Sunday, June 3, 2012

Now All We Need Is The POR-15 We Ordered

Since our POR-15 has not come yet, we decided to start stripping the t-top rails. Here are the before shots of the rails.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Another Stripping Saturday

I started this afternoon by removing the passenger side front ground effect and air dam. I have one bolt that I cannot get the nut loose. Sara and I spent about half an hour trying to get the bolt free, but ended up separating the ground effect from the mounting bracket and leaving the bracket on the car for the time being.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is It Screen Accurate? No. Does KITT Need It? YES!

My latest conversion purchase is the Knight's head logo for the shifter knob. In the series the Pontiac logo normally found on the shifter knob was blacked out. I think the Knight's head, the logo designated for the Knight 2000, adds a bit of authenticity to the car. These stickers have a gel-like feel and a slight domed appearance to them. The sticker is 7/8 of an inch in diameter and is the exact same size as the original Pontiac logo so it is a perfect fit!

The stickers are available from Knight Passions.

Monday, May 28, 2012

POR-15 - Second Application

After five hours we applied the second coat of POR-15. The second application took about an hour and a half. We definitely see the advantage of having two colors. It was very difficult to see where we had applied the second coat and where we had not. We only used one can for the entire second coat. I definitely applied it too thin in some parts with the first can.

We just placed our next POR-15 order. We are hopeful we will receive it by this weekend. We ordered two POR-Patch tubes and another six pack of POR-15, this time with four silvers and two blacks. I found the POR-15 data sheet, and it is well worth the read because it mentions that their silver actually contains flakes of aluminum and is designed for metal strengthening. I wish I would have known that before and used it on my driver side floor pan that was rusted. It was a little maddening because we scoured the POR-15 catalog and web site researching what we need for this project and never saw that mentioned. However, now that I ordered the silver I can coat the damaged area of the underbody and strengthen it underneath. I also plan to use some of the PowerMesh on the bottom of that floor pan.

POR-15 - First Application

Everything dried overnight, so we were ready to rock and roll this morning. Sara went over the area thoroughly with her parts brush to loosen any dirt or debris, and I vacuumed everything off. 


One of the small things needed for a conversion is the proper chrome frame for the license plate. I found a couple of sources online, but they were very expensive. We found the frame below at Menard's for only $5 and it appears to be an exact match.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

No Camping Memorial Day Weekend; Just Stripping, Cleaning And Prepping

Our plan Saturday was to POR-Strip the entire interior of the car. We started on the front floor pans just below the firewall. We followed the same procedure we used for the firewall Friday, although the results were not nearly as good. It required much more scraping and scrubbing, and left a lot of paint behind. When it came time to rinse, we ran into an issue with the wind and rain outside. Since we could not roll the car outside, we did our best to rinse the front section off in the garage, and decided to work on something else until the wind and rain ceased.

We started by sanding all the remaining well-painted areas in an effort to rough them up for adhesion. Sara used a sanding block for this. I used the mouse sander on a few spots in the truck area, but it seemed to gouge the metal unnecessarily.

Sara sanding

Friday, May 25, 2012

There's Metal Under Here Somewhere

Our second attempt at the POR-Strip yielded better results. We left the first application sit for 30 minutes and then brushed on a second application which was allowed to sit for 15 minutes. Removal was much easier and actually removed all the paint and primer down to the metal in many areas. In other areas just the paint was separated from the primer. Sara tackled the passenger side and I did the driver side. After getting all the loose paint off with a combination of scrapers and hand wire brushes we decided to try a third application.

Third application did the trick and I would say that we were able to get 95% of the paint and primer off. The final photos are after a quick neutralizing rinse. We will do a more thorough cleaning tomorrow when we can get the car outside.

First Application

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Time To Paint Over Rust with POR-15

The supplies I ordered from POR-15, Inc. arrived this last week and over the weekend I started to experiment a little. 

Here is what I ordered:

  • POR-Strip
  • Marine Clean
  • Prep & Ready
  • POR Patch
  • POR-15 Rust Preventative Paint - Black Six Pack
  • PowerMesh Reinforcing Fabric
  • Dauber Kit
  • 10 Pairs of Gloves
  • Six 2" Paint Brushes
  • Six 1" Paint Brushes

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Raising The Bar

The garage was a mess of tools so I spent the night picking up after myself and then worked on separating the t-top bar from the car frame. I will need a new t-top bar as this one is rusted out beyond saving. So far it still doesn't look like there are any holes in the body of the car around the T-top channels, but the channels themselves are going to need some attention in order to save them.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

More Grinding, Sanding, Scuffing, Cleaning And The T-Top Blues

We spent today doing some more grinding and clean up of the floor pans and rear cargo area. We found out it does not need to be down to the metal for the POR-15 to adhere; it just needs to be free of flaking and needs to be well scuffed. At this point I am still planning to do the entire interior, but we will see how the floor goes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Today we continued to work on stripping the paint and removed all of the seam sealer from the interior.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

MiniMates And Hot Wheels

My latest Knight Rider purchases :)

KITT's Shell Exposed

KITT: Unharnessed (Part 2)

Today we worked on removing the remaining harness wires from the doors. The cross car wiring door harness runs across the car just below the windshield and enters each door through a rubber grommet. Once we unhooked the wires and pulled them back through the grommets on each door we removed the entire harness by unhooking the cross car tubing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

