DIY TIPS: for CF Fabric Trim Wrap
Hi! There are few DIYs on trimming the interior in CF fabric (see end of this post). This trhead though is meant to fill in the blanks and make sure that all questions that arise during your DIY are answered – it is not DIY itself (because others wrote it already, why waste time rewriting!)
Here, I just took the time and wrote down all the issues I had doing the trim
myself from total zero, and hope it helps someone attempting to DIY the interior and not knowing the issues ahead.
Notes are not in order though, so I recommend reading this thread in full before you start so you don’t miss anything. It's not that simple process in my view. It's also hard to get it done very well – the corners that are over 90degrees are the toughest, and I still have couple of spots on my car that I think I’d have to revisit sometime.
Now to my notes to make sure you succeed through the DIY:
Mask things off when using spray glue. Let only surfaces that you want glue to come in contact with be exposed. This keeps things clean and you can mount other parts that without being afraid they’d stick to the trim (i.e. vents, plastic gator plate, ashtray assembly to trim).
When pre-cutting the fabric - remember you will stretch it a bit so the left overs will be bigger a bit – 1 inch around will end up being 1.5 inches. So don’t worry if you cut a bit too close to trim, most likely you will be OK.
When pre-cutting - put some sticky tape on dash and place fabric on it – to align it correctly and get a sense of how it will curve around some pieces (door trim for example has big curves).
Align fabric correctly to make sure you know which way patter will skew. To the Left or to the Right. Usually it goes left to right on dash and console (////),left to right on passenger doors, and right to left (!) on driver side doors. If in doubt, look at what M3 looks like.
when doing the dash and other pieces where middle bit is initially covered by fabric and you later cut it out to bend fabric around inside edges (think vents) - be careful not to cut out too much - the fabric stretches over the whole piece and when you cut middle it relives the tension and it retracts back a bit if not fully dried! Cut out too much from the middle and you might expose the trim on edges or have not much left to wrap around! Solution then would be to redo it again, OR use black marker to mask a spot that shows but only if its size of eye of the needle or smth and not noticeable.
Let the glue DRY a bit. Don’t apply on wet glue. it will be horrible to work with and won't stick. I did this mistake and ended up trying to hold the thing with fingers a little too much – result: smudges on trim that had to be taken out with alcohol. It worked, but stupid to get into this point if you can just chill out and wait it dry few minutes.
Spray few coats on main surface and catch also the corners. You want them to be sticky when you applying the fabric and stretching over. I ended up later adding a bit more glue on inside of edges just to be sure and with everything masked it's very easy to apply extra glue to places that are not holding up from first try.
Removing wires from dash (vent, hazards, gear lever lights, lighter, etc) - use fingers when can! Don’t used pliers or tweezers unless you have big sausage fingers that just can't go in or uncomfortable. Then be super careful not to cut the wires if the tweezers slip and ‘bite’ the wire insulation through. Worst case you can snap off wires and that’s a whole different DIY you will be looking at…
Spray glue – keep the nozzle clean. Don’t look at it when trying to clean it.. I did the dumbest thing by looking at it and pressed the button by mistake –went into my eye, I had to spend 15 min under water washing it with soap and next morning I had to take out pieces of glue strings out of my eyelashes and from inside my eyelids. And they hurt a bit too. I even made a precautionary check to doctor. It was stupid but I can imagine how someone might do this without thinking it can actually happen.
Using the cutter in hand remember where the edge is - you don’t want to hold it one hand doing something and than realize you scratched the surface and have to redo things. Be aware of where the edge is.
The glue is sticky - keep your hands clean - wear disposable gloves for each application for example might help though I didn’t, preferring to wash hands every time they got gluey. Use cotton towels to help mend the fabric around edges and this avoids fingers getting sticky also. This worked very well for me.
Based on wrapping difficulty, start with passenger FRONT door (I recommend). The rear doors on E90 at least, have big bends and the trim from front is easier to learn on.
Also, take mental note on how the rear door trims bend (the bigger bend goes INSIDE the door on E90. This confused me and I thought it was other way around - result - pattern on rear doors mirrors the pattern on front doors. I don’t mind it at all since its symmetrical, I think it looks funky actually but if you want the door patterns to be same on each side - make sure you know which side you wrapping!!
Corners on vents - they are tough because you got to be perfect there, you cant really bend things over easily due to angles so you need to make sure that surfaces stick together very well. Use little bit of extra fabric on each corner in a wedge-like shape to use it as an extra pull surface area to attach that corner and give it better stretch... Follow this up with some sticky tape that would hold them in place after they are glued in. This helps I think a bit.
