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Separating Door Skin

This is a discussion on Separating Door Skin within the Appearance Section forums, part of the General Help category; This past weekend I broke down and fixed my separating door skin. The panel had begun splitting to the point ...

  1. #1
    Member bberretta's Avatar
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    Bright Red
    2000 TA Firehawk 0041/742

    Separating Door Skin

    This past weekend I broke down and fixed my separating door skin. The panel had begun splitting to the point where it was interferring with the door opening, so I had to do something before I ended up cracking the door skin or the fender.

    Tools Needed:
    15mm ratching wrench
    Phillips Head Screwdriver (for screws in door panel)
    Flat head screw driver (mostly for prying)
    7mm socket (to pull out the speaker housing)
    Clip pry tool (so you don't tear up all the clips)
    Paint sticks
    3m Adhesive and application gun
    Air Grinder with cut off wheel
    Medium reducer/thinner (for cleanup/prep for adhesive)

    If you also do the roller and pin:
    Door Hinge Spring Compressor Tool
    Vise Grips
    Slide Hammer
    13 mm socket (for when you inevitably have to re-align the hinge after using the slide hammer on it!)


    Here's what I did:

    Optional Step 0-
    Find Dad.
    Yes, I'm 35 years old, but my dad was a professional bodyman before he became an insurance appraiser. I call him the Michelangelo of Bondo and have seen the man work wonders (especially after I've screwed them up!)

    Step 1-
    Take the interior panel off, unplug and unclip everthing and get the harness ready to feed out of the door (most imports that I've worked on had a nice plug on the A-pillar that allowed you to unplug the door without having to take it apart- not so lucky with our cars!).

    Step 2-
    Using a 15mm ratcheting wrench (not enough room for a ratchet and socket and a PITA to work a wrench in), take the two bolts off the bottom and top hinges. Make sure you have something under the door to support it as it begins to sag so as to not put too much weight on one hinge as you take the other loose.

    Lower hinge:


    Upper hinge:


    Step 3 -
    Set the door on your workbench with the interior side facing down. We used paint sticks to finish separating the bond down the front side of the door where it was separating. Use a grinder with a cut off wheel to grind out the dried glue that is still attached to the door.


    Step 4 -
    Once you clean everything up, get ready to glue it back together. We used 3M Automix Door Skin Bonding Adhesive 08229- kinda expensive, but the crap works. They also make one for Fiberglass panels (08219), but I couldn't find it when I needed it. Don't go too crazy with the adhesive- it will get EVERYWHERE, just run a nice bead inside the panel and then clamp it down.


    Step 5 -
    Fix that annoying sqeaky roller... the roller on my door had started to wear and needed replacing so I picked up the roller (around 10 bucks) and pin (under $2) from GM.


    First, use the Door Hinge Spring Compressor tool to remove the spring. The tool looks like this:


    The easiest way I found to remove the roller was to cut it off (with the before-mentioned cutoff wheel) and then use a pair of vice grips and a slide hammer to pull the pin out. Needless to say, nothing is reusable at this point...


    Step 6 -
    Put it back together- Once you re-install everthing and line up the door, it works like a charm. I'll try to get a couple of pics of the finished door today and upload them tonight- have a little touch up to do where the fender rubbed the paint off the door skin, so when I get it done, I'll show it off.
    Last edited by bberretta; 04-21-2010 at 08:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Auto Painter RyanJM's Avatar
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    1998 Trans Am

    That's a interesting writeup I've done door skins but none on TA's when they come in hit and cracked I can usually get a replacement at local junkyard for $150 and just swap them out. I can usually even find the same color so I don't have to paint the jambs and hinges. I have a SEM adhesive gun since I use the different adhesives to fix small rips in lowered TA bumpers. Good to know just encase anyone ever comes to my shop to get that problem fixed.
    1998 Trans Am 85k miles.
    Bolt ons, MS3 113LSA cam, Circle D Stall, Tune, Modified WS6 style hood, Full Suspension, 6000k HID's, Clear Side Markers w/ Leds, Led 3rd Brake Light and 18" AR Staggered Killer Wheels w/ BFG KDW NT's.- Weekend Toy/DD
    02 Trailblazer -Sold
    09 Ram 1500 CC - Sold
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  3. #3
    Member bberretta's Avatar
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    Bright Red
    2000 TA Firehawk 0041/742

    This was the first door skin I've ever done on an F-body. Done sheet metal ones which are a ROYAL pain! Evidently its pretty common for the adhesive to separate which usually leads to cracking the panel and/or the fender. It wasn't too difficult. Actually, replacing the roller was the most time consuming part. Fixing the panel only took an hour and a half (had to wait an hour for the adhesive to harden).

  4. #4
    Auto Painter RyanJM's Avatar
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    I use the SEM quick 20 on my body and lip kit install because it is literally hard in 15 to 30 seconds depending on the temp it is out. I actualy don't mind doing metal door skins it just usually easier and alot faster just to toss another door on since there usually cheap and easy to find for almost any late model car or truck and usually find the color I need on a good day depending on how popular the car I'm fixing is. Always plenty of TA, Camaro, Vette, GTO, and Mustang parts as I do alot of buisness through local forums and club meets and I have a sponser post on Texasperfomanceevents website since I did some work on the guys CETA that started the forum. Do some imports like a supra, 240SX, and a Evo 8. I've done Mercedes sedans and some Honda cars,vans, and SUVs. I'll paint anything any color for the right price. I'm working on a 63 slpit window Vette right now.

  5. #5
    Member bberretta's Avatar
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    Bright Red
    2000 TA Firehawk 0041/742

    63 Split? Sweet. My dad used to own a body shop and almost all of my early jobs were in shops. I have always believed that body and paint guys are artists in a medium few understand and even fewer really appreciate. I've seen the work that goes into making a mid '90's "custom" truck fade back from red to black so that you never notice that it was ever wrecked. There was a great quote from Futurama where the voice of God says "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all." When work is done right it is almost unnoticable and the biggest compliment is when the client can't tell where the work was done. Good luck with your work and post picks of that 'Vette!

  6. #6
    Auto Painter RyanJM's Avatar
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    Most of my blends are seamless except for a several year old Acura with a white pearl 3 stage paint job it was out in the sun and never kept up with so the paint faded and when the lady got a dent I just couldn't get a perfect blend so I had to paint blend into the fenders so you could only see it at certain angles. Did a viper steel gray roof didn't even look like a 3 stage looked like gray with a little flake till I went to my dupont guy and he gave me 2 cans, that's the worst pearl roof I have painted at least it was a removable roadster roof not a GTS coupe so I didn't have to worry about any major blending.

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