Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gullwing Painting

In the process of painting my Knight Rider Gullwing. Painting the "Knight" logo was a real finicky job. I had to keep tweaking it and doing some edge cleanup with Acetone. Some wet sanding too even. But so far I'm liking it. I need to get the "Quick Release" adapter to attach it to my steering column. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fog Lights Update

Just a quick update on my Fog Lights Installation. You might recall from an earlier post that I had mentioned that my light closest to the middle of the Knight Rider front nose seemed to be in a pretty good position. It was the outer one that needed to be moved back a little. So what I ended up doing was basically swinging the whole assembly back a little in order to bring the outer Fog Lights back a little. I have now added an extra piece of metal strapping across the two middle supports so now I will have the option of moving the middle lights closer to the front of the nose when I do another test fit and I should discover that they can indeed be moved forward a little. This would pretty much put them back where I first felt they were in a good position. I'll know a little more once I do a test fit of the nose again.

K.I.T.T.'s Voice Box Bezel Ordered

Probably one of K.I.T.T.'s most famous and prominent features next to his scanner is the voice box. I have finally gotten around to ordering the bezel for my 2 TV dash, both from Knight Rider World. I can't wait to get his voice modulator installed into my dash. lol right now I have it sitting upstairs in our bedroom loft under the stars just so I have a little more room in my back room to prime, paint and clear coat the rear bumper and then finally the Turbo Hood.... there is a pain in the backside project that I had wanted to get done all winter but not having a simple box fan for ventilation was holding things up.... Oh well... just as well as it probably would have been too cold for the paint to set properly with the window open anyways ;) Warmer weather coming so it's time to "Get it On!"

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bumper Repainted

I have finally gotten around to repainting the rear bumper for K.I.T.T. I still need to do a little touch up and then clear coat it. Slowly but surely getting work progressing on the back of the car. I'm still waiting for the weather to get a little more warmer before I can paint that compartment behind where the tail lights assembly sits. Once we get some nice weather I'll finally be able to prime, paint and clear coat the tail light compartment and finally get Billy Gunther's Tail Light Blackouts kit from Knight Designs fully installed. Right now all I have been able to do is put together the assembly and do a test fit... I SO can't wait for the painting and prep work to be done so I can get that puppy installed... gonna look so cool :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More Dash Preparation

Working on lengthening the wires that were cone ted to the gauge cluster connectors attached to the dash. I snipped the wires from the connector and butt connected longer wires, I used the same colour coded wires from wire that I was able to salvage from the interior of the parts car.

I have them temporarily bunched into two groups, each one for each of the connectors that made the feeds to the back of the gauge cluster. I will test out each connection and make sure that my butt connection job is solid and then I will slip some heat shrink tubing over each of the butt connectors to further secure and protect the connections.

I made sure that I again labeled each wire the same as I had done with my sample connectors that I had labeled taken from the dash of the parts car.

If you look close you can see my wires from the Cyberdyne 8901 Speed sensor unit wrapped up nicely in wire protector. I have that running through the same rubber grommet that the old speedo cable went through, through the firewall and for right now the connector is resting by the cruise control out port for when I am ready to screw in the Cyberdyne unit. 

It took a while to butt connect all of those wires from the gauge cluster connectors today. I have some more work to do on the front of the car before I think I can hook the battery back up to do some testing worth the Multimeter to check my connections.... but little by little it seems like we are getting there... I would be moving along a lot faster if information was not so hard to find. So when I do I have no problem sharing it along further ;)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gage cluster connectors

Gage cluster connectors detail
I have taken the liberty of identifying am labelling each of the wires on the connectors that connect to the circuit pathways on the back of the gage cluster. I figured I would do this for educational purposes and to help anyone wishing to not use the gage cluster when installing either their Knight Rider dash or any other kind of after market digital dash setups.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

T - tap connectors

T - tap connectors

Now this is just for illustration purposes. I took one of these connectors that makes the connections to the back of the gage cluster out of my parts car so you can see that this is what I was talking about in my last post as one possibility of tapping directly into the wires. My other thought is to just solder wires directly to where you need to make your connections on the copper prongs and slip over some heat shrink tubing and label each wire accordingly. Not yet sure which route I am going to take but this is certainly some ideas to play with.

