The Chevy Too Project: On the Boards!

There’s this bundle of wires that need to make it to the back end of the car. And the factory gave me a perfect spot to run them, a channel along the driver’s side door sill where they’ll lay down nicely, out of the way… covered by the carpeting on the floor.

That’s a small problem. The carpet has to come up to access said channel, and sure enough, whoever installed the carpeting before I got the car had glued it down to the floor.  I’m thinking they must have used vinyl top adhesive or something very similar, ’cause it absolutely would not let go. I had to work on the carpet padding a few square inches at a time with an old kitchen utensil to get it loose from the floor. Even then, a good share of the padding fibers stayed stuck to the floorboards.

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This was my tool of choice for carpet removal. I think it may have been a Swedish-chef-approved cake decorating spoon of some sort… but it had a sturdy handle and a thick blade with a curved shape that made it easier to get into the rounded corners.

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A couple hours later, after I attacked the floorboards with a wire cup style brush mounted on my angle grinder, this is what I had. At this point I had already given the passenger side footwell a dose of POR-15:

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I did get much of the remaining hair removed from the floor, but in some areas the adhesive sort of gummed up under the heat of the wire brush and mixed with the fibers that were left to leave fuzzy spots on the floor – mainly on the transmission tunnel. So I cut my losses. The floor will eventually be covered by proper padding and new carpet anyway so why fight it?  Let’s seal the floor with POR-15 in the footwells and gray Rustoleum on the rest of it and call it good (at least, good enough for who it’s for)!

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So this portion of the update will be about as exciting as watching paint dry.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)  So let’s get back to the wiring.

It’s an American Autowire “Classic Update” series harness, and the good part is that it includes new switches as well as the correct molded plugs and wire ends to connect them. But there are by necessity a few deviations from original. One of them is the headlight switch. Now, my present headlight switch was working fine so I thought I’d just leave it in place and keep the new one as a backup. But the connections on my existing switch were completely different from the new wiring harness plug. And, the wiring harness instructions indicated that the original shaft and knob would not work in the new switch. Yes, I tried it and yes, the instructions were correct. So I set about making the new knob and shaft work with the existing switch bezel, hoping that I could at least maintain that portion of the original dash layout.  Here’s what I did:

Here, you can see that the new switch retaining nut doesn’t quite fit in the old bezel. Tightened down, it would be crush city.

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So I found a couple of 3/8″ washers – a smaller one that fit into the recess in the bezel and a chrome one from the hardware assortment in my local Runnings Farm and Fleet store.  (If you live near one of these stores, take note that many of them have a nice assortment of chrome bolts, nuts and washers in their hardware departments.)

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I just stacked ’em up and put ’em together !

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It was a bit of a juggling act to hold everything together and get the nut started into the switch, but once I got it tightened and the knob installed things looked pretty decent. At least, a little more finished that it would have otherwise been. One other thing I did was put just a tiny dab of anti-seize on the set screw that threads into the aluminum knob to hold it in place, and also on the aluminum retaining nut that threads into the body of the headlight switch. Hopefully that will ease any dis-assembly that might happen down the road. Installed:

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And now I might have to track down aluminum knobs for the other dash switches too, to match the one on the new headlight switch. Always something!  (Kindly ignore the dash color in the photo above – here’s a little “teaser”!)

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Okay, I’ll spill the beans: I planned at some point to re-do the dash color to match the new seat upholstery. Since I had most of the dash apart already I figured, “Why wait?” Once I finally get that under-dash pile of spaghetti straightened out, I didn’t think I’d want to pull the dash apart again. So I sanded, prepped and shot it with rattle-can black lacquer. In the meantime, there are more wires to string and connectors to connect. Oh, how I love standing on my head under the dash!  “Really?”, you ask. Aaah, never mind.

For the next segment in the saga, click here.

Hope to see you down the road.  Safe travels!

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