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Soldering - Part 1 by William

I have not had a chance to solder in a while, so I am taking this opportunity to start the soldiering series to help out those who are just getting into soldering. Today, at the makeshift Midnight Mods base, we are going to discuss soldering wires together. This is one of the easiest way to practice soldering. How much solder you use is very important to the bond of the components. To much solder can make it weak and not enough can not give you the desired effects. I will discuss more of what a proper solder looks like in the next article.

sldrng01_000We need some soldering tools and some wire today. My wire happens to be the stereo harness for my truck. We need to solder these two wires together to complete the speaker harness for the stereo head. The harness is different from my 95’s, so we need to make this one work.

I’ve stripped the wires and put a little twist on them to keep them neat. The twist helps them pull solder in easier. A good twist is important. Over twisting can be bad, the twist also helps with structure. If you just solder the wires together strait, they will bend easily and that will break the solder. Remember, solder is a fusible metal alloy. We are heating up the wire and draw the metal into the object we have heated up.

To do this properly, we are going to use heat shrink tubing (in the picture above). These looks like little rubber sleeves, which is what they are. They shrink when heat is applied to them, and they protect the joint. You do not need to use this for practice, this is for a finished product.

sldrng01_001 I slipped the tubing on before soldering, cause, well you cannot put it on after you have completed the joint.

sldrng01_003Here is the soldering iron we are using today. Lets plug it in and warm it up. This is a 40 Watt iron. I use an 18 watt at home. Heat is the killer for your components, you want to use the least amount of heat possible when you solder, this will reduce the risk of damaging components while soldering. Also, a higher watt iron is more likely to carbon up.

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The tip looks really carboned up. Most people don’t know how to care for the tips, which is okay, I can fix this!  You can see the solder is not melting on the tip and sticking like it should. An iron, when taken care of, will hold solder on the tip when you apply solder to it, this is called “tinning the tip.” Just a hot iron will not transfer heat into the object, you use the solder on the tip as the medium to get a good transfer.


I could only find some steel wool. I usually use a scotch brite pad. They work good. Unfortunately, the steel wool was not abrasive enough, lets go to drastic measures.


You should file these while they are cold. it works much better so you can start the iron up with solder on it to tinn the tip properly. I already had it running. You can see in the second picture that it finally held some solder. I didn’t want to spend much time working on it, the tip was really flimsy compared to what I am used too. They generally are copper, because copper is a very good medium for transferring heat!


To get warmed up, we are going to practice some soldering to make sure the iron is hot enough, and the solder is flowing well. I have stuck this piece of wire into the vice and have twisted the end, now to give it a test.


Aww rats, that is way to much solder. Lets try this again.


There we go!

It is important to try and practice some while you do this, no matter how good you are, we always need practice, otherwise we end up with fried components, or over soldered connections.

Lets get these wires soldered together. You can see I have twisted them together in the middle trying to make one wire. The quick way would be to do it like a twist tie, but that makes the wire large, and the heat shrink would not fit over top of them.


I am actually not moving the iron. The iron is sitting in a stand on the bench, I am holding the wire over the tip with one hand and applying the solder with the other. This is a good work around when you do not have a pair of helping hands. It just takes more time because I cannot isolate the joint as easily. Also, with this method, the wires do not like to stay twisted together, so it takes more effort to keep them together before soldering, cause you are using one hand for solder, and the other to hold the wires.

sldrng01_014 sldrng01_015

We got them all together now, and we can start soldering. Make sure to keep the tubing away from the joint, this is another reason to use the least amount of heat. Wire transfers heat, and it will shrink the tubing. If you are really worried, throw on an alligator clip as as heat sync, The heat will travel to there, because heat’s goal is to even out across the surfaces, so it will go to the cold clamp. Do not use to tight of a clamp though, it could damage the wire.


To shrink the tubing I used a torch. This is not really the proper way to do it, but it works in a pinch. Do not ever hold the flame on the tubing, it will melt. You want to move the heat towards the tubing until it starts to shrink, and make sure you move it around and don’t hold it directly on one spot, this will also damage the tubing and cause it to curl up. The proper way to shrink it is to use a heat gun. You can still melt the tubing, but it is much harder. The gun is also more safe than an open flame. In a really big pinch, you can use a lighter as well.


