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Old 01-19-2007, 10:02 PM
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Door skin installment

I was asked to post this write up on another forum that I visit and thought Id share it here as well...Eric

I have no idea how to do this, so Ill just do it how I want I finally got around to this. Please let me know if I need more information or photos on any areas or make changes...Eric

theres the whole album
http://www.imagestation.com/album/pi...?id=2096451486

The first step in replacing a door skin is to remove a large section of the skin. I do this because of several reasons. One it allows me to check the door shell and door intrusion beam for damage. If the beam is bent or damaged the door is JUNK plain and simple, its a safety issue.
I use an air hammer with a panel cutter bit, it makes for short work of that sheetmetal. Another reason I do is because many door skins are glued in place. I find that when you remove a large section of skin you can remove the remeinder much easier.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942950173

The door is now removed for the car. To remove the skin from the door you need to grind away the hem area of the skin. The hem is the part of the skin that is folded over. A grinder with 36 grit will make quick work that hem. When you start to see the hem splitting like shown in the pictures, move to the next spot. You want to move the grinder back and forth over the hem, never stopping.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942950171
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942950170

Once the skin is off the door shell I like to reinstall the door back onto the car. Doing so allows you to check the fit of the shell to the surrounding parts of the car. The flange on the shell where the skin lays should be almost flush with the surrounding parts. If not you need to adjust the shell and or the flange for proper fit. Adjusting the shell and flange NOW is very easy because the shell has little strength without that skin. You can bend and tweak that shell to do anything you want. Tweaking and bending with the skin on is very hard and you are likely to dent or crease the skin.
So correct any misfitment now.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942950172

In the picture you can see the perfect gap and equal spacing of the flange on the shell to the surround parts. Once again the flange should be almost flush with the surrounding parts.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942950114

This picture shows an area of the shell that does not fit right to the surrounding parts. Notice how the gap gets bigger as you view from top to bottom. If you installed the skin, the body lines would not match up properly. The newly skinned door would appear to be sucked in at the bottom and not flush, the body line would also be lower when view from the side.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942950109

In order to fix this fitment issue I will push the lower portion of the shell out. I use a dead blow or rubber mallet to gently push the shell outwards. If you just bend the flange, the flange will be at the wrong angle and the skin will not sit and look right on the shell. This type of fitment issue the shell needs to corrected NOT the flange.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942950109
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942950010

The lower area after the corrective repair. The flange sits almost flush and the body lines now match up.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949981

The tools used to fold over the skin. The red body hammer is what I prefer to use. The black hammer is called a door skin hammer and most commonly used. I just prefer the feel of the red one over the black one, both work just fine. When using hand held body hammers you need to use a heavy large steel dolly with several curves or shapes one being flat. The reason for a heavy steel dolly is that it holds the skin tight, not allowing it to bounce on the shell. It basically supports skin while you are hammering the door skin over.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942950093
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949953


The door is now off the car again and ready for the install. The flange is ground with 50 grit for the adhesive. Most adhesive makers want a rough "tooth" for the adhesive.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3950378442

The adhesive that I use is metal bonding adhesive. I prefer the large panel adhesive because it has a longer work time. Shown in the picture is 3M's 8115 metal bonding adhesive. This adhesive will be applied on the flange that is ground with 50 grit. Run a thin bead over the flange then spread it out covering the complete flange and all bare metal. Also shown is a seam sealer product that I use for an anti flutter. Anti flutter is what provides support for the skin. The antiflutter is applied to any door beams to support the metal in the middle of the door.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3950378836

Adhesive applied to the flange also notice the gray antiflutter on the door beam.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3950378835
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949946

The door skin is now layed in place over the shell. To aid in folding the skin over I like to lighty sand the edge of the skin. Doing so removes a very light amount of metal allowing it to fold over easier. I normally use something like 120 or 180. Do not go crazy on this step!
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949894

Just some clamps to help hold the skin in place during the hammering process. Always use some wood paint sticks to protect the metal from the vise grips, if not you will dent it.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949882

I use an air hammer and rubber dolly to fold over the skin edge. I do this because its faster and produces a better finish. But the hand held hammers and steel dolly shown earlier work just as fine. Sometimes I still need to finish the final folding of the skin with a body hammer and steel dolly.
I dont suggest the air hammer method to someone who has never done a door skin, just a picture of the tools that I use.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949866

