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Transforming the Fusion "5" I got last year, into "My Car"...(a more positive thread than my first).

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I was reading over the thread I started on here and it was full of negativity. I wanted to post something which was more positive and show some of the mods I did to the car. I'm not very good at taking pictures or videos of my projects as I do them, but I hope this thread inspires someone to customize their stuff, their car or add to the car community as a whole.

Truth be told, I have my favorite cars (most of which are Pontiac's), but I can definitly see how someone would love a Honda CRX, Chevrolet Cavalier, Monte Carlo or a Porsche 911 Targa. I don't believe "a car is just a car". At least, I don't want "just a car". Life is too short to sit in a boring πŸ’© πŸ“¦ to get me from point "A" to point...whaever.

This thread is about making your car an extension of you. Your car is a starting point. It's a Yellow, Silver, Orange, Black, Red..it's a canvas that you can drive. You get to choose what you do to it. Some people like to go fast, throw their cars through the twisties, or park and show it off....

Anyway, this is what I've done to My Fusion "5". This is the ver first pic I took of the car when it was finally delivered!!!

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Before I got to driving it, I wanted to take care of any issues the carmight have had, before I got to driving it. The first thing I needed to address was possible rust issues. These cars are notorious for rust issues in the rockers, in front of the rear wheel. This car looks really nice, but it had this issue. The underside was really scaly witht eh rust problem. This is the good side. I wound up having to cut some of the subframe out and I re-welded in some rectangle bar that I had to halve. Because the holes were below the side skirt, I didn't do much to the rocker. I just cleaned up the rust, welded and sealed / coated this side.

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The drivers side was a bigger problem. there was a small rust bubble peeking out from behind the side skirt. After checking it out, a chunk of the car fell off. I wound up having to fabricate a small patch and welded it back in. I literally touched this and it crumbled in my hand. I will readily admit. I am NOT a welder. I'm a Chiropractor who has to grind his welds....a LOT!

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Hey! You can see the front wheel for my GTO in the lower right corner!!!! After a TON of cleaning with a an electric wire brush, a dremel and rust removal wheel, I got it all cleaned off. I thien made this patch panel fom some scrap sheet metal. On the right aspect, there is a slightly different lines to the body panel. This took some massaging to get it to line up right.

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Like I said, πŸ‘† I'm a grinder...not a welder! After some grinding πŸ‘‡ a coat of primer.

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Then a skim coat of bondo, sanding, more primer and then paint (I used a rattle can and feathered it into the existing paint). There was also a rust bubble in the 1/4 panel, near the rear bumper. I ground out what I could and sealed it.

What I typically do if I have to paint a small section is layer some masking tape around the area. I start out fairly wide and then overlap the tape, moving closer to the area I primed. This helps to blend the paint into the existing color...lessening the transition of the color. As you paint, you get more of the pigment towards the repair. Then, as you peel the layers of masking tape off, you get firther away fromthe repair area. If you hold the can further away, you get lighter and lighter coats closer to the outside edge. This blends it into the existing paint better.

When you get to the clear coat, there is a product you can use to help blend the clears together. It is tricky to use, but if you use it correctly, you can't tell there was ever an edge to the clear coat you added. It will never be perfect. The only way to do that is to repaint the entire car (not going to happen). Still, it looks better than a hole!

NOTE: These pictures were taken, using a hot light, to help see if there was bad paint coverage.

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Other projects I started was the rear lip and spoiler. I like the Cobalt SS rear bumper lip better than the GT. Luckily, they use the same holes and fasteners to get the parts to attach...well...almost. I did have to cut two slits into my bumper, but it wasn't hard to do, using a dremel. The spoiler wasn't as easy. I kinda scrapped this version and am currently on my 3rd version.

One thing is, Pontiac always uses honeycomb grilles, while Chevrolet typically uses either lateral slats or diamonds. The grilles for the Cobalt SS lip have the diamonds in them. I'm a "piurist" in that, I want my Pontiac to be a Pontiac...not a re-hashed Chevy!!! To change out the grilles, I first needed to remove the stock grill material from the grille housing.

