October 2007 - Interior work has finally begun.
Throughout the entire restoration project, I had always planned on getting the interior back to original spec. A vehicles interior is almost more important then the exterior to me. A great interior can almost make up for an ugly car. After my headliner and some other rare interior trim parts were accidentally thrown out, I sort of lost interest. I had ordered all the interior trim I could from Rovers North and it sat in my basement for the last couple years. For some reason, I got a burst of inspiration and decided to finish it up. I've added a new album to the Picture Gallery which has shots of this entire process.
First thing I did was order some Dynamat Xtreme off eBay. I had always planned on doing this and actually still had a few smaller test sheets I had purchased years ago during the original restoration. I have to say though; my original reason was nothing more than having seen Chip Foose use it on Overhaulin'; so it seemed like the right thing to do. I ordered a Dynamat Xtreme Bulk Pack (Part #: 10455) off of eBay along with the Dynamat Rubber Roller. That bulk pack was almost enough to do the entire job, I order a few smaller pieces to finish it off. In case you don't know what Dynamat is, here's the quote off their website:
What is Dynamat?
Dynamat is a thin, flexible, easy to cut and mold sheet that actually stops noise causing resonance and vibration, by using visco-elastic qualities that promote vibro-acoustic energy conversion. In short, that means noise becomes silent energy.
It comes in large self-adhesive sheets, the Dynamat Extreme has an aluminum backing as well, and the adhesive side is more tar like. I decided to cover my roof and door panels. Basically, you just peel off the paper backing and stick it directly to the body. I started the process by using acetone and a few cloth rags to really clean up all the surfaces before applying. The sheets were 18" x 32", so I just measured by eye and started installing them from the back and working my way forward. On the curved areas, it's easier to just peel back the paper a small amount to get it stuck on straight and then peel it off and work with the roller to get the rest applied completely. You want to be sure to work out the air bubbles. I used my tin snips to cut the sheets, but I'm sure some good scissors would work as well.
On the roof, I just laid them out for as much coverage as possible and they didn't need too much trimming. For the doors, I actually made a template from a piece of the backing paper I had removed while doing the roof install. I measured and cut it from the door pattern, then traced it onto the Dynamat and cut it out with the tin snips.
Right away, you could hear the difference between tapping on the roof where there was Dynamat and then tapping where there wasn't. The hollow taps become more solid thuds. The most obvious improvements were with the door panels. Not only does the Dynamat give the doors a little weight, they now slam closed with a cleaner sound, and the panels themselves seem much more solid. I'm not sure how much difference they will make with a Land Rover like this, but I think the improved door feel makes it a worthwhile investment.
After the Dynamat was installed, I moved onto the interior panels. Like I said above, I ordered the complete interior door trim kit from Rovers North. That included all the panels, and armrests for the front doors, and the single panel for the rear door.
They were a lot easier to install then I had thought. On Rovers North advice, I picked up some black interior screws with grommets from Pepboys. I bought all different lengths, but found the 3/4" to be the ones I used the most.
With the panels in the basement for so long, the glue they had used seemed to have started to fail, so I bought a can of automotive adhesive and re-sprayed where necessary. The first problem I hit was with the front arm rests. When I restored the Land Rover originally, I installed the speed nuts on the door tops, not realizing they aren't compatible with the standard arm rests. So after a quick call to Rovers North, all the necessary hardware was on its way. I installed the regular nuts & bolts with some anti-seize compound. After that was taken care of the install went fast. Since there doesn't seem to be any official instructions I could find, I just did some searching on the net and looking back to my old pictures to find out where most people fastened their panels. From there I just popped in the top plate, slid in the arm rest and put on the lower door panel. I used blue masking tape to hold everything in place as I drilled the appropriate holes and then used the screws with grommets to hold everything in place. I did have to do a little surgery on the lower door panels. It could possibly be the IIA vs. III thing, but I just had to enlarge the areas around the door handles on both sides and around the front door catch on the passenger side.
It's still not done, I actually ran out of the screws with grommets after cleaning out the 3 local Pepboys stores. So once I get some more, I'll secure the bottoms of the panels better.
I also never had my doorstop done for the drivers side door. On the passenger side, Sam came up with something that's worked great; he used parts from around the shop to create it. For some reason, we never did the driver's side. My car is a IIA, but since I replaced all the doors with new, they are Series III and the doorstop hardware is different. I didn't want to drill into the bulkhead at this time, so I created a sort of hybrid. I was in Home Depot and saw this Corner Brace, actually for wood working and for somehow it just clicked in my head, "That could work as a doorstop!" So I bought it and some other various nuts and bolts and the Threadlocker Red, to keep it together. I used one of the interior screw locations for one hole and it was perfect, I added in another hole and then added a molly screw too. I painted it black and I think if you look in the Picture Gallery, it will make sense when you see it. I'm happy with how it turned out, I know it's not perfect, but it was a fun improvisation.
I also finally installed the rear door stop that we had taken off the Land Rover on day 1 of the original restoration. It was still in the same clear bag we would put small parts into. So I just treated it with a rust converting primer and then some semi-gloss black. I also put a little white lithium grease on the wheel. As per Rovers North, I used some washers and a bolt with a long collar to secure it to the body. Rather then a lock washer though, I used Threadlocker Red to keep the nut in place from below.