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My 1988 Mera restoration and modifications.

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  • #76
    I am working on lighting. I replaced the overhead dome light with a 36 ultra bright LED panel. This provides a much brighter interior lighting and I like the cool blue light it casts. While not period correct for the car, it is a minor update I am willing to live with.



    Don't mind the mess, I still have the dash out as I am taking my time to finish up all the work I can do while it is out. All the packing seen are parts waiting to be installed.



    Next moving on to the biggest flaw I have found with the Meras. It seems most if not all shipped with incorrect tail light wiring as I have seen at least 6 examples. My theory is that the Mera went on sale in 87-88 and it was being planned in 86. Since it was going on V6 cars it is possible they originally designed the Mera around the fastback GT which has amber turns. However, most of the Meras were built on SE V6 cars or Formulas to save cost. The notchbacks have only red brake and turns. So when putting the lighting in the tail lights it seems they simply hooked the lights up exactly how they were wired which means that with parking lights on both amber and red lights are lit up and when applying brakes or turn signals both the amber and red light up as well.

    Frustratingly this resulted in a lot of Meras having their wiring hacked up by unqualified people trying to fix this. I have heard many owners complain about the mess the previous owner left the tail light wiring.

    Another issue is the tail light housings (not the lenses) melt over time from the heat of the light bulbs. To counteract this I have changed over to all LED tail lights. I also fixed the wiring so the ambers only come on with turn or hazards and the reds are brake and parking lights. Anyone in the future working to correct this, follow your tail light wiring harness up to where it plugs in near the battery. Once there look for the single white wire that loops back into itself. Cut that wire and it will separate the brake signal from the turn signal. It is that simple.

    Pictured here after many hours is my correctly working lights.

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    • #77
      Couldn't agree more, your work here looks superb. Keep up the great progress.
      It's a never ending battle of making your cars better and also trying to be better yourself. - Dale Earnhardt Sr

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      • #78
        Back to work on the Mera, and I assure you these are not old pictures but I color sanded and polished it one more time. When I do paint work I like to do the first color sand and buff about 24-36 hours after painting. That first time I typically only go to about 2000 grit paper then polish it out. I then let the paint fully cure for another 5 to 7 days and then I do the final wet sanding and polish. Depending on the color and the type of paint this final sand I start at 2500 or 3000 grit and I can go as high as 7000 grit, however, I have never used that paper yet but if this was a black car I might. After the sanding I come through with a wool pad and 3M rubbing compound and buff until all sand marks are gone, after that I switch a black foam finishing pad and I use a carnauba wax and put 3 to 4 coats on, and finally I finish with a sealant applied by hand using a microfiber cloth and buff off the same way after hazing.

        I cannot tell you how tired I am of masking and sanding.




        You cannot really photograph the difference between before and after this polish since it is almost impossible to tell in person. The biggest change is the depth of the paint, it now appears slightly deeper and more wet appearing.





        After a long time hunting, I found a steering wheel that I love. I already changed the wheel but the one I put on was a cheap wheel that matched the seats and stitching in my car but I wasn't in love with it. I found this old MOMO wheel that was made in early 2002, it is used and I found it on eBay. I also bought an authentic MOMO Ferrari horn cap for it. I think it is a very nice looking wheel and I am excited to install it.

        The new horn cap.



        And the new (used) steering wheel.


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        • #79
          My new steering wheel and authentic horn cap arrived today.

          Here it is in its stock setup, I am saving this silver cap for when I change the car back to a Mera.


          Here it is after I installed the OEM Ferrari horn cap. One thing I have learned over the years is that it is worth it to spend the extra money on a real horn cap because the decals just don't look right up close.


          This was the first wheel I put on. It is nice but it was cheap and it is too small. When driving the wheel covered the speedometer and tach. So I was happy to find a larger wheel.


          Here it is installed. The larger size really makes it feel awesome!

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          • #80
            Originally posted by DeLorean00 View Post
            My new steering wheel and authentic horn cap arrived today.

            Here it is in its stock setup, I am saving this silver cap for when I change the car back to a Mera.


            Here it is after I installed the OEM Ferrari horn cap. One thing I have learned over the years is that it is worth it to spend the extra money on a real horn cap because the decals just don't look right up close.


            This was the first wheel I put on. It is nice but it was cheap and it is too small. When driving the wheel covered the speedometer and tach. So I was happy to find a larger wheel.


            Here it is installed. The larger size really makes it feel awesome!

            Chris,

            That steering wheel looks awesome!!!!

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            • #81
              Originally posted by rlndhill View Post
              Chris,

              That steering wheel looks awesome!!!!
              Thank you rlndhill! I've wanted this wheel for a long time but they are not in production anymore. In fact, this wheel was made in February 2002. I think it was very modern for its time and it looks pretty close to a factory F360 wheel.
              https://home.comcast.net/~deputy_dog/image001.gif

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              • #82
                I just got a message from Danyel on Pennocks Fiero Forum and my low profile 4"x6" light buckets and lights are ready to ship out. I asked him to make me a set with the look of the old style sealed beams that have the lines in the lens for light defusing. While there are a lot of very cool looking 4"x6" lights out there, I wanted something that was more period correct and something that would look like it could have came from the factory. The Ferrari 308 has round sealed beam headlights and I could have put round lights in this car, I think the smaller rectangle lights look a little more exotic.