Dash Cutting

Working on cutting out the dash plastic. I did some delicate cutting out around the area I had marked out and found I needed to cut a little more. I gained a little more wire slack on that lower white dash cluster connector, not much but a little. I'm going to experiment a little on the connectors pulled from the parts car and see if I can devise a crafty way of connecting directly to the copper tabs on those connectors. I have a few ideas, one of which is to make a special "Long Spade" style connector using some stock copper that I can cut and attach a ring connector to and then cover that with a wire cover something similar to heat shrink tubing. If my plan works ands the connections are solid enough, by that I mean able to withstand any shock the car will naturally be succumbed to during and kind of driving, then I may go with that method. My other option is to cap off any wires that are not needed and just butt connect longer wires that I will label and connect to a 20 pin Male / Female connector to the dash electronics.... we'll see. ;)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

T TV Dash Install Preparations Continued

Continuing on with the 2 TV dash install preparations. because that bottom connector is in there very tight and there is practically no slack in the wiring I have devised a plan to cut out a small section of the dash plastic and poke the connectors through to gain a little more slack in the wires so that I will either be able to tap into each wire or just add more length to the needed wires with "Butt Connectors."

I'll follow up with more progress on this. I was going to do it this morning but it was still a little cold in the garage I felt for doing any cutting on plastic as it can be more brittle when cold. As soon as it's a little warmer I'll get in there with my Dremel and do some cutting. As a precaution I think I am going to insert either a wooden stir stick or a strip of scrap metal in behind the plastic where I will be cutting just to make sure I do not accidentally cut into any wires that might be close to my cutout planed lines.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dash Connectors Install Plan

I think I have a route chosen for how I want to do my dash install. I've been humming and hawing a great deal on what would be the best way to do this. Now I know a lot of folks simply make their connections right to the back of the dash gage cluster which is fine, but to me seems a bit of a waste, I mean why have the dash cluster there at all if all you are using is just the circuit pathways?? Why not just identify the coloured wires that you nee to tap into and not use the gage cluster at all if you don't need to?? I know it can be done, I saw a video on YouTube where it looks like they are pretty much doing just that.

You can see in the above video that they clearly do not use the gage cluster at all which to me seems like a more cleaner and professional dash install.

By examining the wires at the connectors it seems to me that one should be able to determine where each wire is going on the back of the gage cluster by following the circuit pathways and using it's colour code.

My thought is to either cut off these connectors or just use T-Taps and patch a wire right into each wire needed. my other thought is to butt connect additional colour coded wires to each wire once the connectors have been snipped off at the wires. If I do that I will need greater access to the wires on the white lower connector, that sucker is in there tighter than a Nun's Bible lol

So I'm thinking what I might end up needing to do is make a cutout in the dash plastic to pull the wires out of the dash a little more in order to make my butt connections for adding additional wire and giving them more length for connection to the dash via a 20 pin male / female connector.

I have an idea of where I will make my cutout to gain access to the wire a little more seen here in my photo showing my red dotted lines for my intended cutting.  Seeing how the top part of the dash may need to be trimmed a little anyways depending on if it interferes with the electronics on the back of my 2 TV Dash. I see that some people have needed to trim the top of their dash depending on how "Beefy" the back of their electronics install is. So what's a few more cuts in the plastic I figure. My only other option is to take the dash out and lengthen the wires to the connectors and then reinstall the dash plastic which is a real pain in the backside, I've taken out that whole assembly on the parts car so I know how much of a pain it is, much easier to just make a simple cut in the plastic and pull the wires through, strip off the ends and butt connect longer wires to the ends. I'll keep the connectors so I can doubly make sure of which wires went where.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gage Cluster Prep Work

Just starting to do a little work on prepping my gage cluster for hookup to the new dash electronics. I'm trying to determine if this circuit on the back of this gage is part of the gage cluster board or if it can be safely removed with the gage? I'm getting ready to attach some wires to the correct locations on the back of the gage cluster. I want to see if I can have my connections go to plugs that can be connected and disconnected for convenience of any future maintenance that may ever need to be done to the dash.

