Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Carpet

What a difference.
The new carpet went into the cab this week and it looks fabulous. While it isn't an OEM color, we picked a nice charcoal (it really is charcoal, even though the photos make it look a little red) that complemented the grays and blacks in the stock interior and Mike @ Tri Valley Auto Interiors ordered a fully molded kit from the carpet manufacturer. While I elected to go without Dynamat on the cab floor, it is still noticeably quieter and i think it will further improve when we get the door panels redone.Now I have to hustle and get some floormats before I go and mud-up this nice new carpet... a 20-year-old rig is starting to have that "new car" smell in place of the "old shag" smell. Quite an improvement. And with the return of the SUN (we were in doubt for a while) the difference made by the paint on the interior walls and cabinets is profound.

I'm taking the rig back to the interior shop this week to start work on the seats, door panels and the rear cushions. We had to track down some 80-inch-wide carpet to work in the upper bunk, but that's now in stock. I'm assuming there is a good approach to make the join in the back of the cab -- some bit of upholstery guru magic -- I'll post that when I find out. I have some aluminum step edging to go between the edge of the laminate flooring and the carpet, but we may change that idea too if there is a smoother interface. TBD.

One item I have yet to track down is new plastic sleeves for the buckle-ends of the front seat belts. The sleeves are cracked and broken, so they look pretty awful and don't do a particularly good job of holding the buckles in place as designed. I'm thinking there must be something close out there, even if I can't track down the originals.

I've also been looking at working on the tail lights which, while functional are dimmer than modern units and SLOW to light. One of the folks on the forums has done restoration on these before -- they've long since been discontinued by Bargman, the manufacturer. I may opt for fabricating an adapter for a new LED set or find some new lenses (still available) and rewire the housing as he suggested here . It is amazing how many people truly love these little Toyota-based rigs and put so much effort into keeping them roadworthy.

And a little bummer
I had decided to keep the kitchen cabinets in place and use the original fiberglass counters for the time being, just so we could be on the road by the end of April for a shakedown run. We're planning to make our first real trip for the Tour of California in May. It is an annual trip that we usually do in our Honda Pilot with stops at some fun little (okay, cheap) motels along the way. Two or three years ago, we rented a 28 foot, Chevy-based class C RV for the trip instead and we had a blast (part of the reason we picked up the Sunrader this year).

All this is a long way around to say that as I was doing some fiddling with the plywood "support" strips that are siliconed to the underside of the fiberglass around the stove opening (yeah, I asked for it) I discovered they were too loose to be useful anymore. The silicone had just given out over all this time. So now I get to either cut a new support structure (the little strips of plywood in the original approach seem awfully half-a$ed to me) or just jump ahead and order the new laminate counter-top and move forward with that project. Decisions, decisions. As one poster on the forum put it, "I enjoy reading how the destruction bug possess ppl. Everything starts out mellow, then BAM! It's all in pieces!"

That about sums it up.

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