Saturday, April 10, 2010

Food Lion Auto Fair at the Charlotte Motor Speedway

We hitched up the camper yesterday and headed down to Charlotte for this auto show. Specifically I wanted to see the new Mk4 Roadster from Factory 5 Racing. I really wanted to check one out, touch it and sit in it before making the plunge and ordering a kit.

001 Hitched up and ready to go.


This placard was next to the car.

015 An interior view of the cockpit. I was quite surprised that it was as spacious as it was. I sat in it and my left knee felt too high but the F5 rep there said they had optional seats that had less padding and sat lower to the floor to help fix that. The foot box was fine for my size 14s. I don’t think I would have any problem working with the pedals.

016 A view of the Ford Racing GT 4.6L engine.

017 A view from behind the car.

022 I really liked the colors of this one. It was a somewhat pewter color that looked great. I’ll keep this pic around for future reference.

Below you’ll find pics of other cars at the show. I’ll definitely return in the coming years to learn more about cars.

006 007












Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Truck Interior Finished (almost) and a Nice Distraction From Reality

So this past weekend I almost finished the truck interior restoration. I’ve been meaning to post the latest pics but just haven’t had the time. Well on top of that I have a speaking thing to do at tomorrow’s Triangle Game Conference in Raleigh. I absolutely hate public speaking; the feeling I get when that first squirt of adrenaline hits my blood stream is not a good one. But I’m manning up and will give it my best. In the meantime I am writing to my blog so I can think about something else. Funny thing is that as I write this blog I continue to write about the public speaking thing. WTF?!?!?

Ok, on to the truck. I spent a lot of time on the truck this past weekend. It was a three day weekend because of the Holiday so it was good time to catch up on the project. Also, I want to take the camper to Charlotte this weekend for a hotrod show so that I can check out Factory Five’s latest Roadster, the Mk4. So here is a picture diary of the truck project. By the way, did I mention that I am going to be on a panel tomorrow at TGC?

I got a Clarion VZ400 DVD receiver to go into the truck and replace the OEM radio. I wanted a system with an LCD screen, HD radio and the ability to hook up two rear view cameras; one that activates on reverse and another one to serve as a rear view mirror when going down the street with the camper.

image This is the official image of the radio.

image This is the rear view camera. It’s a Kenwood and it’s not as big as it looks!

001 I ordered the stuff from Crutchfield. Firstly I have to say that crutchfield is awesome. Good support and they even sent me a thank you card! Another good thing about them is that they sent harness adapters for the truck. There was a printout that described what each wire did; left front +, left front –, etc. And the colors actually matched the colored wires on the receiver!

002 So the first step was to connect all the wires together. I would strip them using this super cool stripper (and my friends know that I like super cool strippers). Just kidding… no no really.

003 Wind them together.

004 Not long ago my father in law Stan lectured me for the fact that I never soldered the wires together; only wrapping them in electrical tape. I am happy to announce that I have changed my evil ways.

007 This is the door panel with the old speaker removed. Note someone should start a drinking game where they drink a shot every time a beer can is in a photo.

008 This is the new speaker installed in the rear door. These were a challenge because the previous owner had disconnected the wires under the dash to install some sort of aftermarket system. It took us a while to figure out why the speakers weren’t getting a signal. We eventually ran new wires and had to splice into the harnesses. Don’t worry, Stan, I used solder.

009 This is the new radio test wired into the truck. I did this to test all the speakers, camera etc.

010 Holy cow. What a mess. At this point I didn’t think it would ever get done.

011 New front 6x9’s installed.

015 Next I needed to focus on the rust problem that we discovered once the carpet was removed. Water had settled in under the drivers side seat and began to rust the metal.

016 I always wanted to use this thing. It’s been in my toolbox and I finally get to use it. It totally thrashed the rust.

017 Then a little elbow grease to get the tight spaces. After that we put some sort of rust conversion stuff on there to convert the rust to something inert. Then we painted it.

023 The paint applied. Looks much better.

024 The radio in the dash. I have NO IDEA how all those wires fit behind it.

025 OK, the carpet was next and I was pretty intimidated. The carpet came pre formed for the truck but all holes and trim had to be cut to fit. The whole time I was worried about screwing up. We started at the back. We used the old carpet on the floor of the garage as a gauge and began cutting.

026 Getting further and it’s starting to look good!

027 Hey! Your feet better be clean!

028 That’s a wrap. The bolt holes have been cut, the edges have been trimmed, etc.

029 Another view. I was very happy with the results!

001 Now it’s time to put in the finish pieces to hold the carpet down.

003 The rear bench seat is in and Justin is checking it out. It was very easy to put back together and the plastic trim pieces hide the subtle carpet flaws perfectly.

004 The drivers seat in.

005 All the seats back in the truck. They were very easy to install!

006 I ordered new door rubber for a better, water tight seal. It was super easy to install.


I never could find replacement door trim so I just spent some time cleaning up the old stuff. Came out pretty good.


Another angle…of Justin’s dirty foot.

010 Looking good!

I’ll have more pictures later once the door panels are on and the dash is back together. Wish me luck tomorrow!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Interior Restore Part 2

Well today I finished all of the upholstery work. I still need to do the door panel leather but the seats are done. Tomorrow I’ll begin work on the radio install as well as the new dash cover.

Pics of the leather seats are below:

001 The center console was the worst of the bunch. We had to snap off retaining trim to get access to the old cloth which was tacked down by stables. After ripping that off we were able to put the new leather on. In this pic you can see the new leather as it was stapled down.

002 Broader view.

003 This is the piece after it was done. It’s basically the cap on the center console compartment.

004 This is the pneumatic stapler we used to tack the leather. $25 at Harbor Freight!

005 Another shot.

006 Tacking the retaining trim back down over the new covering.

007 After cutting the leather to fit around the hatch release button.

008 We’re putting the leather cover of the bottom half of the center console. There wasn’t much leather to work with here so it was pretty tight. My hands are still sore.

009 Stapled down.


And now the retaining trim has been snapped down.

011 Getting there.

012 Finished product all put back together. NOT BAD!

013 And finally the drivers chair. These are the internals of the chair to give you an idea of how all the electronic comfort options work.

014 This chair was very similar to the passenger side from the last update so it was pretty easy at this point. I can’t wait to see them in the truck.

Tomorrow I begin work on the new audio system. Stay tuned for an update.