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Old 06-05-2014, 05:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Taking stock: condition of the permanent aeromods on the Metro/Firefly, years later

I've been giving the old Flea a good clean-up and general going-over, which involves removing some of its "permanent" aero modifications.

I'll be honest: most of them have not stood the test of time.

Photos tell the sad story. I'll start with the good...

1) My home-made grille-block/bra



Originally made in 2007.

See a pic of it new: Home-made grille block / bra

It's made out of vinyl material. Aside from being dirty and a little faded (and with duct tape residue for added effect), this has actually held up decently.


2) Smooth wheel covers



Originally made: 2007

See what they looked like new - project thread: Modded wheel covers to make them smooth

These were made by glueing (is that a word? Looks funny) plastic shapes over the holes in the factory wheelcovers. They worked for a couple of years before the plastic shapes started curving up at the edges ... and some fell off and drifted away like autumn leaves. Each wheelcover has lost at least one shape.

This week I yanked them all off and cleaned off the adhesive. I'm probably going to go the pizza pan route, screwing them on to another set of wheelcovers I have. I'll re-paint the original wheelcovers to preserve the car's collector value.


3) Sealing around the headlight assemblies



Originally made: 2008

See what they looked like new - project thread: I basjoosed my headlights today (sealed the surrounding gap)

Utter failure on this one. See the little bit of weatherstripping under the right side of the turn signal? That's all that's left of it.

I never took my own advice in my build thread and ran a bead of black silicone over top to seal my weatherstripping from the weather. The problem? The adhesive completely let go after a while and the weatherstripping got pushed through the gap (hot sun on black paint probably turned the glue to slippery goo).


4) Rear wheel/fender skirts ...



Originally made: 2007

See what they looked like new - project thread: DIY: plastic rear wheel skirts (Geo Metro)

These have actually held up quite well. Originally they got "flappy" in hot weather due to the plastic being too thin, so I reinforced them with a backing of coroplast attached with contact cement.

But then something else happened in the last two years: they seem to have expanded a little between the attachment brackets/screws, and have bulged out. I don't know why. It's fixable though.

Originally I tried velcro as an attachment method, but it was too hard to remove the skirts. So I made custom attachment brackets:



These "pinch" the 90 degree bend in the wheel arch lip, because I didn't want to drill the metal and give rust a toe-hold. I just removed them for the first time since '07, and they have held up reasonably well, with some corrosion because I used 3 dissimilar metals: copper, stainless & steel! The good news is there was ZERO rust on the wheel arch where I had them attached.

The screws holding the skirts to the brackets rusted too, but they were just painted steel. I should find some stainless ones that fit when I put these back on.

Overall, reasonably happy with the durability of the wheel skirts.


5) Fiberglass Kammback ...





Originally built: 2008

Project thread (best photos around post#95, #127, #163): Project: making a permanent Metro Kammback extension

This is probably my biggest disappointment because of how much freakin' work I put into making this look as professional as possible when it was new:



Now it's failing structurally (sagging on the trailing edge) and cosmetically (finish is peeling and the whole thing has generally gone lumpy).

But I'm a big boy and in retrospect can accept that I used dumb construction techniques: not enough glass to make it strong; trying to encapsulate the cardboard form originally (since stripped out) was silly.

Cosmetically, I obviously did a poor job prepping the various layers of filler/paint, which is why they've started peeling.

Yes, it's fixable, but it'll never be as pretty as it once was. I'm more tempted to get a used hatchback and make something I can rivet/weld right onto the structure that can also act as a strong attachment point for a removable boat tail.

---

Main lesson learned: the mod that held up best was the grille block. I guess I should have made everything with a sewing machine and vinyl material.

At this point ALL my aero mods (except the passenger mirror delete) are off the car. I'm giving it a good cleaning and will be repairing/touching them up before they go back on.

This is humbling - it has given me an appreciation for the design & durability of the OEM bits and pieces on our vehicles that last its lifetime.

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Old 06-05-2014, 06:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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7 years is excellent!

My undertray fell apart after 3 months, I had to abandon it on the side of the highway.
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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3 of my wifes moon discs lasted a week. To be far she drove 4000 miles that week though.
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I slashed my marine plastic grill block within hours.

Then my car got car Chlamydia, apparently.

I really liked the way that you sealed your wheel covers. I wish that had worked out better.

I believe that the correct spelling is "gluing," although that also looks strange. Who knows with English, though. Whenever I go to m-w.com and try to use the thesaurus, it gives me my word as a synonym! You fail, synonymology! You had one job!
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xntrx View Post
3 of my wifes moon discs lasted a week. To be far she drove 4000 miles that week though.
Real Moon-Eyes discs? Or a knock-off?

I'm at about 15,000 miles and counting on mine with no problem.
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Old 06-06-2014, 12:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Added skirts & kammback

Those "moon" brand discs do look fantastic. I just can't justify the price... I'd apparently rather spend 20 hours messing around with failed DIY attempts.

Builds character?

---

I've updated post #1 with a look at the current state of my plastic rear wheel skirts and my once beautiful fiberglass Kammback.
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Old 06-06-2014, 04:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Nice post. My airdam has repeatedly needed attention, as have the side skirts. In both cases, it is a consequence of less than ideal attachment methods. I also have gained greater respect for not only OEM design but for the craftsmanship of some of the projects we see on this site, done by people with years of experience and access to great tools and materials. Shows me the weight and importance of our industrial and craft history for contemporary culture--even though it goes under-appreciated.
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I know you guys probably thought I was crazy using roof flashing for my mods, but it's super-cheap, lightweight, easily cut and shapable, and my mods will more than likely outlive the car . . .
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Too bad about the kamm. I remember how much time you put into it when you made it.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I was actually looking for something like this when I was making my temporary fender skirts... so I could affix temporary full length skirts without having to drill holes in someone else's car.

Bonus... looks ultra cheap to fabricate, too!

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