Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
December 1, 2009

That being said, Latemodel hooked us up with a new set of actuators (PN LRS-21842), which come with an assortment of rods, a new mounting bracket and a new rivet to install the bracket. The rivet is an industrial-sized piece that requires a larger-than-average rivet gun. They are rather hard to find unless you go to a tool store (the local Sears didn't have one). If you or your friends don't have one, fear not, as Latemodel sells these as well. Installation is simple: It will take you longer to remove the door panel than it will to install the new actuator.

That pretty much completed the mechanical modifications, so all we had to do was finish the sound-deadening installation and start painting the interior components. Thermo-Tec supplied us with its Suppressor and Sonic Mat insulation materials for our project, and we finished this part of the installation by covering the back-seat floor area. We also added some pieces to the upper C-pillar area, as well as the package tray. You could continue into the trunk, but there is already a factory material similar to the Super Sonic mat on the floor, so we called it good.

We spent a good 45-60 minutes per door as that took a lot of trimming and detail work, and we probably have two hours at the most into the floor and roof. We thought we'd be adding a ton of weight to the car with this, but the five rolls that we used equated to just 34 pounds. We can live with that, especially considering our notchback model is the lightest to begin with.

As with any paint job, the prep work is what determines the end result. Painting plastic and vinyl requires an extra measure of cleaning prior to painting if you hope to have your new finish stick well and last a while. Just think of all those years that you've been applying Armor All or some other protectant to the interior panels, and it's easy to understand why many color changes fail.

There are several different ways to clean the components, including rubbing alcohol, lacquer thinner, and a prep solvent of some sort. After we removed and disassembled all of the pieces to be painted, we gave each piece a liberal coat of purple cleaning fluid, and then scrubbed them with a stiff-bristled brush. We then hosed them off and proceeded to scrub them down again with laundry detergent and a bug scrubber that is commonly available at your local auto parts store. After the parts dried, we wiped them down with a bit of lacquer thinner, and then sprayed them with Latemodel Restoration Supply's interior lacquer paint (PN MET-FL33). If you're painting your armrest pads and the padded part of the dashboard, use LRS's Vinyl Prep/Cleaner (PN MET-VP383).

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