Wednesday, December 26, 2012

KITT's Antenna

I have been going back and forth about what to do for KITT's antenna since I started this project. I decided over Christmas that I am going to have the fender hole welded shut and I am am going to go with a concealed antenna. Although the power antenna is really cool and very 80's, KITT did not have one and the antenna would have been the only thing keeping him from being a 100% accurate exterior replica. I also rarely listen to the radio, so the antenna is not all that important to me. I let Mario know to fill it in when he does the body work on the fenders.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Painting Parts That Will Survive The End Of The World

If the stupid people of the earth unite and get their way... then when the world ends today at least KITT will have most of his parts coated with POR-15. It is as close to a Molecular Bonded Shell as I am going to get.

I put the third coat of POR-15 on this afternoon. The first thing I did was touch up the wiper linkage where I had missed a couple of spots.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Project: K.I.T.T. Now On YouTube

Over the last few days I have been going back through the videos I have taken so far and cleaning, editing, and uploading them in HD. I decided to create a YouTube channel for Project: K.I.T.T. and feature all of the videos in one convenient place. You can even subscribe to the channel if you would like to stay updated on the latest videos.

10 Degrees Outside And I Am Painting?

I got up early to turn the heaters on in the garage. It was 8 degrees at 5:00AM when I turned on the heaters. At 8:00AM it was 5 degrees! I was thinking to myself there is no way I am going to be able to paint today. Surprisingly at 12:30PM it was 53 degrees in the garage...and warm enough to paint!

Just as I was going to get started I got a call about a job opportunity and had to make a few phone calls. I did not get back out to the garage until 1:30PM.

I had to start by masking off the threads on the tie rod ends. I decided I could paint carefully around all of the other parts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What Can You Do With Four Tubs, Marine Clean, Water And Prep And Ready?

Other than make a mess that is. ;) 

My order from Eastwood arrived today, which is good because I needed the supplies in order to continue working on the cowl and steering linkage. I ordered a quart of both MarineClean and Prep and Ready, a pint of black POR-15 and Eastwood's Internal Frame Coating.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Having A Cowling Good Time

My focus for today was the cowl area. I wanted to get it cleaned out so it can be prepped for paint tomorrow when the extra supplies I ordered get here.

Here is a picture of the external cowl area.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Trip To Mario's Shop

As I had previously posted, Mario Gourde is going to be doing the body work and painting KITT for me. He contacted me this weekend and said that he had the hood and fenders sanded down and wondered if I had the other parts ready yet. Since I had removed the spoiler and the front nose mounting bracket this week they were ready to go. I looked in the garage to see if I had anything else he could get started on and came across the rear marker light bezels. Sara and I loaded everything up in the Freestyle and took them over to Mario's.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Removing Wiper Linkage And Spoiler

After the garage warmed up this afternoon, I decided to remove the wiper linkage from the cowl in preparation for cleaning, prepping, and painting the inner cowl area.

Friday, December 7, 2012

High Gloss Rust Proof Wheel Wells

As far as I know I will have the only KITT replica featuring high gloss wheel wells. I have seen pictures of a lot of replicas, but I have yet to see one with glossy wheel wells. Even my plastic inserts are coated in high gloss black POR-15.

I got started this morning at precisely 6:24:52AM. (Sara was still sleeping.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's A Good Thing KITT Is Going To Last Forever Because I Am NEVER Doing This Again

Well maybe not forever, but at least as long as I am able to drive him... that's why I am going through all this work to coat everything with POR-15.

I spent the day removing the undercoating from the passenger side rear wheel well. There were many points during the day when I considered just lighting it on fire and calling it good.

I ended up using Zip-Strip as I did on the driver side wheel well. The only difference was I had not experimented with three different removal methods before trying Zip-Strip on this wheel well. Needless to say the undercoating on this side was much thicker when I started.

