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Opel Key Master
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Discussion Starter #81
Gas tank install/Windshield/and A/C

I am working on both ends of the car at a time it seems. Gene provided me with some ARA A/C brackets and parts which look like they will work out excellent for me. I am using a universal bracket for the Sanden compressor, which will be welded to the top of the original York Compressor mount. I have it set in the engine bay, but it will be cut down about 2 inches, this may allow enough room to not space up the waterneck. I also have an idler bracket for the cam cover. I wouldn't usually use these heavy brackets (which will be lightened up), but the A/C system on this car was added like the factory cars were, a little too late. I could have fit a lot of this stuff prior to painting, but since it is all painted up, I removed the air cleaner bracket like the dealers did...well a lot nicer lets say...and used some original hardware. I personally would like to switch it around with the alternator, but this will work for our purposes now. The radio stuff came in, and because it is hidden a remote will not work, so I got a wired controller to use in the console for the unit. I also mounted the newley sealed gas tank, but did not account for it when doing the A/C duct hoses, so I relocated where the ducts will run down into. Thats the stuff you get with custom installs.
 

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Discussion Starter #82
A/C Lines and mock up

I decided to use vintage air tubing to run underneath the car to the rear evaporator core. This not only makes it easier get the lines back to the rear, but unlike the dealer units, it is a little cleaner and will not go inside the passenger floor area. I will mount and wrap these lines with the a/c Wrap. Also a close up of the welded sanden brackets on the original ARA bracket. I did see you could get a Sanden to York compressor bracket, which I used what I had, as I didn't think I would need the original bracket, just makes it easier. I will still go back and grind smooth the newly welded bracket, drill some holes to lighten it, and then paint it. I also had a good fuel sender rebuilt. After sealing the tank, the original sender was garbage. I have to order some more a/c fittings, and will be making my lines up real soon. After I finish the permanent mounting, the radiator will go in...then I will see on my coolant hoses
 

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Discussion Starter #83
Door panels part 2

I started talking about the door panels a few weeks back, I padded the upper part about 3/8 of an inch, and left from there. Now I am going to make a pattern for the door panel. Lets think here for a minute before we start cutting up expensive plywood and such. A 4x8 sheet of 1/8 panel board is 15.00 or more. One wrong cut too small-well you have cut into your wallet because you have to buy a new piece. I use Chipboard. Chipboard is cheap, available almost for free at times, and has multiple uses. I bought a box of 100 sheets 12"x12" for around 30.00. Yes that is equal to 2 times the panel board, but I have 100 pices. It makes great Monster truck jumps-just ask my kids. Anyways I will start with a square of this and glue it to the door temporarily. Then I glue more pieces onto it, until I have outlined the door. Using the flat edges and such makes it easy. Cut for the upper front curve, and you have your panel. Now since I am making the upper portion of the panel separate, there is no need to use original fasteners. I use some simple Aue-ve-co clips for door panels. Mark where your window crank is, and a speaker if adding. Also I am doing the armrest a bit differently, but you may need to mark for that as well. After my template is done, I transfer this to the 1/8 panel board I bought at Lowes. After it is cut out of the 1/8 board, I take it to the door and see how it fits. At this time you could attach it with some sheetmetal screws, or tape it like I did. In the pictures I use upholstery board for examples, but I am using paneling. The where you marked for holes, simply drill a 1/4 hole in each location. Once drilled, I like to remove the board, and drill out the door holes to 5/16 just to aid in later install and removal, but the 1/4 hole in the panel, will help aid in holding the clips. Remember, I'm not showing you how to make an original door panel, so did get all mad about not using original panel clip holes. You can use some of these same techniques to do an original style panel. Once all your holes are drilled, mount the panel and check for fitment, you may need to sand the edges or trim to fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #84
Panels Part 3

