Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hidden Headlights Removal Followup

Just following up with my Headlights Assemblies removal on my 82 Trans Am in preparation for the instalment of the Knight Rider front nose. I figured out how to remove the electrical plugs to the headlights assembly motors that raise and lower the headlights. It turned out to be a pretty simple procedure but as I had mentioned in my last post that I was not finding a lot of information on the correct procedure to remove these plugs and I did NOT just want to get in there with a screwdriver and start prying away at them. So here is my little video that explains what I had to do to get the electrical plugs disconnected.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hidden Headlight Assemblies Removal

I had mentioned in a previous post several weeks back that I had removed my headlight assemblies in order to make getting the front nose of the car removed to swap out for the fibreglass Knight Rider front nose. I had taken off the headlight plastic bezels as they will need to be trimmed to fit the Knight Rider front nose and I had taken out the bulbs so as to not damage them. I figured that while I had a great deal of the front end all disassembled that I would take these headlight assemblies out and give them a good cleaning and maybe repainting if they need it. But what I am trying to figure out is how these connectors to the headlight motors come out?? I don't want to just take a screwdriver and start prying away at them in case I break them inadvertently. 

So I'm going to try and see if anyone on any of the Knight Rider Forums knows for sure how these come apart, the long skinny single connector was easy to see how it comes apart but these other ones look like it a bit more complicated, they need all that gunk cleaned off of them too ;)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Speedometer Sender Questions

In order to get my new digital speedometer to work for the Knight Rider dash I needed to get a new speed sender unit. The one recommended is made by Cyberdyne, it is an 8901 Speedometer Sender for GM type transmissions. Pictured here in this first picture is the current end of the speedo cable that goes from the back of the gage cluster into the cruise control unit under the hood. Seen here is the end that goes into the cruise control.

Seen here in the 2nd picture is the connector for the Cyberdyne 8901 Speedometer sender. Now what I am trying to find an answer to is if I can just plug the new Cyberdyne unit into my cruise control where the current cable went or if I have to bypass the cruise control and go into the transmission. The ends look to be slightly configured different but look like they should still match up, although the length of the core or spinning wire looks longer on my original one, now I'm not sure if this makes any kind of significant difference or not??

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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

Finally getting around to priming K.I.T.T.'s front nose now that I have a box fan to ventilate my back room with. Now I'm finally going to be able to paint some of the larger parts like the front nose and Turbo Hood. I had been busy draping the back room in plastic also just so as to not get over spray all over the place as it's a real pain in the backside cleaning up, the stuff gets everywhere.

 I also won't end up gassing myself along with the rest of the house lol ;-)

I want to make sure I get a good high build of sand able primer just so I can make sure I work out any surface flaws. Even though I have given the front nose a good going over with sand paper I still had to add some fibreglass resin and a little omnidirectional matting to fill in a few holes and chips from some of the gel coat that had come off. It was definitely a nose that needed some work, I guess that's normal for "out of the mould" fibreglass products. No biggie, just meant more hands on fun for me to play with.... I love this stuff ;)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Front Nose Support Assembly Replacement

I took off the existing front nose support assembly to replace it with the one from the parts car. Although there was nothing wrong with this one it did suffer from the same condition as the rear tail lights compartment area which was just a minor corner cutting on the repaint job as mentioned in my last post. I figured that seeing how I had the one off of the parts car already taken off, all it needed was to be cleaned up, primed and repainted. The one on the car was dirty, and had peeling paint coming off of it so rather than fight with it on the car the other option seemed the best way to go.

As you can see here in this 2nd photo the once from the parts car had been repainted and is looking a lot better than it's counterpart.

Here you can see the newly painted support assembly installed on the car. I also figured at this stage it would be a good idea to do the touch up work on the Knight Rider front nose seeing how it needed to be done and was coming off anyways in order for me to do this little job of parts replacement.

