Silver carbon fiber trim for the oCarbon GLI

We just got done with the silver “carbon fiber” trim on the oCarbon GLI and it turned out fantastic.  I’ll get some better pictures added to gallery shortly.  In the mean time, I’ll give a full run down on how we made these pieces for those that are interested.

First we started with the GLI’s original trim pieces and made some molds to help us conform the fabric.

Once the molds were done, the original pieces are ground down to make room for the added material of the fabric and epoxy.

Few quick coats of white paint so that the black pieces aren’t so different from the silver fabric.

Getting a fresh vacuum bag rigged up.

The pieces are laid on the raw fabric and tape is applied so that pieces can be cut out in the correct size.

Mixing up some bonding epoxy and applying it to the pieces.

The fabric is then placed on the pieces.  No attempt is made to wrap them around the edges at this stage, as the fabric is way too rigid and will just curl back up.

The pieces are then put into the mold, placed into the vacuum bag, and the bag is sealed up.

The vacuum pump gets turned on, which sucks all of the air from the bag.  Within a few minutes, the bag has pulled the fabric tight up against the mold.

The pieces are left to cure under a heat lamp for a few hours.

After a while, the pieces are carefully pulled from the bag.

The parts are starting to take shape.

After the parts have been removed from the mold, the excess fabric is trimmed off.

Epoxy gets brushed on, layer by layer.

After several coats, the epoxy is finally thick enough to allow the pieces to be sanded down without risking cutting into the fabric.  The parts are placed into an oven for a post cure for 24 hours.

After allowing ample time to cool off from the heat of the oven, the parts are ready to be trimmed and sanded.  All of the extra epoxy is ground off from the edges and the faces are block sanded smooth.  This process leaves the parts a litte bit hazy.

Next comes several coats of high solids automotive clearcoat, to give the pieces a traditional carbon fiber gloss.

After clearcoat, a few imperfections are always present, so the parts are wetsanded with a very high grit sandpaper.

After a few passes on the buffer, they are all done and ready to be installed.

just got started with our first e60 m5 set of trim…

We’ve done a few BMW sets in the past, mostly e46 and e90 sets, but now we’re about halfway done with our first M5 set.  I’m really happy with how it is turning out so far, particularly the shifter piece.  I can’t wait to finish this set up and see how it looks installed.

We start with an e60 wood core that gets sanded down to make room for the extra material of the carbon fiber and epoxy.

After laying the pieces out on the fabric (we went with an upgraded 20oz 2×2 twill for the M5), we carefully cut it out to the appropriate sizes.

We then mix up some bonding epoxy and apply it to the pieces.

A few hours later, the fabric has been applied and the first major step on the trim is completed.  This week, we’ll start adding epoxy to the pieces to give it the gloss and depth that most people associate with carbon fiber.


mk6 Jetta/GLI interior trim removal guide

I spent a little bit of time today removing my trim so I could refinish it in silver carbon fiber. I figured I’d take some pictures and document the process for anyone else who was interested in removing/replacing their interior trim.

The Jetta and GLI trim is interchangeable, so the guide should be the same for both. The Golf/GTI is slightly different interior trim, in both shape and size, but I’d assume the tabs and removal process will be very similar.

Tools needed:
1) small electronics screwdriver
2) t20 torx bit screwdriver
3) masking tape

Estimated time required:
45 minutes

Lets start with the tools needed. I prefer a small screwdriver over a regular one because the space I’m trying to wedge into is very tight. A regular sized screwdriver has a tough time getting in there, where as a small one works perfectly. I like to put some masking tape on the end of the screwdriver so I don’t scratch anything. The torx screwdriver is needed to drop the glovebox.

Start by putting a bit of the masking tape on the end of your screwdriver. This will prevent it from scratching any of the plastic on your trim or the door card.

Just fold it over a few times so that it is not too thick. Tear away any extra masking tape.

I like to start on the rear doors when I’m removing trim for the first time. This way, if I screw anything up, it won’t be more noticeable from the front seats. Take the freshly taped screw driver and wedge it in the top corner of the trim and the door card.

Lift it up slightly. This can be a bit tricky and it might feel like the trim is going to break. Just go slow and keep at it until you can get your fingers under there.

Once you’ve got it up enough to get your fingers under the trim, start pulling gently. Use one hand on the top of the trim and the other hand on the bottom of the trim and eventually it will pull one of the tabs free. Once you’ve felt the first tab come free, work your way down to the next tab.

There are four tabs total. Just keep moving down to the rear of the piece as each tab comes free. Be sure you use a hand on the top and the bottom of the trim when pulling (I could only use one hand, I needed to use my other to snap the picture).

Eventually the piece will come free. You can see the locations of the tabs here.

One thing to take note of: sometimes the clips that are in the door will stay on the trim. Be aware of this and don’t lose the clips or your trim will not reinstall properly and could possibly rattle.

That clip should be in the door card like this.

If one of your clips does stay with the trim, just remove it and push it back into place.

Thats all there is to removing the door pieces. Repeat the steps for the remaining doors and get ready to do the dash.

You’ll need to remove your headlight switch first.

Start with the switch in the off position.

From there, you’re going to push in slightly. The switch will stop when you’ve pushed in far enough.

It doesn’t need to be pushed in very far, maybe 2-3mm at most.

While still pushing in, you’re going to turn the switch about halfway between off and on. Again, it will stop when you’ve gone far enough.

Doesn’t need to get turned very far.

From there, you can pull the switch free.

The turning mechanism retracts a small latch that keeps the switch in place.

Once you’ve got the switch out, you press the small tab here to get the wiring off.

With the switch out, use two fingers under the bottom left side of the piece and pull out. The trim is only held in with two tabs and should come out very easily.

Now we need to drop the glove box.

Do not attempt to remove the dash trim by pulling it out. You will bend (and possibly break) the trim. It is held in with torx screws, so the glove box must be dropped to get access to the back of the trim to remove the screws.

Start by removing the fuse box cover. Use your taped up small screw driver and start at the bottom.

Work your way up and 2 of the 3 tabs that hold it in place will come free. You can pull it off with your hands after that.

Next remove the torx screw inside the fuse box cover.

Then open up the glove box and remove the torx screws that are just below the trim on the inside of the glove box. They are recessed about 3-4 inches.

There are two more torx screws at the base of the glove box that need to be removed as well. One on the very left and one on the very right. Once these last two torx screws are removed, you should be able to drop the glove box.

You’ll need to disconnect the wiring harness that powers the glove box light. You can do this by pressing in the tabs on the top and bottom.

With the glove box fully dropped, you finally have access to the 3 torx screws on the back of the trim. Remove them and the dash trim will be free.

To reassemble the glove box, repeat the steps in reverse order. There are some tabs on the left of the glove box that will act as a guideline and will hold it in place while you’re redoing the torx screws. With these tabs inserted correctly, the glove box should be able to stay up on its own without any torx screws in.

Thats it! You’re done, and your new oCarbon trim is ready to be installed.