Tuesday, July 14, 2009

American Muscle window banner

I got this window banner to show my love for American Muscle.com. They have helped me out so much. So I ordered up a windshield decal with the intent of putting it on my rear window. Unfortunately for me, when I got it in the mail the decal was beat up pretty bad, but i still wanted to let everyone know where I get my parts from. Parts of the decal were torn and wrinkled up, so when i put it on it sorta looked crappy. But with some careful trimming and rearranging, i was able to make the best of what i had to work with, and now I am happy with it. So check out the results. See if you can tell what I changed, and if you can't...well guess that's good news, lol.

Model Car Update...yes...still working on it

Ok so over the past few days I have been working more on my model 96 Mustang than the real one. I have the body of the car painted as well as some of the decals replicated. I found a set of seats from a 1998 Saleen S351 Mustang Speedster to replace the stock units. They are Recaros and they look sharp! Now I have taken some liberties with this model, things I can't do in real life and some I just can't afford. Take the seats for instance. I love the ProCar seats I have in the real car, but on the model car I painted the Recaros Black and Grey with just a touch of yellow to ditch the "cave" look my car has. I did find a set of wheels that have a similar look to the Bullitt replicas on the real car. The wheels are from a Chevelle Wagon "Cali-Custom Wheels" kit. They are bigger (look more like 18's then 17's, but i really like how they are wider in the back than the front, replicating 9" wide in the front and maybe 10.5" in the rear). Anyways the car, ie model car...lol, is looking great. Oh almost forgot, i added a custom race harness for the driver's seat from a 993 Porsche GT2 model kit.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stack Racing Chrome Gauge Bezels

Over the weekend I installed the chrome gauge trim rings from Stack Racing. It looked simple enough, just remove the gauge cluster then remove the clear plastic housing and just pop the inserts in. Well let me tell you, in my case, not so simple. So here is my installation guide to really get these things to work.

I began by removing the headlamp knob by pulling it into the "on" position. Once it is pulled out all the way rotate the knob until you see the small slit. I released the small clip by using a small flathead screwdriver pushing outward and pulling. Once you have the knob off, don't forget to turn off your lights.

Next step is to remove the two screws on the instrument gauge bezel. In my case, the screws were 7mm. Once those are off, gently pull the bezel straight out. Now you should be looking at just the instrument cluster.

There are four screws, again 7mm, that hold the cluster in place. I like to have a small pen-type magnetic tool next to me while undoing the screws to prevent a screw from falling behind the dash.

Now that the cluster is unbolted, you can pull the cluster out about half way then you need to disconnect the harness connections. There are only two (at least on my '96 GT) and they require no tools, just a little pressure with your fingers. After the connections are undone, remove the cluster from the car and head for the work bench.

Next step is to remove the 8 Torx screws that attach the black plastic with the clear lens from cluster itself. Once all 8 are removed set aside the cluster and have a look at the black surround/clear plastic.

On my car the clear lens does not separate from the black part. This makes it very tough to install the gauge rings. I tried to pup them in with the bezel in one piece, but no go. So the following steps deviate from the Stack Racing install guide.

With my dremel tool in hand with a metal cutting blade attached, separated the clear part from the black part. BE VERY CAREFUL!!! I cannot say that enough, as you do not want to crack the lens. DO NOT JUST TRY TO PULL OFF THE LENS!!! Take you time and find the glue attachment points and cut them off. Once those are cut, you should be able to remove the clear part. Remember to clean up the edges where you cut by sanding them down.

Next I tried to pop the gauge rings in, but found them to either no go in all the way and pop out, or only go in a little bit and no lay flat. So, with an exacto knife, i trimmed the little "flaps" on each gauge ring so they would lay flat and go in all the way. Now to do that you need to glue them in place. DO NOT USE SUPERGLUE!!!!!! Doing this will result in the plastic discoloring and just look plan tacky. So I raided my model car supplies and used "Quick Grip". This isn't a product placement, just showing you what works. It comes in a Green and Yellow tube and can be found at places like hardware stores, hobby shops, or even some grocery stores. The rule with gluing is if you think you have used enough glue, you probably used too much. So use the glue in small amounts. I placed small dots on each of the back of the rings then once in place, placed a small bead around the back of each to the mating surface. This stuff dries pretty quick and if you do have too much on there, it is easy to pick off and remove excess.

