July 19, 2013

Hella 90mm Projector Driving Light Mod on 2012 Camaro Convertible (ZL1)

The factory daytime run lights (DRL) offer little light for driving purposes. I looked at possibly upgrading them with LED, but that is mostly just color/looks and would not help much for illuminating the road. Additionally, I like the way projectors look in the front vs the bland / cheap factory DRLs.

So as a part of my ZL1 front end conversion, I set off to upgrade to projectors. This is no small mod, it requires proper cutting and drilling of the factory ZL1 bumper cover.  AAC offers a 90mm hella (http://www.automotivelightstore.com/CamaroFogKit.aspx) upgrade kit with HID that runs about 350$.

I picked up 4300k slim ballast 35 watt H7 HID kit (http://www.lightinthebox.com/h7-hid-xenon-kit-with-thin-ballast-35w-ht001_p239928.html) for 69$ and two hella 90mm projectors (http://www.amazon.com/HELLA-008193027-Series-Halogen-Headlamp/dp/B00062ZYNK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1374246557&sr=8-2&keywords=hella+90mm) for 61$ a piece.

Outside of a couple o-rings and relays, it puts me at about 191$ for the upgrade. 200$ for HID projector DRLs got two thumbs up from me.

So, the task is to make this:

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Look like this:

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The HID bulbs won’t be using the H7 twist locks.

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I yanked the H7 bulbs and removed the rear plate from the projector via 3 torx screws.

I then dremeled that part down to the outside radius.

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I left enough of a lip to make the o-ring land for the bulb to seal against.

I then took a piece of 26 gauge steel I had laying around to cut out plates that will be used to seal the bulbs to the light.

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Once I had two plates cut, I then used the rear plate and an awl to etch the main hole and 3 screw hole locations.

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I hit them with black marker to make it more visible to the camera

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I reused the same pilot hole with a smaller hole saw to cut the center hole for the power wires of the bulb to go through.

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I spray painted the plates with a coat of primer on the front and back.

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Then after they dried, I put a 15/16ths inch I.D. o-ring around the base of the HID bulb. (careful not to touch the bulb, oils and dirt will shorten the life)

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The fixture’s back plate goes on the fixture, followed by the bulb, then the new retaining plate and then it all gets screwed down. I had to use longer stainless steel screws, due to the added length.

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all screwed together, it tightens the o-ring and seals the bulb.

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Finally, the rubber seal is cut down on the pigtail, removing the H7 pigtail and only leaving a piece to silicone to the HID bulb base.

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The factory bumper has to be cut to facilitate the hella fixture.

The cut-out is important to conform to the black base of the light, as it will be the primary orientation and support method. Particularly important are these indexing triangles.

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Carefully, test fit, cut and re-test until I got the right depth to allow three key things: 1: The top of the glass lens to just rest against the black light fascia

2: The unit to rest at the bottom of the bumper cover, like a cradle.

3: The unit to stay level with the ground [using the 4 black tabs that form a square to gauge the angle.

Start with this:

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Watch the triangle indexes on the black base

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The outside corner adjustment hole should JUST overlap the corner of the bumper cover. This is critical.

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Once things are trimmed, the front black fascia is removed from the front bumper cover to allow drilling without damage. 3 holes must be drilled in the bumper cover to either zip-tie or mount support springs to the 3 orange mount holes on the fixture. (you can see one in the photo above.)

Additionally, 2 holes must be aligned and drilled with the two big adjustment holes in the bottom side of the black base of the fixture. These will have the be the right size to allow the black inserts from the adjuster screws to fit.

The hella kit uses up to three screws to adjust the light angles.

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Once the holes are marked and drilled, this is the result.

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and with the adjustment clips installed

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The adjuster screws were inserted into the fixtures and bases of the screws rotated to the “locked” position.

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The front black light fascia was re-installed to the bumper cover.

