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theksmith

door panel love (new armrest & wood trim delete)

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part 1 - armrest issues

 

i was already getting really tired of the splits on the armrest of my driver's door panel pinching my elbow. the temporary solution (Goop) had turned yellow and come off a while back.

 

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then i happened upon an eBay dude selling little pre-made pads to glue on over top of this exact problem. for $40 including shipping, he was selling a pair of these color-matched pads. i figured it was worth it for a quick and easy repair that didn't require me to do anything custom really. his shop is hotrodupholstery-com on ebay, and he turned out to be really easy to work with: http://www.ebay.com/usr/hotrodupholstery-com

 

 

first i cut out the splits so hopefully they hopefully won't continue to run.

 

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the first set i was sent seemed too big to me, they would have stuck over the edge and always be coming off i thought. the color also wasn't quite right. after contacting the seller, he had a new smaller set and new color to me 2 days later without any charge or hassle.

 

the size was right, but it turned out i had remembered my interior color code wrong from the start! FYI - the code is on the edge/bottom of the driver's side door, on a sticker with the VIN - for example my complete code was XLT5.

 

so needing yet a third set, hotrodupholstery-com agreed to send me the correct color for just the cost of shipping even though the color issue was my fault - now that's good customer service!

 

 

with the right color and size in hand a few more days later, i decided to just use double sided sticky tape to mount them for now. the seller recommends a specific vinyl glue, but i'm not sold on the overall look really...

 

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...so i'm working on a different idea that i think might look more factory, but not sure if it will pan out. however, this is a really easy solution and if it meets your sense of style then i can definitely recommend eBay seller hotrodupholstery-com.

 

 

next up, are a few other repairs/improvements i did while in door-panel mode...

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part 2 - silly plastic parts & such

 

while working on these panels, i decided to replace those darn torx screws behind the handles with normal Phillips ones.

 

then i noticed that one of the other few screws holding things together, the one behind the mirror area, wasn't doing jack. it seems the back piece of the plastic had broken off on both doors.

 

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i've used JBWeld successfully to repair plenty of interior parts, but it wasn't likely to last here. so i made a little aluminum "hat" and pop riveted it to the plastic that was left. this seemed to work well so that the screw could tighten down that area again once i put the panels back.

 

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i replaced the door panel clips while doing this as i had taken the panels off several times and i've found those things stop holding after 2 or 3 removals. you can get a bag of clips from eBay for a few bucks.

 

even with new clips, i've always had a problem on the passenger front door with the panel still wanting to come off near the back-top corner. i figured i might as well fix that while i was at it!

 

for this task, i first removed the fake wood trim from the door panels by drilling out the melted plastic tabs from the back side of the panels. then i was able to add a new really long screw in that problem-corner that will end up behind those trim pieces. i did both front doors since i like symmetry!

 

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the plan was to re-mount the trim pieces with velcro - but why not complicate things a bit? i've always disliked the fake wood look, so i took this opportunity to start a reboot on that whole thing by painting these pieces.

 

 

 

it's hard to find a color that works with a tan interior. i was planning to do the same pearl black as my exterior, but that came out looking cheap. next i tried light silver and a champagne silver, but those didn't look good to me either.

 

my final choice was a dark silver, almost charcoal. depending on the light it can look almost chrome like or almost black even. i don't absolutely love it, but i think it works with the interior fairly well and it's better than fake wood IMO.

 

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here's a shot of the little piece in the driver's side of the dash to show another angle with the color. i forget the name of the color, but it was a Toyota match color in the Duplicolor line of spray paint and autozone. i also added a single coat of clear over the top.

 

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i still need to paint the rear panels, which is easy, and the other dash piece, which is not! the dash piece above the passenger airbag is bolted in such a way that you have to remove the entire dash to get it out. i'll get to it soon, but i think i'm going to order the metal fix for the A/C blend door issue first so i can put that in while the dash is out.

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thanks for reminding me that my seats don't match, smart ass!

 

... so those might match my front seats, but that light color won't match my "sandstone" parts. it's nearly impossible to find the exact right tan color on eBay for an 03 Limited, there were several different variations on tan/taupe/beige during the different years of WJ and none of them look nice next to each other.

 

anyway, this is my second door panel from eBay and it cracked as well - i have pointy elbows i guess.

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You are the man! I made my own arm rest pad not too long ago and it came out like crap. So I just ordered a pair from that eBay guy. Awesome find! I was sick of getting stabbed by sharp edges! Haha

 

Thx man!

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... i decided to just use double sided sticky tape to mount them for now. the seller recommends a specific vinyl glue, but i'm not sold on the overall look really...

 

IMG_6819.JPG ...

 

i decided i couldn't do any better than this and quickly got used to the look (and the soft feel on the ole elbow), so time to glue!

 

first i taped around the edges of where they would go so that any glue squeezing out wouldn't stick to the existing armrest.

 

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then i cleaned everything with rubbing alcohol. it works well to prepare surfaces for glue or double sided tape as it won't hurt *most* surfaces like denatured alcohol or bug & tar remover can.

 

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i coated both the door and the back of the new armrest pad fairly well, pressed them together for a second to smear it all around and then pulled them apart to let the glue tack up for a minute before the final fit.

 

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i first tried a vinyl/leather repair glue, and it didn't hold squat. so then i had some 3M "plastic emblem & trim adhesive", which worked well but took too long to dry (i had to stand there pressing the new pad down for several minutes).

 

the seller of these little pads recommends loctite pro super glue, which might have worked easier (faster dry): http://amzn.to/1S7YLst

 

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the tape was removed after everything dried and it all seems to be holding well so far.

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I first used some 3m spray mount. It holds but it doesn't keep the edges down so it looked kinda crappy. So I used some super glue on the edges and that seems to have worked for now.

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I first used some 3m spray mount. It holds but it doesn't keep the edges down so it looked kinda crappy. So I used some super glue on the edges and that seems to have worked for now.

 

thanks for the tip - i have the same problem with the edges. just picked up some of that loctite super glue and will try to tack the edges down better with it tomorrow.

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