks into place when held from the rear so I don't think I will need to actually fasten it in the front.
I then cut some sheet styrene plastic to more or less match the recess and attached it with masking tape and taped over the complete exterior of the console:
I then layed up two layers of mat and resin:
And here is the piece fresh out of the mold:
I have since added a third layer of mat and resin just to firm it up a bit. I think I'm going to use the stock Fiero boot so I have made a template out of sheet styrene for the shifter opening.
I think I might snoop around on Ebay first to see if I can find something a little more interesting before I cut into the shifter surround.
Pretty darn good fit. You've got to love fiberglass!
And thie first sanding and filling:
Here are a couple more pictures with the piece in place. First the shifter hole cut out:
And with the boot and knob in place:
One issue with them is that the wiring will point to the rear of the car whereas the Fiero harness points to the front of the car.
Here is a comparison of the Stealth console vs. the stock Fiero console switch housing:
There isn't much room for all that hardware. I would have to make a mounting plate that attached to the frame and then the switches would have to bole down onto the plate. The stock set-up has the switches bolting to the mounting plate from below. I don't think that I want the switches to be actually attached to the fiberglass filler piece.
Here you can see how much room the switches require:
Here are some pictures of how the stock back half of the console fits:
I guess I'm kind of thinking out loud:
The stock piece could be cut slightly shorter to match the end of the Stealth console.
A custom transition of some sort would be required between the two.
Ignore the color mismatch as that would be handled in some fashion. The stock console could be recovered for example.
Not the best pictures but you get the idea. Surprisingly, the Stealth portion isn't all that much narrower than the Fiero console. There is however a bit of a taper to the Stealth component and coupled with the overall thinness/flatness it does have more of a sleek appearance.
So, perhaps it's possible to continue the taper while maintaining the broader base.
Or, possibly a modified Fiero shape something like this:
That abnormally large tunnel is exactly what has stumped me every time I consider a dash swap, and the reason I didn't have any good solution for you. I would want to retain the storage bin on the back wall, so everything I've considered lately has incorporated the stock center console. The best I can come up with is to flatten out that slight mound in the top of the armrest part so that you can sculpt rounder deeper curves into the two side corners. This should allow it to look narrower as a function of the more pronounced curves, and keep the flat top that the 3000gt armrest/lid has. Meanwhile, you may be able to taper the entire thing from the back forward to meet the new shift console in size. This should also keep that somewhat gentle look while slimming the piece a little more. The only problem there is that I don't know what kind of space is under the console, and I don't know how thick the walls are. There simply might not be enough room or enough material to remove.
This is the best idea I have been able to come up with, but without the pieces in front of me I really can't tell if it is even possible. At the very least I'm a darn good dreamer.
LOL, at least you are dreaming!
I don't think re-sculpting the stock console is an option. However, sculpting a new one using foam and possibly including some bits from other consoles and using it as a form for a fiberglass one is, I think a viable option. It would be possible to incorporate some of the tapers that you are talking about that way. I think I'm going to go and snoop around the wrecker later this week and look for some ideas.
Thanks for your posts, keep the ideas flowing.
Spent about 4 hours wandering around the local Pick-n-Pull yard looking at just about every car in there. They don't usually have much newer than '98 models and few of those. Most are in the '90 to '96 range. but I managed to find some things that I think show potential.
First off I found some small vents that I may put into the two dash infills to direct air onto the door glass:
Then I found a center console that I like. It is out of a mid 90's Lincoln of all things! (I know, I know it's a Ford) The console is much narrower than the stock Fiero console but it has some interesting curves and accessories:
The Lincoln console has a somewhat gentler curve than the Firebird console and I think it will compliment the Stealth dash when it is all finished.
I also picked up some door panels from a 4 door mid 90's Grand Am SE. These are surprisingly close from a size stand point to the Fiero door panels:
These will of course also require some modifications to match the door size and to match the shape of the dash ends.
These also have the door lock switches:
All in all I think I'm quite happy with what I picked up. What do you guys think?
Here a a couple of pictures after the door panels were cleaned up. I had the wifeoid Hold them in the door openings just to help visualize how they might look:
I like the overall look! There will be some tweaking to the length and the shape and the upholstery will be gone but I like the overall effect.
I have also started to cut up the Lincoln console to start test fitting. I fact most of it has actually been trimmed away:
Not much left eh? I really like the general shape and the overall appearance:
I removed the rivets that held the Lincoln console and added temporary plastic spacers to increase width by 2":
I really like the effect! I will need to make a bunch of new pieces for the front of the console so that I can retain the cup holder etc. I also plan to mount the window switches into it and maybe a few other goodies.