Examining the gage cluster circuit board on the back it seems to me that it is simply running connections to the lights, and various gages, so I'm wondering why not just simply make your connections to the connectors that are attached to the dash that the gage cluster inserts into. To me this would make for a much cleaner and less complicated install. If anyone has any thoughts to share on this or if you think I'm WAY off the mark please feel free to chime in and offer up some clues or rock hard solid ways that you did your dash install. Please bear in mind that my Trans Am is a 1982 and does not have that yellow box on the back of the gage cluster that is for the VSS system. now I'm not sure if that makes a difference if any??

I took a couple of closeup shot of my connectors that the gage cluster plugs into. I just need to check and confirm my wire colours to make sure which wire is for which gage. I'll compare them with the illustration in the Service Manual and double check with the instructions for the 2 TV Dash install. If I can just connect these connections to plugs that I can rig up for the dash then any future maintenance will be a lot easier to do than having to pull the whole gage cluster out along with the dash and all of it's electronics. ;)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fog lights Installation Tweaking

So yesterday after I had mounted my Fog Lights onto my support structure that I had made and mounted to the impact bar I discovered that the outermost Fog lights were too close to the openings on the fibreglass nose, so today I set about doing a few tweaks to correct that.

I ended up temporarily taking out the bolts on the middle Fog Lights support structure and swinging the horizontal support inwards towards the impact bar about an inch or so just to make my lights sit more inset into the front nose. Now I have some bare metal to paint but heck that's no biggie. I just need a warm day to do that so the paint will dry properly.

I also did a little bit of the wiring by attaching the blue wires with the fuse holders to the (+) Positive cable on the battery, not the battery but the cable that goes onto the Positive terminal of the battery. I still have my battery totally disconnected while I'm doing all of this work on the car. I also fed the blue wires into some wire protector in preparation to be threaded through the Firewall and to the switches that I'll either mount into upper or lower console, not yet decided that. But I can see already that I will most likely need to lengthen some of the wires with some "Butt Connectors" especially if I choose the upper console.

I might tweak my positioning of my Fog Lights further depending on how they look in the nose, I know the ones closes to the middle of the nose I might for sure as before I moved the support mount back I was pretty happy with where they were situated, so that is a definite possibility. I'm still not sure what route I'm going with my turn signal lights, I'll know more once I have my Fog Lights all set to where I am 100% happy with them and I'll see where I go from there... I'll keep you updated on that. ;)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fog Lights Supports Mounted Back on and Fog Lights Installed

Once my painted Fog Lights support structures were dry enough to handle I bolted them back onto the impact bar and then began mounting on the Fog Lights.

So far I have each light bolted onto my support structure and I have attached the ground wires to the impact bar. I have the other wires attached to the terminals on each switch for now just so I can keep track of which wire goes where when I'm ready to thread them through the firewall and into one of the consoles.

Although it may not be apparent by looking at my pictures of my Fog Lights install but I think I am going to need to still make a few adjustment in the way the lights are sitting, you see when I put my nose precariously back on just to have a bit of a look to see how they were sitting I discovered that the outer two Fog Lights are a little too forward in the nose section so I will need to bring them back a little more closer to the impact bar.

I will follow up a little more on what I mean with another video and some pictures in my next post to better illustrate what I mean and what my plan of attack will be to correct what I am hoping will be a minor tweak. So fear my though is that all I should need to do is add a little bracket onto the back that my Fog Light can be moved back into to bring it closer to the impact bar.... we'll see ;)

Fog Light Support Structures Ready

I have my support structures for the Fog Lights primed, painted and ready to go back onto the impact absorbsion bar on the car. I will follow up with another video a little later on today.  ;-)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More Fog Lights Installation Progress

Continuing on with my Fog Lights installation for the Knight Rider front nose. I picked up the 2nd set of Fog Lights and another piece of metal strapping and also the needed bolts I was short on so now I have everything I need, or at least I hope so? ;)

