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Old 06-20-2011, 08:09 AM
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Replacing Door Panel Boards

I am working on a '71 Ford Torino convertible right now that needs the door panel boards replaced. The owner ordered replacement panels that are replicas of the originals to the car, but they did not come with the steel top pieces. These needed to be salvaged from the original door panels and attached to the new door panels. Here is that process.

The first thing to do is to remove the chrome trim ferrule that protects the door locking knob. This is a simple job. All that you need to do is bend out the metal teeth that hold the ferrule on from the back side. I just pry the teeth up with a flat screw driver. Some of these ferrules may not be in good shape, so you may need to replace them, but these are solid and will be re-used. The next step is to remove the weatherstripping from the top edge of the door panel. The strips are held on with staples, so there are two ways to go about this. If you're trying to save the weatherstrips, you need to carefully cut the staples. Because I had new strips to work with, I just basically tore the old strips off and cut the staples out afterward.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:29 AM
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The next step is to remove the old panel board from the steel top piece. I just cut through the vinyl on the outside to expose the panel and then cut the panel off with a utility knife. I then remove the rest of the old panel from the steel strip from the back side. The old panel was held on to the steel by a press operation that punched a series of small holes through the steel and the panel board and then crimped each of the holes in the steel onto the Masonite panel board. Because there is no way to duplicate this process, we need to come up with a way to attach the panel board some other way. The simplest way to attach the new board is with top and trim contact adhesive. The problem is to get rid of the punchings through the steel and flatten the edge of the steel to make a better surface for gluing. To do that, I squeeze the punched flanges together with a pliers and then hammer them flat. Gluing will hold the new board to the steel top piece, but it scares me a little to rely on just the contact adhesive. My solution is to use aluminum pop rivets. The problem is that I don't want the back side of the rivet protruding. After gluing the new panel to the steel, I drill some 1/8" holes through the steel and the new panel board, remove the pin from the rivet, push the rivet through the holes from the steel side, and peen over the shank of the aluminum rivet. This provides some mechanical fastening as well as the contact adhesive, and holds the two pieces together just fine.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-21-2011 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:35 AM
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Here are the pictures of closing and flattening the punched holes in the steel. The hole in the last picture is a positioning hole drilled in the steel from the factory and also in the new panel. There are two positioning holes. That picture also shows the punchings closed and flattened. To attach the two pieces together, you just spray contact adhesive on both parts, mate up the positioning holes and press the two parts together with the panel on the inside of the steel piece.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 06-20-2011 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:46 AM
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Here are the pictures of drilling the 1/8" holes, putting in the rivets, and the finished rivet after peening the back side.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:56 AM
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The first picture shows the two positioning holes that I circled with a magic marker. The next step is to glue down the padding over the steel strip, and glue the new vinyl of the new panel to the back side of the steel strip and the new door panel. The last things to do are to put back the chrome ferrule and attach the new weatherstripping. I attach the new weatherstripping with stainless steel pop rivets. You can attach them with staples, pop rivets, or small screws, but the pop rivets are the easiest and also seem to hold the best. Here are the finished panels.
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Last edited by DanTwoLakes; 03-31-2014 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:59 AM
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Here's the finished rear panels.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:51 AM
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Great stuff, as usual!

Thanks for this

Russ
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:21 AM
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Awesome tutorial and thank you for sharing with the rest of us. I truly appreciate it.
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