Monday, April 7, 2008

Doorpanel work and Alarm

Part 1: Doorpanels

I've (somehow) convinced my girlfriend to help me in stitching up some new doorpanels for my car. Emily is an awesome seamstress (as my more recent Halloween costumes can attest to - yes, I'm 12 years old) and she's also agreed to help out with the "Slackey" method of rebuilding my center console.

The old panels were pretty rank. Mold had started to grow on them from several years storage in a damp storage locker, and they were waterlogged pretty badly from a flood my car suffered through while it was in Savannah, Ga. First up, we take inventory:


I'm going to be doing a Vinyl top and bottom with cloth insert to match my seats. This is a shot of the check-patterned cloth that I'll be using:

We hacked up the old panels to make patterns:

Then transferred the patterns to the new fabric:

I also enlisted the help of my Corgi, but Louie seemed less willing to do any work and more interested in why the floor was suddenly a new, softer texture.

More shots of this process as they come. Emily started sewing the patterns together, and the rears are pretty much finished - we just have to stitch them to the backing foam. In order to give the fabric the same seam appearance as before, we're stitching the entire new panels to headliner foam thats been cut to the shape of the original doorpanels. Haven't gotten that far yet, but I'll post shots when I am.

Part 2: Battery & Alarm

The alarm brain and accompanying harness:

I'm using an Avital 2200, the same model alarm I had in my 1994 Jeep Cherokee before it met its untimely end. The Avital is a really simple system, without all the crazy bells and whistles like the one I have on my e36 (zone sensors, 2-way alarm paging, etc) All I was really looking for was power door locks, trunk release, a shock sensor and simple alarm. I got this one on Ebay for $29.99 and $8 shipping. The problem with buying an alarm from a place like BestBuy or such is they typically include the price of the alarm in the sale. This ends up making a $50 alarm cost $250. If you possess soldering skills and a multimeter, you can do his yourself.

Here are a few things that might help your install:

  • The parking light wires are separated left and right on different circuits. On my car the easiest place to tap in was at the headlight switch. You'll have to diode-isolate these 2 wires from another.
  • The domelight is a negative trigger. If you're wiring up your domelight to the alarm, make sure the output to the light is negative.
  • The starter wire is black with a white tracer. Instead of cutting and soldering it, just unplug it from the ignition, run one line into the alarm, and the other from the alarm back into the ignition. This will limit un-necessary solder joints.
  • The brown/purple wire at the driver's door pin reads negative when either door is opened. This is the best place to tap in for that signal.

Man, enough talking already.

More pix:

Battery install finished - I ran the ground to the subframe support point - I just picked a larger bolt and a star washer to make sure I had good contact.

My "Test Light" for checking the circuits are working

Of course I'm not actually going to be putting that on the car...

Testing brake/tail/turn signals at the rear. All checks out!

And a shot of the trunk lock solenoid. This uses one of the license plate frame bolts and a rubber plug to hold it in place. I'll be making a new bracket for the cable soon, the gold uiversal one there is just for mockup/testing purposes.

And video of my creations in action!