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This is what I mean bu the Chevy Diamonds. Using a dremel, I cut out the inner grille material. I did leave something in the backgroud, so I had a place to attach the new mesh. Again, this was all done using a dremel

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There just wasn't enough area to secure the honeycomb mesh to the the grille housing. So, I fixed this by using JB Weld.
1). it is a liquid, which will conform to the part.
2). It will NOT stick to the sticky side of masking tape
3).I also coated the front side of this area with B Weld. I purposely left it ragged & rough>
  • added more strength, but alsosmoothed out the front
  • Less sanding to do
  • Give the epoxy more surface to hold onto

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Here's the other side...NOTE ZERO SANDING!!! on those hard to reach corners!!!! If you comapre the amount of area I have on the drivers side grille (has the provision for the exhaist pipe) below, with the picture aove, where Icut out the grille. You can see how much more surface area I have now, oppoed to then.

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Here are the parts installed on the car WITH the honeycomb mesh. The mesh was purchased on the "Custom Car Grills" website ( πŸ‘ˆ all one word). They have TONS of options, as far as perforated metal, woven wire mesh and ABS Plastic types of material. I've purchased a LOT from them, their website is pretty good and they do sell scrap bits on the cheap!!!

Another touch, was painting the area flat black, where used the JB Weld to make more surface area for the mesh. I secured the mesh to the grille using small copper wire. Once I got the mesh cut to the proper sixe, I marked the part and drilled a hole. I then used a really fine drill bit to get the holes drilled. Lastly, I just twisted the copper wire on the back side to hold the mesh. Now, my Pontiac, keeps it's "Pontiac Image"!

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Now, the wheels on the G5 GT are good. I see a lot of people running MUCH cooler wheels on their Delta-Bodies. To be different (and CHEAP) I decided to swap out the wheels from my G6 onto the G5. The hubs are the same, which means, so is the bolt pattern. Plus, if you want to go with larger Brembo brakes, they will not fit under the stock 17's. With a spacer, they will fit under the 18's. So, that's what I did!

Because of the spacer, I decided to change out the lug studs as well. Having shorter lug studs isn't ever a good idea. I don't feel it's safer having fewer threads holding on your wheels. Below is the stock size lug stud on the right resting on top of the spacer. On the left is the newer, and longer stud. You're gaining 5 threads on the newer stud, which means they will have more surface area holding it on. Below

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After getting the Fusion G5, I was able to retire my 195K mile G6 convertible. I bought this car for $1,309.27 in 2018 as a salvage vehicle. While I was fixing the car, I managed to source a GXP front and rear bumper, PLUS a hood. There were too many problems developing with the G6. A power steering line blew, the trans. was slipping, it was leaking oil fromt he pan gasket, not to mention needing an exhaust (which is no longer available for a dual exhaust G6 πŸ˜• . For what it would cost to fix the G6, I bought the G5 out-right. I was hoping to have a car with fewer problems/\.

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This is when I test fit the G6 wheels on the car. Prior to getting the "5", I had put new tires of the front of my G6. Those were too wide to clear the front struts. I moved those to the back and got new tires for the front. Using the correct tire size for a Cobalt SS, the new tires were ordered and installed.

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Side by side comparo. of the G6 18" wheel, with a 18" wheel for the GTO.

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Here's the best pic I have of the "5" with the Brembo's and 18's on the car!!!

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You may be asking, IS THERE MORE???

Well, I'm glad you asked!!! There IS A LOT more!!!

Here are a few pictures of the Brembo's going onto the car. If anyone is thinking of doing this mod there are 2 things to remember.

1). The brake calipers are NOT ambidextrious. In orther words, the caliper is side specific and WILL NOT work on the other side. Many versions of the Brembo brakes are interchangable from side to side, by switching the cross over tube and the bleeders. On the Cobalt / HHR, they do not do this. You'll need to pay attention to the part numbers when when / if you go to get a set of these!!!

2). Make sure you use BLUE loctite on the bolts for the caliper into the wheel hub! I read on a few forums (Your Cobalt, Cobalt SS and an HHR forum), where this was possible. One guy (after he did his conversion) heard a weird noise coming fromt he passenger side of his Cobalty. When he looked, he noticed the bolts were loose. If you are doing this, be sure to use the BLUE loctite. Red could strip the hub...but making sure your brakes don't fall off is probably the MOST important thing you can do when doing this conversion!!!