I see foam and fiberglass in my near future!
I'm Quite happy with the general look of the GA panels. I was very surprised when I was measuring them at the wrecker as they are very close to the Fiero panels for size.
Yes I agree that widening the console was the right thing to do. I plan on carrying the console up the fire wall but it won't be as deep as the stock one. I'm going to be installing a 3.4 DOHC and the computer is in a weather proof case in the engine compartment so I don't need the room.
The GA panels are going to need to be "shifted" around a bit to fit right but I think it will work out.
The size is close but not close enough.
I've stripped the vinyl and the carpet off of the passenger door panel, and have cut in the recess for the door lever:
It is being bonded with contact cement and will be reinforced on the backside with fiberglass.
I then drilled the holes for the armrest screws and temporarily attached the panel and armrest for a test fit:
I did this to check the over all configuration and see what needs to move around, needs to be trimmed and also what needs to be cut off. There is a fair bit of interference where the dash and the door panel meet:
The door won't close all the way as they make contact.
So, I need to trim the plastic just in front of the circle at the leading edge of the armrest. I am also going to cut the lower left corner of the GA panel and move it toward the leading edge of the Fiero panel. Then the whole lot needs to be foam filled and contoured to match the dash and then panel will be fiberglassed. I like the little circle at the armrest, it echos the round guages and will be a great place for an emblem.
Here's the picture, it's a little dark so I might try another one during the day.
The curved "b" shape line is the dash while the other line is the end position of the GA panel.
I then cut up the GA panel to shift some of it around and then reattached it to the Fiero panel and placed it into position:
The circle end of the arm rest sticks out a little further than I thought and the Stealth dash end is closer to the Fiero panel than I realized. There is some room, I think, to move the whole panel in closer to the door structure once some of the now redundant Fiero brackets are removed. You can see the issue better with these pictures:
I was trying to keep the door speaker grille but I think that it is going to get cut off. I need to modify the cuts on the bottom edge of the sill and then fill the gap to make the sill continuous. I may end up cutting most of the GA panel away and mount the GA features that I like directly to the Fiero panel. I don't know how I'm really going to do this at the moment. I'm going to have to think about this.
Thinking along the lines that Icelander mentioned I went and picked up some 1/8" and 1/4" hardboard. I will use the 1/8" board to rebuild the panels. First I traced out the rough outline of the front (not the back outline) of the panel onto the hardboard, I marked it out slightly larger than the front of the panel. Then I drew a line around the top half that was strait with the lower half and using a jig saw i removed the entire raised portion and cut out the hard board. Heres the hardboard panel:
I then attached it to the front of the panel using PL 400 construction adhesive. This stuff is used for sub floors, will stick to just about anything and dries tough as nails. Once again I got creative for clamping the two pieces together:
Nothing like and engine block and a couple of front rotors for weight.
Here's the door panel after the adhesive dried but before the new front of the panel is shaved down to the right size:
And after the "shaving" with some more Pl 400 added to the seams:
This should give me a nice uniform surface to work with.
Incidental, the hardboard was attached to the front so that the "Christmas trees" on the back can be kept. I will need to reattach the two upper ones however.
I have finished the "blank palette" door panels and they look like this:
Pretty boring as is but that will change.
I have also started to play around with the console but there are no real progress pictures for that yet. I have removed the carpets to facilitate the fabrication work and I am really happy with the condition of the floor pan:
I also discovered that the rear speakers were replaced by a previous owner. I assume that Kenwood speakers are not stock:
The black outlines are where the components were going to sit but that would be too high compared to the stock armrest height. The armrest was mounted lower and the red outline is where the door release will now sit once installed.
The next picture shows how the "circle" now sits further out when the door is closed than what it did using the unmodified Fiero panel:
Here is the picture before the modification:
Here's how it looks with one of the refinished seats:
Looking at it I think I need to go with black carpets. The dash color and the lighter seat colors are close but not close enough so I will be coloring the dash black once I'm done.
Here's a few more pictures with the other seat and the gauge pod inplace. Mostly for my personal inspiration:
If I do say so myself.
