Monday, December 6, 2010

Truck Seats Pt 9

I hit the local u-pull this weekend, they had 3 88-98's and over 20 f-150's in the same year range. Needless to say the OBS's were pretty picked over. I found some lighting in one of them that I had been wanting to get. The interior and under hood accessory lighting.

Because of how it is integrated into the cab harness I cut off the sockets and made my own harness that lights the foot wells, ashtray, and glove box.

I also drove 175 miles to look at this 91 Stepside 82k mile "creampuff" that was for sale at a dealership for 4599.00.

The add had numerous pics and I was excited at the prospect of finding a bone stock, fully loaded, low mile OBS I could use as a daily driver so I could tear mine apart.

Once I got close to it red flags went up with a really bad Earl Scheib type paint job that was flaking off everywhere. That was just the start of a wonderful test drive which included the worn out front end taking the truck where ever it wanted along with the hood deciding to release on its own and the glove box door falling off into my Tania's lap. This was going to be a bit more work than I wanted for Matty's first car.

When we got back I tried to close the hood and the passenger side headlight fell out. The sales dude then promptly says "that's why we have it marked down to 3999.00". I left my number with an offer of 3k including tax and by the time I got home the add was removed from CL.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Truck Lights

Today I put in some TYC lights and DDM HID's. I had quite a bit of trouble getting the passenger side light to fit correctly. Many of the pictures I see after people have replaced their lights show them sitting at angles in relationship to the opening in the grille, now I know why. After I modified the headlight bucket and made a spacer for the upper inboard mount it placed the headlight parallel to the grille opening. For some reason the factory buckets have a spacer molded into the plastic that does not exist on the buckets that came with the TYC lights.

The DDM HID's are very impressive for the cost, they took less than 10 minutes to hook up and 30 minutes for me to figure out I needed to plug the headlight connector into them backwards to make them work.

The amount of light they put out is pretty amazing. With all the lighting laws they have in this area of Arizona these will be great on all the streets that have no street lights.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Truck Seats Pt 8

This weekend I had a bit more luck at the 3 acre pick and pull, in the form of a 2000 Suburban. When I got there the professional junkyarders were in the process of destroying the interior to get the door locks and window motors. I did manage to get the overhead console and Temp/Compass mirror.

Unfortunately the yard itself cut off the front clip to pull the motor and the temp probe and harness were gone.

The console is in very good shape but once I got it home I notice that someone had disassembled the map light switches internally.

I decided today to mess with the passenger side mirror, it came off with a large screw driver and prying against the pivot point in the center of the mirror. Once it was off I found one of the pivot balls on the adjustment screw was broken off. Being a Sunday afternoon buying the part was out of the question and since it was already broken me trying anything to fix it would be no loss if I failed.

First I drilled out the center of the tiny pivot ball and the center of the screw itself with a #40 drill.

After it was drilled I filled the holes with epoxy and screwed in a wall hook to hold them together.

I cut off the end of the hook and put the everything back together, the mirror works fine and is probably stronger than it was new.

I test wired up the rear-view mirror and the compass appears to work correctly. Tonight I am ordering the temp probe and connector, tomorrow I will run the wiring and put the mirror in.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Truck Seats Pt 7

This weekend I got the doors on the truck gutted and applied some more Peel N Seal inside.

Transferring everything from the 97 doors was fairly simple. I was surprised by how different the doors actually were. Had I tried to put the 93 panels in 97 doors it would have been much more of a problem due to the indentation at the top of the door that housed a grab handle on the older trucks.

I took the Delco speakers and cut the centers out to use as retaining rings to hold my Pro Series Bostons in the door. The cutouts were too big in diameter to screw the speakers into the panel.

Before I installed the new door panels I had some body panel mylar tape that I cut into .5" strips and stuck around the edge of the door where the door panel comes into contact. I hate the squeaking sound that plastic panels make when they rub against something.

