4th Gen Camaro Door Panel Refurb

Discussion in 'Interior Articles' started by KYWes, Jul 14, 2019.

By KYWes on Jul 14, 2019 at 4:03 PM
  1. KYWes

    My door panels were largely in good shape however the upper portion was faded and had water spots, the armrest was very dirty, and over all the tan portions of the door panel no longer matched the rest of the car because I had painted the backseat speaker panels, and other items.

    I initially thought I'd tape off the sections and paint but with the multiple sections it became a lot of trouble so I decided to disassemble the door panel, paint the plastic sections, and then reassemble the door panel.

    Tools I used. Pictured here are an ice pick and 1/2" wood chisel. I also used an inexpensive glue gun, flat screw driver, quick clamps, and pliers (regular, clamping, and needle nose) for this project.

    Door panel suggested tools.jpg

    This is a pictorial walk through of that project.
    Here's a before picture of the driver's door panel.
    Driver's door panel before.jpg
    Below: the backside of the door panel showing the sound insulation. The insulation can be gently removed by sliding your hand underneath the insulation and removing it from the door panel.
    Door panel backside.jpg
    Below: here is a picture of the door panel with the insulation removed. Notice the numerous plastic "rivets" holding the pieces together. I trimmed the tops of the pieces off with a 1/2" wood chisel and a rubber mallet. The chisel is very sharp and the edge is very thin allowing it to skim off the flattened portion of the rivet that holds the pieces together. It is necessary to trim the plastic standoffs holding the carpet panel and arm rest as well as the upper and lower assemblies to the door panel.
    Sound insulation removed.jpg plastic retainers trimmed 2.jpg

    Once the rivets have been trimmed the pieces can be separated.
    Lower door panel assy stripped backside.jpg Lower door panel assy stripped front.jpg Door upper panel seperated backside.jpg Door upper panel seperated front.jpg

    It is necessary to separate the two parts of the upper assembly because the upper assembly has a vinyl covered section and a plastic section. There are plastic rivets to trim as previously described and there are staples that need to be removed from the weather stripping. I used an ice pick to insert under the bent portion of the staple to initially straighten the leg of the staple. Then I used pliers to straighten the leg further. I then used the pliers and a flat blade screwdriver to fully remove the staple. I saved the staples. They are stout staples and I'm not sure where one would purchase more. See below.

    Door panel weather stripping staples detail.jpg Door panel weather stripping staples underside original detail .jpg Door panel weather stripping staples straightened detail .jpg Door panel weather stripping staples.jpg

    Once the pieces are separated I cleaned them with TSP (tri-sodium phosphate), rinsed with water, and dried completely. Then I painted them. I used Dupli Color Vinyl and Carpet spray paint. I did multiple coats and then began reassembling the sections.

    If you need or want to replace the vinyl on the upper door panel assembly this would be the time to do that. The same goes for the carpet panel. I retained mine as original so I didn't deal with that repair.

    I began with reinstalling the weather stripping. On the passenger door I was able to re-insert the staple through the existing holes, however, on the driver's door the plastic had worn so that there was a hole where the staple would have held. To fix this I moved the staple to one side. marked the weather stripping, and drilled a 1/8" hole for the staple. Then I continued to insert the staple and bend the legs down. The staple had a tendency to shift so I held one leg in place with small clamping pliers while bending down the other leg. This allowed me to fully snug down the staples and thus hold the weather stripping to the door panel tightly. Note that the legs bend outward not inward as paper staples do.

    Reinstalling staples 2.jpg

    Next I installed the arm rest. The armrest has plastic standoffs. These are normally melted to secure the armrest to the door panel. Instead it is possible to drill out the standoff with a 3/32nds drill bit. Then you can use a #4 panhead screw to secure the armrest to the panel. I also used #4 fender flat washers to give a surface to press against the door panel. The hole in the lower door panel where the arm rest mounts is too big for the screw. If you can't find a #4 fender washer then get a #6 washer. Be careful drilling the standoff and when inserting the screw. It is possible to go too far. If you do you will break through the front of the armrest. I recommend a 3/8" length #4 screw. Then I applied glue from a glue gun to the hole/standoff, then I inserted the screw and washer and tightened. There are about eight standoffs. This did a great job securing the armrest to the door panel. See below.
    door panel arm rest backside.jpg
    I attached the carpeted panel and hot glued the plastic standoffs to the backing panel. Then I did the same with the upper assembly to the lower assembly of the door panels using the hot glue gun. The glue gun was easier and faster than epoxy. You can get a glue gun for less than $10. You'll need extra glue sticks as it takes quite a few to complete the project.

    I then reinstalled the sound insulation. I applied some glue from the hot glue gun to the door panel and then put the insulation into place. Then I clipped the speaker guard into place and applied a drop of hot glue to the ears to hold it in place.

    Here is a picture of the completed door panel.

    Completed driver's door panel.jpg

    One of the problems I've had is the screw holding the door handle bezel into place. It merely screws into the plastic of the door . On my door the hole had become enlarged such that the bezel screw wouldn't tighten down. I used some roll epoxy to cover the holes. This epoxy comes with the two components in a single roll. You slice off a section, knead them together to activate the chemical process, which hardens it, and then you apply it to the door structure. I drilled a 3/32nds hole and screwed the bezel to the door/door panel.

    When you paint the pieces be sure to additionally paint from the backside of the lower portion so that you paint the storage compartment of the door panel.

    Lower door panel assy stripped backside.jpg

    Now I've got matching plastic panels that look clean and like like new.

    Driver's door panel before.jpg

    Door panel backside.jpg

    Sound insulation removed.jpg

    plastic retainers trimmed 2.jpg

    Door upper panel seperated backside.jpg

    Door upper panel seperated front.jpg

    Lower door panel assy stripped backside.jpg

    Lower door panel assy stripped front.jpg

    Door panel weather stripping staples detail.jpg

    Door panel weather stripping staples straightened detail .jpg

    Door panel weather stripping staples underside original detail .jpg

    Door panel weather stripping staples.jpg

    Reinstalling staples 2.jpg

    door panel arm rest backside.jpg

    Door panel suggested tools.jpg

    Completed driver's door panel.jpg

    Lower door panel assy stripped backside.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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Discussion in 'Interior Articles' started by KYWes, Jul 14, 2019.

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