Below is the passenger side wheel well (with undercoating removed) waiting to be cleaned with MarineClean. I took this picture at 5:00PM.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Next Time...A Little Less Zip And A Little More Strip

This afternoon I continued my work on the wheel wells. Here is the picture of the driver side wheel well that I forgot to take yesterday and promised I would post today. You can see the area where the fuel filler neck passes through the wheel well. I did not completely remove the undercoating in this area. There was no rust and this area is covered by the plastic shield we repaired and painted with POR-15 a while back. This driver side area needs just a little bit of wire brushing and then cleaned with MarineClean and prepped with Prep and Ready.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One Wheel Well Down, One To Go

I spent the afternoon stripping the rest of the driver side rear wheel well. I forgot to take a picture of it today, but I will upload one tomorrow. While waiting for the Zip-Strip to soften the undercoating, I cleaned up the garage so Sara could park inside tonight. My goal is to have the wheel wells finished by Friday night.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cleaning Wheel Wells...Sucks!

Fighting off my cold took a lot longer than I had expected and has really prevented me from working on KITT. It was 50 degrees outside today, so I thought it would be okay to be in the garage again even though I am not completely over my cold. I was able to keep the garage at 60 degrees with the heaters.

I started working on the driver side rear wheel well. I wanted to find an easy way to get the underbody coating off. So far I have tried a heat gun, wire wheel and the last of my POR-Strip. Nothing has really worked. The heat gun, although it does work, takes forever to heat up one little section at a time until it is soft enough to scrape off. The wire wheel literally burns the coating off and throws the near-flaming pieces everywhere. I did not have enough POR-Strip left to really do much. It might have worked if I had more, but the bit I had did not do much.

After Dad's success with Zip-Strip on the rear springs, I thought I would give that a try. I decided to work in small sections until I figured out a method that works. Here is a before shot of the area I worked on:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Painting With Dad

I wanted to get started painting nice and early today, so I turned the heaters on in the garage at 6:45AM this morning. I kept checking on the garage temperature, but it took until 10:30AM to get above 50 degrees and warm enough to paint.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fighting With A Fender While Holding A Cold At Bay

Last night I went to bed with a little bit of a runny nose. This morning I definitely had a full blown cold. Cold or not, I had a fender to prep. Mario (my paint and body guy) is coming over on Wednesday night to pick up the fenders, hood, and few other small parts. He wants to get them stripped, get body work done and get them in primer. That means I need to get the insides of fenders painted with POR-15 so they are ready for him to take. It will be nice to get them out of the garage and out of the way.

I went out to the garage as soon as I woke up and turned up the heaters. The last thing I wanted to do was work with water in a cold garage when I did not feel good. It took until 10:30AM or so for the garage to get up to temp, but as soon as it was above 55 degrees I started working on the passenger fender.

I still had that stubborn ground effects bolt to remove. We had tried previously to remove the bolt when the fender was still on the car but could never get it to budge. Today, as you can see from the tools I gathered, I was not taking no for an answer. I was prepared to cut the bolt off if I had to. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

See How Smart We Are?

While we were at Menards today we decided to get some more 1" brushes since we are running low. We started to grab another dozen brushes and then Sara asked what all needs to be painted yet. I started listing off the inside of the front fenders, the wheel wells, the steering linkage, track/Panhard bar brace, gas tank, calipers, the cowl area and differential cover. Sara put the dozen brushes back and grabbed the 36 pack. She pointed out if we bought a dozen brushes two times it would cost more than the pack of 36 brushes. 

I did find a way to successfully save and reuse a brush a second time with the POR-15. I found that if I wrap and roll the brush in plastic from a Menards bag, it will keep for use in the second application. The brushes and POR-15 cans seem partial to plastic from Menards bags; the Walmart bags did not have the same successful results. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Painting My Day Away

Today was going to be my day to paint all of the parts I had prepped: the rear end, the rear bumper, the springs, the brake pedal bracket and the rear of the car. It was going to be glorious. I was out in the garage and ready to begin at 9:00AM.