The wire hookup went well and the difference between this and the work truck interior is night and day. I am still debating on the dash and what I am going to do, my next plans are for the carputer and that will dictate what I decide on the dash. I would like to put a touch screen where the stock radio control panel was. I currently have a wide screen GPS there and like its location and usability.

The last thing I need to figure out with the doors is the passenger side mirror, its not connected along its horizontal axis and basically flopping around. I've never messed with power mirrors and have no idea how it comes apart.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Truck Seats Pt 6

While it would be really cool to try and adapt this as my new gauge cluster, I wasn't able to convince my wife it would be.

Her car like every other GM plastic interior had some creaks and rattles I worked on this weekend, one was the cluster itself. The rattles have gotten much worse since the dealership replaced the HUD, when I tore into it I found a few screws that were loose but the main rattle still existed.

The culprit was the lower left corner of the dash which has no supporting structure, I fabbed up a small bracket tying it to structure just above the emergency brake. This appears to have eliminated all the dash rattles.

On the truck I spent most of the weekend working on the harness for the doors. It was cut in five places when I bought the doors and needed the seat, airbag and courtesy light wiring removed. I spent a few hours trying to find wiring diagrams for a 97 with no luck until went to Alldata's website and found the "Try the demo" vehicle was a 98 chevy truck. I was able to download all the wiring diagrams for the harness and doors.

After a little testing with the fluke I found my truck has the needed wiring from the fuse box to the "courtesy center" so the only thing I have left is to get some small connector ends. The harness I have is from a 97 and uses one plug, the 93 courtesy center has all singles.

I was able to hook up some jumper leads and test the door locks, windows and mirrors. Everything worked but the window control on the passenger door. A couple shots of contact cleaner into the switch and it started working fine.

Next weekend I plan to start moving everything over to my truck.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Truck Seats Pt 5

I was in a golf tournament Saturday and I did not have a lot of time to work on the truck, so I decided I would try and tackle the seat belts.

I got some belts from a 97 extended cab two weeks ago when I bought the doors. The problem is extended cabs used quite a bit different seat belts than the standard cabs. They mounted in much taller pods next to the "B" pillar so they would not be in the way when people tried to get in the back.

My options were to wait until I could find some grey ones for my truck or move the extended cab belt webs into my retractors. After a good soak in some oxyclean the webbing looked nearly new.

The hardest part of this was having the right twists in the right spots on the belts and putting all the retractor mechanisms back together correctly.

The ends of the retractor reels are staked, they were fairly easy to get apart and a little harder to restake.

This reel on the passenger side has a splined shaft which drives a mechanism which appears to lock the reel once it is extended to a certain point, I am no expert on this sort of thing but it appears to me that it is designed to allow the use of a car seat on the passenger side.

The finished belts look much better with the grey seats, Matty helped me paint the retractor covers.

I also got the "A" pillar covers, kick panels, and the close out panels aft of the seat belts painted.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Truck Seats Pt 4

My ACC Carpet from stockinteriors came in Wednesday, I purchased their base carpet with a mass back upgrade. I think the shorter nap carpet will be easier to keep clean than the plush.

Saturday I finished the peel & stick in the footwells, and put in the new carpet. The installation was painless, the molded backing made placing the carpet in the correct spot very easy.

The only complaint I had over the carpet was the amount of oil or oil residue that came off of the mass backing.

A few months ago I found a tool at Lowes that was very similar to a cutter Makita sold years ago only at 5x the price. It was a Skill Powercutter and for projects like this it works awesome, they can be bought for under 30 dollars and cut through carpet like butter. They are also great for cutting those annoying blister packages.

Today I got the items I needed for the next part of my project from a forum member. Some loaded doors with power windows, locks and mirrors off a 97, along with some of the seat belts and trim.

Next weekend I plan to go through the harness for the doors and start moving everything into the passenger door.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Truck Seats Pt 3

I had some surgery done to my left foot so was unable to work on this the last two weeks.

I was able to finish up the fabrication of the seat brackets just before my surgery, I put a couple of coats of POR15 on it and it has sat for the last two weeks.