Now onto a little fibreglass work, sanding and priming of the front Knight Rider nose. ;)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rear Tail Light Section Rework

I had mentioned in an earlier post that while doing some preparation work on getting the tail light section ready for the blackout kit that I discovered the back end inside of the taillights compartment had not been properly prepped before it had been repainted. In this first picture you can see clearly how the paint did not stick very well to the original paint surface, this was most likely due to a now very thorough job of cleaning the surface and preparing it for paint. My guess is that they probably figured that because this area is hidden under the tail lights assembly that it would never be seen or subjected to any real wear and tear, a little harmless corner cutting in most cases. ;)

 I was going at it with a small wire brush and it was taking a very long time so I figured it was time to speed this tedious process up a little. So I went out and picked up a couple of rotary wire brushes to use with my high speed drill.

Pictured here is the set of wire brushes I picked up to make the job go a lot faster. I loaded up my high speed drill and began buzzing off all of the loose paint. You could sure tell where the paint did not adhere to the original paint very well because as soon as the wire brush hit it, it just flew off, some areas the paint had stuck pretty good, but I gave those areas a good buzzing over anyways. I will sand down and prime the whole area inside of the tail lights compartment and make sure it's done right this time. Even though that area is never going to be seen or subjected to any rear wear and tear it's more for my own piece of mind than anything.

Here is the way it looks now after I have buzzed off all of the loose paint. You can see some areas where the paint stuck really well but they too will still be given a good sanding and priming. Steps closer.... with a little luck I'll be all prepped and ready for when Billy from Knight Designs sends me the nylon spacers for the taillight blackouts that he accidentally forgot to include. ;)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cyberdyne Speedometer Sender Arrived

I got the Speedometer Sender unit 8901 from Cyberdyne today so I'm a step closer to being able to install the Knight Rider dash.... gotta check a few things out first.... but hey.... getting there. ;-)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Progress Updates

With the warmer weather slowly approaching I've been taking advantage of as many of the warmest days as possible. it's still too cold to do any priming and painting on the car in the garage and it being out of season still I have had no luck finding a simple box fan that I can use as an exhaust fan for my back work room in the house to rig up a temporary paint booth to paint the hood and other small parts that I should have been able to do over the winter months. It's amazing how something as simple as a box fan can slow up the work. Grrrr...

Anyways Like I say I have been doing as much as I can with what I have. I've found some interesting things on the car like this odd little switch or something on the hatch back, the switch appears to be disconnected and there is a loose wire that I'll need to track down.

Here are a couple of pictures of the weird little switch on the back of the hatchback located on the drivers side near the weather stripping, as you can see it is clearly disconnected, perhaps it was part of hatch open indicator light or alarm or something??

I also need to figure out a good method to re-stick the rear defroster wire back onto the hatchback glass.

After the removal of the rear stock bumper I cleaned up the rear of the car a little more, it still has a good deal of cleanup to be done before I can sand it down and prime and paint it. I did end up needing to take out the plastic wire clips that hold the wires for the rear tail light bulbs. Those plastic clips were pretty brittle and broke trying to get them out so they will need to be replaced with new ones.

The flat hood on the car has been removed. I still need to take off the hood struts or supports as they are in much better shape than the ones that were on the Turbo Hood from the parts car. I can install the struts on the correct hood once the hood is finally painted. All I need is that blasted box fan!!

You can see here the car with the flat hood removed. It's one of those jobs that is best done with a helping hand as the steel hood is pretty heavy and a bit awkward removing by yourself, I did it but it was a bit of a pain in the butt doing it by myself.

You can also see that I still need to fix up the fibreglass front nose, prime and paint it. Also still waiting for the Scanner I ordered from Lectric Enterprises. Once I get that I can install the scanner into K.I.T.T.'s front nose.

I also need to relocate the turn signals into the front nose and add the fog lights.