It was hard to hold a hammer, camara and take pictures all at once so I did alittle drawing You want to hold the dolly tight agaisnt the outer part of the skin. The body hammer will lightly hit the skin folding it over ever so gently.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942938087

Picture of the flange after 1 or 2 passes. Notice the flange is not folded over up by the dolly, but below the dolly is lighty folded. At this point the fold is around 70 degrees. You want to fold the skin is small stages. If you try and force the fold in 1 or 2 stages will you dent/crease the door skin requiring more work and probably body filler to correct. If you fold the skin over in stages like shown in the above drawing you will get a perfect factory appearing job.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949828
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3950378837

Another view of skin folded over at around 70 degrees
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949799

This picture shows the area right under the dolly almost folded over, its probably around the 30 degree mark.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949707

Once the entire skin is folded over to around 30 degrees and NOT completely over, reinstall the door to the car. Doing this allows you to adjust the fitment of the door skin. You can shift the skin around on the shell to get the lines to fit right. You will also be able to make any last minute adjustments to the door shell to get the proper fit, as the skin is not completely in place.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949787

Checking the body lines for correct fit.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949727
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949714

Once the skin is lined up, open the door, do NOT remove the door just open it up. Now finish folding the skin edge over in a few spots. This will "tack" the skin in place not allowing it to move. Now remove the door and finish folding the skin edge over.

Picture of the skin folded over
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949679

With the skin folded over I like to lightly smooth out the backside or the side that recieved the hammering, with some 60 grit on an angle grinder. I use a small 2in rolec disc. The idea is to smooth out the metal to remove any hammer marks that might be in the metal. Hammer marks appear because the hammer was struck the metal at the wrong angle and left a small mark, no big deal. The 60 grit will easily remove any marks.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949657
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3950378659
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3950377292

Once you are done with 60 grit, its a good idea to run a piece of 180 grit over the metal to remove those 60 grit scratches.

The door skin is almost done. Pictures of the outer portion. Notice that there are no dents or distorntion in the metal from the hammering. This is because of several things. 1. Because the use of a steel dolly held tight against the skin. 2. Folding the skin over in small stages instead of 1 or 2 large stages. This door skin will need NO BODY FILLER.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949654
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949615
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949592
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949425

The last step in doing a bondo free door skin. Take a large sander or grinder with a 8in pad with 120 to 180 grit. This will remove any small waves in the metal from the hammering, basically you are smoothing the metal out, nothing major but yet still a big step in the process. A 6in DA sander set in grinder mode will also work, but the larger pad from the grinder works better due to working more surface area at once.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949426
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949424

The door is painted and installed for the last time on the car! This skin was so smooth that it is 100% free of body filler and 100% free primer surfacer! It needed no buildable primer or blocking to make straight. It was simply sealed with 1 coat of sealer then sprayed directly with paint over that.
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949345
http://www.imagestation.com/4325757/3942949290

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Old 01-19-2007, 11:44 PM
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another way to remove that skin is to grind all the edges of the door where skin overlaps door frame itself. Then its easy to peel whole thing off
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Old 01-19-2007, 11:46 PM
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a door skin??
whats that
educate me
is that those plastic doors or something?
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Old 01-20-2007, 05:47 AM
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That is a very good tutorial. I do want to point out that the metal on most newer cars is only about .030" to .035". That means that grinding with 60 or even 80 grit to remove the marks can remove enough metal to really weaken the panel. I also remove the damaged panel by simply grinding the edges, then peeling them off. That simple process will show how quickly you can grind away that metal to a dangerously thin state.

The main thing when installing the skin is to work in slow, methodical, steps. If you try to fold them over in 1 or 2 trips around, you will have filler work to do.

Aaron
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adtkart
That is a very good tutorial. I do want to point out that the metal on most newer cars is only about .030" to .035". That means that grinding with 60 or even 80 grit to remove the marks can remove enough metal to really weaken the panel. I also remove the damaged panel by simply grinding the edges, then peeling them off. That simple process will show how quickly you can grind away that metal to a dangerously thin state.