It's hard to see in the picture below, but on the TOP caliper, on the left aspect of the parts, there is NO recess for the cross over tube. When you comapre that to the caliper on the BOTTOM of the picture below, you can see the cross over tube, with a little provision, which allows for the cross over tube to pass. If you use the same caliper on both sides, you will not be able to bleed one of them. Some Brembo's are a 2 piece design. The Cobalt SS Brembo's are made from a sinle piece of aluminum.

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The rotor is also different. I went with a set of drilled and slotted rotors. The Cobalt SS w/ Brembo brake package rotors (Right aspect of the picture) are much larger than the OEM G5 GT rotors (on the left).

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Instead of powder coating The Brembo's I opted to paint them. I used Duplicolor Engine Enamel, in Pontiac Blue Metallic. This is the same color as the motor. It shifts color, depending on the lighting. At times, it's more blue looking, at others, it's more silver. In the picture above, the motor is peeking out from between the inner fender and the engine subframe (straight to the right of the Brembo Symbol). Though they are the exact same color, the difference in lighting makes the motor look bluer. I just LOVE this color!

In contrast, here is the rear brake when painted with the SAME can of paint. The only difference is the lighting and angle:

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I mentioned earlier about the sppoiler I'm working on. The first version was NOT even from side to side. It was too hard to try to even it out, so I scraped thetop portion of it and started over. I did recycle some bits and pieces, while also borrowing a spoiler from a totalled out GTO. This is the THIRD rendering of the my one piece design. I skipped the second, as it was too hard to bear looking at it. It (literally) warped, while the fiberglass was curing. Using another spoiler from a different model allowed me to not have to worry about getting everything to match from side to side.

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One thing I really liked about the second rendering was this (sorta) shape. I liked hos it dropped down in the scenter and that lip that rolled along the top aspect of the rest of the spoiler. I'm going to wind up finishing it to have that right / left side thing and the recess in the middle. The Third brake light is going in just below tahtcenter section and be IN the spoiler. I'll be using a 3rd light from a 2006 Impala. It's smaller and will fit in there real nice. This project is on the side for now.

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I'm currently spending ALL my "free" time on my project car (2006 GTO). It will be goingin for a mini-tub on March 18th and I need to get almost everything off / out of the car from the doors back. In the meantime, I put the OEM spoiler back on to help seal up the holes. This is something I will be working on, as well as integrating some Composite Envisions Carbon Fiber. I'm leaning towards their Copper Reflections 2X2 Twill, but I also like their Metalilized Copper Carbon Fiber (Looks like CF, but it has copper infused into the fibers only on one side. It has the color and sheen of fresh copper, but as if it was woven like carbon fiber. It's hard to explain, but is reflective, like polished microscopic metal cloth. Both look really cool, so I'm torn as to which I'll be using. Imagine this πŸ‘‡ but in copper...

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Here's the dash cluster, some CF skined parts and the gauge pod I modded:

Before the modded A-Pillar pod:

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and after I modded the pods"

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Here is how much I moved each of the two pods (middle and top), in order to get them to aim directly at the driver. The top pod is rotated down about 10 to 15 degrees, but the middle needed to be pushed down the pillar and then rotated down around 5 degrees.

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The cluster overlay. OEM G5 GT overlay on top, Black Cat custom verlay on botttom (o match the aftermarket gauges (Classic Instruments "Yellow Autocross Series) :

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Some of the Carbon Fiber skinned interior parts (using Carbon Creations Copper Reflections 2 x 2 twill)

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This last pic is BAD, but it's the best at showing how much that copper color pops in the right type light. My camera cannot focus on it AND get the color correct.
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I initially reserved this spot for other mods, but I JUST got word from the repair shop (2/24/22 at 5:11 pm) that the "5" is not only running, but it runs really good. It's doing a case re-learn with the T/B and crank position sensor. It has taken a few hours to get to this point. They will finish the car tomorrow and I'll be able to pick it up!!!

YAY!!! F.U. Ya, evil car gremlins!!!! You do NOT get to win!!!

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Looks fantastic! Great job!
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I thought I was overdue in posting on here. I haven't done anything to the car (other than wash it). This is from 2 months ago...