I also need to still work on the dash electronics, I have most of it done, I just need some PANP switches, count down indicators, and add the speed sensor from Cyberdyn, .... lots of just little things but they add up lol ;)

Rear Stock Bumper Cleanup

I figured seeing how I had the rear section of the car all disassembled that I might as well cleanup and repaint the rear stock bumper since it was off of the car. I could see some areas where the paint had chipped off revealing the original white colour of the bumper. It's not bad overall but enough to bug me so since it's off I figure I might as well clean it up and either retouch the affected areas or just give it good repainting.

I especially need to fix up the licence plate area as that area seemed to have the most wear with the new paint chipping off, my guess is that those areas were not properly treated before they got repainted, so I'll go over everything and make sure it's done right this time. ;)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tail Light Blackouts Preparation

In preparation for installing the Tail Light Blackouts I ordered from Knight Designs I haves removed the tail light assemblies and have removed the smoke covers.

Billy from Knight Designs forgot to include the nylon spacers, hey these things happen ;) So I'm waiting for him to send those out on Monday, but in the mean time I figured I might as well get most of the prep work done. Here I have the tail light housings and black powder coated steel frame laid out on my work bench.

I have my holes already drilled into the tail light housings as per Billy's instructional video so now all I need is the nylon spacers and then I can attach the frame to the tail light housings. I also have to clean up the inside of the tail light section of the car, when I pulled out the assembly there was a lot of dirt and debris inside there. Other that that it was in awesome condition. I may give that a paint job before installing the tail light black outs.... we'll see. 

On an interesting note, while I was removing the tail light assembly I came across a "Hide-a-Key" hidden in a compartment near the tail lights on the drivers side containing an extra ignition key, but not the same key I had that came with the car. Perhaps the car was re-keyed at some point and this was an original key that had just gotten forgotten. Found a fire extinguisher in there too... working condition... questionable lol

Friday, March 14, 2014

Some More Work on the Upper Console

I did some more work on the Upper Console with getting the multi coloured buttons mounted in place. I had to make some more mounting brackets using some "L" channel aluminum. I cut out middle sections and bent tabs outwards for mounting my Lexan plastic strips too that I ran through the centre part of the electronics board sandwich between the button bases.

I Contact cemented the aluminum brackets in place similar to the ones on the 2 TV Dash electronics install. Once the Contact cement was set I fibre glassed the brackets securely to the underside of the Upper Console.

Once the fibreglass resin was set overnight I had to do a little more filling to better accommodate my buttons assembly a little better. Once that was done I was able to drill some holes in the folded out tabs to place in some small bolts and washers to secure the board to the inside of the console. I wish I had pre-drilled my holes before I fibre glassed my brackets in place because it was a real pain in the butt drilling the holes with the brackets already fibre glassed in place. Just a little mental note for next time should I find I have to mount my buttons this way again.

Finally I Contact Cemented my black plastic trim into place. I have a little clean up to do once the Contact Cement dries tomorrow, but that's OK because I still need to pick up the other buttons for the console and install those before I can paint it. I also need to do another test fit in the car and see if I can figure out where to drill my holes for the mounting screws. I'm also still trying to decide if I want to keep my roof light assembly and if so if I should mount it to the back part of the console. I have removed the light assembly from the car and have it sitting on my work bench. I wouldn't mind keeping it, all I would have to do is extend the wires and make a hole in the back of the Upper Console to accommodate the light fixture. 

K.I.T.T.'s Tail Light Blackouts Arrived

K.I.T.T.'s tail light blackouts arrived today from Knight Designs.  Now all I need to do is have a nice day to install them. This is probably one of the more easier Knight Rider conversion parts to install.

Monday, March 10, 2014

2 TV Dash Fake Temporary Screens

I came up with a simple solution for my screen holes in my 2 TV dash. I figured rather than leave them just open holes until I get real LCD monitors to fit into those spaces what I would do is make some temporary screens just to fill the space and help give the dash a little more finished look. I will eventually get some small LCD monitors and hook them up to a computer that will control a lot of K.I.T.T.'s functions but for now, just a little something to fill in the space and give the general idea of what the finished dash will look like.