I used zip-ties, some people may want to be romantic and use stainless tension springs to the holes. Meh.  So, zip-ties were used to tension the light to the bumper cover. (not crazy tight but not loose that would allow vibrations under road trauma) Only enough play has to remain to allow minor adjustments with the screws.

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Adjusters, in the hole.

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The HID ballasts were all plugged in and mounted to the bracket, which I bent the tab and screwed to the top of the light installation area.  Then zip-tied the cables together. (Note, I hope there is is enough room to clear when installed on the car, I did not check this yet.)

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Installed, the front looks like this:

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July 8, 2013

Speaker replacement in 2012 Camaro Convertible

It is generally accepted, at least by me, that the factory sound system in the Camaro is sub-par. The speakers are cheap, too small and the amp is also sub-par.

I did a lot of reading on the forums and internets to see what all people had done to come up with a plan and… well, make it a bit more ‘me’.

Subwoofer update:

I already covered the subwoofer installation in a previous article.  I’m not real happy with the Comp-D that is in there, it felt cheaper than I wanted, but sounded better than factory.  I stuck with it because I knew it would fit, as others have used it. *sigh* I have a new sub on order in hopes to remedy this issue. [comp-d 40CWD104 was like 86.2dB Sensitivity, new sub is 93dB Sensitivity with the same rated power handling]

For those at home chewing popcorn, 3dB increase = roughly 2x as powerful, however a 10dB increase “sounds” about twice as loud to the human ear. So, by getting a more efficient speaker it makes better use of the same power from the amp. In this case, I hope it should sound about 70% better.

Center Channel speaker:

The factory has a center channel that is powered by a horribly small (smaller than the rears on the convertible) 3″ shallow speaker.  This is a WIP, getting center channel sound from stereo L&R is a horribly huge debate but I will cover the installation of the actual speaker here.

I had a choice to heat up and drop the factory air duct that the center channel speaker rests upon or build up a little bit, as there is no reasonable driver (other than some tweeters) that one can fit in this space.  I don’t know what mechanisms may be below the duct and I don’t want to impede airflow, so I opted to go above.  This had another design goal as well, I needed status LEDs for some engine parts and they will fit there.

Center grill removal was uneventful, 4 retaining clips and two clips from the grill in the dash piece.

I made the adapter in two key parts (three sections), the outer trim and the inner stand-offs that raise the new driver just above the air duct and allow it to be screwed in.

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The outer trim was built to allow the 4 retaining clips to be used in the factory locations and thus the factory grill could be re-used. This was covered in vinyl that matches that of the dash.

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The factory grill was worked over the top of a golf ball by hand to allow a dome to facilitate the angled tweeter of the new drivers.

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The factory connectors were salvaged off all of the interior speakers by cutting them free from the plastic frame and then soldering the snapped off metal tabs to wires soldered to the new drivers.  This assured the new speakers were “plug-and-play” to the factory harness.

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Front door speakers:

This was uneventful. Mostly as see here in this person’s YouTube video; ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rmtj81AvKw4  ) There are several write-ups on pulling the factory speakers out. I recommend heating the top of the plastic frame with a hair dryer or low setting heat gun to loosen the glue and then pulling the top of the factory speaker off.  You then cut the supports with the dremel to produce a nice mount for your 6.5″ speaker. I did make a small notch above the door mounting tab, to allow the speaker wires to go through to the crossover.

The front tweeters involved using the dremel to clear part of the factory mounting circle within the tweeter cover to accept the new tweeter. I used rubber weather strip around and behind the tweeter to allow it to fit securely. The factory wiring harness was not used for the tweeter and the replacement tweeter was wired directly to the crossover.

The crossover was mounted with 3M trim tape on the front portion of the interior door panel.

 

Rear Speakers:

This, was not easy.  The factory uses 3″ speakers here within a plastic inner panel that is made to fit that speaker size.  The factory speaker sits within a stamped area of the side panel steel.  There is room here but the issue is clearance to the top, without cutting steel.  So, your option is to go out and up, within the outer plastic door panel to mount a 5.25″, use a 3″ aftermarket driver and “HOPE” that the tweeter clears the outer panel.