I have a wee tiny update. I did a little work on the passenger door panel today. I cut in the surround for the door latch handle and attached a piece off of the GA panel that helps support the front of the armrest, this piece was cut off the GA panel and trimmed down to the size that I wanted. Once that was done I mounted the door panel:
You can see how the opening through the surround (where the insert goes) exposes a porting of the inner door structure. The horizontal silver rod that you can see in the opening is the rod for the door lock. Using a piece of soapstone I traced the outline of the opening onto the inner panel. I also put the insert in place and traced the small hole for the latch handle. Here's the outline once the panel was removed:
The small "square" outline inside the larger outline is the hole for the handle. Using this small hole as a guide I traced out where the handle and its bracket would sit. You will have to cut a hole into the inner door steel panel for the handle arm that attaches to the latch rod. This is how it looks attached:
The latch rod will now be cut to the new length needed and the end bent at a 90 deg. angle to fit into the socket on the back of the latch handle.
And how it looks with the panel and insert in place:
And believe it or not it actually works! How did that happen!
I still have to shorten the lock rod yet though.
The shifter is a really easy mod to do. Here is a picture of my shifter before removal:
All that has to be done is removal of the small cotter pin that attaches the shift cable to the bottom of the shifter as well as removing the "C" retainer on the main shaft. Here is how the well looks without the shifter:
Here is a comparison of the new short shifter with the other shifter. I had previously replaced my stock 87 shifter for an 84 unit. You can also see the cotter pin and the retainer:
And how the new shifter looks in the well:
As I said, if you haven't done this before it is really simple to do.
As indicated earlier I have been thinking about the console. Trying to decide what to do and how to do it has been a little frustrating. So after some more thought I decided to have another look at the stock console. I trimmed it to length just to get a better idea of how it might look and set it in place.
Not as bad as I had previously thought but certainly not just a drop in place piece either. But I think there is some potential.
Somewhere in my thought process I came to the conclusion that I was over thinking the problem. I was thinking that I would have to make a console from scratch. But looking at the stock piece I realized that I don't have to reinvent the wheel but only adapt it.
There is a pile of foam on the skeleton and removing it slimmed the console down considerably. In the process I discovered that it was badly cracked, missing a few broken pieces and quite soft as a result. I suspect that there are a lot of cars out there with damaged consoles.
To repair it I applied two layers of fiberglass to the underside:
In this picture you can see how some pieces are missing. They were patched later on using fiberglass reinforced filler:
After a little more trimming I did another test fit. Previously the console was still sloping up to the Stealth console but not it was laying much more level and was surprising close to the top of the Stealth console:
I find the stripped console to be a much closer match and not so bulky.
To make a filler piece for the gap between the two consoles I used the skeleton as a mold for a single layer of fiberglass by covering it with packing tape:
Because the console tapers this piece was too wide so when I trimmed it I also cut it in half lengthwise so that it could be place on the console and adjusted to suit.
Once I was satisfied with the fit I attached the pieces using Corvette panel adhesive:
By the way, the Stealth console was protected with packing tape so that the adhesive would not stick to the console. Once set I applied more fiberglass to the piece:
I also added a small extension to the driver-side to cover the indent in the Stealth console that is meant for the Stealth e-brake:
It's a long ways from being finished but it's a start!
I received my goodies from the Fiero Store. They didn't send one item, my new shift knob but the were very apologetic and are sending it out to me right away. Here is the carpet kit:
It looks to be like a good kit but one thing I noticed is that it does not have all the anti-wear pads that the stock carpet has. It only had one at the driver's feet.
I also ordered the black Fiero emblem floor mats:
These come with hardware that will prevent the mats from moving around. I also got the dew wipes, sunroof/headliner molding, shifter boot and one engine grille screw with the flap. The screw is a little pricey but they are as scarce as hens teeth up here.
I have also purchased 100 sq. ft. of sound deadener from the group buy that is currently going on in the mall.
I have also done some more work on the console. When the foam and vinyl was removed it revealed a recess in both side of the console at the "elbow" I want to have a strait edge so these were filled in using some sheet styrene and fiberglass reinforced filler:
I used double sided tape to temporarily fasten the fabric to the backside until the resin kicks.
In this picture I have placed the stripped console door in place.
You can see that it protrudes quite a bit from the console skeleton. There was a lot of molded foam in this area that concealed the edge of the door and made it flush. I don't particularly like how this looks and so for the moment I have decided to fill in over the door opening. To do fill it in I again stretched fabric and applied resin. This creates the first layer and mat layers are added later.
And after additional mat has been applied:
I may cut in a new door into the console storage area but with the Stealth glove box being more accessible it's not really needed.
I actually managed to get the driver-side door panel in and working, now for the hard part - sculpting and contouring the panel to fit all the components as well as adding door speakers. I like the how the curve of the console bottom lip echos the door armrest:
Now for a question, if you are looking at this thread please post your opinion of the wing in the next two pictures. Is it too much? What do you think?