And for the final touches, I’ll zip tie the wires together, and we are done! I know this article might sound a bit incomplete, but this is a practice type introduction for people wanting to solder. Take your time and practice on junk wire. If you are unsure if it is a good solder, send in a photo! I’ll be more then willing to help. If you are melting the casing on the wire while soldering, you are holding the iron on too long while soldering. Get the solder on and watch it flow, when it stops flowing, pull the iron away. Stereo is working great by the way, if anyone is wondering.

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Carpet Install by William

I recently got a new vehicle. Gutting the cab, I found tons of dirt and junk from the liner not covering the floor properly. So, to fix this shrank mat, I purchased some carpet from Bronco Graveyard. The carpet was custom made in Alabama, then drop shipped to my door. Which is currently in Tennessee, where I have set up a remote MidnightMods camp. The Carpet is vinyl and very nice quality. I was quite bummed to find out that it was not pre cut, but I made due.  Lets start the work!


Here you can see the carpet folded out. It is actually a molded carpet, even though you cannot tell from this picture. It looks as if it was press fitted and heated. Just my assumption.





This is what I had in the truck, and I did not need to leave it in there, but I did. First I modified it some before reinstalling it and modifying it some more. I left this matt in there still due to the sound deadening effects it would help with. Pulling it out, I found out it was still holding water as well, from the PO, even though I let it dry in the Tennessee sun for a few days.

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I pulled off the backing, due to it being wet, and because it would just be far to tall under the carpet at that point, cause the carpet had padding as well. You can see it looks wet again. Yuch!!! I had some issues around the Throttle, so I cut it and made it sit better before installing the carpet.


Sorry, it focused on the white part up front, I was in a hurry. My bad on that one. The carpet is actually a bit large, but my goal was to cut as little as possible. The shifters were not cut out, this posed some challenge to me. Cannot mess up, cause.. well, it’s not easily fixable!

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Make sure you use some GOOD scissors when you do this. I got my blade shears out to use. Boy are they dull now. =(

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I got the shifter cut out and installed the shifter and boot, and went to work on the four wheel drive shifter. This was to help keep the carpet in place. Make sure you constantly check the location of the carpet. It should fit evenly around, and try and tuck it up under the dash as far as you can, there is plenty to go around.

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With the four wheel drive shifter on, I went to work under the drivers side dash. You can get it stuffed behind this panel with minimal cutting. I had to make a cut in the back for a piece back there, and cut off about an inch part way down, cause it was just to long to fit back there. It looks great, no? next, I installed the seat belts, and then I installed the bench seat. The reason I did this was to help keep the carpet from moving around when I did the rear corners.


You can see there is lots of excess behind the seat. I elected to stuff this under the back drop and behind the rear quarters. I removed them and stuffed. The only place I cut the carpet here was for the seat belt, and then did my best to stuff it in the corner to not interfere with anything.

carpet_0031 The edges overhung a bit, so I tucked them into the wire channel and applied the rocker panel covers. This will allow me to adjust later if I have too. I left some slack in towards the floor as well, I did not pull them tight, just to allow the center hump some material to settle with.

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That looks good, lets add in the floor mat, and take it for a spin!

The main problem I had was cutting the holes out. That was the biggest pain. Getting the rear corners stuffed good was a pain also, the trim does not actually fit back in there as easy, due to more material being underneath it now. I’m sure it will eventually settle in. I had a lot of fun with this and now my truck looks great inside, and I’m not afraid of dirt getting under the carpet like it would have with the tough mat that was installed, which had gaps and holes in it.

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Ford Window Trim Mod by William


Plastic, it is just a weak thing after so many years. It was probably a good idea initially when they designed these door panels for the ford trucks between 87 and 96 (and 97 f350). They are all generally the same, except the XL doesn’t have the bottom pocket on the door, or if it has Manual windows. Anyways, that isn’t what we are here to talk about.


