Bodywork, Paint, Interior, Trim, & Wiring

discussions about bodywork, paint, interiors, trim, audio, electrical components, wiring, etc.

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Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4372 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

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Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 03, 2014 06:58PM

I'm halfway into making a lightweight two-piece transmission tunnel cover. I've already made the fiberglass parts (shown below) and I've also purchased some good quality stretchable vinyl to cover them. My idea is to use spray-can "headliner adhesive" to secure the vinyl, and to supplement that bond with saddle-stitching through pre-drilled holes. If this project continues going well, I might make more trim parts. (Featherweight door panels with molded-in armrests, perhaps?)

2PieceTransmissionTunnelCover.jpg
Goals for this project: (1) total weight under two pounds, (2) material cost under $100, (3) parts should be easily removable / re-installable without tools. Reducing cockpit noise and heat are perceived as goals of this project, but I haven't quantified any expectations.

Here's where I've hit a snag. I'm not sure what sort of padding, if any, to use between fiberglass and vinyl. Landau pad? Polyfoam? Batting? Is it better without padding? Also, there are many bumps and depressions in my fiberglass parts - most of them transferred over from my tunnel's irregular shape - and I'm not sure how best to fill and level them. Bondo? Just padding?

Got any ideas? Tips? Product recommendations?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/03/2014 07:31PM by Moderator.


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2540 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

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Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: rficalora
Date: April 03, 2014 11:16PM

If you the way custom interiors are done, they just use bondo to smooth the parts.

I'll be interested to hear what folks say about attaching the vinyl. I've not had much luck with either 3M 90 or contact cement holding a bond. Once the car sits in the heat for a while the vinyl pulls loose on inside corners especially.

It does seem to stick better to the bondo than the fiberglass for what that's worth.


HealeyRick
Rick Neville

(460 posts)

Registered:
12/19/2007 05:01PM

Main British Car:
1963 Austin-Healey 3000 Ford 5.0L

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Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: HealeyRick
Date: April 05, 2014 09:09AM

I'd probably use jute padding under the carpeting just to smooth out the bumps and add a bit of substance. I really like Moss Motors upholstery adhesive: part # 221-560 Stuff comes in a non-aerosol can and can either be brushed or sprayed and seems to stick better than the products you get in the big box stores. Plus it has a real strong odor, which is to me the hallmark of any worthwhile chemical product from carburetor cleaner to paint stripper. If it smells like it could kill you, it will probably work. Even better is if it's been taken off the market by some safety regulation. That's the really good stuff! Moss has some tips for using their adhesive here: [www.mossmotors.com]


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4372 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 07, 2014 02:34PM

Cool!

From reading-up here and elsewhere, I've been talked out of messing with aerosol cans or anything from the big box stores. I'll try to purchase Weldwood HHR (high heat rated) contact cement locally today to save shipping cost. It's specifically made for use on automotive vinyl... roofs, headliners, and such.

Landau pad (closed-cell foam that comes in sheet form, in various thicknesses) is described as "sculptable" and "sandable" - but I'm not exactly sure what that means. It's inexpensive. I guess I'll get some and play with it.


mgb260
Jim Nichols
Sequim,WA
(1915 posts)

Registered:
02/29/2008 08:29PM

Main British Car:
1973 MGB roadster 260 Ford V8

Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: mgb260
Date: April 07, 2014 05:23PM

I've seen the multicolored foam used under house carpet used in upholstery also.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4372 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 08, 2014 01:29AM

I stopped by my friendly local upholstery shop - "S&S" in Longmont - late this afternoon and they very kindly agreed to sell me one quart of high temp contact cement for $10. That's a great deal for me because DAP only offers one and five gallon cans. One gallon cans sell online for ~$29 plus ~$19 shipping. S&S also sold me a leftover piece of 1/8" thick landau padding!


Preform Resources
Dave Craddock
Redford,Michigan
(357 posts)

Registered:
12/20/2008 05:46PM

Main British Car:
72 MGB V6 3.4

Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Preform Resources
Date: April 08, 2014 03:37AM

Well I think you made the right move Curtis ,at least you know that is what the pros use, are you gonna post some pics ?
Dave



rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2540 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

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Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: rficalora
Date: April 08, 2014 04:01PM

Curtis - do you have to spray it or can you brush/roll it on?


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4372 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 08, 2014 06:29PM

S&S says all three methods work fine. They spray, but sometimes use a chip brush when they just need to hit a small area.


Jim Stabe
Jim Stabe
San Diego, Ca
(684 posts)

Registered:
02/28/2009 10:01AM

Main British Car:
1966 MGB Roadster 350 LT1 Chevy

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Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Jim Stabe
Date: April 09, 2014 11:26AM

I like your idea for covering the tunnel. How did you make the fiberglass piece? Did you mold directly over the tunnel with some sort of mold release or form it over a tool of some sort?


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4372 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 09, 2014 06:19PM

I put cheap, thin (~1/16") craft foam over the tunnel and then covered the foam with aluminum-foil duct tape. That combination eliminated the biggest bumps and hollows. I sprayed mold release over the aluminum surface. Laid-up the front part one day and the back part the next. The parts popped off the "mold" very easily. Since the foam and aluminum foil are intact, I've left them for the time being. I might replace them with better insulation.

