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Long Overdue Obligatory Post Part 5: Interior and Side Skirt Work

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During this time of upgrading, I did some interior work. Swapped in real center gauges, as well as a wide band (with A Pillar mount), painted some of the faded black plastic trim to match the eventual color scheme for the car, switched the 1g steering wheel for one from a 3g Eclipse, and upgraded to a Flash ECU. Also have a new radio going in due to some serious bullshit.

When my car was last running properly was Dec 17th 2011. On a trip from TN to NY, the transfer case blew out on the high way in Virginia. It took 5 months to get Dodge to honor the recall and swap the transfer case. Coincidentally the CAS failed at this time, but Dodge was incapable of diagnosing it, so my grandfather and uncle towed the car to a mechanic my grandfather knows quite well in NC ( I was too busy with school to spend time diagnosing the issue) to get it looked it. Well, during the time it was sitting at the dealership, somebody got into the car and stole the radio I had in there. Of course the dealer refused to cover it (despite them having not locked the car) and I was SOL as the cost of my deductible would make insurance coverage useless. So I will be swapping a new radio in, however don't have pictures for that yet. For now, it is a single din Sony head unit with a storage pocket underneath it. I plan to upgrade it down the road to a double din model with Nav, but it's out of my price range for now.

Steering wheel swap (and only picture of the painted interior):

It was actually a straight forward swap with 2 exceptions. I couldn't fit the steering column cover AND the rear cover for the steering wheel on at the same time without some clearance work. Decided not to do that for now as I will be selling the wheel down the road for one with the radio controls on the back side and didn't want to potentially damage the resale value. The horn and air bag plugs are the same. The only real issue is that you lose cruise control. You need a cruise control level from a 2g Eclipse to retain it, which was 20 bucks more than I was willing to spend for now and I can do down the road pretty easy.

I ran into some issues trying to get the old side skirts off unfortunately. The metal lip on the bottom of the car was bent over the plastic for the skirt and the bolts at the front of the skirt. I ended up cutting the plastic with a dremel to get them off and I am currently trying to pound the metal straight to get the new ones on. I also had several bolts break, so I will have to get the car raised even higher to get a drill under it and try to extract the old bolts.

I also took this time to undertake painting the engine bay. I decided to go with a flat black as it will go with darn near any color (including the blue I intend to eventually repaint the car with) and is easy to touch up. I didn't take too many pictures of it as it is a fairly straight forward process. I washed the engine bay down several times with soapy water and brake cleaner, then hit it with a couple coats of filler primer, topped with 1 primer sealer, then 2 coats of a flat black.

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