Los Angeles -Class Attack Sub(urban), Build / Collected Werks topic - '02 k1500 Z71


Expedition Leader
Still trying to finish refinishing wood furnishings from the back yard, and now our 9-1/2yr old water heater has sprung a seam leak. So most of my time and money are tied up. The several Sub related projects just keep getting pushed back. But still in the queue. Probably be well into the Fall again before anything significant gets done. Skid plates, new top deck, a bunch of rewiring for Aux power distribution, HAM radio install, completion of the storage platform extension for sleeping in the vehicle. And hopefully the grill guard and hitch winch setup by next summer.

Finished refinishing the pool deck bench / automated pool cover-cover -

Don't know if it's just the time spread between when I did the end hatches (first) and the central top section (very last), or if I did a better job of shaking up the colorants in the sealer. Might have to second-coat the hatches to try to get them to match, but then they'll probably wind up darker.


Expedition Leader
That's pretty much what I hope to do, dismount them, blow them dry with compressed air, and then caulk the seams with clear 100% silicone.

Took a pic of them today as I was dropping off the old water heater. Walking back from check-in office and was struck by how clear they were and then noticed the green Chevy's yellowed / fogged lenses.

New water heater is in, space cleaned up, some of the code plumbing changes put in, more to do up top next week, have to add an expansion tank and want to replace the copper flex lines and a ball valve shutoff that won't.

Good Times.

now back to wood refinishing


Expedition Leader
Still clogged up with home remodeling / renovation projects, as we're working hard to GTFO of California.

Another backyard piece refinished, a 10' long 'potting bench' that is usualyl topped with potted plants and gardening tools and materials and chimnea firewood, underneath -

Now I'm moving on to some fresh cutting for a couple projects, among them the MkIII roof deck for the sub. The MkII deck started to rapidly delaminate, mostly from the rear end. But once the leading edge started to part I decided to pull it. Which I just did this morning. Turns out the "baltic birch' -looking stuff that seemed so nice was for interior projects only. Once my edge priming and epoxy paint started to fail - presumably from the beating of rotating car wash brushes - it really came apart.

Pulled the solar panel out for the first time in several months and things looked pretty good. The panel mounting frame was not sealed to the rear, any water making it down around the panel should flow to the rear. But once the deck end delaminated and curled up, it seems from the dry lakebed under the panel that trapped water was just sitting there until it cooked off.

Rest of the pics are during disassembly of the MkII deck. It's drooping in the midpoint a bit, owing to the flat strapping I used to mount the deck(s). MkIII will have 3/4"W x 1/2" tall rectangular steel tubing. There's about a 5/8"H crown in the roof, the front and rear ends being about that much lower than the midpoint. Right now I'm not sure if I'll put - or even can put - a tubular brace in the middle. I may have to stay with flat there and tubular at the ends in order to keep my deck height a good bit lower than the factory rack side rails. Chiefly to help lower the profile of my roof-mounted solar.

The MkIII deck is going to be ~1/2" or 5/8" CDX or some other variant of exterior-grade plywood with at least one good face. Exterior grade has water resistant glues, interior grade does not.
After the two deck panels are fashioned I intend to seal the edges by brushing on a couple thinned coats of epoxy or fiberglass resin. Before priming and then topcoating with Rustoleum Hammered finish epoxy enamel paint. The paint performs well in our blistering sun / heat. I just didn't get done well enough on the edges.
I'm also considering covering the leading and trailing edges with some aluminum C-channel, possibly epoxied in place. Still developing that idea.

Overall I still would prefer the previously mentioned UHDPE / Starboard product for the top deck, but that $400 is needed elsewhere. MkIII materials should total about $120.


Expedition Leader
MkIII roof deck, coming right up (this weekend).
Foolishly removed the MkII deck a few weeks ago and then got busy trying to crash into the current school semester. Just as the full brunt of the summer heat and sun arrived. Dumb dumb DUMB timing, on my part.

It's going to look a lot like MkII, but will be one piece and have some hemispherical cutouts around the bolts / nuts where the support braces attach to the factory roof rack side rails. Same front curve, same finished height, same paint. But this time I'll remember to use exterior grade plywood so the glue doesn't fail instantly.

I'll also be trying to integrate the wiring connection for the solar panel into the rear driver side foot of the rack, thru the roof into the ceiling and down the interior of the 'D' pillar trim, to its connection in the rear power box.
All in blazing hot weather, so lots of early morning / late night work.


Expedition Leader
Finally got the new roof deck construction underway. Today was shaping the plywood sheet and prepping it for painting. This time I remembered to get some exterior-grade - water-proof glue, 'exposure 1'.