Here is what I did to make my temporary screens. I first made a template or frame out of some scrap Fibreboard I had kicking around. I cut a TV screen sized hole in the middle of both pieces of my Fibreboard to make my template or mould, I then clamped it to both sides of some of that "Lexan" plexiglas I had left over from using over my dash electronic overlays, I had cut two small rectangles big enough to cover each TV screen opening I then heated up the Lexan using a heat gun and when the plastic was soft enough I pushed on it wearing an oven mitt, I then let the plastic cool and un clamped the mould from the formed plastic and there you have it one slightly curved screen face.

I painted the back side of the screen with a light Olive Green paint to try and simulate a TV tube, the colour is not perfect I know, but it will do for it's purpose. 

I'll mount these to the inside of the dash temporarily so as when the time comes I'll just switch them out for real LCD monitors... but hey... I figure it beats an open space for now ;)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Little Work on the Upper Console

Yesterday I started to do some work on the Upper Console. So far I only have the one set of buttons I ordered from Jupiter Electronics but I figured I might as well install them just to get a good start on that little project. The buttons from Jupiter are awesome, beautiful workmanship and they look great. I cut my hole for the buttons and test fit them into the console to see where I would be sitting as far as tweaks goes.

Because of the available space for mounting I was truing to figure out a good way to make these buttons more mountable.

I had a fair amount of that "Lexan" Plexiglas left over from installing my 2 TV Dash Electronics so I figured maybe I can use that to make some kind of mounting system. I cut strips that were about just a hair under 1/2" wide by about 2 1/2" long, sanded them down until they fit securely between the electronics board and the top of the buttons mounting plate, I slid two strips one on each side of the button rows and then bolted them together.

 You can see in this closeup view how I have my strips of Plexiglas set up along the length of the electronics buttons board. This set up prevents the whole buttons assembly from just simply dropping out through the hole cut into the console.

Now I have not gone out and test fit the upper console in place yet so I'm not sure what kind of space is available inside of the console between that and the head liner. I guess I should do that just to get a heads up. I will do that today to see how it fits for one things and to see if I can make a better determination of available space. For all I know it might turn out to be a snug fit and all I might end up needing is a piece of foam rubber between the head liner and the back of the buttons assembly. If not then I'll see about perhaps fiber glassing in some mounting brackets similar to what I did on the 2 TV Dash underside.

I also created a piece of plastic black trim for over top of the buttons to make them look a little more finished. The plastic came from the top of an old VCR/DVD combo unit that no longer worked so I scrapped it for parts and the plastic shell or housing has come in handy for little projects like this. Once the buttons are secured in place I'll simply Contact Cement this plastic trim to the outer edge of the buttons assembly.

I can't wait to get the other switches for the upper console.... figuring out what to wire all of the various buttons up to is going to be fun ;)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Prepping the Interior for the Installation of the 2 TV Dash Part 2

I figured out a way to get the gage cluster out of the dash with a minimal amount of fuss. My original suspicion of needing to give the speedo cable some additional slack from the other side of the firewall turned out to be the best method. I had to do a little digging so to speak in the engine compartment in order to gain better access to the other end of the cable that went into the cruise control. I ended up removing the air cleaner intake snorkel in order to gain access to where the other end of the speedo cable screw on connector.

Once the air intake snorkel was removed getting to the end of the speedo cable was much easier, all I needed to do then was simply unscrew the connector to the cruise control. 

You can see the disconnected speedo cable in this next pictures down in between those other wires and cables (Center of image)

Once disconnected pushing the cable through the firewall was easy and gave me plenty of additional slack in order to gain access to the release clip on the back of the gage cluster.