My wife and I are having a discussion
She thinks I need the opinion of some "car guys" and I agree. She also thinks it's too "muscle car". Personally to me the Fiero smacks of European sports car rather than North American muscle.
I am also considering deleting the wing and going with Sage's spoiler below:
Everything has been taken back out of the interior. I fell like I'm back at square one. But there is some small glimmer of reason in my madness. I am in the process of doing a few tweaks and getting the inside ready for the sound deadener that I bought in the latest group buy.
If you recall, I made some fiberglass infill pieces to cover the gaps in the dash top where the Stealth A pillar sits. I have never been happy with the one that I made so I decided to redo them by first making a pair of "blanks" off of the stock Fiero dash. I first covered the dash with masking tape and then applied 2 layers of mat:
Here is the piece once it was pulled off of the dash and the old filler pieces were used to mark the required outlines:
Once the pieces were rough cut I did some trial fitting. The driver side piece needs some modifications that can only be done with the Stealth dash out but the right side piece is a near perfect fit:
Once the stealth dash was removed I did some additional fitting on the drive side piece. I needed to add a curve down on the"flap" that covers the side opening. To do this I cut some kerfs in the side of the piece which allowed it to be bent and then glassed it to hold the shape. Once set the piece was attached to the dash in it's proper position and additional glass added to match the Stealth dash contours:
The dash was covered with packing tape prior to applying the mat and resin. They now need to be cleaned up, sanded and filled. Here are some comparison pictures:
The other thing that I have been working on is the little triangular gaps that the sides of the Stealth dash have vs. the edge of the door trim:
The one on the passenger side is slightly bigger. Also the driver side dash end sticks out a bit at the bottom and needs to be trimmed back:
And then cut it out with a very fine cutting wheel on my angle grinder:
The lower driver-side dash half is actually metal so once the piece was removed it was bent into shape:
And reinstalled to check the fit:
The triangular gap on both sides is going to be covered with a fiberglass end cap. This cap will also cover the damage caused by cutting the wedge out of the dash bottom. But first a mould of the door trim was made to allow the future end caps to tie directly into the molding:
The position of the triangular gaps were marked on the molding along with the dash ends. The white sheet styrene was placed on to approximate the dash end position. Then two layers of glass were applied.
Here are the pieces before and after initial trimming:
They will be used to fill the gaps and be incorporated into the end caps once the dash is back in place.
I have managed to rip out the after-market alarm system that a previous owner installed:
Working on making some switch panels for the lower dash:
Modified the center bracket for the dash due to some interference when I make the trim pieces for the Stealth console. I had to trim it down a bit on one side:
And I have acquired a few things:
The Tweeter infill pieces for the dash:
The sound deadener from the group buy in this Thread has arrived. I purchased the 100 sq. ft. option and it comes in two rolls:
And with instructions, roller, degreaser, utility knife and some ties. Not to mention the ubiquitous sticker that's got to be good for at least 0.221 horsepower!
And I also picked up 3 - 1" thick sheets of rigid fiberglass insulation from a contractor at work:
I will be using this to sculpt some of the features on the door panels and center console. Hope it works...
I will be replacing the stock unit as it's a bit clunky. Unfortunately, the Stealth unit is too small to fit over the hole in the head liner:
Fortunately I have ordered a fiberglass headliner from the Mall and will be modifying it to suit the Stealth unit.
The lower dash switch infill's that I made didn't turn out. I used packing tape which did not fit into the nooks really well so I ended up with a couple of misshapen hunks:
I also didn't cut my mat close enough to the size needed which didn't help. Serves me right for not taking my time. I'm now in the process of making a couple of more. Here's how I do it. These are the hole for the switches:
First I cut out two pieces of sheet styrene plastic to approximate the opening size:
I then use the plastic as a template and trace it out onto the fiberglass mat:
Then I tape the crap out of everything with masking tape (which matches the shapes and angles better than the packing tape did)
And then layup the cut pieces of mat with resin:
And hopefully I will have a couple of nice pieces when this kicks. It already looks better than the rush job I did the other day.
The rigid insulation is 1" thick and as such is a little too thick, so I trimmed some off:
The round corners were then cut out and the square edges of the insulation were radius-ed on my belt sander:
I also cut some round pockets into the insulation for the 1/4" bolts that will hold the finished piece in place on the console. I did this with a forstner bit on my drill press:
Originally the top and bottom pieces were going to be separate and each was to have 4 bolts but I later decided to make it a single piece and will only use 4 bolts total. I then taped the console and started to glass the pieces in place. The rigid fiberglass insulation really soaks up the resin by the way.