I mounted on my Fog Light brackets onto my  support structure I had made after putting the fibreglass nose back on for another test fit to see where my lights were going to be best placed into the support assembly. I marked the best holes with a sharpie marker and then once again took the nose off and placed it onto the top of the car. LOL I have a blanket on K.I.T.T.'s roof so as to not scratch either the nose or the top of K.I.T.T.'s roof. ;)

I then too the Fog Lights housings off of the mounting hardware that comes with the Fog Lights and bolted those to the areas on my support structure that I had marked with a sharpie marker. Now the holes in the metal strapping were a tiny, tiny bit snug for the bolt that attaches the Fog Lights mounts so I had to get in there with a small round file and open the holes up a little, sure I could have used a "Unibit" but they were not that small so just a quick filing down with the round file was quick enough to open the holes up a little without making them too loose.

Once the Fog Lights mounting hardware was bolted on it was time to take off my support assemblies and bring them inside for some priming and painting. Once I have a good couple of coats of black paint on them and they are dry I can then re bolt them onto the impact absorption bar and then attach the Fog Lights. The fun job of wiring them up will come next ;)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fog Lights Mounting Brackets Tweaks

After doing another test fit of the Knight Rider front nose I discovered pretty much what I was expecting and that was that my main horizontal mounting bracket was a little too close to the openings of the fibreglass front nose and that they needed to be moved back and up a little. Now because of the different "L" brackets I was using in the middle of the nose section I had to get a little crafty with a solution for making sure that my Fog Lights would be raised up more towards the middle of the nose openings. 

More Work on the Fog Lights Instalment

Continuing on with my installing of the Fog Lights into the front nose of my Knight Rider. I'm basically following along very closely to what I saw another fellow do on one of the Knight Rider forums as I thought what he was doing was very cool and very cost effective for those of us on a bit of a budget, plus I can get a little creative with adding in some more support to this type of support structure for the Fog Lights.

As you can see in both my video and pictures that I had to do a few things a little different from the other fellow in the forums, mostly because the type of bracket he was using with the support in the middle was unavailable at our Canadian version of Home Depot... go figure lol ???

In any event I did find a very strong shelf "L" bracket that was already painted black and I found to be very strong, certainly strong enough for my intended purpose which is to simple create a support and mounting structure for the Fog Lights.

Once I get my support structure material all cut to the right size and bolted to the car I can then take it all apart so I can prime and paint it, once that's done I'll reinstall it onto the car and add my Fog Lights and relocate my Turn Signals into the front of the nose onto my nice support structure. So far I'm very happy with the way this is going. I even like the little lighted rocker switches that come with the Fog Lights, I'm thinking they might work very well in either the upper or lower console, that part I have not yet made any firm decisions on yet, but it's nice having options to choose from. ;)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

More Prepping for the Front Nose Fog Lights

Continuing on with some prep work for installing the front nose Fog Lights and relocation of the Turn Signals. My goal for today was just to simply re attach the front Impact Absorption Bar onto the car now that it has been cleaned up and repainted. First step was to place it on it's back so I could put the shims back on and then carefully lift it back into position and insert the bolts into the mounts and then hand tighten the nuts back up until I had it pretty much centred on the car.

With that done I re installed the front nose support structure. I'm pretty sure that nut closest to the front top of the support structure is either going to need to be removed or relocated as it sits right in the middle of where the Knight Rider front nose scanner shelf sits, so I notice it tends to bow the scanner shelf up in the middle creating a slight but noticeable hump or bend. I'll do that later on but for now all I needed to do is get the Impact Absorption Bar, Front Nose Support structure and the front nose back on so I can mark where I will need to install my Fog Light mounting brackets.

While re installing the front nose I can see that my passenger side is still not fitting as nice as I would like, I'm wondering if it is the fender that is more the issue?? Perhaps it need to be adjusted forwards a little to match up more, funny because I didn't notice any miss alignment with the stock front nose. In any event the nose looks a lot better black, even flat primer black it's starting to REALLY come together. I still have a little sanding and priming to do in a few areas on the front nose but it's getting a lot closer. ;)

Prepping the Front Impact Bar for Fog Lights Assemblies

Now that I have a box fan for the back window for ventilation I have been able to get the room set up for some priming and painting of some of these larger parts for K.I.T.T.

