Friday, July 28, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 11: Some MORE Parts...

In my last post, I mentioned that, while waiting for some Alcantara that I had ordered to arrive at Cesar's, I had sent him a vent to fit into the rear of the center console. But, I had also sent him some other parts - parts that most people might not bother with. But we probably both have OCD...

In his previous emails to me, as well as watching one of the videos, it became apparent that a few more parts and pieces would be needed for Cesar to have enough of the dashboard and center console, to be able to begin work on application of the leather.

So while it took a few days, I was able to find the pieces I needed (either buying used on line or taken from my car).   I also took advantage of the need to send another box, to pick up a few extra parts.

First, Cesar had insisted we needed to have those seat belt guides I had left on the car after sending him the rear seat side panels.
These seat belt guides were a pain to remove, as they required some strategic cutting
First, I wanted to show Cesar as to how these are attached to the inside of the B pillars.
Someone with a keen eye will realize there is no way to remove this piece unless I disassemble the entire seatbelt system.
Some cutting is thus needed - but where?
I used a grease pen to mark where the seatbelt lays - everything outside of this area is visible normally.
So once this is wrapped in leather, we can perhaps have a cut on the hidden inside to allow the seatbelt to pass through?
My thumb is hiding where I had to use my Dremel. Once cut, I slipped it off the seatbelt.

These are clips that Cesar said he needed, taken from my own car
From this area around the shift boot
So I found an OEM parking brake boot (made of pleather) [LEFT] and then my old Redline shift boot (to fit the 5 speed) [RIGHT]. Cesar had implied he was going to make some new ones...
...which is why I took this photo, to show how the Getrag has the collar that has to be pulled up and thus the Velcro closure.
I could definitely use new leather on the parking brake handle though. So I found this on Yahoo Auctions. I still need to drive my car around.
I don't want or need this wrapped in leather, but Cesar had told me a week earlier (18th) that he needed to have this piece in order to check to see his leather work wouldn't cause interference by being too thick,
and preventing this from snapping in.

As for the optional extras:
That's right! I want leather wrapped overhead grips. Just like on the Bentleys...
Clever as I was with those grips, I decided that, for the center console, we needed to modernize a bit.

In my last post I showed how I had found the perfect rear vent:
Why not? I can probably direct a hose from the A/C system... if not oh well. This is off an Aristo, by the way.
And I know it fits, too:
Ok so the console box has to be adjusted slightly but...
And here is what it looked like, all wrapped up and ready to be shipped out!

So it took a few days, but it finally arrived at Cesar's place on August 31st (Japan time). Meanwhile...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 10. Some Samples and Red Thread Plus Rear Vent Mod

In my previous post I mentioned that Cesar had a surprise for me.

Cesar sent me photos of some small pieces he decided he wanted to practice on.  Practice that is, using the leather, as well as some new glue he got?

He also found red thread that he thought matched the red accents in the car.  An FYI, this was about August 17 of last year, so as of this writing almost a year ago...

Anyway, I'll let the photos do the talking.
First up is the right side kick panel (next to the driver's right foot):
Right side kick panel
Close up of right side kick panel - that is LEATHER!!

One of the other pieces was something that TMS (The Moff Shop) hadn't sent along with the rest of the dashboard, the side panel to the transmission tunnel.

Cover for right side of transmission tunnel (to left of driver)
Close up of non-visible side
Close up, different section. You can see the leather pores!
Another piece was the left kick panel, where the mandatory road flare is mounted.
The attention to detail is nice. He didn't have to wrap the base of the flare holder!
The flare is usually mounted like this:
Sharp eyed readers will note that this is NOT your typical flare but rather the modern version.
Again this is hidden from view.
And this section connects to the side side kick plates.
I wonder how this will look on my car, as I have kick plates that light up now
He also did the steering wheel column cover:
You can see the rough edges of the leather where the ignition key surround is inserted.
The underside. Again not visible but wow. A shame really... I guess I can caress it with my knees when I drive? 
Top piece from the left side.
Put together. Cesar assured me that once screwed tight together the seams won't be as visible.
From the other side. 
Finally he sent me some photos of the red polyester string he plans to use for the stitching. As I had sent him the rear seat panels, I asked him to match the color to the red in the cloth inserts.
Looks VERY RED from a distance.
But close up, I'd say the color is spot on.
Compared with the leather, in order to see the contrast it will have with the black leather.
Meanwhile, I had located the perfect rear vent to install in the center console's rear ashtray space:
Can anyone guess what car this is from?
Looks like it won't fit, right? What with that metal plate and overhead plate as well:

But actually:

So I measured the space for clearance, and then the inner height of the vents. Looks possible. The vents are narrower than the width of the console, so that is not a problem. However, given the downward curve of the inner portion of the vents, looks like it can only be mounted one way...

I sent the vent to Cesar anyway. I figured that, worst case if it cannot be made to fit, we could just throw it out and not use it...

Meanwhile I got a notice that the alcantara I had ordered had finally shipped and was on its way to Cesar...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 9. Templates for the Glovebox Lining

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, a few days after Cesar emailed me to show me the vinyl molds for the main dash, he asked about how, and with what material, the interior of the glove box should be lined.

By now I was leaning strongly towards Alcantara. The stock glovebox is simple plastic, but we have seen cars with that fuzzy soft material, right?  So in fact for the GT-R I had always wanted this kind of premium look, but I just didn't know if I should stick to a black on black theme. Maybe something crazy like orange or red, might be fun to do in the glove box, for example.