I laid a single layer of mat and let it cure. This layer covers all the recesses I cut for the bolts. Once set, I recut 4 of the recesses:
The reason I did this is that I figured it would be stronger this way and make it more difficult for the bolts to pull out later.
When this had set I drilled out holes for the bolts in the center of the recesses and installed the bolts and washers. then filled the recesses with fiberglass reinforced filler to hold the bolts firmly in place:
I then applied more fiberglass mat after the filler had set and was sanded down.
Pulling the piece off was a bit of a challenge due to the bolts but there was enough flex in the piece to get it off. Here's how it looks after a quick trim:
I also filled the backside in at the base of the fiberglass just to reinforce it a bit as the final sanding will weaken the edge a bit:
Then the back edges were sanded and the face was sanded to remove any high spots and a layer of filler was applied:
It's more or less ready for the application of a thin layer of dense foam padding and the vinyl upolstery. Just waiting for the vinyl samples to arrive.
I also purchased a power door lock kit mostly to have key-less entry:
Here is everything that comes with the kit:
I plan on installing these in a similar fashion to the method LTLFRARI used on his web site: Here
As mentioned previously, I also purchased Rodney Dickman's short shifter c/w boot. Here is a picture of how the boot looks on the Stealth console:
The boot is a great product and is if great quality but it just doesn't look right sitting there. So I purchased a chrome frame and leather boot for a BMW E3 which I think looks much better with this particular console:
I also removed the outer door skins with the help of :
Here are some my pictures of the process for those who may not have done this:
The first thing to remove is the molding which is held on by plastic clips. Here is a shot with the molding removed:
The next step is to remove the clips which will break virtually every one. You can new ones through the Fiero Store. Once those are removed there are 4 plastic rivets on the bottom of the door which need to be drilled or center punched to remove them. Then the whole skin will lift up off of the door structure. A small rod connects to the lock mechanism. Here is the rod and to remove it you undo the small clip on the key lock:
And the door skin is off!
Here is a picture of the bottom edge of the skin, the 4 large holes were for the rivets that attach it to the structure:
The stock ground effects need to be removed for the Aus stage 2 scoop trim. The stock piece is held on by a number of rivets as seen in the previous picture and by a metal bar that is also riveted in place. Here is the back side of the skin showing all the rivets:
Once the bottom row of rivets are removed the stock piece slides off of the metal bar:
And the skin ready for prepping for the Aus trim:
The dew wipes were much easier to replace using the info in the threads above but it's still a bit of work but at least they are done now. Sorry no pics.
I then started on the inside of the doors. First I removed the self tapping screws I used to hold the new door levers on and replaced them with pop rivets:
Sorry for the out of focus picture.
I cut out the speaker opening into each of the new door panels and the temporarily mounted them and traced the opening onto the door structure using soapstone. The holes were them cut into the metal. This position cut our a tack weld between the two layers of metal so I ran a small bead along the cut edge:
And then touched up all the cut edges with rust paint:
I was initially concerned that the widow regulators would be in the way but there appears to be sufficient clearance between the end of the regulator and the speaker magnet:
The window stop also just mises the speaker magnet as the window moved up and down. I think I will add a 1/4" ring to the front of the door panel just to provide some additional clearance though.
And the speaker from the panel side:
Well I haven't really done any work on the car but I have made some purchases for it. Let's see...
I bought most of the brake parts, just need to get pads. I bought this all together from one of the guys nearby who decided not to do the brake upgrade:
Now I have an extra set of brackets. The black ones below are a set that I had previously purchased and I believe they were from one of Archie's kits.
As you can see, they are a different shape than the others although all the bolt holes line up. Anyone know which would be better?
I also received my fiberglass headliner. Bottom view:
It arrived with some shipping damage in the form of a small crack:
But overall it appears to be in good shape.
Here is are some pictures of the stock headliner for comparison:
I will also have to cut out the 3rd brakelight hole as it was missed prior to shipping.
I ordered a set of HVAC controls from Riceburner. These are the units that he makes for the F355 dash kits and it is sure a quality piece of work. Bob (Riceburner) is a great guy to deal with and if you are looking for something like this he is the gent to see! My car does not have A/C so the HVAC unit is different than the usual one he makes in that the non-A/C cars will require 3 actuators instead of the usual 2.
Here's the kit:
The solid-state controls:
And this is where it's going to go:
I know, I know, the world must be ending or something.
