This is a long one...
The boys at Midnight Motorsports have been busy.
Patrick was able to weld in an early model shift boot flange that I got from @Vintage-Autobahn to the tranny tunnel. This is so that I can switch to a shorty console and attach a round rubber shift boot.
Andre finished most of the trunk area. This included installing the gas tank and fuel pump, associated hoses, the electric trunk opener and hardware, and the trunk gasket. He's moving on to the engine bay to rewrap the wiring harness to get rid of some overspray and clean up some old wiring.
I finished the Dynamat in the doors and installed the upgraded door stops.
While I was working on the doors, Patrick got after the headliner. I was hoping to install this one, but upon further discussion, we (he) decided that this might be above my pay grade. That being said, I did get to watch a master at work and got to install some binder clips along the way.
We ordered the headliner from World Upholstery and they reinforce the seams and sleeve for the tension bars, as well as add markings on the back to indicate the center line and other key locations - great product. Patrick started by centering the headliner to the rear of the car by laying it half rolled on the trunk hood. Next he installed the tension bars back to front so that the rear half of the liner was hanging in place. After some adjustments to ensure it was centered, he loosely attached the sides and the front with just a couple of clips. From there it really was just a matter of slowly working his way around the car, stretching the headliner into place, adding just a couple of clips at a time, spaced far apart. Then, he continued working his way around in successive loops, stretching and adjusting, adding additional clips between the ones he placed previously until the entire liner was clipped to the roof. Once the top was clipped, he worked his way down each C pillar, again slowly stretching and adjusting and adding clips far apart, then filling in as the liner was correctly stretched into position. For the rounded corners, he'd stretch and overlap extra material, clip temporarily, made a triangle cut, then adjusted and recliped till it was stretched to his liking.
Just for the record: in the time it took me to finish the doors, Patrick had finished his initial fitting of the entire headliner. To be honest, I'm glad he did it instead of me. He's letting it sit a couple days to settle a bit, then he'll come back and do a final adjustment before gluing it all down.
One pro tip Patrick mentioned: vinyl on the A and B pillars get installed first, before the headliner. The factory way to install the headliner is to fold the headliner so that it tucks under itself, but lays over the A/B pillar vinyl where the 2 meet. That's what he does.
But the big, at least to me, addition this week was the stainless steel beltline trim. There's been allot of chatter on here about new trim options being available from different suppliers, which is great for the community as a whole. I decided to go with the stainless steel trim from @BLUNT. Mainly because Steve was the only vendor who replied back to all my quality and installation questions, going as far as putting me in touch with one of his customers who recently installed his product to get the full scoop. Great customer service FTW!
My first impressions of the trim upon opening the shipping box: Wow, this stuff is beautiful. The finish is mirror smooth with a deep, rich luster that is very similar to show chrome.
This was one project that I really wanted to do and the Master agreed to let this grasshopper do the install - under close supervision and with his help of course. Also, Patrick hasn't installed a SS trim kit before and was admittedly pessimistic. I was going to be his guinea pig and he was going to reserve judgement and evaluate against what he's used to installing: factory new replacement trim or refinished original trim that came with a car from the factory.
The first thing we did was test fit the all the pieces. They all fit pretty good. Patrick admitted that they test fit better than he thought they would, in fact, he thought they fit better than the factory replacement trim currently available through BMW. Especially in the corners, which surprised him the most.
But then installation reality set in.
The SS trim kits ship with their own metal installation clips that get installed through the mounting holes and secured with a nut on the back. This is due to the SS being much stiffer than aluminium and the plastic clips wouldn't work to mount an entire trim piece.
So instead of quickly tapping in plastic clips and snapping a trim piece on, you have to slide each metal clip into a trim piece individually, mount each clip through a hole, then hand screw a teenie tiny nut on the back of each clip with your fingers. Then tighten each nut with a wrench.
Especially when you have to reach deep into the trunk or door crevasses.
To add to this, Patrick and I didn't feel the nut on the back was sufficient just by itself. So we decided to add a tiny wave washer behind each nut, which added more complexity to an already dexterously challenging task.
Also, while the trim pieces had good over all fit, they all didn't sit flat against the surface area. Several pieces flared away from the surface as I installed the clips. This made installation just a little more challenging because you had to push the trim piece against the surface with one hand, while simultaneously trying to come from behind with your other hand and screw on the the washer and nut with your fingers.
Argh. F-bomb. F-bomb. F-bomb.
Matching corners with regular aluminum trim is going to be a challenge, same goes here with the SS trim. I'm my case, the front hood corner pieces were a little short, this combined with the stiffness of the SS made it difficult to line up the edges, slip the elongated clip on to both pieces, then slide over the connecting trim cover, and get the nut and washer screwed on... all at the same time. The corners were definitely a 2 man, 4 handed job. We ended up leaving all the clips loosely attached with nuts screwed on with just finger level tightness to allow us wiggle room to wrestle with the corners. Once we got the corners attached and the cover trim over both corner pieces, we tightened all the nuts on the back.
But man, the juice was definitely worth the squeeze. It looks gorgeous. I love it.
Some final notes about the SS trim kit:
1. There is absolutely no way to install the front most metal clip nearest the hood on the door panel because the interior hinge and supporting bracket prevents you from accessing the back of the clip to screw on the nut. For my install, we ended up using a factory plastic clip on that front part and carefully muscling the trim piece on it. A little nerve racking to say the least.
2. Once installed, some the bolts on the clips that extend past the nut need to be trimmed off with a Dremel tool. This is to prevent the bolts from scratching the surface where the hood and trunk meet the body when closed.
3. On the door trim pieces, the last clip nearest the rear of the door towards the trunk could stand to be wider than the other clips OR the opening on the back of the trim piece that allows you to slide in the clips needs to be smaller. There is very little overlap between the existing clip and the trim piece to keep it mounted against the door.
So, what does the Master think? In order of preference:
1. Refinish the original trim that came with the car. This will be the best fitting option because you're using stuff that you already know fits. Of course, this depends on the state of the trim and how badly they're dinged up.
2. Factory replacement trim because of overall ease of installation, albeit with worse fitment issues.
3. SS trim for aesthetics and finish if you don't mind the installation hassle.
I think it comes down to your preference for the style of finish, and overall durability vs ease of installation. For me, I'm glad I went with the SS kit. While I bitched and moaned about the install above, it really wasn't that bad.
Next up for me: Carpet.