I was trying to figure out how I could paint the rear end all in one shot. Even resting on the jack stands, there was not quite enough room to get under it, which was necessary to paint all of the nooks and crannies. It dawned on me to set the jack stands on cinder blocks to gain extra height. This gave me more than enough room to paint it all at once. You should have seen me trying to lift the rear end, position the jack stands on cinder blocks, and maneuver the rear end into place all at the same time. Unfortunately no one was around to hear it, but I think my Yosemite Sam impression is improving. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Prepping My Day Away

My goal for today was to get the rear end, rear bumper, the back of the car, springs and the bracket for the brake pedal prepped for paint. The warm weather yesterday made it easy to clean these parts outside. That was not the case today, however. The temperature was about the same as yesterday, but it was much windier. I had to set up three tarps in the garage so I could prep the parts. This is less than ideal as it makes it very messy to move around. I only have four pictures for this post because I've heard water and cell phone don't mix.

The bumper, springs and brake pedal bracket were cleaned yesterday so all I needed to do today was prep them. The rear end had to be cleaned again with MarineClean after the thorough wire brushing Sara's dad and I gave it last night. After I got the rear end cleaned off, I moved the rest of the parts onto the tarp for prepping. I kept everything wet with Prep and Ready for thirty minutes.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Did You Know?

Did you know it is much easier to get paint all over yourself than it is to get it into the interior areas of a car frame? I am talking ALL over yourself! In your hair, running down your arms, splattered on your face, and if your shirt happens to be a little short, all over your stomach.

It was a nasty mess painting the interior areas of the underbody today, but I got it done. And if you notice a spot I missed... well, ask me if I care. I am not going to attempt to cover it any better than it is now -- any paint I got in there has to be better than none at all!

These are the before shots of the interior frame areas under the front of the car I painted with POR-15 today.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Another Dirty Sunday

This morning we tackled organizing the garage. There will be no more parts coming off the car now, so we got rid of the extra boxes we had and combined and labeled the existing ones. Here is a picture of Jonathan standing in the middle of our organization mess. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Almost Finished Painting The Underbody!

Jonathan and I are finishing the majority of painting the underbody today. Jonathan will go back under and touch up any spots we missed and some of the crevice and interior frame areas this coming week. I am really excited that today is (hopefully) my last time to paint underneath the car!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Little Painting

Needless to say, I did not sleep very well last night. Although I was excited to work on KITT this morning, I had trouble finding the motivation to get started. I got started in the late afternoon and decided to focus on the parts still needing to be painted with POR-15.

I started by using a small blade to scrape the places where the POR-15 had dripped on the backside of the parts. These pictures are of the brake shields Sara painted last weekend.

Roadblock Ahead...Better Hit Turbo Boost!

This week was moving along fairly quickly. I had decided to take Friday off because it was supposed to be warmer out and I wanted to get the underbody painted. Yesterday at work at the end of my shift I received some very unsettling news. I was informed that due to restructuring within Xerox, effective 11/16/12 my position was being eliminated.

I am upset, but I am strong. I will survive and move on. I am not worried about securing another job as I am confident in my abilities and qualifications. I do want to say thank you to my wonderful friends who during all of this have been a shining example of why true friends are irreplaceable.

Time to hit Turbo Boost: One of the positive things to come out of this is that I now have all kinds of time to work on KITT! I plan to make the most of it.    

Monday, November 12, 2012

Email Updates

I know that many of you enjoy getting updates on Project: K.I.T.T. by email, however, the service I have been using (FeedMyInbox) is shutting down. Starting December 1st the email updates you have been receiving will contain a notice at the top stating the service will discontinue on January 10, 2013.

I have located another company (Blogtrottr) which provides the same service. There is a new sign up at the top of my blog. Even if you are already receiving email updates you will have to sign up again in order to continue receiving them. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thank you for reading my blog, it means a lot to me!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Too Cold To Paint

18 degrees = too cold to finish painting today.