Putting things back together. Watch the surface - if it's recently glued on, and you attach it – it might move around, on edges. Also, when putting back together the dashboard, put all vents in and the button (the cords are long enough to attach to them) and start from passenger side. In my case, the clip on passenger side (first two from right) were the real pain in the arse. The first one was stuck in the metal housing in the dash and I had to use pliers to wiggle it out ... so not much easy in and out process – each time is a struggle, so get this right first time. 2nd clip from right was tricky too as the trim bulged in that area and I had to move the clip around to align it correctly. That took me 3 tries and some wiggling to get sorted – so make sure all bolts in the trim are fit snugly in corners of their housing. Thus you make sure all the points are perfect fit.
The leftovers - if you ordered 2 yards you going to have a LOT left. Trust me you can probably do 2 interiors on 2 yards. Having said that, leave it as a spare, It's very nice to have it in case something goes wrong with your current one.
Reverting to old trim – possible or not? Well, I can only comment on the plastic trim I had originally, not aluminium or wood. It's now full of dried glue that’s impossible to take off because it bites so well to it and forms part of it. Basically if your car has 'titanium' trim or any other plastic trim like black shiny plastic they have on LCIs, doing this conversion is gonna make it 95% impossible to go back to stock with just rubbing alcohol.
Use alcohol or some paint cleaner to prep the surfaces. They are smooth so it will help if they are free from oily fingers and all that. In my case I used a left over aftershave which I don't use - funny enough, it was by Jaguar so my car smells like what “Jaguar man” should smell like... go figure. But it’s not right way, if you have full paint degreaser – use it, don’t be lazy like me.
Once you took out the vents, why not also clean them from inside. I only drove 30k miles on car and it has layer of black dust inside (thin) - so you breath this in - why not get rid of it while you can!
Adding this later, but when taking apart the centre console, few things. For cars with Automatics, read my DIY on taking it apart in bottom of thread. For taking apart the cover of the ashtray, insert the screw driver from the back side (towards engine) and slowly pry it up. The flatter it is and longer, the better, the cover is thin and you don’t wan to bend it.
This not and easy mod for someone who never wrapped fabric around anything, not familiar with how to work with spray glue, etc. You will find that taking off the vents is not that simple, that wrapping around edges only gets better with practice and that there is a lot of little mistakes you make and wish someone told you to watch out for something . hence I wrote these points!
Once it's done - it looks GREAT. Really does. Very classy, very sporty. All my friends in person who don’t mod and were sceptical when I told them I’m taking apart the dash of my 30 thousand euro car and putting cloth over it were sceptical but they all thought it looked totally awesome when they saw results (and didn’t notice couple of mistakes I did with corners!). I think it's totally worth the hours you put into it. So don't get discouraged. Once I installed the dash and installed the tunnel – I made small scream of joy because it looks awesome.
Some tools I used (Super 77 spray adhesive 3M, degreaser, flathead screw driver, pliers, Torx 10 and wrench 8, box cutter knife)
Time. You will need it, this is most likely a weekend job. It can take less if you do it in one go, but if it's first time - don't rush it. You will also want to leave the pieces to dry overnight (I did) and this implies that driving without trim is an option you should be prepared for if you do the mod.
Patience. I'm not patient by nature so I rushed and paid for it few times. Don’t rush. It's not a competition. Get it done RIGHT first time!! This is so important piece of advice that many amateurs (myself included) often scoff at. But that's a downfall. BE PATIENT, TAKE YOUR TIME. I can't emphasis this more enough and professional trimmers will agree I’m sure.
No interruptions, started trim - finish it up, so it all dries evenly and you can move on to next thing.
Have a beer, Coke or whatever you like to make time pass. I have couple of seasons of “OFFICE” on DVD and I had that playing in background, mixed with some South Park (season 13 has been nothing but brilliant thus far!). That really helped to keep the mood funny and light and not get disheartened if some shit happens (it did).
If you come across some problem and solve it, and it hasn't been mentioned - share it with others, might help someone!
And here are the DIYs you will need:
Excellent write up on taking trim apart http://www.e90post.com/forums/showth...89#post2564189
My own write up on taking out the centre console. http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250426
Wrapping the trim pieces http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194662
Wrapping the ashtray cover http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=186739
@mods, could you please add this to the list of DIYs since it has all the links and it could help others attempting to mod interior - right now no DIYs for this are tagged in main DIY thread...