I got some new Rattle, or wipers, or window trim, or whatever you want to call it. They are the rubber pieces for your side windows that keep water out and usually screw up your window if you roll it down after a car wash. These things are just rubber and eventually will crack. Your probably saying though, “Well, you just clip in the new ones, why do we have to suffer though this article!” Well, your correct, They DO just clip on. We all know plastic gets weak after a while, and we get problems like the following.


wtmsnt_0003 wtmsnt_0002

The bottom 2 are the same trim piece. I’ve already popped the felted rubber onto the door panels as you can see, but there is some plastic missing. The bottom left picture has a clip in it that is working properly. This is wonderful, but when I popped the next clip in to the left, it broke! What a pain! You can also see that the whole clip area is missing in the top picture. Oh my, what do we do? If you do not have these pieces secured to the door properly, they will move around, or be a pain to install on the door when you put the panel back in. I have a fix! I’ll give you a chance to guess what we are going to use before we get to involved. Okay, so Think about it…


I hope that wasn’t hard. I don’t know if I am the first person to come up with this idea or not, but if I am. I’ma do a little dance. *dance* Okay, we need a drill, some drills and some zip ties. (Snap ties for you crazy people).

This is pretty simple fix, I hope you see where I’m going with this.


First we are going to drill some holes in the area that we are missing a clip. Hold the trim in place with your left (or right) hand while you drill with the other. Drill though the trim into the plastic on the door. The trim has metal in it, so it will take a second. Make sure you hold it in place! Otherwise it will not be correct.


wtmsnt_0007 Now, just throw in a snap tie. This one is actually incorrect though. I had not done it for a while, and forgot which spot to put the zip toggle in. You want it to be flush, and to pull though, like the following example.


I hope you can see what is going on here. I threaded the zip tie though, and left some slack, then back though it came, and I pushed the toggle down on the other hole and pulled strait out. This is to try and keep the lowest profile I could with the tie. You might be thinking though, “Why don’t I just put it in the other way?” Well, because the lip you see pops over the metal on the door, and the big part of the tie will keep it from going into the door properly. So they have to be towards the window, not towards the door. I am making this sound confusing. Lets just go with an example and call it good.


There you have it.  I do 3 on each door. The trim will not “accidently” pop out while rolling the window up. Or powering it up, if you have auto windows. The one in the middle keeps it from moving around to much. If you clip them in, you will notice there is some slack there. This is a really easy fix, especially if you have new trim to put on like I did. My windows are so happy. Now I just have to change the scratched glass from the old dry rotted trim.

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Sheep Fun by William

I decided to have a bit of fun after a comment on an up and coming DVD review to go ahead with these shenanigans. I don’t think the DVD Authors expected a Sheep Shearer to be watching the commentary on the video.

wgshp_001 wgshp_000


There you have it. High and Tight on a sheep.

If your wondering the breed, its a babydoll southdown.
I find them quite worthless IMO, no wool, and poor lamb production, but for pets, they are good sheep due to their smaller size.

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Home Made Stromboli Just Sounded So Good by Brett

I was flipping through some old posts and found the Midnight Mods meetings, complete with traditional Stromboli. I thought to myself, “It’s been far too long!” I had a craving and there was only one way to satisfy it.


Although no physical meeting took place- a delicious Midnight Mods Stromboli was created tonight and it only took two trips to the store. The first dough wasn’t useable and a complaint has been filed to the ‘Doughboy’. I really have to learn how to make my own! I also had to pick up a pan, since I didn’t bring one with me to the new place.


I also realized I didn’t have a can opener about halfway into making dinner- Not to worry! As a member of MM, I had the right a tool to get the job done somewhere.

CIMG1608  CIMG1609

Now to program this blank dough into something tasty. I coded tossed in some mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, some more cheese, honey ham, pepperoni, mushrooms, more cheese, pepperoni, and cheese. I set oven to compile 425f and debugged covered the thing with garlic powder.


The result? Delicious! 4/4 Pepperoni (note to self, start argument with random people about singular / plural form of peperone / pepperoni for on the spot fun.)

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