Center console refresh or, "How to own a lazy half-wit flip of a sports car" - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 07:01 AM Thread Starter
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Center console refresh or, "How to own a lazy half-wit flip of a sports car"

Over the weekend I pulled out the center console in my 1978 spider to replace the shift boot. I discovered a laundry list of reckless, lazy, cheap crap has been done on this poor center console by a previous owner. This thread serves as a central place for what I'm looking at, what I'm doing, and of course, a lot of requests for advice as I'm hopeless on this alone. I believe many of you folks out there would simply recommend I buy a replacement center console .

Before I rip into this I should mention the PO did an EXCELLENT job maintaining the vehicle, and everything he touched is in great shape. However, he bought it on eBay from some lazy half-wit who "restored" the car by RECKLESSLY GLUING and RIVETING everything together before making a quick buck selling the car. Having owned several early 70s spiders and having completely restored a few center consoles (with all the correct parts in place already, I can't take credit for any trim work), I am left speechless at what I'm looking at here and just how bad it is.

Here for the sake of organization are the goals for the refresh:

(1) Drill out rivets and remove shift boot retaining ring
(2) Clean up retaining ring as best as possible and install new shift boot
(3) Repair electrical harness connector
(4) Replace piece of scrap sheet metal being used to hold console to car
(5) Repair trim if possible
(6) Repair warning light retaining clip

I attached some pictures of what I found when I pulled the center console out. I'll be adding additional information today as I cool off from my weekend discovery and collect my thoughts. I'm having a lot of "how do I even fix this" moments which brought me here of course.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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Shift boot retaining trim removal/restore

First line item is the originally stated goal. I used a rotary tool to cut the rivets out to minimize risk of causing additional damage. I was able to remove the shift boot. Now, in my previous experience with early 70s cars, the shift boot was held in place with a steel ring with eight bolts, and the chrome trim was (I believe) molded onto the front of the center console and not used to support the shift boot. The particular center console I have here seems to have two holes (one on top, one on bottom), the sides were held in place with hot glue which fortunately pulled right off the metal without a problem . Now my question is, would re-attaching this piece with a bolt in these two holes be the correct way to re-attach it, or were those holes potentially drilled by whoever decided lazy rivets were the way to go?

I also see a slight bend in the bottom right corner of the trim. Is there a clever way to fix this, or am I due for another replacement part?
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
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Next challenge, I'm hopeful this one is the easiest with the advice of someone with more experience. One wire is broken in the big wiring harness plug for the center console. I'm familiar with faston terminals and have the correct crimping tools, but I have never repaired one as part of a plug connector. Can someone advise the correct part for the female faston terminal and whether I am able to insert a new connector into the plug somehow?
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Alright guys, one final thought (?) for the morning. Attached are photos of one of the upper mounting brackets, which was torn off and replaced with sheet metal. The guy who did it appears to have ripped the foam-backed vinyl from the front of the center console, drilled through the metal section, and used a screw which looks like it came from the trim (oddly enough, there is one missing in the passenger side trim) to repair it. Before I run off to McMaster in search of a steel angle bracket and some ultra-low profile bolt, can anyone tell me if I'm looking at something worth repairing that way?

I was going to get a piece of flat steel the same thickness as the other side, shape it and bolt it in place and try to mirror the shape of the undamaged bracket on the other side of the center console. Then, as I think I've seen mentioned here before, use something to re-attach the foam-backed vinyl to the metal frame. Is there an acceptable or preferred adhesive for this task, and would it be acceptable to attempt a repair in this manner?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 07:39 AM
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It appears that someone forcefully pulled the connector out of the block. The tab that locks the connector in place should be facing the other direction at about the same angle. When the connector is slid into the block, it will lock in place. To unlock one, simply push the wire forward as far as possible and use a small screwdriver or similar object to slightly depress the tab, and then pull the wire out.

