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Old 04-08-2011, 03:28 PM   #1
cessna10
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Default door panels loose

need fix for door panels loose on top on 1995 coupe.
both dealer and body shop have told me the only fix
is new panels at $500 each.

Help
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:12 PM   #2
Charleston2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cessna10 View Post
need fix for door panels loose on top on 1995 coupe.
both dealer and body shop have told me the only fix
is new panels at $500 each.

Help
Okay, flame suit on. There are band aids out there to fix our fricking panels. But in reality, you need new panels as they are warped pieces of crap.
I have been dealing with these things for 16 years, c4's that is, and I just dont want to buy new ones, but I have all the band aids to keep them on, and they just arent pretty.
Save up the money and research new panels. Thats my 2 cents.
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:52 PM   #3
F22
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New door panels aren't going to fix this problem! They're exactly the same and you will STILL have loose door panels. I fixed mine after seeing exactly why they were loose. It wasn't that hard to do. The weatherstrip that wraps around the bottom of the door ends at the top of the door on both sides in a big square chunk of rubber that sits underneath the top of the door panel on either end.

Take a careful look for yourself. You'll see the very top of the door panel is loose and that you can push it down. Why can you push it down? Because those big rubber blocks, push it up! They're the first cause of the top of the door panel not seating down.

The second cause on the late C4's, is that GM decided not to put a screw into the door panel to hold it into the backside of the door sill, by the door latch. Early C4's had a screw there and it held the door in place, late C4's don't. Early C4's used metal screws in the bottom of the door panel too. Late C4's use a plastic xmas tree, that looks like a little plastic pine cone with a button.

The force of the rubber on the top exceeds the force of the plastic xmas trees on the bottom, so the top of the door is ALWAYS loose, by design.

I cut away most of the rubber chunks at the top of the door at both ends and then put a screw in the back side of the door panel to hold it in place. Problem solved.

Here is my version of the fix
http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c4-g...panel-fix.html

If you have to remove the door panels:
http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c4-t...al-w-pics.html

I removed the passenger side, but was able to get away with not removing the driver side....
Qoute: "Final footnote. I removed the passenger side completely, but I was able to get away with not removing the drivers side at all. Just gently pull the door panel back to cut the weatherstrip underneath on both the front and the back of the door. Then drill and apply screw to tab at back of door and door panel for a permanent fix!"

YOU DON'T HAVE TO REMOVE THE DOOR PANEL TO FIX THIS! YAAY!

Last edited by F22; 04-08-2011 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Revised linkees!
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:24 PM   #4
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this is excellent
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:49 PM   #5
davenbocafl
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thank you very much, ive been trying to figure that out for a while now.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:01 PM   #6
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If it comes down to cracked panels...there is a method that I have used that works very well to make them whole and solid again.
Plastic welding.

Use some 1/4" wire mesh. cut to fit over cracks by 1/2". Try to turn the cut ends of the wire downward to bite into the panel better. needle nose work.
Using a pencil torch heat the mesh as it lays on the crack and apply heat to the plastic...press the mesh into the plastic without going thru. Pull heat away when mesh is submerged. you now have a new matrix in the plastic with support. The crack is bonded. This last as long as the new.

This takes a little practice...the repair does not show thru when done properly nor does it effect the vinyl on the front side...just be gentle with the flame. learn to work fast and have what you need right there. Use a small blade screw driver a pick or some other tool with an edge to press the mesh into the wet plastic and smear plastic over the mesh.

Hopefully its just the door seal and a trim screw as suggested, but if it is from cracks, this is a solid repair. Epoxie or glue won't stick..

For what a new whole panel cost...its worth a try.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:55 PM   #7
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Just went and did the rubber cutting. Put new plastic inserts in the lower parts where the screws go in. And I already had a screw in the tab portion. Put new plastic piece in there and screwed it all back together.
Did not work for me. Reason is the part on top where the panel hooks over is literally broke. So, it has no way of hooking on top. I need to take it off and repair it with some epoxy and something concave to allow it to hook once on.
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charleston2012 View Post
Just went and did the rubber cutting. Put new plastic inserts in the lower parts where the screws go in. And I already had a screw in the tab portion. Put new plastic piece in there and screwed it all back together.
Did not work for me. Reason is the part on top where the panel hooks over is literally broke. So, it has no way of hooking on top. I need to take it off and repair it with some epoxy and something concave to allow it to hook once on.
Please see my post #6

glue won;t work. nor fiber glass or liquid nails or contact cement. can't stick to this type of plastic.
The cracked top edge thats the hanger portion is the most common break there is. That small lip must be solid and stable to hang correctly and be in the proper position to give the right clearence for everything to work/fit as it should.