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I've been busting my hump to try to get my GTO back together for the Pontiac Adventures weekend in the Wisconsin Dells. Unfortunately, the differential rebuild is taking a LOT longer than I expected (I sent it out in the middle of June), my axles haven't been shipped and I only have 3 weekends to do around 12 weekends of work....PLUS a tune. It isn't going to happen...😒...

Since late February, I have invested almost every weekend (with the exception of 3) and spare week night trying to get the car ready. The GTO was mini-tubbed, lower control arms were notched, I got the new fuel lines run, installed Chris Johnsonfuel pump (twin Walbro 450's), reinstalled the interior (19 hours to get everything to fit betweent he new tubs), new headliner, reinstall the brakes, and a TON of other mods. Instead of banging my head against the wall, I'm going to tidy up my G5 and bring that instead. Here are some pictures of the GTO and mods

This is a before / after shots of the stock inner fender wells (top) and mini-tubs (below). That "U" shaped bend on the top has 2 bolt holes drilled in it from the factor to mount the plastic interior panels. The lower shows how the bottom bolt hole was removedfor the tubs. This means, I had to massage the interior panels (lots of cutting, heating / cooling and test fitting) to get them to go in correctly. This essentially took me 19 hours over the cource of an entire weekend to complete. Then I had to reinstall the rest of the interior.

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Since the car was apart, one thing that always bugged me was there was a slight dent and scratch on the rear speaker grille. Every time I walked up from behind, I would see that spot. I bought the car with this, but it bothered me a LOT. Once the grilles were out, it took 15 seconds to remove the dent. On the reverse side of the grilles, there was some minor surface rust. A quick dousing of RustOleum's "Rust Dissolver" made quick work of that problem.

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Before the Rust Dissolver...

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...and after. That RustOleum Rust Dissolver took the surface rust off real fast. It doesn't work too well on heavy rust, but if you can scale most of it off, this stuff gets into all the crevices. I coated it with a rust encapsulator and followed that with shiny black paint. No more ding, no more scratch, but bst of all...NO future problems with rust!!!

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πŸ‘†πŸ‘†πŸ‘† Test fitting the speaker grilles before adding the acoustic foam

πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ Installed the speaker panel and side interior panels.

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πŸ‘†πŸ‘†πŸ‘† No headliner (yet). It was still at the trim shop.

πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡....and with the new headliner installed...no more droopy cloth on your head!!!

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πŸ‘†πŸ‘†πŸ‘† Lower control Arm (pre notch)
πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ ...and after notch

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Then I did some weight reduction, because RACE CAR!!!

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I went to try to put the rear coilovers back on, but the spacers were hard to force back into place. I filed the side surfaces down and they went back together without me having to "compel" the parts with a hammer. Below, you can see one spacer with the gouge marks from having to be forced back into place.

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I only neded to use a little "tappy-tap" to get the spacers into the right position to reinstall the coilovers. Getting the new longer / stronger ARP lug studs in wasn't very hard...but trying to reinstall the big brake adapters afterward was kind of a P.I.T.A..

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Here are a few more mods to the GTO.

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πŸ‘†πŸ‘†πŸ‘† After making some PTFE fuel lines, this is my first mock up of the lines o the Chris Johnson fuel pump (featuring twin Walbro 450's pumps).

πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ Another thing that ALWAYS bothered me about this car was the interior trim parts. Nothing was the same color. This is a comparison of the stock color for the HVAC vents directly against the e-brake lever. If you ever saw the interior of a stock GTO, these aren't even close. A blind person can thell the difference. The e-brake handle was smooth, while the vent surround had a rough feel to it.

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Here's the same vent next to the steering wheel spoke. You can see the texture difference...let alone the difference in color.

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Finally, the gauge surround was a different color too! This is a closer match, but it's still a few shades off. Through trial and error, I managed to find a paint color coating, where the colors were almost identical to the OEM brake handle and steering wheel spokes. I used several different shades of Duplicolor silver and gray and tsted them against the original parts, layering the different paints to get the closest match. This was the final result. The color is so close, I can't tell if there is a difference. The e-brake has a blue cast, which is an effect from the camera. That part of the handle curves down, where the vent is flatter.

