Monday, December 15, 2008

Eight months in the making!

Emily did the stitchwork, though I did help in cutting out the patterns a bit. The pieces were cut from the fabric, then stitched to headliner material to give the raised edges some dimension. There was a special kind of knot stitch used, but I couldn't tell you what it was... I do know it came close to burning out Emily's sewing machine a couple of times though.

There is the chrome oh the upper edge, but the light makes it hard to see in the shots above. I don't think I'll be adding a lower chrome strip, I think once all the hardware gets mounted that they'll look more complete. We'll see though. If the pattern looks familiar, I pretty much straight copied Keith's doorpanels ( in Stella. Good Artists create, Great Artists steal.

I bought new backing boards from 2002AD ages ago. They're... okay. The upper edges are trimmed very close to the holes, which didn't make me comfortable about the bent-tab mounting method BMW uses. I ended up using gorilla glue to bond the metal bits to the boards:

Retrospectively, I'd go with the wooden ones from Aardvark, but I think mine will work just fine regardless.

I had a nice set of tan rear panels I got from an FAQ-er a while ago. The backing was all I really cared about. Its a pain to find good used ones without any severe water damage from leaking c-pillar seals:

I started off by doing the front panel. The lower seam was 18.5cm from the bottom of the panel. Initially, I was going to glue the sides, then stretch the top and bottom. After testing this (horray for clips) I found that it distorted the lines in the panel when the fabric was stretched top and bottom.

Instead, I clipped the panel at the sides using my measurement as a starting point. From there, I used gorilla glue to adhere the upper vinyl to the metal lip and clipped in place to dry. The rest of the fabric was stretched after these clips were in place to make sure it would dry as close to the final result as possible:

After the upper edge dried, it was simply a method of stretching to the bottom, letting that dry, then moving onto the sides. I did this all in stages, finally gluing the corners last. So far I haven't added any staples to this at all, though I will probably do so sparingly just to ensure nothing shifts around.

The shape in the rear panel was done by stretching the fabric over, then using the armrest to push the fabric in after the glue set. Looking back, I probably stretched it a little tight which is why the lines aren't as well defined in that piece. I'll make it a bit looser on the other one before setting the armrest in.

"Finished" shots:

What did I say after doing my headliner? I would be happy to never see another binder clip for as long as I lived? Ah well... I keep finding uses for these things...

Before & After:

Glovebox refurb (busywork)

I'm waiting on a box of more important parts to come in, so in the meantime I've been mostly just doing busywork. Still, its stuff that has to be done before I can consider the car to be "done", but its not really helping me get it on the road anytime soon. I've finished my MSQ file, but some things are still tripping me up a bit... I'll probably post on the main forum about those though.

Busywork 1: Glovebox Refurb.

I think BLUNT did this with his glovebox as well. I seem to recall reading that somewhere... I was working on building my subwoofer box and had a bunch of spare carpet laying around, so I found a can of spray adhesive and decided to make mine look pretty again. I think I coated the inside of it with resin at some point in time, then textured it to make it look... hell, I don't know. It looked like shit:

Some time with tape, scissors, cardboard, and I had a template to work with. After that, just follow the instructions on the can and work the carpet into the corners. Simple, cheap, and nice way to make your glovebox look pretty. I still need to poke some holes in the back of it for the MSII, iPod adapter, and WBO2 ports.

A shot of my subwoofer box. Of course the back is carpeted too, you think I would be dumb enough to forget about covering that and do my glovebox instead....? No, I won't show you the back....

Either due to my piss-poor camera skills or my piss-poor camera, you can't really tell but the back of the box is contoured to fit the rear seat bulkhead. Pointless minutia that nobody will ever notice? Maybe, but it fits so much nicer in there now.

One last pic whoring out the Talbots. Totally worth every hole drilled in the hood.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Shiny new toys

So yeah, I roasted a good bit of my year-end bonus (not all of it - yet!) on my new exhaust and matching wheels!!! Yes, I'm that lame that I had to space out my wheel purchases over the course of a year. Odd thing is, I bought all the tires at the same time, good thing the Goodyear place didn't lose them after all this time.

Random stuff:

Exhaust was a bit of a bitch, mostly because I only had one side of the car lifted while I was installing it.

- Beautiful craftsmanship, excellent welds, very well assembled.

CONS (nitpicky, but what the hell):
- the provided grade 4.5 hardware for the flange got tossed immediately - I had some spare 8.8 allen heads I used instead.
- header reducer adapter (also from IE) wasn't flanged to accept the donut provided with the exhaust. Some time with a grinder fixed this, but was a bit annoying.

Overall: Worth every penny.

Muffler - man are those welds pretty:

Adapter flange had to be opened up a bit to fit over my Stahl. Some time with a hammer and a punch did the trick. Here it is screwed to my bench while I "persuade" it to fit

Adapter flange and the bracket I modified to hold up the header. This was (close to) how Metric Mechanic does things with the stock exhaust, except that the Stahl hangs about 1" lower and is about 1" thicker than stock. A few new holes, a little bend, a rubber isolating bushing, and a new U-bolt later and volia:

Finished... it was dark outside and the back of my car faces the garage door, sorry for the piss quality:

In showing my center console, I recall someone asking where I'd relocated my hazard switch to. Wonder no more! (Oh yeah, column back together and new MOMO wheel mounted too)

e30 M3 mirror with map lights all wired up and ready:

Carpet is installed, along with all belts but the driver's, no seats but the driver's, and center console minus the shift lever/boot. I also took this time to wire in my speakers in my kickpanels and tweeters in my dash. For those of you about to yell at me for mounting these tweeters here, I drilled these holes in my (totally serious here) near-flawless dash back when I was 15 and didn't know any better. This was also just after sending a very rust-free shell with ANOTHER perfect dash off to the scrapyard. This was also 10 years ago, when prices were lower, but live and learn huh?

Kickpanels were from Bill Williams' group buy. 6.5" are Rockfords, and the huge magnets made spacers necessary. Tweeters are kickers - I've never owned Kicker equipment before, but with Circuit City going out of business, the price was right. Not sure if I like them yet - they're really metallic sounding.

Besides, if you're gonna get mad at me for drilling holes in my car, get mad the ones I sunk into the hood. Nothing like drilling a few 9.5mm holes in your fresh paint. Then again, after the sunvisor debacle, I know all about that... I dunno, I think the results are worth it:

While we're on exterior shots, how about those MATCHING WHEELS huh? Can't wait to see how she looks once the suspension settles down...

I can't think of a segue into this... LED gauges and plate lights! Ooooooh, exciting.

...stay tuned...