Our new plan is to finish painting the underbody and the parts next weekend.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christmas Comes Early This Year

Sara decided to get me an early Christmas present and told me that I should order the set of 15" Turbo Cast rims that Billy of Knight Designs had for sale. These rims are getting nearly impossible to find in good shape and cost a small fortune. They are selling for between $800 and $2,500 depending on the condition. These rims have been restored in the past, the edges have been machined so they shine and they have clear coat on them. About the only thing they need is a good cleaning and polishing.

It was snowing when I brought the boxes inside, so it really did feel like Christmas.

Painting The Day Away

The parts dried overnight. We brushed them off with the parts brush to make sure there was no loose dirt.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ready, Set, Prep!

Today after work I cleaned and prepped the rear end parts we want to paint this weekend. I used the same process we have been using with the MarineClean and Prep and Ready. Here are the parts just before I rinsed the Prep and Ready off.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Extra Hour To Paint

This morning Jonathan wanted to start by first putting the remaining three drain plugs back in KITT. The first drain plug he needed to put back in was in the trunk, so we needed to keep the hatch raised. Unfortunately our trusty hatch-raising mop handle is no more...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Little Privacy, Please

I came across this today and realized I had not mentioned it. I bought this privacy/cargo shade back in April. It needs to be cleaned and I need to repair a couple of pieces, but over all it is in good shape with no tears, rips or holes in the shade. This shade covers the rear hatch area from just behind the rear seats all the way to the back. The handle hooks onto the hatch lid and actually goes up with the hatch when it is opened. This is spring-loaded so it will retract when unhooked from the hatch lid like a window shade.

So Tired Of All The Dirt!

Jonathan spent this last week wire brushing and scrubbing the front fender clips and the area where the rear bumper mounts. He used wire brushes, the drill with the wire wheel and the angle grinder to remove the dirt.

Here is a picture of the driver side of the dirty rear bumper mounting area before Jonathan worked on it this week.

Friday, November 2, 2012

KITT's New Amber Side Marker Lights

Today I received the new front amber side marker lights I ordered for KITT. The side markers we took out of KITT were scratched and cracked. I ordered these from Modern Day Muscle and they are new old stock (NOS) GM parts. The price was right, and the side markers came sealed in their original GM bags. These side markers are GM part #915589 and #915590. These did not come with the retaining clips, but I can reuse the ones from the old lights.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cleaning Down Under, Part 2: Crunch Time

It was hard to get myself motivated to work on KITT this week. In fact, the only night Sara and I worked on KITT was Thursday. The brushing/cleaning/POR-15 project has been long and tedious, but this back section of the underbody has been the worst part so far. It was easier this week to come up with other things to do other than work on KITT.

But, a couple of phone conversations Wednesday and Thursday with Billy Gunter of Knight Designs refueled my drive to finish KITT as quickly as possible.

So, this weekend I am continuing to brush and clean the rest of the underbody. I hope to start prepping the underbody for paint tomorrow. 

Having to hold myself in a perpetual crunch is hard on my back, but a great workout for my abs. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cleaning Down Under

I have been working to finish brushing the underbody in preparation for POR-15. I had hoped to get it cleaned and prepped this weekend, but it is turning out to be a much bigger job than I had envisioned. Much of the underbody is at a height where I cannot reach it laying on the creeper, and yet there is not enough room to sit up either. I am therefore stuck in a perpetual crunch in order to reach it. This is proving to be a pain in my back, literally.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Busting Bolts And Winterizing

We started the weekend out by working on the the wheel wells. It was my intention to get both of the rear wheel wells and the underbody prepped for POR-15 by Sunday. The picture below shows what the wheel well looked like when I started. I chose to try the heat gun method of softening the rubber coating and then scraping it off. This worked to an extent, but I felt it was taking longer than it took me with the front wells.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You Can Paint KITT Any Color As Long As It's Black

I have been searching for the right person to paint KITT, and recently a co-worker recommended a local painter named Mario. He painted a couple of my co-worker's Trans Ams and did a fantastic job. I called and arranged for Mario to stop over last Friday night to take a look at KITT and size up the job.

