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Complete 1 year restoration

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Just like the title says, this is a restoration I've been in the process of doing for over a year now. This will be updated with progress and pictures as I catch up and then move along.

Well here's how it all started, I found a 1992 VR-4 for sale close to me, I went to check it out and test drive it. The outside looked pretty good, but it was a Macco paint job. I was fine with that. I knew it actually would look decent for a year or two. Upon driving it it ran pretty well, with the exception of 3rd gear grinded and a slight exhaust smell. The interior was less than desirable, but with upgraded turbos (13g) a nice after market intake and a newly rebuilt engine with Ross pistons and only 3000 miles on it. I thought $4000 was a good price.

Well, on the drive home I stopped to grab some food, upon returning to the car.........nothing. . There I sit in the parking lot at 8:00 at night. I grabbed my other car a ran to an auto parts store to purchase a nice battery. $110. Ran back to the VR-4 and installed the battery in the pitch black of night. 9:30 at this point. Drove the car and park in my garage only to move one time from then until now. This was in October 2009, so just about a year at this point.

First Few Months (Total Cost Over $1000, lost count after that)
Since it was getting cold and I knew the interior was horrific, I decided to start there. (I lost most of the original pictures but I'll see what I can find).

Tear Down
The previous owner was a smoker so the inside had a stale smoke smell to it and it looked like the carpet ran through a mud pit, grease pit and gravel road all at the same time. So I purchases a new charcoal molded carpet from Auto Carpet for Car, Truck, Van - Stock Interiors, for about $120, but the fitment sucked, so I bought some used OEM carpet that was in good shape. The some custom floor mats from

Next the interior color of the gray dash, trim and moldings were too ugly for my taste. So I went through a restoration procedure that I have to say, came out really nice. (See below). So after tearing all of that out I found the inside was more trashed than I thought. Under the carpet was a rusty floor, 1000's of acorns, broken glass, packs of smokes, a screwdriver and a 10 mm socket. I have no idea what went on there, but I at least knew where the smell was coming from.

Fixing it up
So now it was a matter of starting from the ground up, literally. I washed the inside with degreaser and some powerful soap and wiped everything dry. Then I wire brushed and sanded the floor to get rid of the rust (it was only surface rust). Then got some paint from R38 I believe. $40. Repainted the floor (yes I could have used any paint but I wanted to be meticulous). I then added some sound deadener (I forget what kind, I'll have to look again).
I then took a peak at the wiring, this was probably the worst part. I had to replace switches, re-solder wires, get new plugs....what a mess. Most of those parts I got from $250. I also bought a keyless entry system, since that was destroyed. $85.
After that came probably some of the more satisfying parts, really because it came out so well. I have a red 3000gt so I wanted to go with a red/black theme. Here is the procedure I used on the doors and dash. First I lightly scuffed the parts with 320 grit sand paper. Then I used some (Dupli-color brand I think), gloss black fabric/vinyl spray. Now here is the difference with that, it works like a dye, not a paint. So it seeps in and dyes the parts, not sit on the surface. So the entire interior got a gloss black look. On the doors I used the same procedure, but with the handles I removed them and dyed the red. $30. I also bought a new headliner and sun visors (I wanted to get rid of anything that had that stale smoke smell). I dyed all of it black as well.
Next was the carpet trim and door cards. I purchased some red vinyl that matched the paint almost perfectly. I stripped the carpet from them and rewrapped them using gorilla tape (Stuff is great). $40.

I then bought a gated shifter from 3sx $170, a chrome ebrake handle and a red/black ebrake boot from BlackStealth on 3si. $250.(Not done yet)

I also decided to redo the interior lighting. I bought a 98 dome light and a bunch of blue leds $15 from Topbright (ebay seller, with the resistors). I then changed every orange light (I hate orange lit interiors, don't know why). Along with some new switches.
I then decided to keep the stock steering wheel, but wanted a different look.

Steering Wheel Refinish

Inspect your wheel, if you have any large scraps, scratches or rips I suggest using some Gold bondo to fill in and form the wheel.

After using the bondo, sand with 320 grid sand paper to smooth out the wheel and shape it.
Ok, now sand down the entire wheel with some like sanding using 320 or so grit sand paper. What you're trying to do here is to create a good surface for the primer to bond to.

Next, get the SEM flexible primer. You need to use flexible primer well because your wheel will flex....duh. Coat the entire wheel, front and back. What helped me when painting is I had an old piece of 2 in PVC that I stood on end and just flipped the wheel in the middle to paint. If your wheel is not nice and smooth (remember, any imperfections you see now, will show in the final product). So take the 320 grit sand paper and feather around the wheel to get it nice and smooth.
Next, give it another coat of primer and sand it out again when dry. At this point I used some 0000 steel wool.

Now, lets tape....I started with the metal, you don't have to, but I am anal sometimes. Next you'll see seams on top of the wheel on either side. This just looked like a great place to begin. So I taped from the inside of the left seam to the inside of the right seam.

For the bottom, I measured 1 1/2 in from each joint and taped that up. Please don't skimp on cheap tape, you want pronounced lines hear.

Now lay the wheel back down and paint black (or whatever color you like). I used engine enamel. Why, because that's what I had. It's an enamel and not some cheap spray. I use Valspar from Lowes, not recommended, it just doesn't absorb well in my opinion.
So coat the wheel top and bottom with two coats, feathering with steel wool if needed. When satisfied remove the tape.

Now tape over the black. NOTE: be careful to use low adhesion painters tape, the black can peal off with the tape.

Now grab your colored paint and follow the same steps as above.

Check over the entire wheel, you make need to do a little bit of touch up.

When it looks good it's time to finish it off and you have two choices here. If you want some grip to your wheel (I did so the Plasti Dip clear is in the photo) or you can use a good quality clear coat. I went with the Plasti Dip because of grip, and it's flexible, so it will hold up to more aggressive driving. UPDATE!!! After using the wheel the Plasti Dip does not adhere well, go with good quality clear coat, it works much better.

Give the wheel two coats on both sides when dry you're done!

If you want to redo the airbag as well I used the gloss black Fabric and Vinyl spray by Duplicolor. Stuff works great because it dyes not just paint a new layer.

I bought some used drilled and slotted rotors since the OEM ones were warped, I just decided to upgrade. I also bought some pads, but I can't remember what I bought, oh well. I took a look at the calipers and noticed some small leaks, so I bought a rebuild kit and seal kit from IPS. Then I cleaned, painted and reassembled them.

Also, noticed a lot of grease build up around the front axle, the AC condenser and the alternator. Well, there's only one place that was coming from....a leaking axle. It seems the boot came off and all the grease that was in there being shielded from the elements, was now all over the bottom of the car. So I bought two front axles and replaced them. I unbolted just about everything underneath, the transmission support, the crossmember the control arms. Just to clean it up and repaint it. But when I removed the control arms I noticed that the ball joints were shot....AWESOME! I then replaced both ball joints, the sway bar linkage and the tierod ends....just because I was there and it would give me piece of mind! I think the only thing I didn't change were the bushings. (They looked fine, but will replace them down the road.

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Updated 04-07-2011 at 09:48 AM by hitman17

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  1. Mystery's Avatar
    Where did you get your keyless entry system from?
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