Wednesday, February 26, 2014

More Work on the 2 TV Dash Electronics Installation

Continuing on with my installation of the electronics for the Knight Rider 2 TV Dash. As I had mention in my last post on my dash progress I had some extra work to do because I failed to leave enough room between the aluminum "L" brackets and the dash console openings. When I started this project I was not sure if I was going to use the Lexan Plexiglass overtop of the overlays or not so I ended up being a little too snug in some areas for where the sandwich of electronics boards, overlays and then my Lexan Plexiglass so I had to get a little creative with a work around.

I had to do a little creative cutting and filling of my existing aluminum brackets in order to modify them to work with my screwup lol

You can see on the right once of the modifications I had to make by cutting out the centre section of the bracket and then adding a new piece onto the end that would overlap and make up that little difference in size adjustment, I also had to do a fail amount of sanding on the face part of the dash openings in those trouble areas as well.

I also had to do a bit of creative modification on the bracket for the Speedometer and Fuel Display electronics sandwich as well as you can see here on the right. It's a nice good fit now. I created a custom pice of aluminium strapping and even though there is plenty of space between the aluminum and mounting I wrapped it with some electrical tape just to be doubly sure that the aluminum will not come into contact with any of the connections on the back of the electronics board.

I went a step further and modified my screw holes a little wider to allow for some play with adjustments. Thank goodness for Rifler's Files as they were perfect for getting into the tiny screw holes and elongating them. With the screw holes adjusted a bit more it made for positioning the electronics sandwiches a little easier.

Overall so far the dash is coming along nicely despite my screwup and "Make Work For Myself" scenario lol With the Lexan plexiglass overtop of the overlays it's looking like it 's really going to give the dash a more polished look as my sweetheart Donna said to me early today when she popped into the back room to see how I was coming along with K.I.T.T.'s dash.

There area some areas I'm going to see if I can tweak up a little better, these dummy rows for instance are giving me a few issues with fitment a little. As you can see the mounting screws are visible along the top part of the dash, granted I can just paint them black and they would be hardly noticeable but perhaps they can be tweaked a little more?? not sure how though as there is only so much space available with the alignment of the mounting holes on the overlays, electronics boards and my Lexan Plexiglass, so I might be just stuck with it as is... I'll see what I can come up with to cure the problem. It's not a big deal but I can be a little picky with little details so I know it will bug me if I don't fix it ;)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

K.I.T.T.'s Shiny Chrome Name Letters

K.I.T.T.'s shiny chrome name letters arrived today that I ordered from Emblem Art. These will get placed on the side of the car roughly in that area that the old "Trans Am" lettering was placed one he is all painted. ;-)

Monday, February 24, 2014

More Work on the Knight Rider 2 TV Dash

I've been getting a lot more work done on installing the electronics into the Knight Rider 2 TV dash. It has definitely been a challenge trying to figure out what methods are going to work best for getting all of the electronic boards secured to the inside of the fibreglass dash. A whole lot of trial and error and experimenting with this idea and that, lots of test fitting and even modifying my aluminum mounting brackets in places that were proving to be a little troublesome. But overall the work is continuing along nicely.

Because I had mounted a couple of my aluminum brackets a little too close and did not allow sufficient room to accommodate the boards, overlays and Lexan plexiglass I had to do some radical reworking to them seeing how they were stuck but good to the fibreglass with matting and resin. I found I had a what my late father would have called "A make work for yourself situation." because of my lack of first putting my boards and overlays together with the Lexan Plexiglass and then test fitting them to the dash and marking where exactly my aluminum mounting brackets were to be placed, instead I had simply taken "Best Guess" which resulted in my problem of not enough room between the mounting brackets and the dash face for the boards, overlays and plexiglass to fit. So I had to make a work-around solution.

I had to cut off the top part of the aluminum brackets in some areas with my Dremel rotary tool and cut channels into the fibreglass resin to allow for some creative work-around to make the boards fit and still be able to mount them securely to the dash. 

I had to make a couple of custom sized elongated "U" brackets that I could place into the cut out channels in the fibreglass resin. These would allow me to use the brackets on the opposite side as supporting structures in place of the ones I mucked up. 

You can see here my custom "U" bracket sunk neatly into the channel I had cut out with my Dremel tool. Holes were drilled into the tabs at each end of the "U" bracket for screws to attach to the bottom mounting screws on the boards Lexan and overlays and to the opposite aluminum mounting bracket.

Once the "U" bracket was in place another test fitting was done to see how my boards were going to fit before measuring up another custom "U" bracket for the other end of the boards Plexiglass and overlays assembly. 

