Interior Blues and Painting Fun
In the last video before EVCCON I showed a new carpet that I received for the interior of the 320i. I finally got around to ripping out the old carpeting. From the first day I got the car over a year ago it always had a musty smell to the interior. I assumed that was due to its age but when I was routing battery cables and had to pull up part of the carpeting and I found the padding underneath was wet. I assumed the carpet was moldy so I ordered the new carpeting. The old carpet was really in good shape, in fact I am sure it was replaced at least once and it had no worn spots on it. It took a lot of work to get the old carpet out, the e-brake handle had to be removed, the whole console removed and gas pedal. The carpet was also glued in some places so it hard to removed. Once I got the carpet out I found that the carpet was not really that moldy, but all the padding on both the driver and passenger sides was totally soaked. That really is amazing since the car has been in the garage since last January and at least in the winter the garage is very dry. What is interesting is the padding was not the typical jute padding usually used with carpeting but rather an urethane foam padding. From the shape of the it definitely was OEM, because it was cut to fit the floorboards and the holes for the gear shift and e-brake. The padding really was not that moldy either. Underneath the padding was what looked like a thermal insulation underlayment. That was also totally soaked and when I tried to remove it , the layer just fell apart. And what a terrible smell! I guess the fibers used for the insulation must have rotted and that is what was producing the smell in the car. The other fun part of this insulation is that it was really well glued to the floor board. I had to use a paint scraper to scrape it off and for parts that would not scrape I used paint thinner to dissolve the glue. The amazing part of all this is that the metal under all this wet crap was not even slightly rusted. A tribute to the BMW undercoating. I found on a website for company called TP Tools that they make a similar insulation underlayment so I ordered enough for the all the floorboards. I also had received insulation and padding with the new carpet. Comparing the old carpet to the new one shows there are a lot of holes to cut in the new carpet. I am sure that the old carpet was OEM because the holes were all die cut, at least for the gear shift and e-brake. It is going to be quite a task to get all those holes cut in the correct places.
Other work I have been doing is getting the battery boxes prepared to use. The fabrication was just the beginning. All the boxes need to be painted. I am also installing rubber sheeting on the inside of the boxes for thermal and electrical isolation. The best "paint" used by EVTV is this material used for lining pick-up truck beds. It is very durable and is black. To use the bed-liner material the boxes have to be primed with a special primer that etches the aluminum for a stronger bond. Fortunately I have a lot of experience painting and all the tools so it was not too difficult to get all the boxes primed with the special primer. The bed liner material is like undercoating material. The kit I bought came with a spray gun that screwed right to the bottle of material. The kit came with 4 quart bottles that have to be mixed individually with a catalyst material. That is good and bad. Good because the material does not have very long pot time once it is mixed. But if you have a big job you have to stop and mix another bottle. I only had to use two bottles to coat all three of the boxes. The fourth box, the one that goes in the engine compartment I decided to paint the color of the car. That way it will blend in. The car came with some touch-up paint when I bought it. The touch-up paint was premixed and in spray cans. Unfortunately the cans did not spray well. I got enough paint on the box so it look painted, but I ordered some more touch up paint that I could shoot with a real spray gun. I also might coat the lid with some clear coat to give it the same luster as the car paint.
And lastly I removed the Siemens motor once again. This time it was to remove the Rebirth spline adapter so I could send it to EV West. They have a solution for the Siemens spline and will be sending that to me shortly.
A video of all this fun can be found here.