This is my 3rd carputer project. It is for my brother and since he only has 2 days off a week I'm taking my time on it. It's looking great though!
Naturally I forgot to take a before pic so here's a stock photo:
I started out by cutting out the bar that goes between the radio and the HVAC. I then sanded down the indentions on the screen and test fit it. It fit quite well with only a small gap at the bottom. I temporarily attached it with hot glue so I could epoxy it from behind.
The tops lined up really well:
A bit of a gap at the bottom:
Here's the rear with the epoxy:
With the bar gone there were two holes on each side. I applied duct tape on the front then from the rear epoxied the holes.
Here is one, you can see a slight texture from the duct tape:
Here it is sanded:
Here it is after about 5 coats of bondo. I like to do lots of light coats instead of heavy coats with lots of sanding. The last coat is put on with a razor to fill in pin holes. I used my hand to apply a lot of the bondo, I wanted to get a natural looking curve from the dash piece to the screen bezel so it wasn't a harsh edge. It turned out very good but may be hard to see in the photo.
Here are the buttons, I had to be careful about how the bondo smoothed out into them.
The HVAC is going in the center console below the ashtray. I pulled off the factory overlay and used it as a template to cut a blank piece of ABS with the dremel. It turned out extremely well and fit perfect the first time! I've got it epoxied in now, it's just awaiting bondo. (This photo is before the epoxy). - To get the HVAC to fit there I had to use a heat gun to change the angle of the power point which is on the mid-right side of the console.
Here is the dash piece, almost cured. I used black hammered paint. Next step will be a few coats of clear but I want to be sure this has cured before putting the clear on. The only 2 pieces in the car that are the brown color I'm redoing so my brother decided he wanted to go with the dark gray looking paint.
I'll be painting the center console trim with the HVAC the same color and I am going to mold the pop out panel just in front of the HVAC so it looks like one piece. It will house the factory heated seat switch, a volume knob (made up of a few radio shack parts) for the subs and a few USB.
I'd guess that it will be the end of next week when we get done given the amount of time during the week we're not able to spend on it.
I learned some things from doing the hammer paint. When I cleared it the hammered effect didn't turn out so well and because of how thick I had to spray it to get a uniform effect there were some areas that had pooled. The clear helped even it out but not completely. I wet sanded the clear with 600 and 1000 then used rubbing compound and polish. It turned out good, some areas are great some areas are less than great. I hope to take what I learned on this piece to get a more perfect finish on the lower console.
Here's some pics with the dash installed:
Here's the lower piece with some bondo. This wasn't the final bondo coat but you get the idea
Here's the lower piece with a few coats of primer:
I'm going to be putting the hammer paint on very lightly then will sand it before I put the clear on. I'm hoping to get the pearlescent look the dash has without having any of the surface texture.
On a side note: The USB holes weren't hard to cut at all. I masked the size with tape using a USB extension wire (female end). Then used a dremel then a razor for the corners. The USB's fit so well I'm going to be doing it to my car once I get some time.
Since we already had an SWI-X installed for the previous stereo system we used it and the MS IR receiver and programmed it for MCE.
I must say, that looks very nice- good job! The only reservation I have about your installation is about the use of bondo body filler. From what i've read (and experienced) the standard red bondo filler has a tendency to lift from plastic after the interior plastics repeatedly heats/cools during the day/night causing the plastic to expand/contract. I think if that happens, you will find small cracks in the paint where the bondo meets plastic. It may or may not happen though. I think a better choice is Bondo brand plastic bumper repair epoxy. Time will tell though. Could you elaborate on how you did the holes for the USB connectors? Will the female end of the USB extension cord snap into the hole once you install them? I really like your setup and can't wait to see finished pics.
I had actually never heard of Bondo Plastic Bumper Repair Epoxy. How well does it sand? I had thought about using the ABS sludge method but decided it'd be too much work and I have more experience using bondo.
Hopefully the bondo stays good in this car. The Dodge truck I did had some issues but they were mainly due to how much we had to build it up in the lower left corner, other than that it had no issues. My Eclipe has had no issues at all, but it has fairly little bondo.
In the GTP and the Eclipse I used epoxy from the rear so there is less of a chance of separation caused by the two plastic pieces flexing away from eachother. In the Dodge I didn't which is why I think I had issues with that. Also, we took that dash off countless times which didn't help.
For the USB I used tape to frame off the area that was the same size as the female end of the USB extension cable. Then I used a Dremel cutter bit (the kind that are cylindrical and the cutting portion is only about 1/4" tall). Once I got the area masked off cut I used a razor to cut into the corners.
The little flanges of the female USB's will fit up over the top edge then I'll do some gluing from the bottom to make sure they stay put.
I used it here, molding my powermate into the ashtray area in my center console: 2000 Pontiac Trans Am V 2.0
Thanks for the info about the USB's I get it now. I really need to get a Dremel tool...
Love the work, where you from??? Could I get you to help me do my 98 GTP??? I've had the carputer idea for about 5 years now, and finally am deciding to do something about it.