KITT: Unharnessed

I spent the evening separating the interior wiring harness and fuse block from the engine bay side of the wiring harness. There was a modular plug connecting the two harnesses and once unhooked I could easily pull out the harness inside the car. In hind sight, it would have been much easier to get the dash out if I would have discovered this first. Here are a few pictures of the plug connecting the two harnesses. I also took some pictures of the main harness and sub harnesses once I had them out.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The F.L.A.G. Mobile Unit Support Team Expands Into A Two Stall Service Bay

On Sunday we upgraded from a single stall garage to a double stall. The extra space will be great for working on KITT and give me a chance to store some parts, too. We will be spending the rest of this week transferring the contents of our single stall into the new double stall! I am hoping to move KITT to his new home this weekend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cleaning The Dash And Untangling The Wires, So Many Wires...

This last weekend I removed the firewall. I worked on removing the wiring harness starting with the taillight harness and moving forward. So far I have been lucky and have not broken any of the plugs or clips. With 30-year-old wiring everything is very fragile, however for the most part what I have examined so far looks to be in really great shape. I have decided to leave the clips in place on the frame for fear of breaking them as long as they will not interfere with the restoration of the interior. So far I have up to the rear speaker underbody loom removed. I took pictures of the wiring before I removed each section so I have it as a reference. You can see in the pictures below that the firewall is out now too. Once I get all of the wiring out or at least out of the way I will be putting up a video of the inside prior to starting on the floor.

While I worked on the wiring Sara was busy cleaning up the taillights and various dash pieces that we removed the previous week. She used both the air compressor and an all-purpose cleaner to clean up the pieces for storing until it is time to install them again. With all the years of dirt that has accumulated on this car, cleaning them requires multiple treatments and a lot of time and persistence.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Two Screws, Or Not Two Screws: That Was The Issue

Those last two pesky screws in the dash occupied way, way too much of my time! I thought I would recap the various methods I tried over the course of a week to remove the screws:
  • used nut driver while prying from behind with screw driver
  • used nut driver while pulling forward on the dash
  • used flat piece of metal to push on the screw from behind while turning with nut driver
  • used toothpicks from behind to get teeth to grab...lost toothpicks
  • used razor blade to pry behind screw head while turning...very dangerous...scratch that idea
  • used needle nose visegrips on screw head to pull while turning and just about put the visegrip though the windshield when it slipped off...waited for heart to stop pounding
  • used needle nose visegrips on screw head to pull while turning and landed on my butt in the rear seat well...that could have been so much worse
  • used rubber mallet to tap the metal retaining clip to one side or the other and then tried to turn it out
  • used ice pick to try to create more tension on clip
  • tried to use hacksaw blade to cut off the shank of the screw and broke the blade
  • tried to use the broken hacksaw blade to cut off the shank of the screw and cut myself
  • decided to drill out the head of the screws, very slow process...broke drill bit
  • tried larger drill bit...very hard screw...not getting anywhere
  • it was suggested to use WD-40 as a cooling agent...this helped a little but did more to splatter everything in sight... also WD-40 does not taste very good
  • switched to a larger bit and now the head started way to hold it
  • tried using C clamp to put pressure on screw from behind...clamp good
  • ready to cut dash into pieces to remove...Sara wants to take a look at the problem
I had been working on the dash issue as I had free time over the last week, but it is important to note that I was always working on the problem alone. When Sara came down to look at the source of my frustration and incessant grumbling\cursing, she said, and I quote, "Have you tried using the drill to turn them out? Maybe you could even pry with the screw driver while the drill is turning." 

Out of all of the things I had tried and that had been suggested to me this was not something I had considered. What did I have to lose? After putting the nut driver bit into the drill and while prying from behind with a screw driver, the screw came out like there was nothing wrong with it! I could not believe it! I was ready to try the second screw fairly confident that it would not work twice, however it came out too. It took a little more prying from a couple of different angles but it did turn out.

Words of Wisdom: Always keep your wife close by; you never know what she will come in handy for!

After the screws were out it was just a matter of unhooking the various clips that held the dash wiring harness in place on the back of the dash. This required me to become somewhat of a contortionist. Laying on my back using mirrors to see what I was doing was only part of the challenge - I also had to figure out how to get my arm(s) in between there to unhook the clips.

Once the dash was removed I worked on removing the jute padding along the top of the dash. I wanted to save this, but it was just deteriorating in my hands as I removed it. I also wanted to remove the firewall because I could see some rust issues going on along the bottom edge of the firewall on the drivers side. The firewall itself was crumbling in that area.

Here are some pictures with the dash removed. I will post pictures with the firewall removed once I start getting the wiring out of the way.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hard Work And A Dash Of Persistence

I have been busy since my last post researching the power mirror options available to these early third generation Trans Ams. I have the switch and what looks to be factory wiring running in the right spot, but both mirrors are the manual type and there is an aftermarket manual adjuster lever on the driver side door. I can see no wiring in the door for the power mirrors, so I am worried that this will be another hacked apart wiring job. I have found a few sources for power mirrors, but without being able to ascertain the condition of the power mirror harness I am hesitant to buy any that do not have a complete harness.