Monday, March 12, 2012

Turning Inside Out

With the weather in the mid 50's this last weekend, I decided it was a perfect time to tackle removing the interior. I wanted to start with the console, but after I figured out I would lose my stereo in the process I decided to just remove the console top plate and leave the rest until just before I take out the carpet. I have to have music while I work! It turns out that the previous owner did not seem to care what he broke in the process of doing whatever it was he thought he was doing. The console lid is not salvageable as most of the mounting points are destroyed or cracked and missing. On a positive note though, the electric mirror controls which I had believed to be non-functional (as in not belonging to this car) actually have factory wiring hooked to them! That means with a little troubleshooting I should be able to get those operational again.

Removing the rear seats was a snap, although I am not sure that I was prepared for the mess of crap under the cushions. That can be taken very much literally in the case of the mice I have determined had been living in my car. The previous owner was very obviously a slob who did not take care of the inside of his car. I did find a pleasant surprise under the rear passenger seat though; the missing knob from the front passenger Lear-Siegler seat! I had been making inquiries all over the internet in search of this missing knob and so far had come up empty. Now I can quit looking! One does have to wonder just how in the world you could manage to have the knob fall off in the first place and not notice and then end up with it under the rear seat cushion? As you can see from the pictures below the mice were quite busy building a little nest for themselves; a perfect match to the one they had made above in the headliner. You can also see from the orange discoloration that there was a ton of water pooling in this rear seat well at one point. The rear seat backs came out much easier than I had anticipated and there were no further surprises.

I decided to start on the passenger seat next. The passenger seat's horizontal adjustment was not working and you could not move the seat forward or backward. It was stuck in its full backward position which made getting to the two rear seat bolts very problematic. After much ratcheting one click at a time we were able to get it loose. As with the rear seat well on the passenger side you can see where water had set rusting the mounting brackets for securing the seat to the floor. There was no shortage of trash under the seat either, but at least we were left with some spare change for our troubles.

I decided to remove the seat belts from the passenger side next which required removing some of the rear quarter trim along with the door sill trim. I was really surprised how easy it was to remove the seat belt hardware. I guess for some reason I expected it to be more involved. It is surprising to think of just one bolt holding the belt to the car body. I also had to loosen the rear hatch strut bolts to remove the wheel well quarter panel trim. Once I had the trim removed I just tightened it back up again.

We just had to repeat the procedure for the driver side. However, because the driver seat has power adjustments we also had to unplug the power cables under the seat before lifting it out. We were able to move the drivers seat ahead to access the rear mounting screws so it was much easier to get out. The rear quarter trim and door sill trim also came out without incident. I am really impressed with the condition of all of the trim pieces I have removed so far. I believe that with a little work I will be able to reuse almost all of them. 

Once all of the trim was off it was easy to remove the carpet. The rear storage area carpet came out in one molded piece as you see in the picture. I had to remove the folding rear storage lid and you can see the outline of the hinge bracket on the carpet below. The carpet under this hinge was completely protected from dirt, wear and the sun and is in factory new condition. I cut out this area and saved it for later color matching. The rest of the carpet came out just as easy and we decided to cut it into sections as we removed it to make it easier to handle. This also allowed us to just lift the center console up a little and pull the carpet out. Removing the carpet from the driver and passenger side floor pans required removing the lower dash covers (fuse box area). This revealed our mice tenants had resided here as well, but thankfully appear to have left the wires alone.

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