Well guys I've had a pretty productive couple of weekends. I even took today off to take advantage of the warm weather.
The car is almost entirely trimmed out at this point, just a bit of work left around the t-tops. I've also installed the door window tracks, regulators and door glass, as well as the door latch and lock mechanisms.
I also need to reinstall the windshield which led me down a bit of a sidetrack over the last two weekends. I remembered how much of a pain it was to remove the dash pad with the windshield in so I decided to get the dash pad taken care of before installing the windshield frame.
So, I headed up to the attic and brought down the dash pad and started removing the years of dust that had accumulated. The interior was originally forest green which looked absolutely hideous so I'm going to be painting the interior pieces. I've heard lots of folks say they "dyed" their interior but that's really a misnomer - it's really just a specialty paint. I'll be using SEM color coat.
The first order of business was washing the dash pad really well. I had to remove 30+ years of armor all and other interior car care products that really don't play well with paint. I subscribe to the logic that painting is 95% preparation and 5% painting. So, I washed the dash pad with Dawn dish soap and a sponge - not once, not twice, not three times, not even four times. I washed this dang thing 5 times before my finger would "squeak" when I dragged it across the surface of the dash pad.
Once the car was washed with dish soap I moved onto the next steps. As I said, I'm using SEM products and, in addition to the paint itself, they also have a number of products intended to help with surface preparation. Some of the products are for plastic while others are for vinyl.
Next, I moved onto washing the dash pad two more times using "SEM Soap" which they say is specially formulated to remove grease, oil and silicone.
After letting the dash pad dry out overnight I sprayed it down with SEM's "Vinyl Prep" which is a solvent cleaner that also softens the vinyl prior to painting. After spraying the dash pad down I wiped the solvent off using a clean rag that I turned frequently. I repeated this process twice making sure to get in all the nooks and crannys.
So, all in all, I washed the dash pad a total of nine times.
The outcome was worth it though. I loaded up my gravity spray gun with the SEM Color Coat and sprayed three light coatings allowing about 5 minutes for the paint to flash between coats. The paint covered flawlessly without any indication of fish eye. Because the paint is quite thin, and it's sprayed at very low pressure, I turned down the volume knob of my sprayer so only a small amount came out - I didn't want any runs. The end product looks fantastic, good as new. I was pretty relieved since I had been having nightmares about fish eye leading up to this.
After allowing the dash pad to dry overnight I gave it one more good look and set to work installing the dash pad in the car. It still took a bit of maneuvering and "flexing" the dash pad to get it in, but it was definitely easier without the windshield in place.
So here's the dash pad installed and secured in position. I think it looks pretty darned nice.
Today I spent the entire afternoon starting the same process with the interior trim. It was a nice warm day so I figured it was a good day to spend hours scrubbing and washing a bunch of interior pieces. Besides, I want to get everything sprayed before it gets too cold.
This afternoon I managed to get all of the interior parts washed with the Dawn dish soap five times each. One thing is for sure - after scrubbing for five solid hours I'll definitely be a bit sore tomorrow.
Next weekend if the weather is warm I'm going to try and complete the process. Once that's taken care of I'll go back to installing the windshield.
So, that's my update. I'm getting closer!