I did a few things with this panel that were unique, so you can expect someone to copy this and sell it shortly without giving me credit or compensation. ;o)

The most complicated aspects for my design criteria were to replicate a silver panel that looks like the front door panels and integrate a rear ABL lighting swoop that followed that curve on the top, similar to the fronts.

I got to try my hand at vacuum forming acrylic in a rather large size.  That was fun and had a few lessons along the way.

I mounted my 5.25″ drivers into the factory steel pocket by hacking a circle out with the dremel between the front panel clip areas. Then I formed an MDF adapter plate that was bolted into the bottom of the factory location for the bottom speaker screws and the tops were bolted directly into the top panel steel.  There was room there and it did not conflict with the convertible top mechanism but one should be careful to avoid it. 😉

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To make a panel:

The factory panel was placed within a garbage bag to prevent contamination.  I used a deflator pump to suck the air out of the bag and then tie it off.

EDIT: I found that it is FAR easier to eliminate wrinkles here than later. :/

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With that done, I made two stiff box the size of the panels. This was used to hold the plaster of paris mix that was used.

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I mixed the plaster up with a drill and a jug of water in a trash can. Once you start, you don’t have much time before it sets.

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Once mixed, the mixture was tossed in the box, followed quickly by the panels. I moved them in a slight circular motion to try to eliminate air bubbles under the surface and assured that the panel did not flex out of shape.

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Repeated for 2nd panel.

In a few minutes, I used a chisel to tap/cut away any plaster that overlapped the back of the OEM plastic panels.

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After the edges were clear, I pulled the panels out and threw away the bags.

Here is what I was left with;

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Now I unscrewed the edges of the boxes, so I was left with the single backboard and the plaster.

Next, I used several coats of bondo to create a raised edge along the factory “swoop” indention as well as to fill in any surface irregularities.

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This was allowed to dry and then was sanded down / shaped.

EDIT: After making my first attempt, I didn’t realize how much surface detail would be picked up. so I had to go back and re-sand the molds with spotting glaze and do a better job at sanding. I also cut back the edges of the mold and made sure the edges were all smooth.

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I did not have an “oven” large enough to heat a sheet this big.  Wind did not cooperate, either. But I did the best with what I could use.

I made a vacuum forming platform by 3 layers of heavy MDF caulked together and secured by screws. The top layer has holes in the top and the bottom has an attachment to the big shop-vac hose. This was suspended on top of two saw horses. Through this, I inserted two long carriage bolts for indexing purposes to the top.

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The top was made by two sheets of MDF and 8 carriage bolts with washers and wing nuts. This was used to sandwich the 24″ x 24″ acrylic between and lock it in place.

Now I had to make an oven to bring the plastic up to temperature.

I originally tried just an 800W IR space heater.  Not enough heat.

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I lined the inside of my patio fire-pit with aluminum foil to reflect heat and reduce air. Still not enough heat.

I used the electric element from a smoker on the bottom and the 800W heater on the top and that worked.

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Heat (even heat) is absolutely critical here.  Over heating the panel causes cracking, under heating makes it too stiff to form properly.

I then positioned the mold on the vacuum surface, heated plastic, hit the vacuum and pushed the carrier over the top.

I wound up with this:

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I used the dremel to cut the basic shape out from the sheet.

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EDIT: again, I found out through messing up one piece.  In sanding or cutting the acrylic, don’t over heat the edges, take your time or it will develop a lot of small edge cracks.

This is the cut form, overlaid on the OEM panel.

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Fast forward, I cut openings for the new speaker grills and adjusted those to fit.  I painted the insides of the panels silver (well, medium titanium metallic)

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I cut the same location from the OEM outside panel.

Then I rolled a lip around the edge of the speaker grill and used RTV to attach the grill into place.

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I let this cure over night.

Now for the light pipe, I attached my LED to the light pipe, drilled two 1/16″ holes for the LED wires to come through to the back. The light pipe was glued along the “swoop” recess with clear RTV.