Last weekend I did some reading on sound deadening and came across some threads where people had used "Peel N Seal" as a cheap alternative to the name brand sound deadeners. Its designed to be used for roof flashing. The only negative posts I found on this product was some people complained about it not being sticky enough. I had no issues at all getting it to stick, you actually better get it in the right spot the first time.

Because my foot is still very sore, I only covered what was necessary to get the brackets I made installed back in the truck. I will finish up the foot well areas next weekend along with the lower door skins.

Coverage of this amount took just under two rolls at 16.95 each, I should be able to finish the front and doors with another two rolls.

Friday I got some carpet samples from stockinteriors and hopefully the carpet I ordered will be here by next weekend.

Here is a shot of it with the seats installed and the jump seat with the six inch section taken out.

I still have not decided what I am going to do with the seat belts as far as their color, the belts coming out of the seats are from the jump seats in an extended cab. With a small amount of modification to their attachment plate I was able to bolt them up to the factory location inside the seat bottom.

Tania and I took it for a drive just a few hours ago, it has a Gibbons style catback with a 40 series flowmaster exiting just in front of the passenger side rear tire. This type of system is very loud and tends to drone in the cab. It was immediately noticeable how much quieter the truck was. This was with the front not being done and the carpet not installed, I am looking forward to how much more it will help with the rest of it being complete.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Truck Seats Pt 2

I took some days off last week and my Dad / Stepmom came out for the week. I have not seen my Dad in seven years and spending the week with him was awesome. We did a few things in and around Tucson and spent the rest of the time around the house. He helped me change the hinge pins and bushings on my truck doors as well as the detent roller on the drivers door.

Right after he left I pulled the seats and floormat out of the truck and started measuring for the adapters I was going to make for the new seats. While laying on the floor in the truck I noticed quite a few spots that had small blisters in the paint. Digging into one I found surface rust from the factory spot welds, the welds burned off the galvanizing allowing the metal to rust, so I decided to sand down the floor and clean up the spots before they actually got bad.

The drivers door sill was the worst, some of it was due to snow melting from my shoes and running into the sill under a wire guiide. It was all surface rust but took a couple hours to clean up because of all the nooks.

The rest of the floor took a couple hours to take out the bad spots and rough up what was left.

After I wiped it down with some grease remover, Tania helped me paint it with POR15.

I had a pint that I had bought 15 years ago and never used because it was gloss. I emailed the company that makes it and they said it should be fine because it had never been opened. This paint is perfect for this type of thing and as you can see even brushed on it flows very smooth with no brush strokes visible.  In Indiana this would have taken close to two days to dry due to the humidity, here I could sit back on the floor in just over an hour.  After it had dried I also changed both door seals, now the doors feel like they did when the truck was brand new.

I had not planned on doing this to the floor so I ran out of time last weekend and had no choice but to toss in the original bench seat so I could drive the truck to work.

Today I was able to fab up the brackets for the drivers side seat.  I did not want to drill any holes in the floor pan to mount them and they were wider than the buckets that were in the truck.  I was able to use the original mount holes in the lower bracket and tie the upper bracket into the seatbelt mount. This will work well for running brackets over the center hump for the jump seat.  When its all done all three seats will be mounted to one bracket.

The seat fits well for someone my size to move it any further back I will need to do something with the grab handle on the back of the seat.  I also purchased new armrests for the door panels to replace the originals which were shot.  I have not decided what I am going to do with the door panels yet.  I will most likely change some of the interior pieces to grey to tie the seats in. I am still deciding which pieces and how much.  I am ordering some dark grey carpet and will put it in after I am finished with the seat adapters.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


In my last post I had pictures of the new seats I had bought for my truck. The interior in my truck right now is shades of blue so I have decided to tie the grey of the new seats into it. There are many ways to do this that I will post on in the coming weeks, the first of which is going to be the headliner.