Chuck
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 07:45 PM
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Hey

I see a lot of damage to the center console itself, are you sure you want to refresh it? And not just find a new one?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 12:30 PM
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we did something similar with the center console and door skins as well. the before was also before the paint job, so obviously the paint looks brighter in the after.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-04-2019, 06:48 AM
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yeah, that center console looks like it's been through the mill. The PO did what he knew how. Some are just not cut out for "tinkering" with older cars, it takes a certain amount of patience that not all have.
Sounds like the console is in good hands. I wish you well w/repairs.
In my endeavors, i went slow on the work. That's all I can offer, take your time.

"No chance, no destiny, no fate can circumvent, change or control the firm resolve of a determined soul"

73 Spider
80 BMW e21(Sold, gone to Houston)
79 Spider (sold)
78 Spider (sold, gone to U K)
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the drawing 6alfas, now I understand this connector! The challenge has been to find a replacement - nobody at the local auto stores seem to get what I'm after, and MOST sources of these AMP connectors do not have the version with a locking tab. Strangely enough, I found some on Digikey (online electronics supplier) here... but nowhere on that page do I see any written indication that this connector HAS the locking tab, until I look at the datasheet or drawing!

I totally agree replacing the center console would probably be the best course of action. Unfortunately that's not what happens when an old inventor has one too many cups of coffee and is left to his own devices. So I fabricated a replacement upper bracket from a piece of scrap steel about the same thickness as the good side, and used a bolt in the hole already drilled. This one might just last to the end of time.

I sewed together a shift boot from some upholstering pleather textile, based on a pattern from a shift boot I pulled years ago. It feels a bit too small, though it is a mystery how I can never get the size quite right since I make them a bit bigger than the original - my textile might be too thick (I'm quite the amateur for interior trim)? Anyhow it feels like it may wear out and break rather soon - so I guess I'll be replacing it again soon.

I used some adhesive to carefully re-attach the foam to itself where it had cracked, and binder clips to hold it in place while it cured. I know I can't correct the cracks and stretched areas of the outer plastic, so I expect one day it will need to be re-upholstered or replaced entirely.

On a plus side, this refresh gave me a chance to discover the ash tray cover was a bit bent, and fixing this makes it slide open smoothly. I was also pleased to discover there is a courtesy light under the console for the ash tray - it seems to be a strange feature, the ability to see in the dark how much ash is in there, but for the sake of originality can anyone advise where to buy the LED replacement for this bulb?
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevespiderguy View Post

On a plus side, this refresh gave me a chance to discover the ash tray cover was a bit bent, and fixing this makes it slide open smoothly. I was also pleased to discover there is a courtesy light under the console for the ash tray - it seems to be a strange feature, the ability to see in the dark how much ash is in there, but for the sake of originality can anyone advise where to buy the LED replacement for this bulb?
Nice progress! Not sure if you'll find another connector like that. I would suggest bending it back into place and re-using it.

You'll need a festoon bulb to replace the ashtray light. Nice thread on what works here although I haven't tried them yet. https://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/ele...-interior.html

Chuck
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 04:33 PM
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nice progress stevespiderguy!
Hey, just a thought, if I need something re;made,, can I send it your way?
I concur that bracket is made to last. Nice job.

"No chance, no destiny, no fate can circumvent, change or control the firm resolve of a determined soul"

73 Spider
80 BMW e21(Sold, gone to Houston)
79 Spider (sold)
78 Spider (sold, gone to U K)
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 04:40 PM
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we did something similar with the center console and door skins as well.
Y'know, over time I have come to love that two-tone brown and black dash. I really like it - reminds me of Daytona-era F-car interiors.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:47 AM
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Y'know, over time I have come to love that two-tone brown and black dash. I really like it - reminds me of Daytona-era F-car interiors.


i as well. i like the two tone black/brown, always have. but in this case the spider just needs more black

1981 GTV6 3.0L
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:36 AM
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I sat in one once...mmm...

Name:  Daytona.jpg
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:18 PM
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mmm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vivace View Post
I sat in one once...mmm...

Attachment 1577372

Attachment 1577374
That looks comfortable

"No chance, no destiny, no fate can circumvent, change or control the firm resolve of a determined soul"

73 Spider
80 BMW e21(Sold, gone to Houston)
79 Spider (sold)
78 Spider (sold, gone to U K)
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