So, here is the measuring:
And the hole cut. It's slightly larger than the controls and they pop though the hole. This is to allow for the vinyl etc. that is going to be added.
I then cut out a backing plate from the left over original deck lid material from when I cut out my deck lid vent:
And attached it with the SMC adhesive:
And once set I cut a few small notches for the mounting screws:
Now I just need Andrew to make up the custom Fiero badge and MR Mike to send my my samples so I can pick the leather. Once I have these I can recover the console and something will actually be finished on the car! I can hardly wait.
I'm using contact cement that is heat resistant as I know that warm interiors tend to make most adhesives let go and you end up with a droopy head liner. Here's the product:
Here are the head liner and the vinyl ready for preparation. The vinyl comes on rolls that are 55" wide. I cut a piece that is 36" long for the full width of the vinyl. Most instructions for doing this indicate that you are to use the old head liner fabric as a template but I decided to do the trimming with the vinyl attached to the fiberglass.
I quickly traced out the rough outline of the fiberglass piece onto the back of the vinyl so that I would know where to apply the contact cement.
I then applied the cement to the back of the vinyl and the face of the fiberglass and waited about 20 minutes for the cement to dry.
Once ready I laid the fiberglass onto the table with the cement up. I then covered the liner with tow sheets of large format paper that entirely covered one half of the liner each with the seam down the narrow width of the liner. the vinyl was then placed cermet side down on top of the paper. The reason for doing this is so that the two pieces do not come in contact with each other, as the name implies contact cermet joins the two pieces together upon contact. Once I made sure all the glued bit lined up I began to slowly spread the two pieces of paper apart a couple of inches at a time making sure that the vinyl was bonding to the fiberglass at the correct location and without wrinkles. Some minor adjustment can be made but nothing major.
I then flipped the assembled liner over and began trimming as required and bonding the front and back edges similar to the original.
And , now it's ready for installation:
But first, I have to add in the performance sound wiring and install this:
Basically it's pretty easy to do, it just takes a bit of patience.
And the trim behind the inside door handle. First filling in the Grand Am logo and then painting them:
It sure feels good to be working on the car again!
I too am concerned about the durability of the chrome paint. I have been experimenting with some test pieces and so far all the clear coats that I have used turn the chrome into a grey color. I will have to do aome more investigating.
I applied two layers to the firewall. I like engine noise but not overwhelming amounts
I even managed to get the wiring pulled for the power mirror!
I think I'm ready now to put the headliner back in and start installing the HVAC actuators.
Here is a shot showing the spot where the stock manual HVAC control was and the cables are disconnected:
In case you were wondering, I have no A/C, but who needs it in Canada. The manual controls work like this:
The non-A/C HVAC control uses two slider control levers to actuate three cables.
The top slider controls which vents get the air:
This is accomplished as follows: Moving from left to the center position moves the green cable and rotates the damper actuator (on the right side of the heater box) in a counterclockwise fashion. One the slider moves past the center position the green cable stops and the blue cable moves a second actuator (on the left front of the heater box) in a counterclockwise fashion to diver the air into the defroster vents.
The bottom slider control does the cooler-warmer function:
Moving the slider from left to right moves the red cable and rotates a damper actuator (located on top of the heater box) in a clockwise fashion.
Here is a shot showing the "red" cable connected to it's new actuator:
Thsi is goning to mount to the underside of the air box so I fabricated a small bracket out of 1" square aluminum and pre-drilled for the mounting screws.
And here it is mounted in place:
I will be mounting the HVAC control module in the void space between the tunnel and the plastic protector that sits below the carpet on the passenger side. I believe that this is where the performance sound amp would be.
I welded, painted and predrilled it - the usual. Here it is ready for the actuators:
And with the actuators mounted inside it:
And the whole assembly mounted in place with the cables attached
First thing I did was to trim the sound deadener that is above the dome light. Fierosound suggested it as the deadener is an asphalt base and the lights would cause it to melt:
I then inserted the headliner and attached the various bits and pieces that hold it up such as the coat hooks, dome light etc.
Here is how it looks through the sunroof opening:
Then I began to do the trimming and the installation of the sunroof moulding. The vinyl is trimmed to rough size with enough to stuff into the recess around the opening. Some of the vinyl is then inserted into the recess and the moulding is tapped into place with a small hammer to hold the vinyl:
Repeat as required until it is all in place.
The trickiest area is the 4 corners. You have to be carefull to not trim too much and it is a little patience testing but I think it turned out great!
Here is what the panels look like now:
Here is the sketch of what I want them to look like:
The intent is to match the Stealth dash end contours and pick up on the major lines that the dash has.
