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Interior door panels

This is a discussion on Interior door panels within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; I have a 2001 TA and both door panels are cracking towards the rear of the doors. The passenger door ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    BLACK
    2001 TRANS AM WS6

    Unhappy Interior door panels

    I have a 2001 TA and both door panels are cracking towards the rear of the doors. The passenger door panel cracked first and started just below the top trim of the door and is now cracked about 1 1/2 inches. The drivers door is starting to crack in the same spot. Has anyone had a similar problem?

  2. #2
    Member Bandit1's Avatar
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    black
    2002 TA WS7

    most f bodys have this problem both my doors have that nothin u can do about it except get new panels

  3. #3
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    BLACK
    2001 TRANS AM WS6

    Door Panels

    When did your door panels crack? My just started after all of this time.

  4. #4
    Member Bandit1's Avatar
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    black
    2002 TA WS7

    the cracked within the past year

  5. #5
    Junior Member Dave Stubbs's Avatar
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    Met Blue
    2002 WS6

    My Passenger side has cracked. Is it possible to reinforce the panel with some carbon fiber and epoxy. I'll buy a new one but would like to add strength on the underside so I only have to buy it once and get my drivers side before it cracks? Any thoughts

  6. #6
    Member Bandit1's Avatar
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    black
    2002 TA WS7

    give it a shot it may work

  7. #7
    Senior Member INMY01TA's Avatar
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    2001 Trans Am (sold)

    I think these suckers cost like $400 new.

  8. #8
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    1999 Pontiac Firehawk

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Stubbs View Post
    My Passenger side has cracked. Is it possible to reinforce the panel with some carbon fiber and epoxy. I'll buy a new one but would like to add strength on the underside so I only have to buy it once and get my drivers side before it cracks? Any thoughts

    I bought replacements that are not cracked. Wondering if I have to do the whole staple removal thing or simply reinforce the weak spot. Did this work?

  9. #9
    last of the breed... urstolendesire's Avatar
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    Red
    2002 Transam

    maybe scuff up the backside and coat with fiberglass resin and mat? worth a shot. it should stick, i dont see why not..

  10. #10
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    black
    02 trans am ws6

    where did you get your replacement panels and how munch

  11. #11
    Member BANDITCAR's Avatar
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    Collector Yellow (54U)
    2002 Trans Am CE

    I made this writeup a couple years ago addressing how to fix the crack if its minimal.

    Late in 05 I noticed that my Driverside Door panel was getting the infamous crack in it that so many get. Here I thought I would post how I went about fixing it.

    First thing is you have to get a few supplies:
    One being a Plastic adhesive. I got this one at Walmart for like $3.


    You're also going to need a touch up kit for the panel itself. Depending on the severity of the crack, results will vary. I got this kit for about $8, again from Walmart.


    First step in the removal is to take off the Switch Panel. The Panel is held on by tension clips(the black steel clip at the top of the panel). All you have to do is pull up on it and it will come free. Be sure not to pull too hard, though as you don't want to stress the wire harnesses.


    Next, just disconnect the wiring harnesses from the Switch Panel and set the Panel aside in a safe place


    Now for the removal of the screws holding the panel in place. The first is the one in the center of the door handle coverpiece. Do not remove cover yet.


    Now, before you try to remove the cover you have to take off the lock switch knob. You have to pull the end out toward you for the tip to come off the wire. It may take some strenght to pull it off but it will be fine.

    Here you can see how the wire is and what the plastic piece actually sits on.


    Carefully pull the cover piece off from around the door handle. Do so slowly as there is a bulb attached to the pice that must be unplugged. Just unclip it and set aside the cover in a safe place.


    The next screw to remove is down in the map pocket of the door.


    Next, remove the screw from the very Front underside of the armrest, near where the switch panel is.


    Remove the screw that is located near the now exposed area of the door handle.

  12. #12
    Member BANDITCAR's Avatar
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    Collector Yellow (54U)
    2002 Trans Am CE

    Remove the cover for the Side mirror access. This will allow easier removal of the door panel. place the cover in a safe place after removal.


    The next Screw can't be seen easily in the photo but it is in the exact center. There is a hole where the armrest meets the map pocket and inside is the screw you need to remove.


    Now for the removal of the panel. I wasn't able to take pics of this process due to the fact that I need both hands to remove the panel. Now, the only thing holding the panel onto the door is a bunch of plastic downward facing hooks. Remove the panel by gently pulling it up and towards you at a slight angle from the door. While removing the panel it may seem to get stuck, just pay attention to the area that the hook are in as the toughest ones are near the front of the door by the speaker.
    Be careful pullin on it due to the fact that the front speakers are still connected to the panel. Once you have the panel semi removed you can disconnect the tweeter and speaker.

    Once the panel is off you will be able to see the problem.
    The crack is caused by a structural flaw in the plastic combined with the use of industrial staples to hold the window trim to the panel. The crack is cause by changing weather temperatures which make the plastic panel expand and contract. The window trim has a metal insert which does not allow for any kind of expansion or contraction. and since the plastic is mated to the strip with thick metal staples...it doesn't allow for the panel to stretch are release naturally and causes the panel to pull itself apart.'


    What you need to do is remove the staple in front of the crack area and all the ones behind the crack area.

    I used a flat head screwdriver and needle nose pliers to remove the staples. Bend the teeth straight and then just push back through the plastic to get them out.


    Once the staples are removed the panel will come back together naturally. Depending on the size of the crack you might need some pressure to really hold it together. scuff up the area of the crack nicely for the adhesive to bond to.


    Next follow the directions to mix the Plastic Welder and while the crack is nicely snug, apply a generous amount of the welder to the area you sanded. The adhesive should dry according to the directions and once that is done you want to replace the staples. I used some copper wire that was a bit smaller in diameter than the staples. This will allow the panel to move a bit against the window trim. I just put the wire through each hole as a direct replacement of each staple and it worked fine.


    the exterior of my panel only needed a dab of black touch up paint. The crack repair is in the exact center of this photo


    Now with your newly repaired panel...just reverse the deconstruction process from above and replace the panel. Be sure to hook up all speaker and lamp wires while doing so.

    Now, my passenger side had no crack. As a preventive measure, I took it off too and reinforced the "crack sensitive" area the same way I did the driverside. When I took the panel off I could tell that there was stress being put on the section of the panel that cracks, but had yet to actually crack.

    If you don't have any cracks...I still suggest reinforcing this area. Its better to be safe than sorry.

    Hope this will help out anyone looking to do the repair themselves. It is really not that hard as long as you take the time to do it slow and careful.

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