                Here is my car in its current setup. I think the lights look a little too large when on.


                Here is an example of how the lights will look once installed.




                And here are my actual lights with the vintage look 4"x6". Once I get them I am going to paint the metal housings with SEM trim black.



                I cannot wait to get them installed. I think they will look great!

                If you are interested in a set for yourself this is where I ordered mine.
                http://www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum4/HTML/068782.html
                Last edited by DeLorean00; 06-05-2017, 06:09 PM.
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                • #83
                  I love my new steering wheel! However, there was one small thing I did not like and that was the very top of the wheel had a silver painted trim piece. It does not match anything else on my car so I decided to cover it in carbon fiber. I went on Amazon and found this vinyl that has great reviews, the carbon fiber design is 3D and in person, it looks absolutely like the real deal. Now this vinyl is really amazing as you can heat and stretch this stuff out until it fits your part perfectly. Even with extreme stretching the vinyl and design holds up awesome.

                  This is what I started with, the silver actually looks pretty nice but I felt it was too bright for the rest of my interior.



                  Here is the rough cut piece of vinyl just laying there.



                  A little heat and some pulling you get this.



                  And here it is trimmed, after these pictures, I went back and tucked the extra vinyl under the silver trim piece with my fingernail.







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                  • #84
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                    • #85
                      I've been following this thread with great interest. Logged in today to see if there was anything new and guess what.... chicken butt.

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                      • #86
                        Love the way your car is looking, your doing great work on it.

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by escaperoute View Post
                          I've been following this thread with great interest. Logged in today to see if there was anything new and guess what.... chicken butt.
                          Haha! I have 2 New Hampshire Red hens. I got them about 9 months ago when they were only a few days old and I have raised them by hands since. They are pets and always will be pets and are not livestock. They both know their names, are potty trained, extremely friendly, walk on leashes, and sleep indoors at night. They are my best buddies, I love them so much.

                          Here they are as babies,



                          Guess what? Chick butt!


                          Here is Big Red enjoying a long nap with me.


                          Here you can see how big they have actually grown in the 9 months.



                          Originally posted by bodyman View Post
                          Love the way your car is looking, your doing great work on it.
                          Thank you! Please check back as I have a TON of parts on order, so there is a lot more coming.
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                          • #88
                            I found some Ferrari F360 key heads on eBay. I bought them hoping to find a way to make them work with Mera.




                            I started looking for keyless entry systems that would work with the Ferrari key head. I found this system and I really like it because it will allow me to only carry the one key with me. I have trimmed down the Mera ignition key and it fits in the case, I just need to trim down the tabs on the ignition switch to fit the enlarged key head. Also, I am replacing the factory Fiero door lock actuators with after market more powerful units so I have a more reliable keyless entry system. I am also using a hide a key for a spare door lock key in the event of a keyless entry system failure.



                            Sadly when I opened up the new keyless entry system the circuit board is just a hair too big to fit into the Ferrari key heads and trimming it down would cut through traces. So onto plan B, one of my F360 key head came with a broken horse so while the eBay seller is replacing it I decided to use it as a stencil to make a prototype key. I bought a Scion key case on eBay for $2 for me to practice on since my keyless entry system is based on the Scion keys. This allows me to make a few versions without ruining my actual keyless system keys.

                            Here I am mocking up the prototype key with the broken horse.



                            I dremeled out the horse design and while doing so I learned a few things and found just the right tip to use. So keep in mind this key here is just practice and will NOT be used in the final versions. I made a number of flaws but learned along the way. I also painted it red using the same paint I used on the Mera followed with an SEM semi gloss clear.




                            So I will start on the actual keys soon and I hope to make them appear as close to OEM as possible. I also have some ideas to make them come out even better.
                            Last edited by DeLorean00; 06-09-2017, 09:01 AM.
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                            • #89
                              Originally posted by DeLorean00 View Post
                              Haha! I have 2 New Hampshire Red hens. I got them about 9 months ago when they were only a few days old and I have raised them by hands since. They are pets and always will be pets and are not livestock. They both know their names, are potty trained, extremely friendly, walk on leashes, and sleep indoors at night. They are my best buddies, I love them so much.
                              Nice! That's pretty awesome, thanks for showing them off! They're beautiful!

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by escaperoute View Post
                                Nice! That's pretty awesome, thanks for showing them off! They're beautiful!
                                Thank you! I am pretty proud of my girls. They are really wonderful pets.


                                Thank you! I have a lot of stuff to come so stay tuned!

                                I got this in the mail today, gotta pay homage to Magnum PI.



                                I made some door sill plates today using more water transfer decals so they have that factory printed look.





                                In this picture, they are just sitting in place. I am going to wait until the rest of the car is finished before installing so I don't scratch them up. Also, I am going to refinish the rocker covers before I put them on as well.

                                Last edited by DeLorean00; 06-09-2017, 09:38 PM.
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