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The Day We Put the Finishing Touches On Her

10/27/2017
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A few weeks back I talked about interior fun – gluing wood blocks to the body, stapling Velcro strips to the blocks, and ordering windshield posts. This kind of stuff is my cup of tea, but unfortunately had to stall just a bit until we got the car closer to being done. We couldn’t install the carpet or the firewall until the wiring was done, couldn’t put the seat back in until the truck bed was installed, blah blah blah. Really, this whole car building process is a giant puzzle and you have to make sure to fit the pieces together in the correct order or else you FAIL. Well, not really fail, but you have to end up undoing and redoing which is a HUGE pain in the rump.

ANYWAY! The week of our deadline came way too quickly. After #cuteasabucket got all of the wiring completed, #tinyT hopped in the Bucket to get the carpet kit started. The first step was installing the carpet on the firewall –Trying to hold up the carpet, fit it in the space, cut it to the right size, AND get it to stick in place all while battling gravity is just a little tricky. BUT, with the help of some trusty carpet tape that bad boy wasn’t going anywhere.

#tinyT didn’t get that name for nothin’

The next step in finishing the interior kit was to install the carpet on the flooring, but before we did that we needed to come up with some sort of plate to cover up our master cylinder – The T-Bucket body has a cutout so you can easily access the master cylinder after the car is put together if you need to. BUT, you can’t really just cover that hole up with carpet or your foot will slip through. #hotwheelhoney got super fancy and traced the shape of the hole, took it to our friends in Maintenance, and they quickly cut out a metal plate to lay on top. We bolted it down and TA DA! It was covered.

I mean, how bad could accidentally stepping through the whole and destroying your master cylinder really be?

Next came the side panels, which needed to be put in place before the floor carpet because of the 4 inch overhang lip they have at the bottoms. The overhang is nice because it ensures there’s no weird open space in between the side panel and the floor carpet. AND the floor carpet lies nicely on top so you never see the overhang. Let me stress one more time – You NEED to install this stuff in the correct order or you’re going to have to redo it, and that’s no bueno. The side panels are seriously the best part about the interior kit because they come with a Velcro strip already stuck to the side. And remember that other Velcro strip we stapled to the wood blocks on the inside of the body? Yep, you guessed it! They fit together like peanut butter and jelly. So really, putting in the panels calls for a little bit of muscle, and that’s it. You just need to make sure all of the Velcro is secured tightly to each other so the panel doesn’t come crashing down.

NOW it was time for floor carpet. As easy as it would’ve been to use the carpet tape for this piece much like we did for the firewall, we realized that IF we would have to access the master cylinder in the future we needed to make sure the carpet could be removed. I used my BFF Velcro and ran four strips along the flooring of the body. Laid the carpet down, figured out where to put the other side of the Velcro, hot glued it, and stuck it in place. The shifter made the situation a little awkward, but I marked a 5 inch slit to cut out in the appropriate spot and the carpet laid over the shifter quite nicely. Making a slit instead of cutting out a giant hole made it so it was more of a flap that could cover all the ugly stuff underneath. It looked SO great. And although the Velcro wasn’t as adhesive as carpet tape was, we realized laying the bulky seat on top would help to keep it in place as well.

After the carpet and side panels were put in place we were ready to put up the back of the seat. It seemed like it would be easy peasy, as it also had the Velcro backing like the side panels did. However, the only problem was that the back of the body has a curvature to it and the seat back is pretty straight. SO! When you try to hang the straight seat to a curved backing, the Velcro doesn’t stick so well. #hotwheelhoney had a brilliant idea – Cut slits in the back of the seat (which is just a thick cardboard) in order to make the seat more flexible. This worked wonders. So well, that we went back and modified the side panels as well! We thought they fit together the first time around, but with a little more flexibility they were nearly perfect!

After we got the back of the seat where we wanted it, we had to make a few more cuts to the upholstery. Since we have a channeled body – aka the body sits on top of the frame – we have awkward frame rails in the way of the seat backing. To get the seat to lay flat against the back of the body, you need to cut 3-4(ish) inch cutouts in the bottom of the seat so it can sit on top of the frame rail molds correctly. Hang the seat back on the Velcro, lay in the bottom seat cushion and TA DA! They fit like a champ. Chalk that up for another success for the Bucket Beauts!

Three girls and an exacto knife. What could possibly go wrong?

To finish up the interior portion of the build, all that was left was tucking the excess wiring braid up into the back of the dash. Nothing a few wire ties can’t handle! And while we had the Velcro strips out, we took a stab at applying them to the truck bed and truck bed lid. A friend told us the truck lid might fly off when you’re driving, so it’s probably best to secure if you can.

Last but certainly not least, we had to finish up our dreaded windshield project. In week’s past, we had to adjust the windshield posts just a bit. They were ‘relief cut’ with a die grinder to better match the contour of the body. So now that the windshield fit nicely in the windshield posts, we had to figure out a way to make the windshield posts fit nicely with the body of the car. After a few ‘phone-a-friends’ we figured out that small amounts of material needed to be removed from the posts to ensure they would fit snug against the complex curves of the dash and body. Once the posts fit well, the windshield slid right in and we got that baby bolted in! PHEW. That was a ton of information. I’m out.

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