I made up another "U" bracket and carved out another channel into the fibreglass resin to allow the 2nd bracket to fit into just like the first. All things went well and I mounted my bracket to my assembly.

I them did another test fit with the "U" brackets attached to both ends of my assembly for the Dummy Rows.

I reversed the direction of my bolts on the bottom of my board assembly so as I would be able to mount them better to the aluminum mounting bracket. Time for another test fit as I will need to do the same to the other side of my assembly for the other dummy row.

Yup all fitting nicely I an see, so once the nuts are taken off close to the plexiglass the ends of the bolts will fire nicely into the holes drilled into the aluminum mounting brackets along the bottom of the dummy rows.

Tomorrow I'll do the "U" brackets for the other side after I fibreglass in an additional aluminum mounting bracket that I can use for the two monitors that will eventually go into the two TV sections. You can see here as I test fit the aluminum "L" bracket into place before measuring it for a better fitment.

I have to use my dremel tool and cut away some more fibreglass resin so the bracket will fit flush and cut a slit in the middle so I can bend the bracket to match the shape of the tops of the TV ports.

I want to give special thanks to my sweetheart Donna for taking the pictures of me working today, usually I'm my own photographer but my baby was an AWESOME help today with documenting my progress on this Knight Rider dash. Thanks baby, yur the best XXX OOO

Jupiter Electronics Parts Arrived

Finally got most of my order from Jupiter Electronics today minus the Switchpod Displays. These are electronic parts for the upper and lower centre consoles. Awesome so I can begin assembling those parts of K.I.T.T's interior.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Installing Some Knight Rider Dash Electronics

Taking a little break still from mounting the front nose onto the car. I have to drivers side fitting super choice, but the passenger side I'm having some fitment issues still, I'll figure it out but in the meantime I figured with the colder weather hitting us again that I would work on installing some Knight Rider dash electronics.

After I fibreglassed into place my aluminum "L" brackets I've begun drilling my holes for the placement of the overlays and electronics boards. I've ton with a version of using some plexiglass, in this case a "Lexan" plastic to give a window overtop of my dash electronics. On my  Knight Rider the dash electronics will be inset a little behind the clear plexiglass.

I have given some space between the electronics boards and overlays using some small rubber washers. Figuring out the best way to do this has proven to be a bit of a challenge and hopefully it will look nice once I'm all done aligning everything up properly. Because of the unique shape of this dash it's not an easy task figuring out the best ways to get everything to fit right. I'm surprised that there is not a lot more information out there on what I would call S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedures) on how to do this. Like I mentioned before in my last post, a lot of people seem to use wood blocks, but I've mentioned my concerns and miss givings about using wood.... ahhh yes I've had my experiences with wood as a prop builder... to stories I could tell. But we won't go there lol

As you can see my dash electronics and overlays will be inset back into the dash a little giving it a different look, but after seeing another version online with a fellow that used plexiglass I REALLY liked the clean look it gave so I decided to go with something similar. The stuff that says "Lexan" is a protective film on both sides that will be removed once I have everything in place and I'm done painting my dash.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Prepping the Knight Rider 2 TV Dash

When I began researching into how to install the dash electronics into the Knight Rider dash I noticed that a lot of people out there seem to use wood blocks, to me this seemed like a potential problem many years down the road, at least this had been my experience with wood in the past when I used to make props and miniatures. The wood is fine for a good many years but if it gets moisture in it, even treated wood it can expand and swell, not only that but if you need to make additional tweaks there are only so many times you can run a screw through the same pice of wood before the hole needs re drilling and you need a larger screw. So my though on this was for a more permanent solution where there are less likely to be any problems with temperature changes, moisture and many of the other issues that can be wood related.

Here is what I have done. First off I have chosen to use aluminum "L" brackets from the metal centre of many home hardware stores, Canadian Tire in this case ;) I cut the brackets to fit my Overlays.

Next I roughed up the surface onto which I would apply a generous amount of Contact Cement and then stuck each "L" bracket into position. I left plenty of room for the possibility of adding acrylics to my dash along with the electronics and overlays. I'll most likely use home made spaces that I'll make out of plastic or aluminum tubing along with rubber washers to get the electronics and overlays to fit nice and snug to the dash face.

I used clamps on some of the brackets to hold them in place while the contact cement sets. Once they were dry I removed the clamps.

I then began cutting up strips of fibreglass matting, the omni directional stranded stuff which I think is the same stuff the dash is fabricated from. I cut up a good deal of various sized strips in preparation for when I mix up the fibreglass resin.