The headliner in the truck was coming loose from the cardboard base and starting to sag in numerous areas. The original headliner was white with blue sun visors and my plans to tie in the dark grey seats were to cover the headliner and sun visors with a lighter grey felt.

Last weekend Tania and I went to a fabric store and found some felt of suitable thickness for $3.99 a yard, cheap enough to buy plenty extra for any mistakes.

After pulling it out of the truck the vinyl pretty much fell off of it, leaving a thin layer of deteriorating foam which was relatively easy to remove from the cardboard just time consuming. This sort of work is much like painting, the more time you spend and the better job you do in prep the better the end result. Removing the foam and cleaning up the surface took me about an hour to do.

I wasn't able to get a good "before" shot because of the vinyl falling off but here is a shot of what the original perforated vinyl covering looked like.

Here is a shot of the finished headliner, it took a bit longer than I thought it would and I made a few errors with it. I pressed out the felt on the floor after gluing it down with 3M contact adhesive this de-arched the headliner a bit and I didn't realize it until it was too late.

Overall though it came out very nice, I was able to dye the trim around the dome light and found some grey trim retainers at the local NAPA. The biggest cost was the 3M contact adhesive at $15.00 a can.

Tomorrow I am going to work on the sun visors, they will be a bit more challenging but I think I have a good plan for how to make them work.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Truck Seats

A few weeks before we moved from Indy, I found some seats for sale on Craigslist for my pickup. I had been looking for quite a while and then gave up for a few weeks. One night I got home from work and boom the first listing that came up was for some blue seats out of a 94 Z71 in "new condition". I was skeptical about 16 year old pickup seats being in new condition but was pleasantly surprised when they did actually look new.

125.00 later I had them in the back of the truck with all sorts of plans for my interior going through my head. Because 88-94 trucks basically use the same seat they were more or less a bolt in for the truck and a huge improvement over my wore out bench seat. It was just recently that I found out the seats I had bought were very undesirable because the covering on them is actually glued to the foam. This process makes the pleating in the seats look very nice for a long time and also prevents them from ever being recovered. The other minus to them is that it made my truck a two seater.

Today I was driving home from work and part of my drive home is past little garage sale setups along the side of the road. Most of it is normally fruit, leather saddles and harnesses or junk from Mexico. Today a jump seat caught my eye. I had been looking for one to add a third seat back to my truck but they seem to be very desireable and regularly sell for 175-225 dollars on Ebay.

Catching it out of the corner of my eye I made a U-turn and went back to see if it was in fact a jump seat.

When I got out of the truck I noticed a matching grey leather seat sitting a ways off from the jump seat. I asked the guy standing there how much for the jump seat and he told me it was part of a set. I though well if I can get it cheap enough I can just dump the oddball bucket seat. I also thought I should be able to get a good deal on this who would want just one bucket seat. I finally got out of the guy he wanted 300.00 for the set, I told him it was too much for one bucket and a jump seat and he said "no Senior the other bucket is in the back of my truck". He went on to explain that he had taken them out of his 2010 Tahoe because he was putting racks or something in the back. Thats when I realized these were the second row seats not the front. This started to make more sense to me because most front row seats wont fold down completely flat and they normally have the shoulder belts built into the seats making them a pain to put in older vehicles.

I took 200.00 out of my pocket, dangled it in front of his face and he said OK.

Because they are second row seats they have quick release tracks on them. I think I should be able to make rails for them fairly easy. The price was definately right its just going to be a matter of the time involved in making the rails. The fact that they are basically brand new along with the addition of the jump seat will make the effort in getting them installed in the truck more than worth it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Over the last few months I have done multiple projects that would have been much easier if I had a bench vice to use. It seems like a stupid thing not to have but the one I had was bolted to the top of the Snap On side box that was stolen during our move.

Wanting another was a no brainer, where I was going to put it was a different issue.

I had been considering an idea for mounting the vice and Saturday I went out to purchase the items I needed. Here they are pictured on my Hoosier couch (pickup seat in the garage).

