How to fix your already cracked door panels - LS1TECH - Camaro and Firebird Forum Discussion

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How to fix your already cracked door panels

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Old 09-02-2010, 10:08 AM
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Default How to fix your already cracked door panels

I know everyone is familiar with the fix to prevent your door panels from cracking, but apparently many of you dont know that if they are cracked there is still hope for them.

First off a brief explanation of the original fix....on the door panels the top felt is rigid and is stapled hard to the plastic. The metal doesnt allow the door panel to flex as it heats and cools and causes it to stress and crack at a week point on the panel. The fix to this is to take the large staples out of the strip and replace them with smaller ones so the panel can flex...very simple. But if your panel has more than just "pre-crack" stress marks that wont fix the crack. Here is a cheap and easy way of fixing it. I have done MANY MANY MANY this way and it always works great...and costs less than $1.

This is the before:


This is the after (look real close in the center of the pick and you can see where the crack was):
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First off take your panel off (there are plenty of walk throughs about that so I am not going through that...its easy though.)

Next take the three staples closest to where the crack is out. I use a dremel to cut the ends off so I dont stress the panel trying to pull them out.
(Sorry no pic of this step)

Next take bend the felt out of the way slightly. Then take a small drill bit and drill a hole here (the little round hole on the right side):
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If its a bigger crack you drill it more toward the inside...you will kind of just have to play with it until you get it right or until you learn where it needs to go each time.

Then take a SMALL zip tie and pull the two sides together...this pulls the crack back together:
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Pull it tight as you can but dont break anything:
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Then you just have to "restaple" your felt down. I have tried SEVERAL different things and it sounds redneck but the best thing I have found to do this with is a large paper clip. Its already curved about the right width and its bendable. Just cut the end off slide it in and mash it flat against the surface with a pair of pliers. Then twist the ends on the back side together and your good.
(Note: start at the inside and work to the end or you will never be able to get them all in.)
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At this point you can reinforce the rears of the door panels with JB Weld if you want, thats up to you. Either way then just reinstall the panel and your good...the crack will not come back.

These are some ebony panels I did on my red 02 yesterday too...they were just as bad as the one above, its not a PERFECT fix but it looks way better than cracks and is much cheaper than new door panels:
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I may not have done a good job explaining everything...so if you have any questions just ask.

Last edited by 97ramsst; 09-02-2010 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:11 AM
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Oh yeah...this just works with panels that are not cracked all the way through. If yours look like this then you will probably just have to replace them:
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:25 AM
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awesome! i know what i'm doing this weekend,thanks for the write up.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:26 AM
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Good job Robbie, I was lucky enough to remove those staples before any cracks started happening.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:38 AM
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Very creative, nice work!
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:00 AM
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nice write up
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:05 PM
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Default door panel

looks clean!!!
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:02 PM
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well done sir
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:23 PM
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lol i'd say about 99% of us are very much grateful for this, i'll be doing this soon and hope to have same outcome
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:36 PM
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Thanks for the great post Robbie.. I need to do this... Eventually
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:40 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to inspect, analize and come up with a fix for this common issue with our cars. Thanks very much!!!
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:56 PM
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well, one more thing to add to the never ending list.
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:46 PM
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sticky ??? thanx great fix till i save to buy ALL used panels to recover
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:47 PM
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No problem...you figure out stuff when you mess with junk all the time!

On a side note, if you need to do this dont put it off until its too late. The cracks only get worse and when they are all the way through its too late!
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:34 PM
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Just got my drivers side panel off today and started removing staples. Man they're a bitch to get off. I have no cracks yet but a slight "line" you can only see from the back side.
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:45 AM
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subscr
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:19 PM
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Great! I'll be doing this over the weekend. I don't understand is why my 94 is not cracked and my 00 is...I'm not sure what broken through means but guess I'll find out.
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:21 AM
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Awesome job!!!
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:49 AM
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Sweet, thanks for the how to! We need a sticky on this

I do have one question though, do you happen to have a picture of the staple bent down, Ive had the door panel off 100 times just dont think Ive seen the staples and I wanna get a general idea of what I should be looking at when im done.

Great write up!
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:52 AM
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I'll have to save this for when something breaks..

I had a crack near my lock and window switch panel, right on the top-ish of the handle on the door panel. I just super-glue'd it. Works fine and can't really tell it's there.
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