The overall deck size is 43-3/4"W x ~90"L. I retained the overall shape and front extension and curve of the MkII deck, while fashioning it as a single sheet instead of two longitudinal halves. This was to increase side-to-side rigidity as I'm still only using flat strapping as mounting rails. One of these years I'll make the square-tubing-based rails.

Since it is now one-piece, some accommodation needed to be made to clear the mounting rail bolts / nuts. And clearance for a wrench to adjust them with. I decided to use a hole saw mostly for speed / convenience. I have a lot of them, not hard to pick a useful size. In fact I'm not even sure what size I used. At least a 2"-2.5"
I positioned my pattern to one edge and end of the sheet, so when I figured where to drill the holes I started on the offcut side, the side I'd be trimming 4.25" from. So I buzzed those holes. But for the other side / factory edge, I clamped the offcut strip to the edge of the sheet so I had a way to properly position a hole saw.

Then it was on to shaping the bow. I'd traced the MkII deck and used one half, tracing then flipping it over. A good way to keep it symmetrical. I used a straightedge to trace several lines adjacent to that curve that would let me chop off most of the unwanted wood with a circular saw, after first making a straight cut to salvage most of the unwanted wood. Then I made the angled cuts to removed most of the waste material.
After those cuts I attacked the whole thing with a belt sander with a worn belt, rounding off all the sharp corners and the relief cut openings. Then a fresh belt to clean up the bow curve to my traced line.

Next I taped the top edge of the bow curve to limit splintering of the plywood before going at it with a router with a large 45deg chamfer /bevel bit. I set that to cut about 2/3 of the sheet thickness. After that I made a few light shaping passes with the belt sander. Not recommended if it's your first rodeo with one of those. Real easy to remove too much material too fast. Then I did a bit more shaping with some rubber sanding blocks and some 80 and 120 grit sandpaper.

Then I used a trim router with a 1/8" radius bit to round over all the sheet edges. Following that up with a sanding sponge to clean it up.

Lastly I brushed and wiped all the edges down and gave them two good wet coats of spar varnish. Probably overkill since I have the proper plywood this time. But I figured better safe than sorry. And since it was exterior grade ply, there were a few edge voids I wanted to clog up.

I'm once again using some Hammered Finish epoxy paint. I can find nothing that says it's ONLY for use on metal, or anything saying NOT to use it on wood. I used it over Killz primer on the last deck and it worked and held just fine. But I'm trying a test tonight on some offcut scrap to see how it bonds to bare wood. And if it bonds well enough I will probably skip the primer coat. Not sure.

Probably have it finished and remounted in a week or two.
eta I'm also going to try and mount an Anderson bulkhead fitting in the rear left roof rack foot, wired thru the foot and roof skin and down the D pillar to my power box.
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Expedition Leader
Still farting around with the replacement roof deck. Applied some primer to both sides and wiped it off the varnished edges. A couple days in the heat and then the very stinky 'Hammered Finish' epoxy paint. Stuff's nasty, needs a LOT of ventilation. And it has a high voc so you can't really use it in the heat, goes really tacky too quickly, like cotton candy when you use a roller.
But it's sticking real nice to both bases. It also requires that you make a second coat within 4hrs or wait a week. And it's gonna take that long to cure fully before it can really be handled / put into use.

One drawback of the exterior-grade plywood is the surface. Not really pretty. But the primer + double coating of Hammered paint goes a long way to hiding the many imperfections. And it's on top of my Sub, anyway. And a quarter covered by my removable solar panel. And maybe by a fixed panel as well, if I can find one that fits the way I want it to.

Been thinking about a 'MkII' panel mount in the same style as already built, but with the forward half being a fixed panel and the rear being as already created. Trick is finding a panel that's no more than 43" L

Anyway, still need to make the roof rack bulkhead wiring connection and fish the wire thru the 'D' pillar to my power box. Be a week or more before I get the new deck mounted and things back together. Have a little road trip planned in about a month, want it done before then.


Expedition Leader
(reporting from teh 'Hey Vortec Guys' topic, where I accidentally posted it)

I've been slowly dinging up my already aging Sub, the pass door paint upper surfaces wrecked by the previous owner with a buffer, the driver side keyed, now with clear coat patches degrading on the hood and brow over the windshield. Been considering various painting schemes. A long time ago I painted a few vehicles in a friend's detached garage, made a spray booth with poly tarping, borrowed a lot of space heaters. Came out ok but a lot of work. The Sub would have to be done in my driveway. even considered doing it one piece at a time, dismounting and setting up a booth in my cluttered attached 2-car. But again a lot of work. And I really want to do a color change from black to something like Toyota's 'Quicksand', a sort of medium brown with a bit of yellow. And that's a lot of work. Around these parts of L.A> far more money for a pro job than I care to spend, even if I could afford it.
So I started giving serious consideration to using bedliner products. Especially the roll-on variety. THAT I can do in my driveway. And I think given my building and crafts skills, can do a really decent job of it. And it would cost about $500-600 total. That's only 10% of what I paid for the vehicle.