While I mulled about what color Alcantara to order, Cesar sent me the following photos, to show me the necessary dimensions for the cloth.

This photo did it for me. Let's go with a black lining...

At the same time, I was trying to find a vent to fit to the rear of the center console. Finding something that would not only fit but clear the narrow space would be a challenge.

And of course, Cesar kept upping the game, telling me he had ordered a bronze die to stamp the "SRS Airbag" into the dashboard!
What exactly is the technical term for this anyway? Gauge surround trim?
He also confirmed with me that in addition to the interior of the glove box, I wanted the inside of the center console, as well as this plastic piece - gauge surround trim - to be covered in Alcantara.  Finally, he let me know that he was on the hunt to find red colored thread to match the red highlights of the series 3 panels... WOW. In any case, as you have seen from the end result, I ended up ordering some "panel (no padding) type" black Alcantara (color code 9002).

I figured the next step would be wait as the Alcantara reached Cesar and he worked his magic. But no, he had a surprise for me...

Monday, July 3, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 8. Dashboard Vinyl Templates

So apparently the proper way to leatherize a large piece, is to first construct several templates using vinyl, which eventually evolve into patterns against which the actual leather is cut.

Cesar emailed me while he was still working on this second draft, and indicated that there would next be a third draft, before he would be ready to cut the leather.

Since the pictures speak for themselves...
You can see the blue line (Which Cesar is drawing with a pencil) to indicate where the smaller complicated pieces join up with the large piece found directly under the windshield.

Love how the white chalk marks ensure everything is lined up properly...
In a later email to me, Cesar then began asking me what I wanted for the lining of the glove box. He had black suede in stock, or we could use a good section of the defective leather from Hydes...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 7. Some Optional Stuff!

With the leather fiasco behind us, it was time for Cesar and me to start thinking about exactly what would be covered in leather, what would be left alone, and what parts might end up being covered in a material other than leather.

Cesar initiated the conversation by sending me the following photos, with the wooden stick pointing at the part he was wondering about.  A keen eye will also spot the white pin stripe taping, which indicates where we were discussing where the red stitching might go.
Instrument Gauge Surround

For the gauge surround, Cesar pointed out that this trim piece is very susceptible to scratches. He proposed to cover it in leather, unless I was going to cover in a special plastic paint or made into carbon fiber.  After some discussion, we agreed wrapping in Alcantara would be the best solution.
This central dashboard piece.
 Since mine is a Series 3 (kohki) version, the finish of this central dash piece feels almost sandpaper like. Cesar didn't know that, and due to it being easily scratched proposed it also be wrapped in leather.  I told him no need, I would order a new piece in Japan, with a new driver's side window controls to match.
Center console coin tray
Next was this center console bit.  As you can see, whoever owned this previously had installed two switches or lightbulbs and had drilled out two holes there.  Cesar again proposed leather.  I was more interested in carbon fiber, except I wasn't sure who I could find who could do so. Since this piece pops out of the console, we agreed to worry about this piece later.
Handbrake and handbrake boot
 Cesar wanted me to send him my handbrake and boot, which he would rewrap in the Cardinal leather to match the rest of car.  Easier said than one, because I still wanted to keep my car operational so I wasn't about to remove the handbrake.  Instead, I found one on eBay, however the seller refused to send to Mexico, so I had it sent to me instead here in Japan, and I would forward it on...
Shift boot and plastic frame
Cesar offered to wrap the plastic piece in leather. Again however since I planned to get a new piece that would match the central dash and the driver's side window switch controls, I told him that I would send him my shift boot (which I had to modify to work with the Getrag) as well as the plastic frame. I sent him the below annotated photo, just in case:
Red - leather; Yellow - leave alone; Pink - carbon, hopefully
As for the piping, I thought it looked great (he had actually sent me a video showing the white tape applied all over the interior) because it was actually fairly conservatively done. Too much red stitching might look over the top, but we wanted a look that was OEM, and the stitching to be actually functional, as if the cow hide had to be stitched together by design.

Incidentally, I had also proposed some ideas as well. Being that no one is allowed to smoke, eat or drink in my car, I decided that the ashtray at the rear of the center console was useless.  I had a couple of ideas:
Apologies to the copyright holder of this photo. 
Again, sorry to the copyright holder.
Cesar liked both ideas. I thought that the air vent would be useful, however while the USB outlet would only require two wires running to it, the air vent would require not only, some kind of tubing from the air con unit, I would have to find a third party vent that would fit in the rear console space. So the air vent would be a technical challenge.

And then, as fortune would have it, one of my fellow R33 GT-R owners by the name of Marc Binet (Belgian guy) showed me some R33 GT-R interior parts he had himself reskinned in carbon fiber:
I was particularly impressed with how cleanly the carbon weave was - it's straight everywhere.
Wow! Except for the gloss, this might work very well. 
 When I talked to Marc about doing this coin tray in full carbon, it turned out that all the extra curves, not just in the coin holder area but in the larger square area, would make the job more difficult.
This was for reference only. I wanted this piece to be leather.
Choices, choices. 
So I had found my carbon fiber part supplier. For anyone interested, I would advise them to contact Marc. His pricing is incredibly affordable, and as you can see the work quality is fantastic! (You can see more of his work here.) Tell him I sent you!

The hard part for me was, trying to decide what parts in the car interior to do in carbon, versus Alcantara or leather.  But meanwhile Cesar started work on the dashboard...