'73 4 spd
'04 6 spd
Thanks for this complete and informative post. I can tell you spent some considerable time and effort to write it up. I'm sure it will help someone else sometime. This should be a candidate to be in the How To section. Maybe some admnistrator can do this.
Nicely done write up, thanks for posting!
I have the same problem but with the passenger side, but not from a accident. I found the plastic ribs at the top of the panel had all cracked. The previous owner also driller a hole further down of the plug, but that only seemed to make it worse. I drilled some hols in the ribs and tried to pull them together, but i didnt do a great job. I'll be trying that again, maybe with some wire to get it pulled nice and tight joined again... or its either $500 for a new panel.
Have you tried epoxy on them to get them back solid ? Of maybe some fiberglass resin and cloth? Hate to see you drop that kinda cash for a new panel.
Good luck with it
Mine are the same way i`ll look into fixing them now that i know where to start...thanks
EXCELLENT article! I just replaced the window switch and had the same problem. It still rattles but it will stay in place (barely). I am going to take your same approach. Thanks.
Originally Posted by Bobkaz
Good fix !
I've never done one with the "rib" design, but I have had to repair others that were flat or smooth. This plastic is "weldable", so it can be heated and melted. Use a pencil torch, with some 1/4" wire mesh.
cut mesh to fit the area and shape it, apply heat to plastic, immediately press mesh into the soft semi-liquid plastic and smear plastic over and onto the mesh.If the mesh does not get completely buried in the plastic, simply re-heat and press the wire in until it is completely in the plastic and has formed a new matrix. The break is now repaired,. the plastic is once again monolithic and it has the added benefit of reinforcement. So far, the cracks have not reappeared.
When it cools and hardens in about 10 seconds, it holds cracks together, broken seams, seperated pieces. This takes a little practice and a 3rd hand is very helpful. The door panel top edge can be re-attached where the angled portion has to hook onto the door frame and always breaks off. The "welded" areas cannot be seen on the opposite side and it does not distort the shape. I have done this when there was vinyl on the other side or bare plastic.
I have also seen mesh screwed in place that did basically the same thing,.
Previous attempts with glue, epoxie, fiber glass resins and gray tape, all failed miserably......Took longer to clean them off than they held.
Originally Posted by boomdriver
Very good idea. Would have never thought of that. If what I did should come undone, I will give that procedure a try. However with my luck I will end up melting the rib beyond use. Thanks for all the information.
Thanks...it took some, more like many failures to come to this method. With practice the "plastic welding" technique can be perfected. The best part is that you can be conservative with the heat, and the worst that will happen is having to re-apply heat. Always weld on the hidden side and leave the pretty side alone.
Originally Posted by Bobkaz
My mesh patches were usually no more than 2" X 3" at the most, so there was a small enough space to control the plastic and not worry about burning thru. It takes a little practice but you quickly get a feel for the process.
The original idea was to get the mesh red-hot and push it into the plastic, which I had done before using wire strands to cross a crack and hold it closed. That turned into a full on repair with mesh to reinforce like the mat does in fiber glass. I quickly realized that it was more about the plastic and not the mesh... melting plastic was much more efficient than handling red hot mesh. Depending on the damage, sometimes its useful to use something to hold a crack closed and apply the repair, while other types of damage do not need any support,. only reinforcement.
I also used a couple tools with a blade (scraper & screwdriver etc) to press down the mesh without making holes in the plastic or bending up the mesh too much and so the blade edge could be used to smear the hot plastic. It also helps to bend the wire ends of the mesh downward so they "bite" into the plastic better and grip as you press the mesh into the soft plastic. Doing this allows you to do an edge first to get the mesh patch situated, then you can work in steps to get all the mesh submerged. With an edge thats "in" you can heat, press, then heat the next area, press in and keep going until you get the results you like. The mesh does not need to be 100% buried, just well into the plastic with at least some plastic smeared over portions of the wire mesh. I also used small expanded metal, but I like the mesh better. Hardware cloth or small mesh. Door screen is too small and to pliable.
I go back and "weld" as the other repairs come apart again. I have also successfully added plastic to a repair by using small shavings or chips and melting them into the repair area.
These door panels are the only thing that JB weld could NOT fix permantly..
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