Thursday, October 29, 2009

A/C install just in time for winter

I started this whole mess in August. I found a vintage air Gen IV system from Prodigy custom in Florida. Great price and free shipping. Frank at prodigy's was a big help. Many times I called for advice and after I found out I had the wrong evaporator he immediately shipped me another. Big thanks to him.
However, one project of A/C install prompt me to consider repainting the engine since I was going to have to remove one of the fenders. So why not both? And how about the bumper too? All of this mess just because the original block was painted red/orange? so I called two of my buddies from work to help me get the hood off.

I started off by removing the fenders and the front bumper. I removed the bumper as one piece with all of lighting still attached. This made it allot easier to take off the fenders. If I was only doing the A/C work the passenger fender would only need to be removed. However - it seems like everything is connected to those fenders. All the chrome trim, bumper and bolts/ and shims everywhere. The task was longer than expected because I labeled every bolt and nut taken off. But It would be a time saver later on when everything went back on. I went through a whole box of ziplock sandwich bags. I also took pictures along the way just in case the project took me so long I could not remember how everything fit together. So at this point I drained the radiator and disposed of it at the local oil change shop.
Then I started on the daunting task of removing all of the engine componets that I didn't want to get painted metallic blue. Alternator, power steering, hoses, spark plug wires, intake manifold, distributor, exhaust manifolds... etc, etc etc. Until I had it bare bones where I could start cleaning the block. Two cans of foam engine cleaner and allot of elbow grease. Then I went over the engine with scuff pads and wiped it with Pre-paint for a final cleaning. Then several nights of masking everthing. I made sure to make light coats to make sure it dried well so I wouldn't get any flaking. After painting - I made sure to cover everthing to make sure no dust or dirt got on it.

Next I got started on repainting the radiator. One Saturday morning I stripped it, straightened out the bent fins, cleaned it and laid down several coats of Radiator Black. 10 times better! I roughed up the firewall, A arms, springs, chassis, brackets, inner fenders, and radiator support. Preped everything and hit it with chassis black or Trim black to get the original black tones. This took probably another two weeks to get everything right. But I wanted a clean look.

So the engine is repainted and the hard task of getting everything back on was next. Everthing I could get my hands on was cleaned and reinstalled. Replaced all the rubber hoses for the radiator and gave the engine a brand new set of plugs.

Up next - Actually putting on the A/C!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Trunk carpet and subwoofer

Pictures from my installation of the new carpet and sub woofer from last week. Also a couple of pictures from the Houston Aeros and Autos show.
Two layers of Edead prior to laying down the carpet.

I cut out a Firebird emblem then carpeted it so it would emboss later when I installed the carpet.

I cut out two separate panels that I carpeted. I used a strip of sheet metal on the back of each and then used some strong magnets to attach each at the corners. It was weird that each side was slightly different to fit properly around the wheel wells.

Here's a picture of the tail light panels. I fiber glassed a bend to go around the gas tank neck.

The final pictures of the sub installed and the other side of the trunk

Friday, March 20, 2009

Radio installed

The next project to tackle - Radio.
I thought about refurbishing the original radio - way overpriced.
But I didn't want to cut the dash, I liked the original look. So I decided to hide the new radio in the glove compartment.To raise a little scratch I sold some old star wars figure still in the packaging on ebay. - Bam $450 instantly. I really underestimated the buying power of 40 year old comic book guys. So time to shop:
Boston Acoustics SX55 5-1/4" 2-way Speakers
Boston Acoustics SX95 6" x 9" 2-Way Car Audio Speakers
Pioneer DEH-P6000UB CD/MP3 Receiver
120 sqft of
eDead sound deadening
Some Speaker wire, a add-on circuit breaker, and a Double pole, double throw switch

So I gutted the interior and took out the carpet, old sound padding, seat, seat belts, console, and rear side panel.
Cleaned the crap off the floor and took a 3M disk to the minor surface rust. Then I clean and reinstalled the floor pan plugs with some high temp black RVT.

Next - POR 15 the entire floor.
After drying - Sound deadening. It came in four big rolls which I cut into 1x1 ft squares. It made it easier to cut to shape and I applied it with the free roller that came with the purchase.

I covered the floor with two layers and covered the seems with roofing aluminum tape I got from home depot. I Put the carpet back in and got started on the wiring and electronics.I took out the glove box and fit a under dash radio mount inside of it, making sure that I had enough room to clear the A/C unit. I cut part of the new mount to better accommodate the wires and shape f the A/C.
I took my time in cutting my kick panels to fit the new speakers as well as removed a little of the metal behind them to give the new speakers room. I ground and smoothed with a grinder so not to cut and wires later by rubbing. I took special attention to location by masking the area that I wanted to cut with painters tape.

Then install the rear speakers - again cutting away some the metal and applying some sound deadening around them. I started running the monster wire from them as well as the front speakers. I taped them down so they wouldn't shift around.

Next radio extensions were soldered on and then attached to the speakers.
t fitted the new radio again with the wires and sip tied any of the excess wire. I made a trip to Fry's to get a Antenna extension and a switch to raise and lower the antenna.I mounted the new switch under the dash just left of the steering column.

Next I hooked up the power to the already existing gauge circuits and the new Circuit breaker add- on and ran it all from the original box tab marked 'IGN'
Moment of truth - It all powered up and the radio worked. The new switch worked beatifully for the antenna and booster the signal as soon as it started to move.

Then ---- get all the rest of the interior in. That was way more difficult then taking it out. But the good part is that I had no extra pieces left over.
I definitely thought I would need a pro to install all this stuff- but a hour here and there over the course of the last month got it in at my own pace and I know it was done right.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hood insulation installed

Got some hood insulation and clips - looks allot better. also took off the hood tach and cleaned it - the inside was painted black - so I masked it off and sprayed the inside white. Now the light is bright and more clear.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas - time to get things done

Lots of work done.
#1 Made a gauge pod for the new Sport Comp gauges I bought.

#2 Install some 3 point seat belts

#3 Install new engine compartment supports and new floor mats