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This was left to cure over night.

I used a caulk gun tube of GREY RTV to adhere the acrylic to the OEM panel (after washing them both down with plastic part surface prep to remove any oils.)

EDIT: I painted the inside of the acrylic panels and the adhesive discolored the metallic of the paint. So I will be painting the outside and shooting clear coat. (except for the light pipe).

I used some weights and tape along the edges to hold the two together and aligned while curing.

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Once this was secure, I separated the acrylic from the light pipe just slightly and used clear silicone to run a bead.  This was smoothed off on the outside.

This was let cure over night.

Finally, power was soldered in place with standard ABL connectors and a dynaohm between the loop of the two panels.  This was extended to the normal car ABL circuit in the door panels. (located within the kick panel).

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This photo is bad, the swoop goes the whole way along the panel but it did not show up. some night I will retake the photo with a better camera.

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July 6, 2013

ZL1 side rocker puddle lights

So the ZL1 side rockers came in today. +1 for RPI Designs (http://www.rpidesigns.com/shop/), they included all the various clips and the paint job looks great.

I modified the side rockers to now include four puddle lights a piece and tied them into the dome light circuit.

To create the puddle lights, I used;

Two 1$ cutting boards from WallyWorld. (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Paddle-Cutting-Board/17617561)
A pack of silicone RTV. (http://www.permatex.com/products/product-categories/adhesives-sealants/sealants/permatex–clear-rtv-silicone-adhesive-sealant-detail)
A tube of pure silicone from WallyWorld. (http://www.walmart.com/ip/All-Purpose-Silicone-Sealant/17163383)
Some aluminum tape. (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Nashua-Tape-322-1-57-64-in-x-50-yds-Aluminum-Foil-Tape-3220020500/100030120)
Some spare intercom wire. (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062655)
An old expired credit card (or gift card).
1/2″ heat shrink tube
Cut LED light strips from the interior light kit. (http://www.phastekperformance.com/2010-2011-Camaro-Footwell-Ambient-Light-LED-p/phastek-camaro-abl-ftwl-led.htm) (More on this below)

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Starting from the front of the side rocker, I marked four lines on the inside of the rockers, at 16″, 32″, 48″, and 64″ with a black Sharpie. These are my center lines.

On the cutting boards, I trace the credit card to make 8 outlines with a black Sharpie.

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On the credit card, I draw a 1/2″ boarder inside the charge card edges with a black Sharpie to make a smaller square. This is cut out with a dremel to make the cut template for the side rockers.

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With the inside removed from the charge card, the card is centered on the previously marked center lines and the outside edge of the charge card is aligned with the curve of the side of the side rocker. The Sharpie is used to trace the square previously made inside of the charge card. Repeated for all 8 windows.

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The dremel is used to cut the windows out of the cutting board and the inner windows from the side rockers.

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The edges are deburred. From all parts using Sandpaper, razor blade or dremel.

I cut my interior light strips. I only used two sections (one segment on left, one on right) per seat area as they were very bright. This left 8 potential segments for something else.

There are cut marks on the LED strips from the manufacturing. Each cut line has two copper solder spots to attach wire. You just have to carefully trim the silicon top off of the contacts but not the LED area. This was done on all 8 pieces.

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Each of the 8 windows previously cut on the zl1 side rocker were roughed with 80 grit sand paper on the inside.

Each of the 8 windows cut from the cutting board had a bead of silicone RTV drawn around the perimeter, then attached over the window on the side rocker.

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The process for the led strips is as such;

Take a length of wire (I used about 8′). Solder to one side of the first led strip. Take 1″ of heat shrink and shrink it over the wire and led strip, careful not to cover the actual LED. Now draw a big bead of silicone rtv over the LED strip and heat shrink.  Center this over the last (furthest from door hinge) window and mash it down. Now flatten the LED down to window and draw your finger around the perimeter to make sure the excess RTV forms a good air-free layer around and below the LED strip.