We started out by visiting about what kind of finish I wanted. I told him that I am looking for the deepest glossiest black possible. In fact it is should be such a deep gloss that it is perfectly mirror-like in its reflection almost to the point of not looking like paint. I had saved a few example pictures of paint jobs that are the caliber of what I want to achieve.

Next we spent some time on the trouble areas I was concerned about before giving the entire car a once over. If I can say one thing about Mario it is that he is very thorough.

I will need to replace the driver side door. Mario pointed out areas on the door where he said there has been body work before. He said it was not worth trying to save this door. He is not a fan of reskinning doors. I will also need to get the replacement hatch (or just the hatch glass) before painting. Mario has volunteered to help me with procuring these parts.

The rear fender corners that were crumpled (where the bumper mounts) will need to be hammered flat and filled flush. This is going to be a really hard area to repair because of where it is, but Mario said he can get it smoothed out.

The biggest revelation was having Mario point out he believes that not only was I correct about the front end collision, but that the whole front clip was replaced. He said he can see areas that are not factory welds. He did say that whoever did the repair work did it correctly and that it should not pose any problems. The frame is straight and the car aligns just fine.

I am a more than a little disturbed by this as both the CARFAX and AutoCheck reports showed no accidents and no negative titles or other problems. This really makes me wonder how accurate these reports actually are.

As part of Mario's service he will take the car down to the metal, use a guide coat to find and fix all the low areas, prime, then use a two-stage process of base color then clear coat. He will also wet sand/color sand and then buff to a mirror finish. Mario will also help me with the installation of all the exterior parts and the over all fit and finish of everything.

Mario wants to start on the car in March, so I now have a deadline in which I need to have KITT reassembled. A little pressure is always a good thing, right?  I mentioned to Mario that I want to document the entire process on my blog, and he said I will be free to come and go at any time during the process and take pictures or shoot videos of anything I want. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lego My KITT!

A friend of mine gave me a custom made Lego KITT! Take a look at its awesomeness!

Rotors, Axles And Gears

Troy stopped over Thursday night to help remove the rotors. We started by using an air hammer to loosen the rust that had seized the rotors. The constant battering of the air hammer while rotating the rotor was enough to free them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One Rear End, Two Calipers, And A Ton Of Rusted, Seized Bolts

Yesterday after work I decided to work on removing the rear calipers. After much research and visiting with Troy, I discovered that the Service Manual is indeed wrong in its description the removal process. The rear calipers do not need to be compressed before they can be removed.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cleaning, Scrubbing And More Cleaning

This weekend I worked on cleaning the garage and cleaning the rear underbody of the car.

I have a decision to make concerning the rubber padding for the gas tank and gas tank straps. These are my options:

Option A: GM's original stock anti-squeak kit (which is basically thick tar paper). I would have to get this from a salvage car.

Option B: Do as the previous owner of my car did and use a piece of living room carpet. I considered this, but having four strips missing out of our living room carpet might look kind of odd.

Option C: An after-market anti-squeak kit, running in the neighborhood of $130.

Option D: Garage Door Bottom Rubber. I read about this on Not only is it an upgrade to the stock anti-squeak kit, but it much less expensive. It would run about $15.

All things considered, I am really leaning towards the carpet.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

My Support Team

I want to thank Sara and her dad. They have both been a huge help working on KITT! 

Sara has been by my side throughout the whole project and I honestly could not do this without her. This project has taken and will continue to take up almost all of our free time, and she has been wonderful about that. I look forward to spending many, many years enjoying KITT and traveling with her after we are done. She is able to constantly surprise me with her talent and hard work. Thanks Sara, I love you!

