My 81 - The Green Dream

Discussion in 'Project Progress' started by RickM, Mar 15, 2021.

  1. RickM

    RickM Veteran Member

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    I said it once and I'll say it again, nothing is easy on my car!
    Back on the car this week and I went to install the new front 3 point seat belts from Morris Classic. The belts are really nice and I installed the rear pieces with no problems. But the front, well not so fast.

    First problem was the electrical connection on the drivers side for the fasten seat belt warning light. The connector was wrong, luckily I still had my old belts and was able to cut off the old correct connector and crimp it on. I image the connector, like a lot of things changed in 81. But no big deal here is pic of what I am talking about
    IMG_3655.JPG

    Ok now that that is done lets bolt it in, NOT. The 81 uses metric bolts for the seat belts, the new belts come with replacements for the front seats but they are SAE and wont work. Here is a pic of the original against the bolts that come with the belts as you can see the original bolts have a shoulder.
    IMG_3654.JPG

    No problem I'll just use the original bolts, again NOT. The original bolt having a shoulder will not fit through the new seat belt attaching hole (Pic is after the hole was enlarged you can see it is not so round anymore)
    BoltHole.jpg

    OK no problem after measuring I need to enlarge the hole about .05 inches, how hard can it be? So I pull out the step drill and start. The step drill does nothing. I tried a grinding wheel on the dremel, nothing. WTF? Turns out this is hardened steel you cant drill it unless you have some special drill bits and equipment that I dont have. So after doing some research seems you can grind hardened steel with the right bit, tungsten carbide. So off to home depot to buy a tungsten carbide bit for the dremel $9.00 later I have this
    Untitled.jpg

    This worked took about 5 minutes to do both sides now the shoulder bolt fits.
    IMG_3658.JPG

    I'll bolt them in later for now I am starting with upholstery work for the drivers side. First row of hog rings are in on the seat bun this is tough work for me I'll be glad when they are done because that will be the end of my upholstery career.
    IMG_3659.JPG

    Yup, nothing is easy on my car. If you have an 81 and are thinking about new seat belts hope this helps.
    RickM
     
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  2. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Good info!
    I wonder if my 80 has metric bolts in those positions? o_O
    Anytime I've had to undo seats belt bolts, I've reused them and never needed to look at the thread size/pitch.

    Good luck on the upholstery project.
    You are detailed enough that I'm sure it will look great when you're done.

    With a little luck you won't have to redo any of it to be satisfied with the result. <fingers crossed>
     
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  3. RickM

    RickM Veteran Member

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    I went to put these braces on today, the assembly manual calls them front braces to front crossmember. This is one of them. I only got one installed, kind of a pain but I did it without jacking the car up.


    IMG_3666[1].JPG
    Here it is installed on the drivers side
    IMG_3667[1].JPG

    Seems like some guys don't put these back on, any reason why? They must serve some purpose.
    Regardless, I am trying to keep the car pretty much stock so I'll put them on.
    Back to the front seat upholstery :(
    Rick
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  4. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Um... I think that's the driver's side. I see an oil filter. ;)

    Some headers don't allow them to fit back into place.

    I took my braces off when I installed headers but never actually checked to see if they would fit once the installation was done.
    They are still in my garage... Someplace. :oops:
     
  5. RickM

    RickM Veteran Member

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    You are correct, I fixed the post, (Drivers side), good eye. Yea I didn't think about headers, that makes sense.
    Kind of an interesting part, I wonder when they started putting this on our cars, maybe they realized some defect that needed shoring up?
     
  6. RickM

    RickM Veteran Member

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    Back on the car in the sweltering heat and humidity. I am working on the rear of the car and even though the car is in the garage working on the back of the car keeps me outside of the garage in the direct sun. Its freaking hot.

    I figured putting the rear harness back in would be a pleasure, what could go wrong? Well first of all I realized the gas gauge was not working after I connected it, I finally got it working, if you are interested read this link https://nastyz28.com/threads/fuel-sender-is-this-possible.336351/.