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Now measure the length to the next LED strip, cut the wire, and solder to the led strip. Slide another 1″ piece of heat shrink over and secure.  Now solder the remaining length to the next terminals on the other side of the LED strip. Heat shrink that side. Add a big bead of RTV to LED strip and attach/run finger again. Repeat this for the final 2 LED strips on the side rocker, then repeat whole process for the other side rocker.

Let the RTV cure overnight.

Here is what it looks like, lit up.  The next step will block the light as well as reflect more of it down to the ground.

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Take the tube of silicone and squirt a whole layer over the entire LED strip and window assembly, making sure to get in and around the heat shrink tube, as well as the edges of the window and covering the assembly.

Place several lengths of aluminum tape over the silicone, covering all of the LED and window assembly. This will act as a reflector as well as use the silicone for waterproofing. Do this for all windows.

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Let cure at least over night.

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I used the dremel to make a small notch where the rocker will meet the car, just below the front corner of the door sill protector. This allowed the power wire to route under the door sill without being pinched.

Ground went to an interior bolt and power went to the grey wire coming from the end grey connector of the BCM behind the brake pedal.

ZL1 Side Rocker Puddle Lights Video

June 27, 2013

Extending the range on Hampton Bay Wireless Ceiling Fan Controller (Battery Operated)

Before I start, let me say that there are a number of these types of products out there. Some of them connect to the A/C power and provide switch cut-off.  This mod is not about those. 😉

So there are several battery operated ceiling fan controllers available that fit the normal decor rectangular wall plates.  Several of them operate on 9v or 12v batteries.  I have a few that operate on the 9v type.  I placed some low-voltage gang plates on the walls to add additional fan controls in some key positions that were not the actual switch. (such as by the bed, where that seems obviously convenient.)

The problem I found was that operation was intermittent, especially if your arm or hand was in the wrong place between the unit and the fan or the battery was getting low. So I decided to mod them to fix this.

I hit up amazon.com and picked up a pair of external wifi antennas. They were cheap, like 5-10$ for the pair.

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I unscrewed the case shell, via two screws and separated the front face plate from the rear circuit board.

I trimmed the wire on the antenna to a shorter length.

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I located the antenna trace on the circuit board. (usually the long L or F looking trace along the perimeter.) Using my trusty 3m sanding pen, I sanded away the protective coating on an accessible part.

Then I trimmed back the insulation jacket and shield wire about 7mm and the insulation from the antenna a few mm.

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I soldered the antenna lead to the trace on the motherboard.

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Then I cut a notch in the rear casing to allow the antenna wire through.

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Now I just buttoned the two halves back together and shoved the antenna up the wall over top of the remote controller.

Wala! Works much more consistently.

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June 25, 2013

Subwoofer installation on 2012 Camaro Convertible

I’m going to fragment up various parts of fixing the stereo in this car.  I wish they just had a “real” premium sound system from the factory so I wouldn’t have to deal with it nor have the liability of theft. But, I digress.  This article covers the way I chose to replace the stock subwoofer in the Camaro and my principles for why I did it this way.

The stock sub hardly moves, causing a dampening of low frequencies that boarder-line clips low end. But, if it did move (even the little it does)…  it is in a free-air chamber. the sub fires through a port between the seat cushion, yet the back of the sub is in a big metal chamber with holes in the front, tops, sides and back.  All of which, in the convertible, are also within the interior compartment. That is right, behind that structure is the inside where the convertible top tucks. This is bad, as all the sound waves from the back of the sub get pushed (delayed and reflected) back into the interior to mess with all the sound waves making a muddled mess rather than the one sound source you want.

JL audio has a stealth enclosure that works to defeat this issue a bit (at the cost of already rare trunk space) by placing two tens that fire in the trunk and use a port that goes through the rear wall carpet and stops at the port between the seats.  This is better… but it still has a number of air channels pounding bass waves A; the port pushes pressure waves B: the subs in the trunk make every other air opening between the trunk and the interior cabin pound waves. Oh, and they want ~900$ plus you get to cut the rear carpet and liners up a lot.

