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Alternative interior fabric options
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Alternative interior fabric options Reply with quote

Stephan's Dream Syncro thread got me to thinking about playing around with interior upgrades to my Bluestar. A few weeks back I bought 10 yards of faux suede (aka ultra-suede or Alcantara). I've been using my daily driver as a test mule for some uses of the fabric and various adhesives.

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I'm thinking that the metal part of the lower dash, as well as the plastic AC ductwork, door pocket and pillar fabric would be good choices for re-covering. Has anyone else done any DIY interior work of this type on their T3s?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have used faux suede for the bottom panel of the ceiling cabinet and underside of the upper bunk where the original fabric/wallpaper had peeled.

I am happy with the results and it has lasted 4 years.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What adhesives did you use? I started out using the Permatex spray as seen in one of the pics, but I found that it doesn't hold up as well when subjected to direct sunlight and heat. I'm now trying a 3M spray product. I tried using contact cement for the edges, but found that it bled through too easily. I now use an Elmer's rubber cement.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to use stabond t440, but the t was for toluene, which they don't use anymore.
I get away with keyston bros. yellow spray can-- hi temp multi purpose spray glue. weatherstrip glue in the blue tube /flaps is good for the edges.
all the good high heat contact cements fronm the nineties are gone now, at least in calif. aircraft spruce may have a good product these days, conforming with FAA regs and all.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had tried the 3m stuff, with mixed results when used on the headliner material that GW sells. I used it in a few test places around the Thingamajigger, but made sure I could staple gun the edges without them being seen before trying.
Also looking for better adhesives. Sew fine sells a "Sprayway Fast tack 92" that I am thinking of trying.
I like the ultra suede idea for upper parts, but with a five year old I am thinking faux leather for lower surfaces and panels.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy poop, that Stabond stuff is priceeeeeey! The Sprayway adhesive is cheaper, but appears to only be sold in cases of 12, with the best price I've seen at just around $100. It makes sense to use a pro solution for the best longterm results. I like the idea of mixing the upholstery with a combination of faux suede and faux or real leather in select areas. Anything to cover up all that cheap looking plastic. I might have to buy some of those ABS door panels and try some new ideas out, including maybe some wood trim
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tried a couple spray cans but only had good luck with DAP Weldwood HHR. http://www.yourautotrim.com/noname37.html It's only sold by the gallon but the spray can stuff is pretty expensive for what you get. The trick is to spray "dry" but with good coverage. A cheap Harbor Freight spray gun works well. You can bleed through suedes pretty easily if you spray wet. With Weldwood, if you stick it on, it stays stuck. With a couple of the spray can types the adhesive failed. We re-did the vinyl on the inside of the closet and a year later it is all falling off. The Weldwood was used to make new door/side panels, headliner and glue on suede to the underside of the upper bed, three years later it is still holding strong.

They won't ship to California, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut or Rhode Island, must be the toluene.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I had been using the DAP cement on the edges, but it bled through. I could probably keep using it, so long as I'm patient and let it set up a bit. I'll have to research using guns for this type of task. It sounds pretty taxing with regard to clean up, especially when doing small pieces.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went to a local upholstery shop and bought a couple spraycans of a 3M product. I don't know exactly which one it was, but the guy said I needed to use a UV resistant glue. It's been many years and the stuff has held up great. I used it for carpet on the pedistals and for covering speaker boxes with material.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
It's been many years and the stuff has held up great.

YUP, what we got a few years ago and what we get now.....sigh....

The pros, typically, use a spray pot setup which is great for big jobs like carpets but is a pain for just the spot jobs many of us need to do infrequently.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teaser alert!

Doing a little automotive wiring. Switching the control for the delayed dome light to the central ductwork. Adding an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and ambient temp sensor, as well as a voltmeter and oil pressure gauge to the overhead panel. Just adding the alcantara to the forward two duct panels for now. Still a work in progress.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

which adhesive did you decide on?
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm using the 3M 08088. I really like the adjustable spray nozzle and the pattern it throws. Just let it set up for about 30 secs prior to applying the fabric, and it does really well.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone here had any experience running a significant wiring loom up either of the forward pillars? I need to run at least six wires up the right pillar, but it's kind of a daunting task, since there's no obvious outlet at the top except for the hole for the visor or the center hole for the rearview mirror. The latter is perfect, but it means there's about five feet of reach with a 90 degree angle in the middle. And that pillar is already fully of other wiring for the door locks.

I'm sure that most folks with the factory overhead ductwork have found that the individual vents are pretty sloppy and unlikely to hold their respective positions for long. With that in mind I experimented with mine and found that a little dab of rubber cement at each of the pivot points for the directional vanes provided just the right amount of friction to get them to maintain a selected position over time.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I've finished monkeying around with the overhead wiring and upholstering. Overall it looks ok. I have very little experience with upholstery work, and it shows. There are a few wrinkles near the gauges I was unable to resolve, so it's clearly not a professional job, which of course bums me out. If you plan on installing gauges up there in a similar fashion, I recommend cutting relief holes on the backside, so they can fully recess. Mine do not, so I just painted the bodies black and let them stick out a few millimeters. They're friction fit, since the fabric makes the 2 1/16" holes pretty tight.

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I ended up using an old power cord as a fishing tape to pull the wiring I salvaged from an Audi up the pillar and through to the old rear view mirror hole. Here's the mess just prior to soldering in a molex plug. Note that there's also a plug poking through the headliner for the center domelight. Prior to this project I had a Golf Mk2 delay light in the stock location, but I opted to run the delay through this new center light which is of a much more robust design.


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I'm installing the temp probe for the ambient readout just behind the right brake duct hole in the chin spoiler. I haven't yet figured out how I want to tackle the oil pressure sender, but I'll probably just use a short section of grease gun hose and set the sender about 1' away from the WBX.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally got around to pinning everything back up. I'm really pleased with the new location for the domelight with the map projector and delay. This is where VW should've put them in the first place. The new mirror is also quite nice. Can't say as I love having the wiring harness hang down in plain sight, but it's a small price to pay for the added features. The probe location has proven to be dead nuts accurate, and the compass seems to be decent at providing relative directional prompts. In this pic you can see the little wrinkles I was unable to remove above the gauge. I'm sure a more clever installer could've avoided that. Overall I'm quite pleased with the end result of all these added features. I think I'll do the remainder of the tunnel in Alcantara sometime next Spring. In the meantime I'm looking into recovering the plastic seatbelt and handbrake covers, with the goal of reducing the amount of cheapo plastic in the interior.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neat. Very timely for me as I've got the rear tunnels out to install 3-point belts and I'm thinking I would like to recover them with the same fabric that I'm planning to use for the front door cards.

Really been wondering about what is possible on the big molded side panels in the back. Your fabric seems to be able to stretch enough to make that possible.

Keep posting. love it.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that is very cool looking Casey Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks man. I remember I posted up this pic some time last year asking whether I could get away with installing gauges up there. You told me it should work, given that the earlier versions had the A/C switches in those positions. Now it's come full circle. It's always nice to see planning turn into a completed project

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent results! Much better than the acres of plastic we usually see. How is the mirror attached?
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