I had to make some decisions here as part of the design, one was where the most practical place for a hidden speaker would be without interfering with the window workings. The next was the inner door handle. I will use an original handle, but there are billet handles available at several rodder shops, I just have to get going here. So now that I have my panel made of panelboard 1/8 inch and a little stronger than the black upholstery board. I then take the template I made with chipboard back to the door, and cut out for the inner handle and the speaker. Don't forget the window crank. I cut a big hole out of the latch area, and then take several smaller pieces of chipboard to layout exactly where the inner handle hole will be. I then transfer my measurements to the panelboard. I may install and reinstall this board 5-6 times just to make sure everything is in order before I start to cover with foam and material. I also use a sticky aluminum tape over my clips and some wood glue to help secure the clips, I don't like them popping up, although it won't hurt if they do. I then remove the panel and lay it on a stand and begin designing a pattern I would like to have. Now for this I am looking for a similar to factory look, the speaker will have a punched hole design in the material, and will not be seen. The inset will be pleated if all goes to plan, and it will have a layered look to it. So I need to make a surround for the pleated inner material. I laid out a simple design with a ruler on the panel, and then I copy it onto chipboard. Now I could have covered the panel with foam, and then done this, but either way it is easier to make a template...then you have one for the other side! Here it is so far
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #85
Panels continued

The inner pattern in the last segment I have actually modified further to really incorporate an armrest, so I made these changes. I then cut out of another 1/8 panelboard the new inner pattern. This piece will hold the armrest and surround a pleated panel. I start with a shpe that I again make a template from Chipboard with. This will be the top armrest. I use a 1/2 inch thick plywood or MDF works too. I fasten it to the panel board shape about 1/4 lower than the top of the line, this will allow room for the 1/4 foam. I also leave enough room for the pull handle, in which I made deeper on the inner panel later.
 

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Discussion Starter #86
panels...

I now have everything layed out onto my main panelboard, so I can cover this with 1/4 foam. Remember to lightly sand away the film on the foam, and run a light DA sander over the panel to help adhere the foam. After the foam is attached, I cut out all the access holes and such that are already layed out and trim the foam off the edges. I then lay the wooden pattern over the foam and draw a line around the outside of the wood inner panel. After that, I cut out the line with a razor blade and remove the middle foam. I then lay the inner board inside and check for fitment. The heads of the clips will show through on this stiff foam, but light sanding will level it all out. Now I am ready to work on the arm rest again
 

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Discussion Starter #87
arm rests...

I now sand a beveled edge on the top of the armrest edge to allow the chipboard I will be using to lay flat against the top for the base. I take a large half circle of chipboard and cut several slots to relieve it, and glue it around the base. This will help give it an armrest look-curvey in all the right places. I then do the same inside the pull grab handle. I use two layers on the outside with heavy contact cement to make sure it is strong. Then I take my 3 inch sander and feather edge the chipboard out to blend it all together with the base. Starting to look good, I fit it one last time, and be sure to draw with marker the inner pattern of the inner panel, as I will cover the center portion 1st. May two tone this-not sure yet. After that-all that is left is to cover the inner panel with foam, and sand blend any imperfections out. Put in back in the panel, and its starting to look like a hot rod door panel, just wait until we cover them. You can see that there are a lot of steps, this took me several hours, but the next door is already patterned out, so it will go alot quicker. The next part-the pleated center will require some sewing, but you don't have to do any sewing if you do not wish, its just a look I am going to use on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #88
1st part covered

I covered the first part of the door panels with buckskin ultra leather. You have to look close to see the color, as it blends with the board color, but it looks nice. I will next build the center section and then the armrest section. I still need to punch the speaker holes, and cut the window crank hole. The door is definitly coming together. I glue the material just like the foam, be sure to sand the foam. I then staple the rear with an upholstery grade staple gun, but glue will work as well.
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #89
Sewing troubles