So, I took a cheaper and, in my mind, a better approach. I sealed up the left two thirds of the area behind the seat with tape, filled the other 1/3 with poly batting, then lined the 2/3 side with expanding foam sealant to prevent serious air movement.  This “kind of” gives me a sealed enclosure and should seriously assist in deadening rogue sound waves.

Incidentally, in retrospect, the car now has considerably less road noise from the rear of the car. I was a little depressed that i don’t hear the exhaust note as well as I once did. So, it does help block rogue sound transmission.

Here is the factory location:

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Love those holes! How about the inside looking at the side?

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Taping up the inside (that foam is sticky/expanding)

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I cut a plexiglass panel and used noise batting above to protect the control box.

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Poly batting filled the drivers side (which left access to the harness, including battery cables etc.)

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Now sealed up behind tape

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After the rear and sides were taped up over all connector ends, clips, and holes I applied the carefully controlled layer of Great Stuff expanding foam sealant to the rear and sides.  The front will be done after, so that we can maintain access. 🙂

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Then the front gets a light coat, followed by a protective wax paper piece.

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I let it sit a little while and cure.  Then after it is no longer sticky, I used my finger tips to carve / peel pieces out that over expanded. This left me with a nice sealed area.  Note: I didn’t make it perfect, frankly, odd textures will help disperse sound waves better than flat.

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Wala… now for the speaker.

The factory sub uses two voice coils, so it has two pairs of wires going to it.  They are plenty big for the power I’ll be pushing, this isn’t trying liquify my spinal cord.  What I did was salvage the connector from the factory speaker, took both positives together and both negatives together. I can do this because I am NOT keeping the factory Boston Acoustics amp.  This will give me twice the wire size of a single pair to my new mono subwoofer amp channel. (rocket science there).  I then attached that to the paralleled dual voice coils on the new kicker subwoofer (two 4 ohm in parallel is 2 ohm load, for the amp, perfect.)

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Well, crap. The adapter board I picked up has an air gap. Probably should have just rebuilt the factory metal plate from the original sub.

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So, rubber to the rescue!

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Now, connect to the factory harness and screw!

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UPDATE: The kicker sub was disappointing. I should have known better. It had a low sensitivity rating.  I replaced it with another driver that fits the space, has the same power rating and should sound (it does) about 70% louder, as it is more efficient.

I removed the MDF panel and used the factory metal bracket, drilled for the new mounting. The reason that I did this, is that the plastic port in the back of the seat is intended to seal / conform to that exact contour.

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June 25, 2013

Camaro stock Backup/Reverse Light LED upgrade

LoPerformance Motorsports posted the basis of this information in the camaro5.com forums.

http://www.camaro5.com/forums/showthread.php?t=229051

While installing the Havoc rear diffuser, I had to remove the rear bumper. So, I did a reverse light swap and license plate bulb swap while in the process.  While this is not as sexy as swapping in the full (and $$$) aftermarket units, it offers a balance between “better than stock” and still allows stock replacements.

My effort was about the same as in the above article. However, I used two of these in the swap: http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/miniature-wedge-base/194-led-bulb-18-smd-led-wedge-base-tower/397/ for the reverse lights. Using this wider bulb, required trimming the inner lip of the reverse light housing for the LED to fit but, otherwise it was the same.

1: I straightened the wires to remove the white stand-off from the LED base by carefully “wiggling” it out and use the help of a flat blade screw driver for some direct leverage.

2: I removed the factory phillips round bulb from it’s base by carefully “wiggling it” out.

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3: I used the dremmel to shave the lip of the round bulb base down to the height of the wire guides.

4: I used a 1/16″ drill to widen the electrode holes in the round bulb base.

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5: I used the dremmel to remove the very inner inside lip from the reverse light cups, careful to leave the locking and mounting surfaces in place.

