How-To: Door Panel Trim Refresh

Sep 22, 2023
Richmond, VA
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Since the upholstered piece of the door panel appears to be designed to fail, or rather to turn tu dust, I'm sure that there are already tons of how-tos out there. This then is not intended as a definitive how-to, but rather a suggestion how it can be done, especially if you want to add the faux suede look.

The Basics
The upholstered piece is made from three parts:
  • a base molded directly into the door panel itself
  • a thin, moderately stiff carrier layer, which is glued to the door panel
  • a cloth top layer glued to the carrier which will ultimately fall off
You can:
- either apply new cloth directly to the base, i.e., to the door panel,

...not my preference because it's harder to properly cut the cloth plus it makes later removal much messier

- or you recover the carrier layer, apply new cloth to that, and then re-attach the carrier to the door panel. preference; however, recovering the carrier layer isn't always easy; on some cars it pulls off easily whereas on others it tears apart.

My Challenge
I had wrapped the piece before with faux suede headliner cloth which includes a foam backing. The foam backing has the advantage that the visible faux suede surface is perfectly smooth.
The challenge was that the carrier layer kept popping out along the upper edge, most likely due to the added thickness of the foam. No adhesive tape, glue, or hot glue would hold it in place.
That's why I came up with the following solution.

Step 1
  • place marks all around the carrier layer as well as on the door panel mold.
  • cut off tiny zip ties as shown
  • poke holes and place the zip ties along the carrier layer edge at each mark
  • glue cloth to the carrier using double-sided carpet tape and cut along the edge



Step 2
  • drill tiny holes around the door panel mold at each mark
  • place the new trim piece onto the door panel by feeding each zip tie through each hole bit by bit
  • lock in place with more zip ties
  • cut off zip tie ends

Step 3
Add wood trim (that probably only applies to me :D )

Enjoy your door trim which is now solidly attached and firmly seated:



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