Interior Trim Piece Restoration

1979 Monte Carlo Interior StrippedI have decided to remove the entire interior, minus the dashboard, of the Monte Carlo.  All of the interior trim pieces were scratched up and worn out so I thought I would do my best amateur restoration on them without spending a ton of money.  Most of the pieces came right out without too much of a problem except for the rear quarter pieces that the seat belts went through.  I was unable to get the seat belts out of the pieces and eventually gave up.  My solution to this was to just paint those pieces in the car and not worry too much about it.  I am going to reuse the seat belts anyway and don’t want to spend a ton of time trying to remove them.  I am not after perfection here; it just needs to look good!  After all, my goal is a nice cruise-in car and driver, not a show piece!

Interior Trim Before Paint

Interior Trim Before Paint

My plan was to use my orbital sander with 320 grit sandpaper to sand off the scratches and get the pieces ready for paint.  This did not go well since the orbital sander is quite large in comparison to the interior trim, and it made getting the pieces in contact with it difficult.  I went with the high grit sandpaper because I did not want to damage the pieces but make them smooth enough to paint.  After attempting to use power tools to accomplish this task, and failing, I went to the old elbow grease method.  This worked much better but the high grit sandpaper was just not enough and the scratches, although covered in paint, were still showing through pretty badly.  At this point, I decided to go to the auto parts store and get me some rougher sand paper.  This did the trick!  80 grit sandpaper took the scratches right out, at the expense of some plastic material, but it was worth it.  Once the sanding was complete, the scratches were gone and I went over the pieces again with the 320 grit sandpaper to get the surfaces nice and smooth for painting.

80 Grit Sandpaper used:

After all the necessary sanding was complete, I wiped off the interior trim pieces with a towel that was semi-soaked in rubbing alcohol.  This was done to clean the plastic off and the alcohol was quick drying so that I could move on to painting without too much of a wait.

Sanded And Ready For Paint!

Sanded And Ready For Paint!

On to the paint, I used OER original equipment paint that came in a spray can.  I am not the best painter in the world but with a little bit of practice I have managed to get the pieces to look presentable.  A couple of slow passes and multiple coats (and a little bit of patience that I don’t really have) is what it takes to get the paint to look good.  Don’t be in a rush to get these pieces done, If you take your time and do light multiple coats, you will avoid runs in the paint and having to sand the pieces down again!  I know this because of my patience issue!

Finished Product, Not perfect but much better!

Finished Door Panel And Trim

Finished Door Panel And Trim

There was one piece of the interior needed a little bit more attention.  The previous owner of the vehicle decided to put some pillar mount gauges in the car and butchered the A pillar in the process.   They decided to punch holes in the driver’s side A-Pillar to allow for the wiring of the gauges he had installed.  I am going for a low budget restore so I decided to repair this piece instead of replacing it.

Damaged A-Pillar

Damaged A-Pillar

I purchased a small fiberglass repair kit and attempted a repair.  I followed the directions that were on the kit and filled in the holes that held the gauges in.  This was an extremely sloppy job but I managed to fill in all the holes.  I used a piece of cardboard to put some of the resin on and attempt to keep the mess under control.  Then I dipped the Fiberglass cloth into the resin and applied it to the holes on the A-pillar.

Fiberglass Repair Kit:

Fiberglass Repair Resin

Fiberglass Repair Resin

 

After the resin had dried, this took a couple of hours but I did not get back to it for over a week, I used 80 grit sandpaper to get the piece as smooth as possible.  This was quite difficult since the resin had dried extremely hard but I was able to get it pretty smooth with a lot of elbow grease.  After sanding down all the resin spots as best I could I cleaned it with the rubbing alcohol and then painted it.  The resin is slightly visible but with a couple of coats of paint, it is hardly noticeable.

Entire A-Pillar Sanded

Entire A-Pillar Sanded

Repaired And Painted A-Pillar

Repaired And Painted A-Pillar

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