6: I clipped about 3mm off the electrodes on the LED base. (not required if you don’t want the socket to fully lock into place. :/ )

7: I placed a half dab of silicone adhesive on each side of the original bulb base, careful to keep it clear of the electrode holes, then inserted the LED bulb. (I tested the bulb and it was not polarized like some LEDs, so it would not matter + or – orientation.

8: Inserted the new bulb combo into the factory harness, assuring the LED stays inserted fully.

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9: Attached back into reverse light cups.

License plate LEDs were easier, I purchased two of these:

http://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/miniature-wedge-base/194-led-bulb-5-smd-led-wide-angle-wedge-base/206/

This can be done with the bumper on the car. You just push the black lens release clip in, fold down and remove the lens.  Remove old bulb. Insert new bulb. Replace lens opposite of removal. Wala.

June 23, 2013

Rear Air Diffuser on Camaro

Earlier in the week I finished painting the rear air diffuser and had to wait for the superbrightleds.com LEDs to come in, so I could do all of the work with the bumper removed once.

I also fixed the installation of the ZL1 rear mud flaps. I had put them on the outside of the wheel well liner vs. Inside. (No instructions provided). -1 point for the guy I ordered from.

I will make a post on the lights later.

Bumper removal was easy. 3 screws and one 7mm bolt per wheel well. 3 body clips per panel above tail light. Snap side outward and pull back. Support with a box. Repeat for other side. Drop on the carpet you placed underneath to keep from damaging the paint. 😉

Doing this one man in the sun wasn’t great.

I mis-read the instructions and thought the “four silver clips” to install for the inner and outer tabs were the four recovered from the stock diffuser. I’m trying to figure out how the f they are going to be flush with the top of the tabs. So I made holes in the tabs and screwed them in. Well… they were supposed to be shallow silver push clips… sufffice to say it won’t be coming off on it’s own easily.

Fortunately I had 4 spare silver screw clips from cutting out the rear speaker locations earlier.

Mating of the diffuser to the bumper was uneventful, but would go faster with two men.

One man, you get the tabs aligned. Anchor the big tab with the black push clip, then work from the middle to that end with the silver push clips. Just make sure the next 2-3 tabs on either side of the one you are going to push on are in the holes and not misaligned. Rinse and repeat the other side. I did the other side’s big black tab last, it was easier. Now repush the clips to assure firm seating. Then snap the support in-place, screw 4 bolts into the 4 recovered silver clips.

Now at this time, I attached the zl1 rear mudflaps. (Incidentally, they go behind the wheel well lining.) Added a medium and small aluminum pop rivet to each flap and the bumper cover and then….

zl1mudflap rivets

Drilled a hole between the zl1 flap and the front leg of the diffuser, using the hole in the zl1 flap and aligning the “hang” of the diffuser. I then added a silver screw clip to the diffuser side and screwed the flap to the diffuser. I was happy, it looked like they were made for each other and the mutual support structure is great!!

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June 23, 2013

Home Depot Husky portable air compressor repair.

Had it for less than a year and it broke. I drag it with me or use it when I don’t want to run air lines across the house (e.g. in attic when I was adding solar barrier.)

In a poor design, the tank is located in a vibration prone point to the pump, which causes flexing to the aluminum pump line. Eventually this fatigues and snaps.

10mm is close to 3/8’s. So I used acid core solder to braze a 3/8″ pex barb to the 10mm compression ring. Then I cut back the aluminum pipe and added a flair to the end.

Now connected by 3/8″ compressor air line, it will allow flex in operation without fatigue failure. The photos don’t have the hose clamps installed yet but you can see the adjustment.

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A small change that would not have cost much more in manufacturing but would allow the unit to last far longer.

June 21, 2013

Radio installation on Camaro

Tonight I built an RCA panel for the rear of the radio. The double din space is very cramped and my lines will not make the bend without undue work.

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June 21, 2013

Another evening of fun…

My cheapy portable air compressor from the HD broke the aluminum tank line. Awesome. Metric fittings? More delays on my attempts to create custom insert panels on the Camaro.

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