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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
To see a copy of this thread with working pictures use this link


http://www.ls1gto.com/forums/showthread.php?t=825786

Thanks to x1s1x300 for posting pics from his photobucket account.


I've made a few of these and I thought I would share the methods I've come up with to make them appear as "stock" looking as possible. I usually use SEM products for automotive plastic work, but I’m sure similar substitutes could be used with the same result. But good supplies will sand easier and not clog sandpaper (dust easier while sanding), and wont have to be re-done again later (ie, wont flake off the plastic).

Tools/supplies-
180/320/400/600 grit paper - recommend 3M brand
Maroon scuff pads
Dremel with 1/2" and 1/4" sanding bands and various carbide/stone bits
Bondo
Plastic epoxy
2" PVC elbows
wax/grease remover - or foaming window cleaner works as well
latex gloves - very important in my opinion
39863 Adhesion promoter
42003 High build primer or 39133 Flexible surface primer
38203 Guide coat
15243 Satin black Color Coat
39423 Medium quartz metallic bumper coating - Closest I could find to stock silver color

First use the elbows and draw out the locations you want on the bezel. I try to get them to sit as low as possible (before the bezel starts to curve) to keep them low profile.



Draw out a rough curve on the elbows. Try to pick elbows that have minimal casting grooves on them, it saves sanding later. I get mine from Menards.



Rough cut out the bezel and PVC. I always cut inside the lines and then go back and trim to fit little by little.



Test Fit



This step is optional, but I grind out the inside of the curve to allow more depth for deeper gauges. My Autometer Ultra Lite II needed all the depth I could get.



The next step is the best way I've found to put in the lip to match the factory lines. Test fit the pods and mark where the bezel line needs to be on the pods. Then use a lathe and turn down the front of the pod. About .030" makes about a perfect lip. This is also a good time to trim the length of the pods (amount you want them protruding from the face of the bezel). Ive made some flush, but about 1/8-1/4" seems to look best.





Test fit to make sure the lip matches up.



Since the lathe created a lip that’s straight across but the bezel lines curve toward the rear, you must remove more material to mate up stock lines. Position the pod and mark it off with masking tape where you want the line. I also mark it with a sharpie.



 

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Discussion Starter #2
To cut the curve lay a fine tooth hacksaw blade on its side (most are about the same thickness of the lip created earlier) and carefully saw back to the taped line. Then clean it up with 180 then 320 grit sandpaper.





To prep for attaching them sand with 180 grit wherever the epoxy will be to insure a strong bond.


This pic was taken afterwards, but I used a straight edge to make sure the pods were both facing exactly forward and squared up. Use a good 2 part plastic epoxy and attach the pods.



Prep the areas where filler will go with 180 grit.



Apply bondo generously to all areas that need smooth transitions.



Use a dremel with 1/2" sanding drums to smooth out all the edges. This size works perfectly for a rough cut and gives you a very uniform base and eliminates a ridiculous amount of hand sanding.



Use a 1/4" stone (or a new sanding drum with a sharp edge) to cut the lip in the filler connecting both the pod and the stock bezel. This step is important and if done slowly and carefully will yield very nice results.



Clean everything with wax/grease remover and use gloves when handling the bezel from this point on. In all the automotive work I've done many imperfections come from fingerprints, oil, etc. Finish hand sanding with 180, 320, then 400 (optional). Be prepared to spend a lot of time here, getting all the edges nice and smooth is very important. I fold a piece of 400 to give it a nice edge and sand the lip line all around. Gives it a nice sharp appearance.



Clean again with foaming window cleaner. Wax and grease remover will also work, but some can be pretty aggressive with plastics so test it first on a small spot on the back to be sure it doesn’t affect the surface. Then spray with adhesion promoter, following the directions for flash times between coats.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Then use high build primer, again as directed. I usually do 3-4 coats depending on amount of sand scratches or pin-holes.



This step is optional, but I highly recommend it. I’ve mad a few without this step but they turn out so much better with guide coat (and its only like $5 a can). Spray a THIN coat on just enough to cover the primer color. No need to scuff before applying.



Below are examples of how guide coat points out flaws. These surfaces looked straight by eyeing them, but some very light sanding shows how much sanding is needed to get it smooth. Sand carefully until all the guide coat is gone and its all a uniform primer color. This is when it’s nice to have a nice high build primer since some areas may need quite a bit of sanding to get perfectly smooth. I use 320 and 400/600 here. It takes a little more time, but sometimes 180 can be too aggressive since there are so many edges that are easy to sand through. This also takes a lot of time, this will determine how the finished product looks.





Then spray color as directed.



Tape off the front. I use green 3M masking tape. The thinner the better since there are some pretty tight curves on this particular shape. 1/8-1/4" width works best. Be sure to spend time here and get a good line. Scuff the area to be painted with a maroon pad and clean with foaming window cleaner.



Spray the front with silver as directed.

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Finished product.

Some gauges are a tad loose in the pods, a little masking tape on the gauge makes them nice and snug.











With the pods mounted low, all the warning lights in the cluster are still clearly visable.





Fuel door switch relocation is required. Personally I don’t put it in the bezel. I like to put it in the kick panel by the hood release. I use a radio shack 275-0644 normally open momentary switch. Can also put it on the driver side plastic seat rail cover. (close to the 'normal' location for fuel door releases in other cars). But this can be mounted wherever you want, center console, glove box, etc... Just have to hook to these two pins in the fuel door harness. Pins 2 and 4. And they are grounds, so no need to fuse.



 

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R.I.P PMD
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You are OCD, my friend:D That is the most detailed process I have ever come across for a pod mod - very solid job. Just curious, why no matching boost gauge from Speedhut? Does the one used provide different and/or superior functionality? Nice work!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
You are OCD, my friend:D That is the most detailed process I have ever come across for a pod mod - very solid job. Just curious, why no matching boost gauge from Speedhut? Does the one used provide different and/or superior functionality? Nice work!
Thanks, Ive spent a lot of time trying to find the best method.

I had this boost gauge left over from my truck. I may switch to a SCSS matched boost gauge at some point.
 

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one of the most highly detailed how to's iv ever seen lol. looks great and thanks for doing that!
 

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Great write up! Definitely will be doing this.
 

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I was lucky enough to pick up one of these from Marovetsm, very nice piece! After seeing what goes into making one, I am glad I spent the money on his work. I could use a lathe though. Nice write up.

Best picture I had sorry about the focus.

 

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The Domino Effect
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Are you selling these for lazy people such as myself?
I'm very interested with Paypal ready to go :)
 

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Great work man!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Very nice work!

Sponsorship and make/sell these to the masses next??
Haha, no. They take more time to make than I have these days. But hopefully the guide will help anyone who wants to make their own. :)
 
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