I masked off the inner surface of the dash where there might be a potential chance of accidentally dripping some fibreglass resin and then mixed up my resin in small batches of two ounces. I then began laying in my fibreglass strips using a small brush with the resin. I gave each aluminum "L" bracket a good two or three layers of fibreglass and resin.

The aluminum "L" brackets are secured in very tight and will not budge so they'll make excellent supports for the dash electronics and overlays. Best of all they will never rot or deteriorate in any way, especially after I prim and paint them for good measure.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Modifying the Front Nose Support Assembly More

With the end pieces cut off I discovered that although they look like they will fit in behind the Knight Rider fibreglass front nose, they in fact will not, I needed to modify them a little further if I want to continue with my idea of trying to rescue them.

After a little time with a hacksaw to cut away about 1/4" along the side that fits close the the edge of the fibreglass front nose it should fit nicely now with a minimal amount of fuss.

As suspected once a good 1/4" or so has been shaved off the cut off ends of the front nose support assembly will fit nicely in behind the Knight Rider front nose. My other suspicion at this point is that the spot welded on bolts will not be long enough so an additional modification might be to cut the spot welds and tap out the bolts in order to put longer bolts through. A little extra work but can be done depending on how crafty you want to get. We'll see how my next test fit goes and I'll follow up with a video to better explain what I think needs to be done. Stay tuned Knight Rider K.I.T.T. fans ;)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Installing the Knight Rider Front Nose Part 10

Finally getting the front nose mounted onto my '82 Trans Am. I don't have the bolts tightened up all the way as I still have some tweaks to do but we are getting there. I had to modify a little further those end pieces that I had cut off of the front nose support assembly, as it was they still would not fit under the inside of the fibreglass front nose so I had to trim off about 1/4" off the end so they would fit inside of the fibreglass nose easier, they were just too big still otherwise.... now that they are trimmed problem solved. I may just end up scrapping them altogether if they should prove to be more trouble than they are worth in favour of the other option which is to just make an "L" bracket and bolt it to the impact absorption mounting bar that way I could just put a couple of thinner bolts near the top of the front nose and be done with it.... we'll see what in the end proves to be simpler and more beneficial.

Installing the Knight Rider Front Nose Part 9

Continuing on with my Knight Rider front nose instillation. I had to take out the entire impact absorption rubber because it was interfering with the very front of the nose creating a lack of space to be able to push the front nose up close enough to the fenders for a good fit, I also figured that it would get in the way of the Fog Light instillation later on as well so it might as well get pulled. I have my holes marked for where I need to drill so we'll see where I'm at after I let this warm up to room temperature and drill my holes.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Modifying the Front Nose Support Assembly

Step 1: Cut these ends off neatly with a hacksaw.

Step 2: Make up a steel or aluminum "Re Attachment Bracket." Bend it slightly on one end as shown to match as best you can the angle of the end pieces you cut off of the front nose support assembly.
Step 3: Drill holes and re attach using small bolts. This will make fitting the end pieced in behind the rigid fibreglass Knight Rider nose much easier as you can fit them in first and then be able to bolt them back onto the front nose support assembly.

Step 4: Depending on how much space you have where your scanner is to be mounted you may need to remove this centre piece of the support assembly.

Step 5: If you do find that you have to remove the centre piece of the support assembly you can re screw it back onto the centre support structure using the remaining screws, you can drill an additional hole and place an extra bolt on each side but it's not critical as once all the pieces are attached you should have plenty of support at the ends of the front nose support assembly and have a nice clear location for your scanner.
File off any sharp edges from where you cut off the centre part of the support assembly. Keep in mind that you will need to clean up, prime and re paint your modified parts to help prevent rust.

This option should enable me to keep the front nose support assembly for it's intended purpose which was to offer greater support for the front nose and serve as a place to put the turn signals. Mine are being re located to below next to the Fog lights but I still want to give my front nose all the additional support I can so to me this option makes sense. ;)

Installing My Knight Rider Front nose Part 8

Continuing on with my Knight Rider front nose installation. I found that I had to modify the front nose support assembly a little bit further by taking out the middle section located where the scanner will be mounted, reason being was that I found the middle support structure that sits under the nose support assembly was a pretty snug fit with the Knight Rider front nose so I had to cut that part off... no biggie. ;)

I also filed down that part of the fibreglass that was giving me a bit of fitment issues in my last video so it's fitting a lot better although I seem to have a large gap between the top of the front nose on the passenger side near the top of the fender that looks like it is going to need to be filled or modified a little. I also on the drivers side had a piece of the fibreglass just flake off which pissed me off a little, but these are all things that can be fixed up with a little fibreglass resin and some re sanding so although a pain in the backside to have to deal with are manageable none the less. ;)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Installing My Knight Rider Front nose Part 7

Continuing on with the fitment of my Knight Rider front nose. Today I tweaked up the nose support assembly on the one side by cutting a strip of steel and bending it on one side to fit the angle of the end piece that attached to the old stock rubber nose. I still nee to do the same on the other side, but once done I should be able to fit the end pieces through my fibreglass nose to the fender and then re attach the support assembly back onto the end pieces that were cut off using my cut and bent strips of steel.