I primed and painted the front impact bar that the impact absorption rubber was attached to. It was just white before from the original paint on the car, I took it off and gave it a good going over with engine grease remover, and then cleaned it up several times with soapy water, then gave it a good going over with a scuff pad. I had to remove any of the black pain that had not adhered very well due to a not very good cleanup job before it was painted from white to black. My guess is that they probably figured why bother seeing how this is a part that gets covered with the stock front nose so it's never seen, however with the Knight Rider front nose, you do see this bar a little through the front nose openings for the Fog Lights and relocated turn signals. While researching how to do the Fog Lights I came across many different methods, most seem to use the impact absorption bar to mount the lights but others with higher budgets I noticed got pretty fancy with custom made parts... all depends how much you want or have to spend and personal taste I guess. But for me I figure I might as well utilize the impact absorption bar seeing how it's there and I can easily rig up brackets for the Fog Lights to be mounted to based on what I have seen others do.

My small finishing paint gun was perfect for this part, not to big and not to small. I got a great finish on the impact absorption bar. Now I'll remount it back onto the car after I clean up the front end a little more and then I can refit the front nose and mark where I need to situate my mounting brackets for the Fog Lights and Turn Signals. Then the nose will be coming off again so I can work on getting the Fog Lights assemblies and brackets all into place, then take them off for priming and painting before installing the lights... a lot of put on and then take off, put on and take off in this project ;)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Taillight Blackouts Frame Assembly Test Fit

I took the assembled steel frame for the taillight blackouts from Knight Designs out into the garage to do a test fit, it looks like it's going to fit really well, so far very, VERY pleased with the way that is coming along. Now I know Billy had mentioned in his install videos that the holes closest to the fenders need to be widened a little, but so far mine looks like it's fitting pretty good, that being said there may still be a reason for needing to do that, I'll know more when I put the nylon nuts back on inside of the rear compartment.

I also still need to prime, paint and clear coat the interior of the taillights compartment, just waiting for the temperature to get up a little more so my paint will dry and cure properly. I also need to re install the bumper once that has been primed and re painted as well. But overall the tail section of K.I.T.T. is coming along nicely. :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tail Light Blackout Preparation Continued

Continuing on with my Taillights Blackouts installation prep work. I had mentioned in a previous post that my Taillights Blackouts kit that I had purchased from Knight Designs was short the nylon spacers that Billy had accidentally forgotten to include, he sent those out a little over a week ago and they arrived today. Thank you very much for that Billy ;)

So with the nylon spacers arriving today I could work on installing the powder coated steel frame onto the taillights. As you will be able to see in my video I had to make the holes along that narrow channel a little wider to accommodate the self locking nuts that Billy had provided. On his install video it looked easier, not sure why, maybe slight differences in manufacture of taillights housings, I don't know, in any event I had to Dremel out my holes a tiny bit bigger, no biggie, just an extra step so I figured I would give a little info on what I had to do and what type of Dremel bit I had to use.

With the taillights assembly done now all I need is the temperature to get up a little in the garage so I can prime and paint the tear taillights compartment and then I'll be able to install the taillights blackout once the paint has dried. We are still experiencing our seemingly never ending winter here in Winnipeg, but I think it's on the way out now. The temperature in the garage was up to plus 2 degrease Celsius so we are getting close. With that nicer weather on the way I'll be able to do a lot more out in the garage on K.I.T.T. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hidden Headlight Assemblies Cleaned Up

I'm all done with the cleanup on the hidden headlights assemblies, they look to be in great shape after I gave them a thorough de-greasing with engine de-greaser.  I don't think I will need to repaint them as they look good with the mat black finish and are pretty much hidden behind the headlight bezels. Now to clean up the rest of the front of the car. I need to pre fit the nose again so I can mark where I need to fabricate my Fog Light mounting brackets onto the impact absorbsion bar. I may take that bar out first just simply because it will be a lot easier to clean the back side of it. It's pretty grimy and will need a thorough cleaning before I can paint it.