Sunday, March 28, 2010

2001 Dodge Ram Interior Restoration

I’ve had this truck for a long time and after many camping trips with Les and the kids the interior has become a little worse for wear. This year I bought some new leather upholstery from I also picked up a new carpet from I chose a two tone leather and a mist gray carpet.

The first step was to remove the seats and carpet.

052 After the seats were unbolted and removed the carpet looked terrible! Wow a lot of crud fell under the seats.


The seats out and on the garage floor.

057 Justin helped remove the rear bench seat.


I guess Justin thought it was hard work.

065 After the carpet was removed this is what was left.

So now that everything is out my plan is to replace the carpet, recover the seats, upgrade the audio system (better sounding, blue tooth, dvd for rear passengers, and a rear view camera), and finally put a dash cover on the dash to cover the cracked dash. Today we began working on the seat covers.

dodge interior remodel 003 This is the rear bench seat and where the 3 boys spend most of their travel time on camping trips; so it’s a big friggin mess. I put it up on saw horses and began to take it apart.

dodge interior remodel 004 After taking the plastic covers off I could see the seat release mechanism. This is what holds the seats together and controls the up/down motion of the bottom seat for under seat storage. Before I could get the seat back off I needed to remove this by removing the 2 bolts. This allowed the seat back to come free.

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Starting with the bottom cushion, I removed the old seat cover by peeling it off.

dodge interior remodel 013 Putting on the new cover was as simple as flipping it inside out and rolling it onto the cushion. Very easy! puts a zipper on the back side of the cover to seal it up.

dodge interior remodel 014 After a very similar process, the seat back was covered. We put it all back together and here is the finished product.

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Next, the passenger seat.

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We turned the seat upside down and found 4 bolts used to hold the bottom cushion in place. After removing these the cushion was easily removed from the chair.

dodge interior remodel 022 This is a hog-ring. Apparently they are used quite often in upholstery. I found some hog ring pliers and some hog rings at Ace Hardware so that I could tack down the new cover.

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The bottom cushion with the new cover.

dodge interior remodel 025Now the seat back. This was pretty easy except for the seat belt slot located in the seat back.

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I cut a slot in the leather and trimmed enough foam and leather to allow the bracket to click back into place.

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The final product.

dodge interior remodel 029 Next the center console. We didn’t finish it today but holy crap what pain in the a$$. More to come later!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

MBRP Exhaust for My Wife’s 2005 Dodge Ram

Last week my wife complained about a new and annoying rattle underneath the truck as she was driving the kids to school. That weekend I crawled underneath the truck and discovered that the exhaust was about to fall apart! The previous owner had removed the muffler and straight piped it. To connect everythign together they welded the joints, which is where it all began to break apart.


024 To hold over the busted exhaust I got some flashing and some hose clamps. This kept the weld from breaking completely.

Before we kicked off this project I took some video of the current exhaust. I wanted to have documented proof of the sound improvement.

We always hated this sound. It was very hollow and at highway speeds it would drone and drone and drone.

022 The first step was to break the connection between the catalytic converter and the old broken exhaust. I was a little worried about this because of the type of clamp used and the rust.

027 To get easier access to everything I cut the pipe. Then…

030 I cut it again. This provided some wiggle room needed to pry the hanger bushings off of their support to remove the exhaust from the truck.

031 Old exhaust on the floor.

032 To remove the piece of pipe that was attached to the cat I needed to cut it a little. I used a grinding wheel and cut a 2 inch incision into the pipe. With that taken care of I was able to get a screw driver in there and break the hold. A few bangs with a hammer and the pipe came off.

033 This is the small pipe that was on the cat. You can see the cut I made to remove it.

036 Old exhaust next to new. Notice the new muffler. Yay!

038 The MBRP kit comes with an extension pipe sized for a 8ft bed + a quad cab truck. This truck is a short bed quad cab so that means I needed to cut the pipe. This pic is of the pipe on the vice waiting for the reciprocating saw. The pipe needed to be cut to 10.5 inches plus the flange.

039 The freshly cut pipe and muffler connected.

040 From the muffler to the back of the truck.

046 Now the clamps go on.

048 More clamps.

049 The connection to the catalytic converter.

045 The exhaust tip.

And finally the resulting sound!

The Wood Heater Has Been Installed

I admit it. I’m a procrastinator. Over the years I’ve tried and tried to kick the habit but I just can’t.

So, I FINALLY installed the wood heater … just in time for spring. Go figure, I guess I’ll warm the garage next year.

Check out the pics below to see the installation. It went well. I had to call in Tony to help out with the roof top stuff because I just can’t handle heights. We did have one cold day post install and I was able to raise the temp in the garage about 20 degrees so I guess it’s a success. I’ll report back next year when the ambient temp is around 35ish and we’ll see if it does the trick.

About the project: I got the wood heater from Bruce of Asheville (see previous post). I installed it on some brick adjacent to the auto lift. I figured that I would be working over there most of the time so that location made the mot sense. Plus, the distance to the ceiling was shorter there so I didn’t have to invest in as much stainless steel pipe. I ordered a industrial ceiling fan from Grainger to help keep the air in the garage moving – heat rises so the fan keeps it flowing. Stan, my father in law, did the wiring and installed the fan.

012 This fire is super hot. The stove has a really good draft and the blower works well.



This fan moves lots of air!

016 Justin is testing out new equipment.