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πŸ‘†πŸ‘†πŸ‘† Reinstalled vent, by the door handle and the OEM color gauge cluster surround (w/ the 8 holes).

πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ One part I am VERY [roud of, is this center console. This one part has 35 hours invested in it. It started out as a normal (gaugeless) console, and I added 2 gauge pods. When I started having engine problems, I sidelined this project. Once I went boosted ont he car, I needed more gauges. I almost added a 4th gauge, but it looked rediculous! I removed the 4th and added that to the A-Pillar. I was almost done with this part, when I decided to add the cup holders (below the HVAC knobs, are next to the radio hole) Though this car was made in Australia, this cup holder option was NOT available here.

It seems like it would make sense to have this on a manual trans car. Then I imported an Aussie console w/ cup holders. We are left hand drive, whereas in Australia, they are right hand drive. Other than the 2 bolts at the very bottom of the part, NOTHING lined up with the american dash. Not the dowel pins, not the tabs...NOTHING. I literally scrapped 90% of the original part and ONLY kept the part where the cup holders screwed into...though I had to heat and bend it to face to the left hand side of the car. Quite literally, this piece was the definition of PAIN in the πŸ‘!!!

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I know I should post up something about the G5...and here is somthing I'll be working on this weekend (along with the spoiler project I started). I wanted tomake a couple of tail lights that resembled the 2006 GTO, as well as make something unique and different. This is what I'm starting with (3 sets of tail lights that I will eventually combine into 2). I saw where someone put the Cobalt light in the G5 housing....

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I'm probably going to do something similar to this...πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡...but I don't like the deep angles / crevices. I don't feel the overall look fits the car, as it needs some sort of outer clear lens.

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I don't feel the overall look fits the car, as it needs some sort of outer clear lens.
Im planning on doing something similar but Clear Lens 'Mirage' brake lights and an independent turn signal
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Im planning on doing something similar but Clear Lens 'Mirage' brake lights and an independent turn signal

I'm still debating (in my head ) on what I want to do with them. I'd like to find a decent passenger side tail that isn't broken --OR-- find a set where the drivers is broken and the passenger side is not. Then I could make a few sets to go along with my GTO. I'd REALLY love to make something that looks like (red lens and a chrome ring inside of a flat black background and a round / chrome turn signal):

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I'm not sure if anyone remembers this, but I tried to make a completely custom rear spoiler. It didn't start out so great. It wasn't symetrical, it was bulky and looked weird / kind of bad. Still, it was an attempt...be it a very feeble attempt, but still an atttempt. Here's some of the spoiler I was/am making:

I started out with a base. You have to have something that goes on the car. I wanted a one piece, that sorta looked like the RK Sport, but a little different. I probbaly shyould havejust bought the RK Sport spoiler and spliced the sides onto the main part...but I didn't. Instead, I reinvented the wheel. So, this is the bas I made (aproximately 4 layers of fiberglass thick.

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After the fiberglass cured πŸ‘† πŸ‘† πŸ‘† and I smoothed it down some, I added someexpandable foam...
I shaped the foam to what you see below πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡,. I didn't want a high rise, but rather a longer, lower profile spoiler. I did like. After a bunch of working the foam, this is the shape I came up with. I liked it...but I didn't love it...

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One thing I did like was the split πŸ‘†πŸ‘†πŸ‘† in the middle. Trying to get the sides to even out and be symmetrical was...let's call it challenging. I should have come at this in a completely different angle than I started. I was NOT happy with all the continual sanding I had to do, so I scrapped the original idea. I did have an extra spoiler from a totalled 2005 GTO πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡ , so I modified, cut and added that tot he original base I started with.

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...and here I am getting close to a final product (I'm not sure why the picture looks lop-sided).

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I was working on various interior parts, using Carbon Fiber. Well, the resin I used slowly developed a haze to it and now looks like :poop: . I wound up removing all the skinned C/F parts. When I tried to remove the Carbon Fiber, I ended up breaking some of them. I didn't feel like impaling myself and having to try to remove carbon fiber slivers from my hands, arms and wrists, so I ened up thowing away most of the parts I skinned :-( . I was also in the process of making an automatic shift lever handle. Again, the carbon fiber inlay got real hazy and ended up looking like junk. The entire idea of skinning interior bits with C/F is on the side for now.

