Door Panels


I'll have to admit that I was a bit nervous about putting together the inner door panels. The basic panels cost between $160 and $200 each, so I didn't want to make any costly mistakes. But, I had installed a new convertible top already, so I figured that I would take on the challenge.

Shown here is a basic door panel. I had to convert it to a deluxe panel; or in other words, add the carpet, wood panel, trim around the door lock and handle I had removed from the old panel.

The panel with the wood insert plate installed. Before installing it, I had to position the insert correctly on the door panel. Then I pressed down hard enough for the mounting posts to leave visible marks to use as a reference of where to drill. Notice there are not any holes for the door pulls, handle, window crank and lock. They all have to be cut by whoever is installing the hardware.
The next step was installing the arm rest u-trim and lock knob insert. I used the same procedure as mentioned above to mark where to drill. I also had to cut out where the door handle and lock would come through. The lock knob insert isn't attached to the panel with screws like the other metal parts, but with washers and peened studs or posts. To get a solid fit, I applied a two part epoxy from the rear of the panel to hold it in place.
I saved adding the carpet and trim strip for last. It was the part that worried me the most for some reason. The trim has mounting posts like the other hardware and the carpet is held on to the back of the panel with staples.
Before putting the completed panels back on the doors, I adjusted the doors to get them to close better. There are a total of eight bolts that affixed the hinges to the door. I found that a couple of bricks, some pieces of 2x4 and wood shims were a great help with holding the door in position while I tightened the bolts.
I was surprised how good the panels fit on the door. I had heard they didn't fit that well. There were a bit stiff because of the plastic backing, verses the original cardboard, so I had to work with them to get them on correctly.

I took me around 2 to 2 1/2 hours to do each panel. Like any detail work, a methodical and patient approach is a must.