I was having trouble with my sewing machine-turns out it is probably not going to work for my upholstery needs, so my tuck and roll center is going to go with the hard look as well, which is probably better anyways. So I cut another 1/4 piece of foam and sand both sides for gluing purposes. I take the armrest panel and trace the inset opening onto the foam, Then I carefully cut it out. I cut out for the arm rest hole as well. I then fit up the panels to make sure they fit, I taper sand the pocket edge so it will lay nice, and then I glue the surfaces. I keep the armrest panel on the board as a guide to place the foam in the correct spot it needs to go. After it is set up, I take an 1-1/4 ruler and draw lines down the foam in the angle of the front edge. I then take 1/8 green tape, and apply it over the lines. Once set, I cut each side of the tape at a 45 degree with a razor blade. Taking my time, I cut one side, then the other and pull the tape. The foam goes with it and you are left with a nice "V" shaped groove. I then sand in these edges and try to open them up a bit. I do not extend the lines into the pocket of the arm rest-its not really needed. Once I do this, it is time to glue both the foam and the material. I work the material in from left to right, using a dull clean putty knife. The groove may not end up so define, but keep working them, and the overall effect will be nice. Remeber it is the hard look, not the crisp look, you want it to still look soft. Notice the speaker hole cutout, I back it up with some black mesh backing to hide what is behind. Leaves it non-obtrusive and clean. After you applied the material-you can cut out for the door handle...you can clean cut it, or cut it as an X, and then pull the material in as I did. It may be easier to cut the door handle hole first, before laying out the material, I did it backwards-oops.
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #90
Final part of lower panel

The last step involved is coving the arm rest panel, and then securing it to the door panel. Some stretching with be required here to wrap around the arm rest. The grain will open up on the material here, but thats the way it goes. I use a Senco staple gun with 3/16 deep staples. This is an air powered gun, and it definitly saves time and makes for a permanent fix. I use it to staple the material to the back of the panels, and the staples are short enough to not penetrate the top surfaces. Once the arm rest panel has been covered, I use 1/4 long staples, and secure it to the main panel. I will staple it several times, using pressure to mated both panels. The finished result is a nice looking custom panel. I am really pleased of how the project turned out. I still have to cover the top rest, but will picture that later. Now I have a hot Rod looking panel that isn't too over the top, and I can make the rear blend into these. I am actually pretty impresses myself of the overall change from point A to B I think this will give the customer exactly what they wanted, nothing exotic, everything hidden, but fairly stock looking. Anyways the panel really isn't that much heavier either. It is for the most part 3/8 thick, with the thickest part being the arm rest panel at 1/2 inch. Now that sounds thick, but it is only in the surround, and the panels seem to fit comfortably. I will paint the door handle bezel and window crank to match, but will leave the insert to the handle black as well as the know to the crank. I Have to think about the chrome bezel, but feel painted to match would look the best. I hope you all like the look of the panels, this is just another way of doing them, not the easiest or quickest, but I haven't seen too many out there that I feel compares.
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #91
Workin the back

I now began working the rear panels and the A/C hookup. I had to incorporate all the wiring for the radio, and amp, antenna and A/C to all fit on the rear panel and be removable, so everything gets disconnects and such. The wiring really starts to add up, especially when weatherpaking the connections. The rear door panel is started and I have the 1st step of foam on it. I will be making some Side wheel well covers that hopefully can fit some a/c vents. I got the hoses for the A/C all routed under the rear deck and such, so it will all get hidden-makes it tough though. Lots of little things, and need to start the console as well.
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #92
Top of door panel and rear area

I decided I better get the top of the passenger door panel finished as well as the passenger side. This takes forever-first you have to wait for the adhesive to dry, and cut out patterns and such, I also am finishing up the rear door panel and started making the rear wheel well arch covers. Instead of covering the arches like they did in the factory, I wanted to box these in. Also I think I may incorporate a vent for the A/C in each side, I should have just enough room for a long oval vent to fit between the gap of the cover and the wheel well. I still have to install the door lock bezel.
 