My plan was to use a hitch mount vice and attach a reciever to the bottom of one of my Lions benches. The reciever I purchased is 18" long, this I can cut in half and place it in two different locations on the bench.

After I removed the ring at the inlet end and cut it in half I had to reinforce the corner of the bench. It obviously was not designed for this and the forces this would apply to the corner would have not allowed the vice to be very solid. I used some of the metal left over from the rivet shelf I mounted over the garage door to make a stiffener that went from the edge of the table to the upper portion of the leg mount which would support the aft end of the reciever.

With the reciever welded to the bottom edge of the table you can see how the vice is posistioned in relationship to the bench.

This design also allows the vice to be moved a ways out from the table which will be nice for holding long pieces of pipe or metal.

The main advantage of ths setup is the vice does not take up valuable space on the end of the bench. If it is in the way of items I want to place on the bench I can simply pull the pin and place the vice on the shelf under the bench. The hitch vice plate was cheap enough (18.00) that I may use this for a bench grinder as well.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ceiling Storage

A couple of months ago I found a Craigslist add for a clothing warehouse that was going out of business and had shelving for sale. I was not interested in any for myself as I was for shelving for work. The shelves they had listed were industrial type "rivet" shelves and being it was a clothing warehouse they would probably be in very good condition.

After making a call for directions we were talking with a liquidator on what was available. This was a 2 million square foot facility and they had thousands of shelves of all different sizes. We struck a deal and bought 30 six by eight foot shelves for $63.00 ea. They listed new for just over $500.00.

Shelves of this size are far too large for home type storage, but looking at them I came up with an idea to use one hanging from the ceiling in my garage.

I bought a four by six foot shelf from them for $50.00 and cut down the legs. I mounted it above my garage door and have enough material to make another. This one I am using to store the NOS fenders for my Nova instead of the roof of the car.

Mounted in this manner there is still enough room to put a garage door opener on the single door. I had to cut the legs shorter than I thought they would be due to the first panel of the door being kicked up as far as it is.

I am happy with how the project turned out and the cost involved. Units I was looking at that worked in the same manner were over $75.00 for a vinyl covered wire basket shelf.

I was also able to move the Nova and finish up the lighting in the single car stall, the lighting in the garage now is awesome. I have a few more things I want to finish up on in the garage (getting rid of junk), then I'll start looking more serious at either buying or building a rotisserie for the Nova.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Storage 2

Saturday I spent most of the day on my stairwell access door. It was much more work than I had anticipated, mostly due to me wanting it to look good when it was complete and trying to do it as cheap as possible. Cutting the door at around 4.5 feet and remaking the jamb to compensate were just a couple things that added to the time.

Because I did go cheap I had to replace all the hardware on the door hinges with longer screws going into inserts, the original screws were loose and stripped.

The only items I have left to finish up are putting in the threshold, finishing up some of the insulation inside and painting it.

The area inside is smaller than I had envisioned but well worth the effort, it should make a good area to store odd shaped large items like the fenders off the Nova.

Monday, April 12, 2010


There are things in life that just seem to be a rule, make more money, have less, get a better job, work harder, buy a bigger house, have less room.

For the last one I have an answer.

Our new home is much larger and much less cluttered but our storage areas are much less. Our last house had a walk up ceiling ladder in the garage leading into the attic. It was useful for a lot of my spare parts etc in the garage. If I really wanted to I could carry all the same items upstairs into the access hole in my sons room and try to move them up a ladder into a much more limited attic. For now though I decided to try something different.

The front wall of my garage is common to the pantry and staircase in the house. The pantry occupies the area under the staircase landing and is quite big, but until Tania mentioned it, I never really thought about the rest of the staircase. With ten foot ceilings and another three feet of dead space, the staircase is rather long. So last weekend while I was buying wood for my mini deck, I bought a door and a few other items to go through the wall in the garage and on into the stairwell.