This is what I'm thinking and hoping anyways...
I added a couple of cross strips between the two sides of the form for some extra support.
I have never used this two part foam before so I don't really know how much it expands or how much to mix together. For the first batch I used 14 oz. each of the two components. Basically you mix equal parts for 30 seconds and then it starts to expand:
Then you pour it into the mold:
Let me tell you it sure doesn't look like very much sitting in the mold. I was thinking "Hmmm, did I mix it right? Do I need to add more?" When "bam" it started to expand, and expand and expand...
Needless to say I mixed up too much for the first mold :
So for the next mold I mixed up 8 oz. each for the mix:
The directions say to let it sit for an hour and during that time it gives of a bit of heat similar to when fiberglass cures. Then it's ready to start shaping:
The Plastic forms pulled off quite easily and the drywall saw and a knife cut it fairly easily. The final shaping will be with a sander and hand sanding:
Lots more to do but you get the idea.
Here are some progress pictures. The first few are just after I placed the panel back onto the door and have started to carve out the interface with the dash end:
Basically all I'm doing is closing the door until something touches the dash then sanding that bit away and repeating the procedure.
Here's another shot part way through:
Then once the door would close and the dash end contour matched I pulled the panel off for some additional shaping and sanding:
The foam is fairly brittle where is it this so some did chip off around the speaker ring but it will be easily repaired.
I have a little more sanding to do to make sure there is adequate clearance for the fiberglass and then it time to glass it!
I think I'm going to have to put my mirrors on to see if the "horns" on the top part of the panels are blocking my view.
The next thing I'm going to do is build some supports for the underside of the armrests on the door panels.
I did some work on the armrest supports this afternoon.
The first thing I wanted to do was to anchor the foam into place. So before I made the molds I attached some screw anchors to the door panel. These are the kind that expand for use in drywall applications:
Then they were attached from behind the panel and tightened so that the metal expanded into the "flower" shape:
Then I made the molds using the same polystyrene strips:
And then mixed and pured the foam and let it do it's magic:
After half an hour I trimmed the excess foam that rose above the mold and peeled the plastic off and began the shaping process:
And I then used the armrest to mark out some trim lines and continued to shape the support:
And presto! Heres the final shape:
This foam makes this really easy!
The two part urethane foam can have the fiberglass applied directly to it and it wont melt unlike some other foams.
And here the panels have had a quick sanding and the edges have been cleaned up ready for a filler coat.
As for finishing the fiberglass contours, I don't think that I will be able to apply sheet vinyl in any way that would gibe me a nice finish. There are simply too many curves. I know that there is apparently a heat formable vinyl that is available but I still think that it will not be a good fit. SEM produces a spray on texture as described by their website as follows:
I think that I will give this a try. As I understand it there are different ways to apply it which creates some variation in texture. I don't know how close it will match the dash vinyl grain but some difference will be OK I think.
The panels have now been primed. Here's how they looked before a final bit of sanding,
they were then painted with an etching primer:
And Here's a teaser shot. It's only in primer but it gives you and idea about how they are going to look:
Here's a few more Teasers and the original Grand Am panels that started this off:
Now I'm just filling the pin holes and other imperfections with glazing putty:
The texture coat dries flat black and it is almost impossible to see the pattern once dry. You can't really see it in this close up:
Once the texture is dry I applied the first layer of the SEM color coat. I'm using the Landau Black which is a matte black. You can now begin to see the texture:
The Stealth uses a contoured piece of plastic that is covered in carpet to fill in this area on both sides of the console. I can't use this because I have removed about 3/4" between where the top of the console butts up against the bottom of the dash. This was done to give me enough room to get the console to sit flat on top of the tunnel structure. On the Stealth the tunnel structure doesn't have to accommodate a gas tank and so it sits lower with respect to the dash. In any event this has changed the shape of the curve on the bottom of the console. I did use the Stealth dash piece as a template and through trial and error I was able to cut a piece of Masonite to match the new curve:
Another issue is that the console edge is not a strait line and is actually a compound curve. After a few test fits and a few nasty words a thought entered my head, yes believe it or not! I know that wood and drywall can be made to fit contours if they are soaked and allowed to dry in place so I figured what the heck and gave it a try. Here's the piece soaking in the tub:
I only let it sit in the warm water for a couple of minutes as I was worried that it would crumble if it sat too long. I dabbed it dry and placed it into position on the console and taped it in place:
I let it sit overnight to dry completely and after work had a look:
It held the curve exactly, and there was much rejoicing
it was then glued on using a glue gun, sanded and then both sides of the assembled piece were coated with fiberglass resin:
Once dry, a layer of fiberglass mat was added to the inside only as I wanted the outside nice and smooth for the vinyl:
The excess glass was trimmed and the edges sanded and did a test fit:
It looked good so the piece was covered with vinyl:
And here it sits:
The other side is in progress.