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Discussion Starter #93
More of passenger side

Now the factory rear panels had material that wrapped around the door jamb area and was secured by the door rubber. So I simply staple a strip of material to the back of the rear panel for glueing later. Also the upper arm rest part of the rear panel tucked under the window rubber, so some steps have to be taken to make the top and make it effective. I will cover the rear area between the curtain and the rear panel with matching material as well. The curtain isn't quite buttoned down yet, but I wanted all the panels in to layout the wheel well cover. So the passenger side is pretty much done, now I can remake the panels for the driver's side and begin the console. Its a shame the seat belt in the rear will cover a lot of the rear panel, but safety first. The console I will start with 5/16 brake tubing. All I want to do is use the tubing to bend out the top two edges, then I will make chipboard patterns and box it all in, leaving rounded edges instead of sharp edges. More on that later. I also mounted the condensor and I am doing some plumbing. The condensor is from a BMW, and it is small enough I can still take out the battery from the top. I just have to cut off some extra brackets
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #94
One off console

I am going with a similar setup to the dealer installed A/C units, with the hollow console idea. Though I will be cutting a hole into the rear platform to where the ducts from the rear are going to enter, so if I could have found a good ARA console, I still would have to of modified it to work. It was quite an undertaking to build this simple thing. I started the Dallas Mize method and used some Foam to build up a mold. I then carved out the basic shape and taped over it with something the fiberglass wouldn't stick to. Also used a little vegetable spray here just in case. I then had to strengthen it and make it fit better. It would have been another page added to this on the how too, and honestly it is going to be a one off piece, so no point making duplicates, although a better mold could be made now Off a finished product. It would cost a bit for the mold though, and I am doing some universal stuff here anyways. So I finally smoothed it all out, and have primed it with a buff color heavy fill primer. It will get a textured finish and it will be black. The radio control will mount in the front of the unit with some vents, and the a/c control will mount on the reverse angled area. It doesn't look that straight and semetrical out of the car, but inside the car it looks pretty good. The controls will angle slightly towards the driver. Here are some pics, sorry about the cludder in the interior-work in progress.
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #95
Console complete

I finished the console, by using a 3M chip gaurd, and then a satin trim black from Dupont. The controls are mounted and I carpeted the extra stuff to makeit a permanent fixture for now, and get this interior done. Actually I finished up the wiring for the A/C inside and extra little things I have been meaning to do. I think the console looks pretty good, and I may make a black cover for the radio control with an Opel emblem just to hide any fancy stuff.
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #96
Back in action

I am now back into the swing on finishing this project. Expected to be finished in July. Anyways, I have been hammering down on it trying to get the loose ends finished. First off is to finish off the interior and get the wiring complete so I can run in the engine. So here is the seats and the driver's panel coming together.
 

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Discussion Starter #97
Belt routing and the whole radiator

Routing the belts and such for the A/C installation. The aluminum radiator is placed, and I am fitting the lower hose with aluminum adapter. I am not too crazy of the lower aluminum hose nipple, as it does put the hose close to the oil filter, But I managed there. Just some pics of it going together
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #98
I made some headway finishing off the little things of my list. I have to get the car done by next month. The rear interior is completed. I recessed the speakers and the holes in the rear curtain are for the air intake of the A/C unit. I will be working on the instrument panel next and try to look at starting the car soon. Seat belts are installed and the cables for headlights and speedo are run. Put on part of the exhaust and tiedd up a few loose ends underneath
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #99
Foglight and headlight install

I have installed the cleaned up headlight mechanisms and the headlight parts, but must install the foglights and wire them up first. Had to make my a/c compressor more adjustable as well. Here is a quick pic of the driver side
Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #100
Headlights...slowly but surely

Finished up the fog light install, so I could now install the headlight buckets. Going pretty good, just need to adjust the timing. The driver's side will come back out due to I will need to slot the back holes slightly to get it down in the top. I wetsanded these, but desided to polish on the car so at least something can hold them still while I do this. Thats why they look a little dull. I want to have all the electrical in place for the big start up.
Keith
 

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