I wound up filling in the area for the inlay with Bondo. After many hours of sanding, here is what the shift handle looks like after the first coat of paint. There are 3 small bubbles in the finish (below), which I did sand out fo the finish.

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The stock junk was SO uncomfortable. The top part, where the lever contacts the front of your knuckles was shaped funny. It was almost too pointy and just felt aweful on your hand. I felt OEM lever hit every part of your hand in the wrong place. I like to drive and I do rest my hand on the shift lever. If it isn't comfortable, then the drive isn't going to be as enjoyable. When I started making this part, I began with the top section from a 2004 Monte Carlo and the bottom section from a 2007 Cobalt base. Using a hack saw, I cut them into 2 parts (top and bottom). I then used J/B Weld to bond them together -- BUT -- I did this while the 2 parts were on the shifter stick shaft. This way, I was able to angle the top section with the bottom, while also aligning the internal mechanism with the shaft.

Once that was bonded together, I started to shave down the 2 parts, so they blended together better, with a dremel. The rubber and plastic were slightly off from the top and bottom. However, once this was close, I used more J/B Weld and (literallly) covered the outer hard plastic to help fill in any gaps between the two bonded parts and hold them together better. After that was dry, I sanded that and added some Bondo (in order to develop the shape better). Sanding the Bondo down took a good 3 to 4 hours, but it actually fit nicely in my hand. Now, every finger is supported and the various bumps and recesses make the part feel quite soft. Depending on which gear you're in it feels 100X better, no matter if you in park, or in low gear.

Lastly, I started another modification last night. I was ONLY able to work on one side fo the car. I'll have to finish the other side tonight. Here is a teaser πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚ of what I was workng on:

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Those are NOT scratches in my bumper. Those are reflections of the tools I was using to make the modification to the car.
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This weekend, I took the little G5 (now dubbed the GT-oh?) on a little road trip adventure. I decided to make a photo documentatry of the trip, by stopping at a few spots along the way.

Darr's service station in La Grange Wisconsin:

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Snuffy's Grille in Milton Wisconsin:

Tire Wheel Car Sky Vehicle

Automotive parking light Sky Cloud Vehicle Automotive lighting

The "Upper Mississippi River" Rest Area on I-90, in La Crosse, Wisconsin:

Car Tire Wheel Plant Sky

Wheel Car Tire Vehicle Sky
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...for whatever reason, I couldn't post more pictures...

Here's more of the LaCrosse Rest Area:

Wheel Automotive tail & brake light Car Vehicle Tire

Wheel Automotive parking light Car Plant Tire

Daytime Property Nature Sky Natural environment

Sky Cloud Plant Font Facade

Cloud Water Sky Plant Natural landscape

Sky Cloud Tire Wheel Car
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Then, I got to Jackson S.D. and saw a kite flying event at an airport. I had to stop there too!!!

Wheel Tire Cloud Car Sky

Cloud Sky Nature Natural environment Toy

Cloud Sky Windsports Wind Cumulus

Cloud Sky Parachute Cumulus Travel

Cloud Sky People in nature Windsports Grassland

Then I stopped for gas in Austin S.D. and saw a guy towing '64 Rambler.

Tire Wheel Car Sky Vehicle

Tire Car Wheel Automotive parking light Land vehicle
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I was almost to my destination, when I stopped at the Porter Sculpture Park in Melrose, S D. (I took the pictures of the sculptures on a previous trip, as I really didn't have time to stop and walk around this time).

Wheel Tire Sky Vehicle Car

Sky Cloud Plant People in nature Yellow

Cloud Sky Daytime Smile People in nature

Cloud Sky Grass Grassland Art

Sky Cloud Sculpture Art Lawn ornament

Cloud Sky Plant Daytime Flower

Cloud Sky Plant Land lot Grass

The Horse and Ox Head are absolutely HUGE. You can see them from the highway, but the size is hard to determine, until you're closer. Each one of the plates he used and welded together were roughly 18" x 18"

Plant Gesture Wood Trunk Water

Sky Horse Cloud Nature Natural landscape

Cloud Sky Azure Grass Natural landscape
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