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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Upgrades...

So when we first got Harv I had a list of things I wanted to do to ease our seventies classic into the modern world, and I went out and bought a load of Bits to install. It was the usual story of ambition over ability and most of those bits travelled around the Northeast with us last summer, hidden away in boxes as I ran out of time to put them in before our big trip. Now though, they are all in. All those little jobs are complete and I am rather proud of the result. Why the sudden fixing frenzy? Well, that will be explained further on. For now though, feast your eyes on the quality workmanship...

First up, a backup camera! This was fun and fairly easy to fit. I knew the in-dash dvd/radio had connectors for a backup camera so it was just a case of buying the camera and about thirty feet of the relevant leads. I found a great little camera on Ebay which even had infra-red LEDs for backing up at night. How can something so sophisticated cost less than $25?







Well it did and once it arrived the next question was where to fit it. I didn't want to start drilling into Harvey's bodywork and luckily I didn't have to. There was a readymade housing already there.

At some point a previous owner had fitted universal mount thing for adding a bike rack or a tool box or a more sophisticated towbar. I don't need any of those things, so I got a $2 tube plug and cut a circular hole in it to fit the camera. All the connections fit right inside the metal tube and it works really well. There is an independent power source to the camera so whether the radio is on or not, it turns on and lights up the screen whenever you select reverse. Now THAT is satisfying...




OK, on to the next job and this too was surprisingly easy once I had worked out where all the bits went. Using the McMaster Carr catalog and the parts list set out by someone on GMCnet (and I forget who it was - send me the name and I'll credit him) I got all the makings for adding gas struts to the propane and generator doors. I wish I had done this before our trip last summer. No more balancing the blooming doors on my head or fiddling with the bungee to get them to stay up. Nope, they now slide up smooth and easy. if you haven't done this upgrade, do it! Er, that's if you have a GMC if course. If you don't, well you are probably already asleep.



OK, moving right along here, we get to what was the biggest pain in the arm of everything I've done to Harv. The Saga Of The Blinds, soon to be a mini-series. They were a real nightmare to put in, and the expensive valances from Applied GMC came with minimal fixings: ie some pieces of bent aluminium (I am sticking with that spelling as we are going back to England soon). They arrived so late that I didn't get a chance to put them in before we left on our two month road trip and we lugged the big box they came in for four thousand miles, before ultimately stowing them in the basement. Well I got them out and bought some neat little pre-drilled brackets, an assortment of screws, rivets and drywall anchors (which worked very well in the carpet-like sidewall insulation). I got a rush of nostalgia going to Home Depot to get the fixings, remembering the many hours I spent there last spring when Harv was but a new arrival. Anyway, it all worked very well, and even though I had to cut the pre-cut valances down to size in most cases, they actually look rather fine.

The blackout blinds are honeycomb and have a layer of aluminium foil for insulation and they match the valances perfectly.

The back was a little trickier but the job that had weighed most heavily over me turned out to be really rather straightforward once I'd found the right fixings. Actually, that's usually the case with a lot of these kinds of jobs, until you break something in the course of fixing something else. Thankfully that didn't happen this time...



I also tidied up some wiring under the bench seat and around the digital tv box given to me by a nice lady at our first GMC rally with the Tidewater Crabs.

  
So Harv can face the next 33 years with the confidence that he is fully in step with the younger generation; TV, backup cameras, gas struts, fitted blinds...

He is your favourite Uncle with an iPod.





What fun its been. I'm glad I've had the chance to metaphorically straighten his tie and brush his shoes before handing him over to his new owners. Yes, new owners. What prompted this sudden flurry of DIY is the fact that we have sold our beloved GMC. But he won't be going far. More on that to come.