After measuring twice and still cutting in the wrong spot I now have an opening started in the right area. Right now it's slow going because I had no idea how it was laid out inside. It looks like I will be able to put in about a five foot tall door. Its much higher than that inside but due to the way the staircase is built I can only take it up that tall.

The amount of money I spent on the door and supplies makes this some very cheap stoarge and most of the large items I had in the attic of my old house should fit in this area, I may even put in some shelving.

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Deck

Ok its not the kind of deck most people think of but it is a deck.

The side of the driveway drops off into a rainwater wash which didn't allow the the trash cans to sit flat, so I decided to build a smal 3'x5' deck to put them on. Now they dont tip over into the bushes and its much easier to put items in them. Matty had a good time cutting up the boards.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Movers From Hell Pt5

After 80+ hours of my own time, numerous phone calls, 30+ emails and much frustration. I was able to sign an agreement for pretty much every cent I felt we lost through the move.

Now its just a matter of if they lose the check or not.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dining Room Table

Tania and I finally finished up a project that we both thought would not take nearly as much time as it did.

When we first moved into our home in Indy, 14 years ago we bought our first dining room table from one of those generic oak furnature stores. Within a year most of the finish on it had come off and from that point on we talked many times about sanding it down and refinishing it. In reality putting a table cloth on it was a much easier solution.

The last week of November we decided to go ahead and refinish it. Because of its condition finish stripper wasn't the way to go, so we completely sanded it to the natural wood. After staining it for the first time, it was apparent that 220 wasn't fine enough and had left scratches. We sanded it down with 320 and applied another coat of stain. Once that was done we waited for a clear warm weekend to spray on a clear finish. I didn't thin the finish enough and it came out with valleys in the wood grain. So we sanded it down again, restained it and because of the rain that weekend I decided to brush the finish on it. Again it was too thick and again we sanded it back down, restained it and last weekend I brushed on the first of two very THIN coats.

Saturday I sanded the first coat with some 320 and put on another very THIN coat of clear and for the first time in two months its back in the dining room looking all shiney and new. I don't know if I will ever get all of the sawdust out of the garage, but on the plus side I don't think Tania is any hurry to do the chairs.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I don't ever post much about work, too many issues with doing so. The last few weeks I have been working 70+ hours a week and by the time I get home I eat and pass out. The following picture is one of the reason for being so busy.

I am posting this picture because it is fairly unique. I barely understand how to operate my camera and between the logistics of positioning the aircraft and the time of day I was happy with how the picture turned out. A nice sunny evening in Tucson, with snow on the mountains and an CRJ that is thousands of miles away from where it belongs in northern France.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Old Snap-on

Since I bought my roll away in 89 I have always wanted a top box for it. When I was actually using the box in San Fran it would have been easy to justify buying one but I never did. After the side box was stolen in the move I started looking a bit harder for one.

My roll away is one of the smallest Snap-on makes, the closest one to it today retails for about 1,000.00. Unfortunately its cheaper than the top box which retails for around 1,200.00 and the middle box for around 700.00. So when I seen an add on Craigslist for an "older" Snap-on top and middle box for 250.00 I had to go take a look.

The gentleman that had them for sale was probably in his late 60's and they were buried in the corner of his garage. After looking them over a bit and a small amount of negotiation we loaded them in the back of my truck for 220.00.

The paint isn't perfect on them and there are a few dings, but the drawers work perfectly and he had the original matched keys for the locks.

I started to wonder if there was any collectors value to them being by the appearance of the logos they were "older" boxes so I did some searching on the internet.

There were actually very few sites that even cover old Snap-on boxes. From the small amount of time I spent looking it appears that the collectors value of them is minimal because most mechanics want large boxes and this was as big as it got for their time.

From what I did find these were made sometime between 1950 and 1953 and the same model was made up until the mid 90s. I can't be exact on the date because Snap-on was not consistent at using date codes on everything during this time period. Another reason there probably isn't a huge collectors market.

Regardless I am more than happy with the cost and the functionality of the boxes, now I am finding out just how expensive foam is to shadow the drawers.