Once the speedo cable was slackened I noticed yet another obstacle. 
"Was this nightmare going to ever end?!?" 
I thought. As it turns out the steering wheel column was now in the way of me getting the gage cluster out. 
"Who's the sick twistoid who designed this nightmare!?!"
I wondered. So I got down under the steering wheel column and noticed the bracket holding up the column. On each side there are two large nuts that I proceeded to loosen, this allowed the steering wheel column to drop down enough for me to wiggle free the gage cluster and gain access to the speedo cable's release clip.
Being that this is a classic car, all of the components are a good 30 some odd years old so care had to be taken while disengaging the gage cluster from the dash. It's in surprisingly great shape I could see, much like the condition of the rest of my '82 Trans Am Firebird. On the back you can clearly see the printed circuit and contacts, it's basically just a transparent piece of plastic with copper inlaid printed contacts. In great shape so I was very pleased about that.

Now that we have the gage cluster out and a lot of the other dash components that will not be needed for the installation of the Knight Rider 2 TV Dash we are a step closer. I'll most likely spend a lot of time doing some cleaning up or and repainting of some parts I noticed could use some TLC while I was in and around poking about trying to figure out how to get that blasted gage cluster out of there.

I also need to get a digital speedo sensor as this one in the 82 Trans Am is Analog.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Prepping the Interior for the Installation of the 2 TV Dash

Some prep work for the installation of the 2 TV Dash. I removed the top dash pad and a lot of the lower front panels and the dash gages cluster cover panel. Pulling out the dash cluster is proving to be more difficult than it should be. According to my Pontiac Firebird Service Manual the Gage Cluster should come out far enough to be able to reach in behind the cluster and press the release on the Speedo Cable. But guess what?? On mine there is no way it comes out far enough to be able to reach the cable release. Giuseppe from "Knight Rider World" has suggested this is a common thing with these 3rd gen. models and that a good idea might be to cut a small piece of the top console plastic to gain better access to back of the speedo cable. I'll try that option out and post another video and some pictures.

Monday, March 3, 2014

More 2 TV Dash Work

I've gotten most of the electronics mounted to the inside of the 2 TV dash, not wired together or nothing like that, just been working on getting them all mounted securely to the underside of the dash. As I had mentioned in my previous postings I had to get a little creative due to my initial screwup. No biggie, if anything it will serve as a good example of what NOT to do lol.

I made some additional aluminum bracket to secure the tops of the dummy row overlays and plexiglass into place, reason being is that the holes for mounting on the electronics boards did not match up very well with the holes in the overlays which meant that my screws were going to end up going in at an angle and I did NOT want to run the risk of putting any undue stress on the electronics boards mounting holes by having the screws put in on such an angle like that, so I came up with the solution of mounting the overlays and plexiglass with these little "n" shaped brackets and then later adding a sort of stretched out "Z" shaped bracket to secure the tops of the electronics boards and push them up close to the overlays and plexiglass and also add the elongated "U" shaped brackets for the bottom or I should say tops as we are working with the dash upside down in order to place in all of the electronics naturally ;)

I find that my solution seems to be working very well in making sure all of the electronics boards are secured very well to the fibreglass dash. 

Here is a view of my 2 TV dash flipped over the right way with most of the electronics installed. I still need to install the voice box but I'm going to wait until I order the voice box bezel just so I make sure that my hole will be cut the correct size.

Next up a little sanding on the top to take care of some surface scratches and flaws that need to be fixed up before priming and painting.

 Some minor surface scratches before I did a little sanding and priming with a sand able primer.

After some sanding and priming. Overall the dash seems to be coming along nicely. Can't wait to get it into the car and see how it fits. I need to figure out how to test the electronics in the dash first, I've seen some videos on YouTube with people testing out their dash before putting it into their car. I'm not sure if any special equipment is needed for that or if you just simply hook up the power from the battery and that's it?? Until I know for sure I'm in no rush, but it would be sure cool to get a good preview of how this will all look when it's up and running, maybe even make my own video to put on YouTube ;)