No using that same glue place a small bead around the entire area you cut off to ensure the clear plastic stays attached to the black plastic. Once that has dried, install the 8 torx screws and now you are ready to install your cluster with the newly added gauge rings into your car.

Start by reconnecting the harnesses (you can't get these two wrong, the are different sizes), once those are connected install the 4 screws hold the cluster into the dash. With those installed, gently insert the gauge cluster trim bezel back into position followed by the two screws that hold that into place. After that, take the headlamp know and notice how the metal stock that comes out from the dash has a triangle shape to it, mate that end up with the knob and press it into place.

Now you are ready to start up the car. Check for needles making contact or hanging up. Also make sure the gauges with lights on are working to unsure electrical connections are tight. You are done! Go out and enjoy your new gauges.

Overall, I guess I am happy with Stack Racing's Chrome Gauge Bezel inserts. I have to say though, i am disappointed in the way they are advertised. They don't really install the way the say they do. Without removing the clear plastic piece, the task is very difficult. I am sure you could just pop them in and call it a day. But the results are not as clean. Price seems about right, although it might be neat as part of a package, match it up with a set of Stack Racing's white face gauges, or part of the billet interior kit. Once the bezels were in i was happy. I like the way they added just the right flair to the gauges without going crazy. With the black face gauges, it really does give it a retro look. When the back lighting is on, it really pops. So would I recommend this product? YES, but...do take the time and go the extra mile by removing the clear plastic. Does you Mustang need this product? It depends, if you like the black face gauges , then yes. It is a cheap mod, under $50, and with the rights tools and patience, can be done in an afternoon. It is a great cheap modification to you Mustang's interior.

Friday, July 10, 2009

it's been awhile...

I haven't been posting anything lately, and for that I am sorry for all of those who check in "the coolest site ever". Not a lot has changed with my car since I last wrote other than a few awesome day trips in the car. I do however have some new parts to install in the near future. First is an American Muscle windshield banner that i will put on the rear window as I already have a decal on the windshield. Next is Stack Racing's Gauge cluster trim rings. I can't wait to install this product. It should give my stock cluster extra flair without being over the top. As soon as I install these parts I will post pics as soon as possible.

Next on the 'to do list' is yet again another exhaust change. Yes, I will never been happy with an exhaust system for more than a couple of months, but this next mod might tide me over til maybe Christmas??? Currently on the car I have stock exhaust manifolds that lead into a BBK catted X-pipe that flow into a MAC 2.5" "true-fit" cat back system. I grew tired of the sound, being a little quite so I removed just the polished 3" tailpipe sections on each side. Loved the sound, but didn't like the way the pipes before the 3" section looked just pointing straight out. So I got out my tools again and removed the section that begins just after the loop over the axle. I like the extra bark it gave to the car...only problem is now i have this rattle that is driving me crazy. SO...my plan is to removed the true-fit system and install MAC's Pro Dump exhaust system that includes the same mufflers, but turns down before the rear axle. Lil bit louder and will give me more suspension options further down the line (ie panhard bar and rear torque link from Maximum Motorsports). So stay tuned for that. Oh and if you live near me I would like to apologize in advance for the noise soon to come, enjoy your peace and quite while you can.

On the model car front, I am still looking to find seats that match the ones in my car, but I am happy to report I have found the perfect wheels, so I will be painting them to match the real ones. When looking in model spare model car parts I found a '07 Shelby GT500 5.4L motor/trans that i would like to put into a SN95 mustang, so i am on the look-out for maybe a 1994-1995 Cobra to put it into.