Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Red Coupe - Details, Details, Details Pt. 1

I finally got the weekend time free (and more importantly the weather) I needed to put in some major work on some of the small nagging things I needed to clean up on the car. Of course I have a few more things in need of paint, but in the meantime between time, I had everything I needed to get some major chores checked off. This was the mini to-do list I whipped up for myself for the weekend:

  • remove front bumper to see what's making my car smirk
  • remove front apron after trying to get things to line up better and swap in replacement
  • remove rear parcel shelf and dye it black
  • align metal trim on driver side door
  • touch up the black trim (mhmm) and paint chips
  • replace antenna
So two Fridays ago I woke up early at 11am (relative ha) and got a thorough car wash in before I got to anything else. I had a couple weeks of bullshit on the car from when i got it back; grass clippings from the hired help in my complex, road debris, tar, dead bugs...you get the idea. While washing, I decided to finally remove the doublesided taped on front fender moulding and remove all the adhesive holding it on. While that was a good thing, I realized quickly the moulding I ordered to replace it was for the wrong side; what kills me is that if there's a right and a left, is it right and left looking at the car from the front or the vantage point from the drivers seat? Turns out it's the latter, thus for the passenger side...ugh. I dropped Steve from Blunttech a line to get a quick resolution and got back to business.

Upon wrapping up the wash I rolled right into installing the new power antenna I purchased the week before. My antenna has been a pain in my ass since I bought the car; the stars would have to align just right for it to go up and all the way back down when I turned the radio off. Rather than swap in a fixed mast which would have been perfectly fine, I wanted things to be as close to original as possible and an antenna that went up and down was a big thing for cars of this vintage.There were three options for replacements, all of which were a relatively small amount (for something that would be there working properly for the next 5+ years): (1) replacing just the mast (2) for 15 bucks more just getting exact same complete power antenna unit already in the car or (3) getting the self adjusting power antenna upgrade Hirschmann made for the e30, for another 90. I decided to splurge and get the best of the options #3, but got it for ~40 bucks less than everywhere else via Partsgeek.

The installation was pretty straightforward, I just had to modify the support bracket with some elbow grease to get the right angle. For all the shadowline-ing done to this car since acquiring it, this was especially pleasing.

Since I wouldn't be able to get to everything I wanted to accomplish on Friday, I tried my best to set myself up for Saturday which would be paint day. The sun was dropping fast after all the cleaning was done, so I made sure to at least take my back seat apart so I could not only add some missing hardware upon re-install but more importantly get my parcel shelf out for the dye job.

More an more evidence of the previous paint job rears it's ugly head as I took everything apart. Even more interesting is that I found uncut raw diamonds in a some crevices on the passenger side crease under the doorcard! Well actually it was bits of shattered glass. This car has definitely had an interesting past. The greatest thing of all this removing of the parcel shelf did for me wasn't a history on the car, rather it was the access it gave me to clean some odd spots I could never get to previously.

Oh so sweet it was, taking a cleaner dampened microfiber towel to all the old paint residue and the fingerprint marks that have taunted me for months. A great relief for the ocd bug inside me. The metal under the parcel shelf was filthy so I took the time to clean this as well (I'll double down with adhesive remover later). Dog hair and lint in abundance.

Now I have a clean slate on another portion of the car. Awesome. Now I just need to rig up a paint booth...

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