Sara's dad has also been instrumental in helping with the "small stuff" as he puts it. I have to say it is the "small stuff" that often takes the most time. He has saved me countless hours. Thanks Dad!

Notice their Project: K.I.T.T. attire. There are always open positions on the Support Team.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

KITT's Rear End: A Documentary #2

After removing the control/trailing arms, we placed the jack underneath the differential to lift it up and take the weight off the shocks.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

KITT's Rear End: A Documentary #1

Troy called Sunday afternoon to say he could come over to help drop the rear end and gas tank. We had just finished applying the first coat of POR-15 and had parts and painting supplies spread all across the garage. We quickly picked up everything and moved it to the front part of the garage.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spending The Last Sunday Of September Painting POR-15 With Sara

We started about 10:00AM this morning. The first thing I did was take this old fender well insert out to the dumpster. The other one is around here somewhere, but I could not find it. When I do find it, it is going in the trash too.

Last Saturday Of Summer

Today was the last Saturday of September and it felt like summer outside. It was 82 degrees outside this afternoon!

I started this morning by using the steel brush to rough up the edges of the POR-15 at the bottom of the drive tunnel so the new POR-15 would adhere. Then I used the air compressor to blow off any dust from the bottoms of the floor pans.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Forgotten Friday

I forgot to post last night, and I did so much on the car today that it is hard to remember what I did yesterday. I took some pictures though, so I am going to at least post these.

Here is a picture of the old seam sealer underneath the driver side fender. This needs to be removed and have new seam sealer applied. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just Another Thursday Knight

The MarineClean and Prep and Ready I ordered last week came today. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yo Devon! Knight Rider Turns 30!

30 years ago tonight, September 26th at 8:00PM EST Knight Rider hit televisions all across America! It is just awesome that 30 years later Project: K.I.T.T. is in full swing working hard to restore KITT to his former glory!   

Please join us in watching Knight of the Phoenix, the 2 hour pilot that started it all!

Michael Knight, a lone crusader in a dangerous world. 
The world... of the

Monday, September 24, 2012

Adventures In Fenderland

I started off this evening with a trip to Menards with Sara's dad to see how just how great the Lifetime Guarantee on my $7 ToolShop brand C-clamp really was. Turns out it is a really great deal as they replaced it with no receipt and no questions asked!

Rear End Woes And Sealing The Crack

Sunday morning started well enough with Sara's dad arriving early to take pictures as we dropped the rear end. I started out by working on removing anything else I could get off of the rear end area before Troy called. 

I removed the rubber stops for the axle on either side. Each rubber stop was secured with two bolts.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Preparing To Drop The Rear End

Saturday was rather disappointing. I was hoping to remove everything but the rear end itself before Troy arrived to help. It was one of those days where nothing seemed to go the way I planned. 

I started with attempting to remove the sway bar and link on the driver side. I really did not want to have to cut the rear end links like I had to on the front because I want to get a measurement off them. I tried everything I could think of to get them loose, including my impact driver. I got them to budge a little but they would not come off. I spent almost an hour trying to remove this one before deciding to move on to something else.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Removing The Mud Flaps And Muffler

The last few nights I have been working on the rear of the car. I plan to lower the rear axle tomorrow and wanted to get as much stuff out of the way as possible. 

I started with the driver side mud flap. I am not keeping the mud flaps, so I was not concerned with getting them off in one piece. I ended up using a combination of drill, screwdriver, vise grips and utility knife to remove the mud flaps and the three screws securing each.

One Shirt Can Make A Difference

Our Project: K.I.T.T. shirts arrived yesterday! It is exciting to have shirts that say "Project: K.I.T.T." and I am really happy how they turned out.

I added some more items to the Project: K.I.T.T. store based on some requests I have received. If you have not had a chance to check out the store, be sure to stop by!

If you are interested in supporting the Project, just know that one shirt really can make a difference!