Lillian & Marc have been GMC owners and enthusiasts for many years driving their 23′ coach nationwide. They then purchased a 26′ coach and embarked on a project to design and have built their “Dream Machine”. This is part of the build of their “Dream Machine”. Click for the Final Result
Their interior came to us in pretty nice condition Other than the radio, it was pretty much original. Lillian understand more than most that updating the look of the coach is where the comfort and convenience is so, in the case of the dash as many other interior components, “out with the old” is the beginning of that phrase. Working closely with Mac McNeal at www.custominstrumentpanels.com , Marc designed a dash unique to the GMC Well Marc, you got your “hi tech” look didn’t ya! The gauges are “flushed” to the brushed aluminum bezel– very nice.
The original floorplan featured a walk in shower stall. Lillian felt it took up too much space and wanted to have a pull out pantry– so out came the shower . Some would say, “What are you doing?” There is method in this madness, Marc & lillian have traveled cross country in their GM floorplan 23′ coach for many years & find that other than being a bit confined that the “wet bath” concept bathroom works pretty well for them and the loss of space having a shower stall is not worth it cost. The plan is to incorporate a slide out pantry in the forward area where the shower stall was similar to this one will be custom built and installed in that location. Next the bathroom will be transformed from a sink & toilet connecting to the old shower stall to a larger than original bathroom area with a “wet shower” set up. For them, this will be the best of both worlds– a larger wet shower bathroom and addition space for the pull out pantry. Anything can be done and with a little planning your interior can be everything you want it to be.
Marc & Lillians coach will be a pretty unique and special machine, one that I have no doubt will stand out in any crowd and to that end, the inside of the entry door is a special place to me. It’s what a person sees first of the interior as they enter. I feel the design, colors, fit and finish set the mood for the rest of the interior presentation. A little extra effort on this panel and window goes a long way to the impression one gets of the coach, I like to take personal effort to make the interior of the entry door my little special project. Follow me as we finish off Lillians interior door panel.
You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet so step one is to pull the door apart. At this point, the exterior door latch is accessible which we replaced it with a new one. If there is any damage to the lower door hinge (many coaches have issues there), repair or replacement is possible. We have installed a new style “T” slider window in this coach so securing ans sealing the frame is easier at this point. If the door has no insulation, some can be added, Lillians door has the original expanded foam so we are in good shape there.
Next is to refinish the main interior handle and metal panel. Look at your coach and you will probably see many attempts at straps, handles, pulls and whatnot aimed at making the door easier to open and close. Most of the attempts fail in that there is a great deal of stress on any handle or strap here and sheet metal or self tapping screws simply strip or back out. You must through bolt and lock any fastener from the inside if you expect it to hold long term, what can I say, it’ the truth. The metal panel itself is probably been exposed to not only the elements but also years of neglect and probably wears the scars of this lack of attention. We stretch a vinyl cover over the metal panel, clean up or replace in this case the interior latch assembly and add a steel reinforced rubberized assist handle. We also replace the lock pin and check action of the latch and lock mechanism. Of course the focus is on making the panel look fresh and new so every attempt is made to renew everything . This unique handle was borrowed from the ambulance industry, it is the attendant “hold on” handle for the back jump seat. As we said, it is steel reinforced and very functional in aiding in opening the interior latch– besides, you could actually hang out the door with it if of course you had that desire. The handle is secured with machine screws double nutted on the inside– with any luck at all, it should never come loose.
Lillian said I could use my literary license to make this door panel special, I appreciate and and excited about her letting me go so on we go. I want to bring out the colors that she is using to adorn the interior walls and upholstery– sort of a palate of the colors yet to see. We have several colors and textures to work with. I see so many times a simple vinyl and button covered panel all marked up with shoe prints and water stains. I feel people do not take care of this part of the interior mainly because no matter what they do it still looks boring. I mean why would you wash a scratched up, rusted car? Each panel carries a color and material used on the interior Brushed aluminum trim, putty vinyl and their custom sofa cloth. The cloth has a foam pad behind to give this panel a “3D” effect but more than that, I like to add things that on the surface are not apparent. It’s difficult to capture in a pic but at the right angle you get the badge of the coach shadowed in the cloth panel , lets call it a “stealth” logo. The lower panel will be added next covered with their interior laminate color.