My brother was visiting from out-of-state and I wanted to take him for a test ride so I put the seats back in right away. In fact, I've been driving the car a lot, and I think I can still smell plastic fumes when it's hot. Maybe I should let those finish off-gassing before I spread contact cement...


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4372 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 09, 2014 08:47PM

I decided to test the proposed technique on an old scrap of fiberglass (~4" by ~2.5").

This first pic shows the scrap, with 1/8" foam padding glued to it. On the lefthand side of the pic you may be able to tell where I sanded on the foam to produce a gradual taper. You can also see one row of holes I pre-drilled through the fiberglass. (There's another row hidden under the foam.) That unpadded 1" wide area replicates the section of the front transmission tunnel which will be overlapped by the rear transmission cover.
StitchTrial-1.jpg

This second pic shows the stitching. The near row of stitches are on 1/4" inch centers and the farther row are on 5/16" centers. (I think I prefer the smaller stitches.) You can see that the stitches recess into the padding.
StitchTrial-2.jpg

Incidentally, this kind of stitching is called "saddle stitiching" but I think a more descriptive term is "two needle" stitching. If you were to flip the part over, the stitches on the back would look pretty much the same as the front. I like the results, but I can see this is going to get very tedious. It will help next time to drill slightly larger holes; my needles were binding in the 1/16" holes. Also, more thread was required than I expected.


MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(3496 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
79 MGB, Buick 215

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Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: April 09, 2014 10:52PM

Yep, 1/4" looks best.


rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2540 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: rficalora
Date: April 10, 2014 05:56AM

I never would have thought of stitching through the fiberglass... may steal that idea on my radio/ac control console... especially if I can figure out how to do baseball type stiching that looks right on the piece.

Where's the stitchng going to go on your trans tunnel?


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4372 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 10, 2014 11:48AM

I love the look of baseball stitching on upholstery.

This sketch shows what I have in mind, at least for the front half:
StitchingPlan.jpg

I'm hoping the 4-way-stretch vinyl will let me do this job without sewn seams, but I'm not certain it will stretch that far.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2014 11:54AM by Moderator.



rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2540 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: rficalora
Date: April 10, 2014 10:47PM

No doubt it'll stretch that far. Question will be whether the glue is strong enough to keep it in place in summer heat. What happened to me was in the heat the vinyl shrunk back some and pulled away from concave areas (inside corners in my case). Watching to see how well the glue you got holds.


Grant70B
GRANT Matthews
La Conner, Wa
(6 posts)

Registered:
02/24/2013 10:38AM

Main British Car:
1970 MGB Roadster V6 conversion 3.5L

Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Grant70B
Date: April 18, 2014 07:17PM

Curtis

Nice idea for the transmission tunnel cover. Where I work we will make a plug out of medium density hardboard (MDO) of varying thickness. Then layup a quick thin mold, to layup your part in. Use should have a nice smooth part or one that could be easily sanded smooth. I think I will use your upholstery ideas to create something. One of the main thinks I like about these forums is the great ideas that you fine.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4372 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 18, 2014 08:41PM

Making slow, prodding progress...

I did end up smearing some Evercoat "Lite Weight" body filler on the fiberglass parts. I tried to go very minimal with that though, certainly less than an eighth of an inch thick anywhere and also just working the area from the front edge of the seats forward to the plane of the dashboard. In the main, I'm counting on landau padding to blend out irregularities. Then I laid out a hole pattern and started drilling for stitches. Over a thousand stitches in total! I'm sure that's absurd overkill, but I really don't want the vinyl to come loose.

Then I applied the landau pad foam. I did the rearward "driveshaft" tunnel cover first, and I was very pleased with my work until I remembered that I'd intended to leave padding off of the area around the parking brake lever. Clearance there is so very tight, so I went back and sanded away padding to ensure there's clearance for vinyl. The forward "transmission" tunnel gave me more of a problem. My plan was to glue one side, then the top, and then the third side all from one piece of foam. Unfortunately, the foam didn't stretch quite right, so I ended up having to cut it into three pieces. You can see where the splices ended up in the second photo, below.

I've really enjoyed this project to this point. Industrial grade contact cement is a joy to work with. However, I'm very apprehensive about stretching the vinyl. It will certainly require extra hands, and I'm not sure exactly how many. And extra hands come with extra elbows... it seems to me that an upholstery shop needs to have three or four workers minimum and they need to be used to working as a team together.

Driveshaft tunnel cover:
LandauPadOnDriveshaftTunnelCover.jpg

Transmission tunnel cover:
LandauPadOnTransmissionCover.jpg


MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(3496 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
79 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: April 19, 2014 10:55AM

Vinyl? That is looking so nice, I would be thinking Connolly Leather! :)


Jim Stabe
Jim Stabe
San Diego, Ca
(684 posts)

Registered:
02/28/2009 10:01AM

Main British Car:
1966 MGB Roadster 350 LT1 Chevy

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Re: Need tips for vinyl-covered fiberglass interior trim parts
Posted by: Jim Stabe
Date: April 19, 2014 03:39PM

That's really nice. I have pretty much the same shape to deal with as you so I'm paying close attention to your project.

6-16-08 008.jpg

Dash 001.jpg

Jan05 10.JPG
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