The main thing when installing the skin is to work in slow, methodical, steps. If you try to fold them over in 1 or 2 trips around, you will have filler work to do.

Aaron
Aaron, I wont argue that the metal is thin on new cars, the metal that Honda uses is paper thin. But a simple smoothing with 60/80 girt isnt harming much at all. You are not even removing the the zinc coating from the metal. When you see the metal change from a silver color to a dark pewter thats when you have just removed the zinc coating.
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitmaks
another way to remove that skin is to grind all the edges of the door where skin overlaps door frame itself. Then its easy to peel whole thing off
Isn't that what he is doing?

Brian
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Old 01-20-2007, 11:45 AM
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I was not trying to pick an arguement. There are people here that will benefit from that tutorial. My concern is that people that have not done many door skins on the newer cars, will try to grind enough to remove the hammer marks, thinning the metal. I would rather they had to use a light wipe of filler or primer, than to ruin a door skin that could easily cost them $200+, by grinding on it, thinking that they can grind out the hammer marks.

I have done many skins. When I see one come in, my forearm gets tired. I know it takes alot of hammering to get them right. I also know that someone that hasn't done them, will try to rush to get it done, and likely end up with marks that are deeper than what is safe to sand/grind out. That's all I was trying to point out.

Aaron
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Old 01-20-2007, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mynuffinfutsitch
a door skin??
whats that
educate me
is that those plastic doors or something?
Replacement door "Skins" are available for most late model cars. They are commonly called "repair panels". They are often changed when the original is damaged. Just the skin gets replaced, saving the cost of the entire door.

These are metal skins, just as the car had from the factory. However, there are "plastic", fiberglass (smc actually) as well. A late model Camaro for instance has an SMC skin that you bond on.

You can get these skins for everthing from a 57 Chevy to a 70 Mustang and beyond for restorations as well.

Brian
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adtkart
I was not trying to pick an arguement. There are people here that will benefit from that tutorial. My concern is that people that have not done many door skins on the newer cars, will try to grind enough to remove the hammer marks, thinning the metal. I would rather they had to use a light wipe of filler or primer, than to ruin a door skin that could easily cost them $200+, by grinding on it, thinking that they can grind out the hammer marks.

I have done many skins. When I see one come in, my forearm gets tired. I know it takes alot of hammering to get them right. I also know that someone that hasn't done them, will try to rush to get it done, and likely end up with marks that are deeper than what is safe to sand/grind out. That's all I was trying to point out.

Aaron
The warning is a good idea Aaron. However, these panels can be "ground" a little without harm. We are not talking grinding severe dents all the way around the hem until the whole folded over metal is cut to tin foil. HOWEVER, your warning is DAMN important because that is exactly what someone may do if not for the warning.

I have to say that being "late model" doesn't have a whole lot to do with it. First off, cars will have all kinds of thicknesses of metal. A Lexus LS430 has 18 guage quarter panels!! While the same in a Toyota Corolla is 22. My apprentice at work just yesterday did a Mitsubishi SUV (what ever the thing is called) and it had a remarkably thick door skin. He did cut the inside lip here and there just as Eric layed out and produced an absolutly stunning job, Zero filler inside or out with a perfect fit. So it can be done and with no damage to the skins integrity. HOWEVER, as you point out, it "could" be ground thru if not for the mentor watching over his shoulder.
But he has the hang of it now and will go on to do them on a regular basis.

I do a couple of things different than Eric, in fact we chatted about this a number of years ago. I hem the panel completly off the car then trial fit it and do the upper welds and it is done. I have never seen a reason to partially hem it, then install it on the car and finish it. If it works, than who am I to say he is wrong. But I don't see a need to do that.

On older cars or repro panels, DAMN right I would do that to some degree. But with a late model car, those skins fit so nice on the door they just don't move that much. What I do is not to remove the "dirt" marks or "overspray" on the edges up at the top where the old skin ends. OR pay close attention any guide holes or marks in the shell. Many times there will be marks that the skin and the shell were lined up. When I install the new one I simply line them up the same as they were. Even if they were off a little, I put them back exactly as they were. In doing this I can be assured that I can hem the door completly, hang it on the hinges bolted right were it was an it WILL fit.