I also cut off that triangular piece of plastic near the base front of the ground effects using a Dremel and cut off wheel. I also had removed the end pieces of the impact absorption rubber that was interfering with the fitment of my front nose.

Because of a slight flaw in the fibreglass fabrication on the passenger side of the front nose I am going to have to do some filing and then re building up of the fibreglass to make that side fit better. I also accidentally punctured an air pocket in the top drivers side of the front nose, another slight flaw in the fabrication, good thing I discovered that before I got to the painting process. Billy from "Knight Designs" has mentioned a method of checking for air pockets that I think I will need to utilize just to make sure there are no more surprises.

High Performance Pontiac Magazine

I picked 4 issues of the latest issue of High Performance Pontiac featuring an excellent article on our favorite '80s TV hero K.I.T.T.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Installing My Knight Rider Front nose Part 6

After test fitting the Knight Rider front nose I can see some minor areas that need some adjustment modifications but other than that it looks like we are going to get a very nice fit. I'll most likely need to remove just the end pieces of the rubber impact absorption bar and the triangular tabs near the front of the ground effects, but other than that it's looking pretty good so far.

K.I.T.T's Front Nose Test Fit

Just test fitting K.I.T.T's Front nose. The nose is not bolted on just resting on the front support plate. I have some things to take care of in order to make the front nose fit properly but as you can see it's well under way.

Installing My Knight Rider Front nose Part 5

Continuing on with my Knight Rider front nose installation. I had taken out the reinforcement assembly to try and see if it can be made to fit somehow into the Knight Rider front nose prior to attachment. I can see clearly that it can not be with the end mounting bracket. My thought is though that maybe these brackets can be cut off and then re attached later on with a made up metal tab or bracket. We'll see how that goes. ;)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Installing My Knight Rider Front nose Part 4

Continuing on with my Knight Rider front nose instalment. I had a real fun time getting the front nose off of the '82 Trans Am. Most of the difficulty was in the plastic or nylon pop rivets that run along the bottom tabs of the front nose, 2 on the ends are located under the ground effects making them a little tough to get too. You can tap them out if you have a long screwdriver or metal rod. Or gain access to them with an angles pry tool from under the front of the car. A pain to get too but they can be removed pretty easily with the right tools. The other issue was a tough to get to nut near the top of the fender but other than that the operation was pretty successful. ;)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Installing My Knight Rider Front nose Part 3

Continuing on with my removal of the stock front nose on my '82 Trans Am Firebird in order to put the Knight Rider nose on. After a lot of examining and poking around trying to figure out the best way to gain access to the front ground effects bolts and the front nose bolts the best way I could see on my car was to take out the front retracting head lamps assembly all together and move it out of my way. I have them resting on the front support plate. Unless they prove to be in my way I should not have to unplug the wires to the motors and pull them out entirely. I looked around a lot for how to video on how to do this and none of them seemed to adequately explain how to best get to the bolts needed to get the front nose and ground effects off. They are a pain to get to and maybe from underneath the car might have been best but these headlamp assemblies are not that bad too remove so if you have the time just pull them out and getting to the front nose bolts looks to be a lot easier.

Tomorrow I should be a lot further along with this job of getting the front nose off. ;)

Installing my Knight Rider Front Nose Part 2

Part 2 of my Knight Rider front nose installation progress. Yesterday I did not get as much done as I wanted, turned out that gaining access to a lot of the screws needed to take off the front nose is pretty difficult, I know where they are and how to take them off, it's just a matter of getting at them. Today I may need to jack up the car to gain better access from under the car.... we'll see.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting ready to install the Knight Rider Bumper

Just a quick little video to document my progress on getting my Knight Rider front nose installed on my '82 Trans Am Firebird. 

K.I.T.T.'s Front Nose Arrives

K.I.T.T.'s front nose arrived today in the mail from Knight Rider Shop Online. All wrapped up nice and safe in lots of bubble wrap and packing tape. Took a while to unpack it from all the wrapping, I was like a kid at Christmas lol.