    Here is the harness installed
    IMG_3676.JPG

    After I got that sorted out I went to install the rear lights. I quickly realized the bumper needed to come down because the lower tail light to body gasket was not sitting on top of the bumper, it was getting squished between the bumper and tail panel

    Gasket.jpg
    I found that the bumper was already as low as it would go but I need to drop it about another 1/8 to 1/4 inch to get the gasket to lay down correctly.
    What a pain, I had to grind/cut the bumper mounting holes as you can see in the picture. I replaced the tail panel and trunk pan and somehow the upper mounting holes were off. I am sure I did it since I am no body man. I am a total novice but jumped in head first and did the work anyway, it only took me 2 summers to complete the tail pan and trunk.

    Here is what I found years ago when taking the car apart the tail panel area was rotten, I also had to fix the cross rail since new ones were not available, (now they are).

    img05242020_003.jpg
    Here it is after I got it off, they are a lot of work to replace.
    img05252020_004.jpg


    Pretty ugly work but it had to be done. Luckily the sealing washers still cover the holes and yes I will be putting strip caulk around there also. Here is the passenger side I had to do the same to the drivers side.

    IMG_3686.JPG

    Now the tail light gaskets fit, hopefully as they bake in the sun they will conform a little better, I also managed to get the fuel door on lined up pretty good.

    IMG_3688.JPG

    IMG_3687.JPG

    Mine is just a plain jane coupe but it is coming along slowly. Next is the roof rail and upper weatherstrip followed by the spoiler and side mirrors.

    My painter never painted the mirrors, spoiler, or trunk filler panel (Covers the trunk tension rods) parts so I am going to try and do it myself. This is another story for another day though.

    BTW I forgot to mention I must have removed and installed the rear bumper 10 times before I got it right. My 64 year old back cant take much more.

    As I have said already, nothing is easy on my car.

    RickM
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021
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  7. ruthlessz28

    ruthlessz28 Veteran Member

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    I got to say yours today looks like mine did 25yrs ago. almost the same green with black interior. one day ill get mine looking good again. great build. keep it up
     
  8. RickM

    RickM Veteran Member

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    Started the drip rail install today. There needs to be some kind of sealer/putty in between the body and the drip rail. Seems like most guys are using the Gardner Bender stuff or the 3M strip caulk. It seems to me that laying down an even smooth coat of either product would be a real pain so I ended up going with a roll of putty tape. Bought it on Amazon for about $15.00. It seems to have the same consistency of the original stuff. One roll is more than enough to do the car, in fact it could probably do 10 cars.
    IMG_3697.JPG

    A big help that I read on the Amazon comments is to put the roll of putty in the refrigerator overnight before you use it. Supposedly the backing tape will come off a lot easier. Seems to work, I had no problem getting the backing off
    IMG_3702.JPG
    Before getting started I taped the edges hoping to avoid paint damage
    IMG_3695.JPG
    I then put in the 2 screws that hold the rail before laying down the putty so that I could find the screw holes after laying down the putty
    IMG_3694.JPG

    Lay down the putty over top the screws and then remove the screws so that you could easily find the screw holes
    IMG_3704.JPG

    Then put the drip rail on, the putty kind of squishes out nicely when you tighten down the screws.

    IMG_3708.JPG

    Hard to see against the green background put here it is
    IMG_3714.JPG
    I only did the vertical piece today so I could get the hang of working with the putty. This vertical piece is the original drip rail not the best looking. I bought new ones for the top of the body. Hopefully I can get that installed without scratching the paint. Then on to the weatherstrip gutters

    RickM
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
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  9. Lars_2Gen

    Lars_2Gen Veteran Member

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    Great job. Can you post a link to the stuff you used. About to do this job myself.
     
  10. RickM

    RickM Veteran Member

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