Assemble the items listed (#6) and remove the panel and head toward the bench.
It works.
There are also plastic welding kits at auto parts stores but those have limited repair applications. The wire mesh is the key to solving the cracking. If a peice is broken off, it can be made back into the panel by welding with mesh. If there is a crack, drilling a hole at the end also helps and then do your plastic welding and mesh insertion into the wet plastic. Its not necessary to completely cover the mesh patch with wet plastic, just most should be buried in the plastic and the ends should be pointed down into the plastic. If the patch looks unsatisfactory, simply reheat and re-work the mesh until its well into the plastic. Do this in brief segments (5 seconds of applied heat with the flame once the plastic is soft) so you don;t go thru to the other side. and always keep the flame moving. Do areas of about 1/2 the size of a business card at a time.

Last edited by leesvet; 04-09-2011 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leesvet View Post
Please see my post #6

glue won;t work. nor fiber glass or liquid nails or contact cement. can't stick to this type of plastic.
The cracked top edge thats the hanger portion is the most common break there is. That small lip must be solid and stable to hang correctly and be in the proper position to give the right clearence for everything to work/fit as it should.

Assemble the items listed (#6) and remove the panel and head toward the bench.
It works.
There are also plastic welding kits at auto parts stores but those have limited repair applications. The wire mesh is the key to solving the cracking. If a peice is broken off, it can be made back into the panel by welding with mesh. If there is a crack, drilling a hole at the end also helps and then do your plastic welding and mesh insertion into the wet plastic. Its not necessary to completely cover the mesh patch with wet plastic, just most should be buried in the plastic and the ends should be pointed down into the plastic. If the patch looks unsatisfactory, simply reheat and re-work the mesh until its well into the plastic. Do this in brief segments (5 seconds of applied heat with the flame once the plastic is soft) so you don;t go thru to the other side. and always keep the flame moving. Do areas of about 1/2 the size of a business card at a time.
I will do the mesh thing. I have plastic epoxy, marine grade 150000 psi strength. It will glue plastic together. G Flex West Marine.
First I will ask my buddy to see if he will weld it. He is a NDT Level three examiner/ and welder. He has talked of welding plastic before, of course we laughed as it sounds funny..
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charleston2012 View Post
I will do the mesh thing. I have plastic epoxy, marine grade 150000 psi strength. It will glue plastic together. G Flex West Marine.
First I will ask my buddy to see if he will weld it. He is a NDT Level three examiner/ and welder. He has talked of welding plastic before, of course we laughed as it sounds funny..
it does...

I went thru a dozen experiments until I realized that the biggest flaw in plastics was the lack of internal supporting structure, thinking of fiber glass or epoxie panels. Sure, molecularly plastics don;t require this, but in a continued stress application where its under sized to begin with, they actually benefit from this by load distribution, rigidity and enhanced cohesion. As with many things on our cars, door panels suffer from the weight & cost police at GM limiting the thickness and types of materials used.

As long as the mesh (make sure its wire, gal, copper, any stiff) is buried in the wet plastic the repair is (so far) permanent.
I was going to try mesh for a screen door but thats all nylon. Nylon would probably work but its not stiff enough to press thru the thick plastic. Folds too easy.
The last one I did on my door panel was about 5 yrs ago...seals are now shot but the panels are still hung and tight.

I keep telling myself that I'm going to buy complete door panels with seals and trim all ready installed...around $400 ea if I remember right. I just can;t justify that until these panels break.
Good luck with it.

Last edited by leesvet; 04-09-2011 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leesvet View Post
I keep telling myself that I'm going to buy complete door panels with seals and trim all ready installed...around $400 ea if I remember right. I just can;t justify that until these panels break.
Good luck with it.
As Ive said dozens of times in door panel threads, most new aftermarket panels are made by CorvetteAmerica. Their QC isnt the best so check the lip that goes over the door at the top carefully for consistent width. This is very important for keeping the panel in place. Also check the area around the defrost ducting. Sometimes the slot is malformed and will cause problems down the road as well.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:33 AM   #12
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Kudos to F22!!!
Wifey and I went cruising with the lid off yesterday. She was looking fine, so I treated her like a lady (I'm talking about the wife, although the Admiral looked good too), opening the door for her and acting all gentlemanly. Anyway, during one re-entry assist I noticed the panel was just hanging loose. Obviously not a good time to trouble shoot, I was scoring big points for later so.....

This morning searched the trusty forum and found this thread. 10 minutes later I have an OEM-appearance screw holding the aforementioned bad-boy panel in its rightful place and I am feeling good again. Thanks F22
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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