'Desert Sand', 'Yank My Doodle', lol their Coyote Brown color is named 'Super Genius', 'Pass the Bubbly' looks closest to the Toyota Quicksand color I've been talking about.

I've ordered samples of those, should have them in a week or so.

Monstaliner bedliner review (Jurassic Park Jeep)

I figure I can do the whole thing in 3-4 days, stripping and masking and even doing all the jambs. Only problem with 'Baby Poop Brown' colors is I have a gray interior. The black exterior trims will go along with those browns nicely. Maybe I can sell off my newish gray front seat covers and get some brown or black. Maybe even swap much of the interior with someone with a black interior that's tired of scorching their butt and arms. Then again we're planning to move to an even hotter desert place for a couple years.


Expedition Leader
Monstaliner will send out 6 carded color samples for free.

Got the color sample cards I requested from Monstaliner. Prompt service, along with several info and marketing fliers. They're also announcing a color-matching line of brushable / sprayable paint, for covering door jambs and hinges and such.

Colors on the hood in full sun

I lean towards the more yellow coloration, which they name 'Pass the Bubbly'. Maybe too much 'Grey Poupon' in my life. Or too much Afrika Korps armor model-building as a yout, it's very close to 'Sandgelb'. It's that or 'Desert Sand' on the far left.

I've got to talk to some car detailers. My vehicle paint might still be salvageable. But once that sort of clear coat breakdown starts to happen it's hard to get ahead of without a lot of expense. Either by detailer or the full suite of Monstaliner application, would cost my in the high hundreds either way. But the difference in appearance would be pretty severe. Not sure if I'm ready to go full 'offroad basher coated in bedliner' yet. Kinda still want to pretend my 17yr-old Sub looks nice.


New member
For what it’s worth I did my burb with monster liner over a year ago. I’m very happy with it. The only thing I didn’t like were the foam rollers they sent. They tend to start coming apart fairly quickly.

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Expedition Leader
Looks pretty good. Any color or sheen change in the past year?

I keep waffling. I've got two patches of degrading clear coat on the hood, dents and paint damage on all four doors, and an increasingly bad patch on the brow. Still toying with painting all the removable panels myself in my garage. Then doing all the prep to have the body painted. But I don't even want to do all that. But really can't afford a proper re-paint. I've got better things to spend my money on.
But we're looking at moving to Vegas in less than a year and I really don't want a black vehicle there. It's bad enough in L.A..
Going to take a crack at getting some real quotes for a re-paint, despite already knowing I'm not going to like the totals.

Also thinking about doing all the prep and renting a booth to shoot it myself. Lately I've been reading even that route is quite costly. Just the paint and materials are going to cost me well over $1000.
Which brings me back around to Monsterliner. Sub's not our primary vehicle. And after we move I'm likely to lease a new midsize car as my daily driver anyway.

Guess I need to research ways of making the smoothest possible application of monsterliner.


New member
Color has been consistent, the sheen went from what you see in the pictures (satin maybe?) to a matte. My topcoat was in the same state as yours. Plus I had some dents and dings that were starting show rust that I cleaned up and filled. The stuff is tough, I took it through a narrow trail this year that left all the other rigs in our group with scratches from tree limbs that the monster liner just laughed at.

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Expedition Leader
thx for the info, Idaho. yep, warwagon. The color change is what I've been really after. I've painted vehicles before, decades ago, and I'm very good with all sorts of trades and crafts and all sorts of painting. I've been considering pulling my doors fenders and hood and hatch and painting them myself in a made-up 'booth' in my residential attached garage. Done things like that before. Confident I can do it well enough. But doing the remainder of the body, roof etc is a big project and a lot of prep work. And if I do it 'one piece at a time', it's gonna take me forever and be ugly as hell until the end.
Monsterliner I can do in much shorter timeframe.

And I've read in tehir promo materials that they now have a thinner color-matching product that can be brushed in door jambs etc to make things match. Which leads me to wonder and ask if it can be thinned and sprayed and what the resulting textures might be from a HVLP sprayer. If I can get it smoother than their provided texture rollers, I'd prefer to. Matte I don't mind, in fact I'm fine with it.

I'm totally willing to make a rolling lumber frame to suspend doors, fenders, hood and hatch from so I can paint them in my garage in a tarp booth. I figure three long weekends would be enough for the removeable panels. 1) hood and front fenders, 2) four doors, 3) rear hatch. And then I look like a clown car for a couple weeks while I do the prep and dent repairs and prepare the body. Or maybe do all the dent and scratch and clear coat remediation before doing any monsterliner application. Been a lot of years since I did any bodywork,