I wanted to use a vinyl on the flat portions of the panels that is similar in color to the center panels on the seats and other pieces. I went down to a local automotive upholsters shop and went through their sample books and found something that is awfully close but not exact. It will have to do. I also purchased some close cell dense foam that's about 1/8" thick for padding under the vinyl.
I started by making a template for each of the areas:
And using the templates I cut out 4 pieces of Masonite to use as the backing for the vinyl:
Then using the Masonite pieces as a template I traced out the shapes onto the foam and cut them out:
The foam was then attached to the corresponding Masonite piece using contact cement and final trimming was done:
Once the pieces were complete they were then attached to the panels using high quality construction panel adhesive and placed into my high tech clamping fixture:
And here is the final product:
The red box approximates the position I need to move the outlet to. I basically cut out two pieces from the plenum in such a fashion that they could be rotated to achieve the required offset:
They were reversed and placed back onto the plenum:
and then covered with a couple of layers of fiberglass, painted black and the modified assembly was reinstalled:
I also removed the flange and foam strip that was at the end of the outlet. The trimmed outlet is almost exactly the same size as the Stealth vent and a short sleeve with foam tape seals will be needed to interconnect the two together once the dash is back in place.
I have now lined the back side of the door panels with the sound deadener that I used in the car interior:
The completed panels are somewhat heavier than when they were stock but I think it's a small price to pay to have the interior match and look like a stock install once it's done.
I also want to have some custom badging that will distinguish my car. I like the Pegasus theme so I have been looking for some distinctive items that bear this image. I actually found something on E-Bay that I like. To make the badge backing I had to make some small Masonite disks that are to be covered in black vinyl and have an aluminum outer ring. Where does one find an aluminum ring you ask? Well let me show you.
I used my dremell with a cut off wheel and got this:
I need two of these as they are going onto my new door panels. Once cut off and cleaned up a bit I traced out the inner diameter onto the Masonite:
I rough cut the disks and then used my disk sander to finish them off so that their outside diameter is slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the aluminum rings.
then using the ubiquitous contact cement I attached the vinyl:
The aluminum rings were then fitted over the vinyl and the excess trimmed. The back side had some super glue/crazy glue applied to the vinyl seam and the back of the ring to hold it in place and I then had two of these:
I next applied my new badges to the two disks and adhered the disks to the door panels:
The badges are actually two Greek 10 Drachma coins that have been hand cut.
I received a couple of deliveries today
I have been trying to figure out how to add some cup holders into the Stealth console. Try as I might however, there simply isn't enough room between the shifter and the face of the console to have something pop horizontally out of the console without interference from the shifter.
So on to plan "B"...
I found an nice billet cup holder bezel on E-Bay that fits into a console type application and I think it has some great potential:
I will need to fabricate some cups and do some cutting but I think it's going to work out great. The piece is actually meant for use a new style Mustang but no flames please!
Now for the second delivery, Cedric and my wife Barbara had to do a bit of work to get it into the garage:
Hmm.... I wonder what it could be?
It came up from the States and even with shipping and the purchase price it was considerably cheaper than rebuilding the 3.4 DOHC that I already had. The one I have is a high mileage unit but in good condition. I'll keep it around in case I blow this one up! I realize that I'm taking a bit of a chance but hey you gotta trust people sometimes. Actually the seller was really good about the whole thing, I just paid for the shipping up front to cover his cost and after I have a look if it's a good engine then I pay him the balance and if not then I keep the rest of the cash. Kinda made me feel more comfortable about purchasing an engine from Florida. Maybe I'm crazy??!!
I finally took the 5-speed off the shelf for some much needed clean-up:
It's amazing what some elbow grease and paint can achieve:
I've ordered my Fidanza aluminum flywheel and it will arrive tomorrow. I checked locally on what it would cost for a Spec stage 2 clutch at Davenport Racing. They wanted to hose me $600.00 I don't think so. The Spec web site lists this as a $300 US item so I think I will see if I can purchase it directly from Spec. I'm going to get the bits and pieces that I need such as new flywheel bolts, dodge truck mounts etc. Who knows I may even start to mount the new engine and the transmission on the cradle in the next couple of weeks!