 I had to laugh when the mail man arrived with it today, he said; "What kind of car is this for?" When I told him I was converting a 1982 Trans Am Firebird he was so amazed!! "No way!" He said.... lol

 I so can't wait to get into finishing it off and priming it and then painting. Right out of the mould so it has some rough spots and minor surface areas that will need to be filled. I'll need to get some fibreglass resin and some more primer... Curses that Canadian Tire is out of the 2 kinds of primer I like to use. :(
Yellow is so not K.I.T.T.'s colour lol gives me even more incentive to get the resin and primers I need so I can get the front nose to primer black and ready for paint. I'll fit it to the car before giving it it's final paint job and clear coat. So freaking can't wait!!

 You can see for right out of the mould it has some areas that need to be worked on but that's what makes a project like this more fun sometimes is all that hands on stuff. For me a lot of fibreglass work was done years and years ago so my knowledge is a little rusty in that area so I've some catching up to do on YouTube before I do any real work on my front nose just yet.

I'm not sure I I want to try and mould some brackets in the back of the front nose to place a grill in there or just leave that open... not really sure what look I'm going for with the front end just yet... plenty of time to make decisions on that I guess, gotta take a look at what other people have done and see what I like best for the front end.

I should really fit it to the car first before doing any kind of work on the front nose. My thought being that the yellow colour will make it much easier to see where my Sharpie pen will mark the areas for where I need to make my mounting holes. put it on and see how it fits and then refinish it one I have it prepped more. ;)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Re Painting Turbo Hood Screws

Repainting the screws for the parts taken of of the Turbo Hood. I soaked them in rust removing gel and gave them all a good going over with a small wire brush to remove and loose dirt and rust, they were actually in surprisingly good shape considering. I then rinsed them off with dish soap and hot water, rinsed them off again with just hot water then dried them thoroughly and then primed them with red oxide primer before giving them a coat of black lacquer paint. 

Once the hood is finished with all the painting I'll reassemble the hinges, hood latch and Air Vent Ornament with the newly painted screws and nuts. I was originally just going to just prime the nuts and bolts and just assemble and then paint but after thinking about it for a while I figured it would be better to just do all of the bots and hood parts separately, makes for a much neater job I figure. ;)

Preparing the Underside of the Turbo Hood

Doing a little prep work on the underside of the Turbo Hood before painting. Ran out of black sandable primer so I will need to get more.
Need to prep my back room with some plastic and put an exhaust fan in the window before breaking out the paint gun. When I'm ready I'm going to do the underside of the hood first just to get a feel for how my new paint gun handles.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Turbo Hood Air Seal Replacement

The old air seal on my Turbo Hood was in pretty bad shape and falling apart when I disassembled this section. They do not appear to make this anymore, at least I've never come across it anywhere online. About a little over a month ago I started looking into some kind of alternative to replace the old worn and rotted away air seal. My initial thought was to find perhaps a sheet of thin medium density foam rubber that I would be able to cut out a new air seal from after making a paper template of the old one. I was not having a lot of luck in that department until today when I was out at Home Depot near Polo Park when I had thought to check out the section where they carry all of the window and weather stripping. I came across a product for wrapping pipes which turned out to be a comparable thickness to the old air seal, best of all it was pre-gummed with a wax paper backing which I thought would make it much easier to work with.

I have included a picture of the wrapper for my Air Seal replacement alternative. As you can see it's for heating, Air Conditioning, refrigeration and plumbing, even UV protected and for indoor and outdoor usage.... perfect.

Step one was for me to cut off a strip long enough and then mark with a sharpie pen where to hole punch holes to allow my mounting bolts to fit through. 

Lay it out to test fit before sticking the stuff down.

Step two was to roll it on a little at a time. The stuff it pretty sticky once you start taking the wax paper backing off, it's also very pliable and easy to manipulate along the way.

Continue rolling it out being sure to allow plenty of room to place each hole over each of the mounting bolt holes one at a time.

Step three is to do the same one the other side. If you cut it right you can get the ends at the sides to match up pretty good. Like I say this stuff is pretty pliable and will stretch a little allowing for a lot of freedom to make a pretty good replacement air seal.

Here you can see my finished part now with a new air seal. Once re bolted back in place the new air seal will squish down making a perfect seal. Very nice replacement for a part that I would not be surprised is either impossible or at the very least very, very difficult to find... at least I had no luck finding one and this alternative works very well. ;)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Must Have Book

I picked this Service Manual for '82 Pontiac Firebird up from eBay.  I'm finding this to be a must have book to understand the internal workings of my Trans Am.  I would highly recommend one of these for anyone who is building their own Knight Rider. it's packed full of helpful diagnostics, how to illustrations, electrical diagrams, troubleshooting... you name it!!