Removing the door skin off the shell is the second step, FIRST you have to look how it fits the "Hole" now. AND repair the shell to be sure the new skin will fit perfect. Then, when removing the skin it is VERY easy to damage the shell when they are glued as most are these days. If you remove the skin without damaging the shell AND the shell was repaired if needed to make it fit well around the outer gaps, putting a skin on and completly heming it is not like tossing dice.

Brian
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:28 PM
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That's too much work. Just drive it dented.
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tab
That's too much work. Just drive it dented.
Too much work? I have about 1hr invested in doing that skin.

Brian, you sound like the guys at work They all say just skin it and be done with it. I just cant do that, I guess once you've been biten you are somewhat trigger shy. That extra 5 mins it takes to testfit that half hemmed door is worth it IMO.
Have you tried the air hammer method yet? It makes life so much easier, the only time I need to use a body hammer is on the corners...Eric
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:44 PM
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Eric, no I havn't used the air hammer to flange it, old dog you know. I do have the proper hammer that we discussed but I always forget to try it.

On the trial fitting, sure I do a trail fit, just not as "early" in the process as you do. Believe me Eric, I have been bitten but good too. This is what I want you to do. Tell me over door skins you have done in the past year or so, how many upon trial fitting needed to be moved? I will bet not many to zero. Trust yourself, you will find that it is a easier to completely hem it, THEN trial fit it, make a few minor adjustments with a spoon on an edge or two and you are done.

"Twisting" the door, yep, that is often needed, a fully hemmed panel will easily allow that. Actually "moving" the panel up or down or forward or back, I just don't find a need for that. And rarely do I need to move the door by hinges forward or back. This Mitisbishi yesterday, with the shouldered studs on the door for zero alignment we just set it on, tightened the bolts and shut the door to a perfect fit. I just made sure that it was back on the shell EXACTLY were the old one was. I started out years ago making small templates of the edges to the shell, to the window frame, etc. Then match those templates to the new skin in those same areas. That worked pretty neat, but over the years I saw that everytime if I just paid particular attention to the skin as it went on the templates fit exactly the same everytime. I never needed to move it much at all, so why not just skip that step? So I just pay close attention to putting the skin right where it was. I don't clean off the overspray at the top of the panel to be sure that the new one goes exactly where the old one was, works everytime.

Brian
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:49 PM
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By the way, I got one of these "seaming pliers" at a garage sale years ago. I use it on any flat areas on the door skin like at the top or bottom, and even on the sides on some. These are exactly the ones I have but the same idea. I couldn't find a photo of the ones I have. These things are a MUST for the tops where you can't swing a hammer. And YES, they are VERY different than "duck bill" vice-grips. They are like a "vice" applying more even pressure instead of like a "hinge" action like a vice-grip.

Brian

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Old 01-20-2007, 02:55 PM
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That photo shows a pair of flanging pliers that actually work more like the vice-grips and a "hinge". This pair is like the ones I have with a "leverage" mulitplying system. The photo sucks but it is the only one I could find. They are about three inches wide so you can fold a large area without marking it. Just like the hammer and dolly method you go a little at a time back and forth until you can press the hem together firmly.

They work GREAT.

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Old 01-20-2007, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
On the trial fitting, sure I do a trail fit, just not as "early" in the process as you do. Believe me Eric, I have been bitten but good too. This is what I want you to do. Tell me over door skins you have done in the past year or so, how many upon trial fitting needed to be moved? I will bet not many to zero. Trust yourself, you will find that it is a easier to completely hem it, THEN trial fit it, make a few minor adjustments with a spoon on an edge or two and you are done.

Brian
Brian, for some reason I get all door skins at the shop, I do atleast 1 if not 2 skins a week. As for how many need movement, in the last month I can think of 1-3 skins needed movement. Did a pair of Pt cruiser skins, the front door was way off the factory marks(overspray marks).
Am not saying my way of checking the skins before final hemming the best way, its how I do it and that extra 5 mins is well worth it. I just dont like surpises.

Do you have any idea on who makes that neat litte seemer? Normally I can fold over enough of the skin with a hammer and finish the job with a pair of knipix pliers.
http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item....store&tool=all

But those look like it would do a much neat job.
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