1958 Caballero

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The replacement piece of window glass went in without any setbacks...





Rear door windows are challenging to install, but I just followed the instructions in the Body Service Manual and referred to my dis-assembly photos a lot.41811141370_974dcd2ba9_b.jpg


Adjusting the windows has been difficulet and I'm still not done with the process. I am starting woth the ventilator window, then working back to the front door and finally the rear door.

I had the driver's side almost perfect, but then I realized that the front of the vent window frame was too close to the A pillar. When closing the front door, the ventilator frame touched the windshield molding near the top of the vent window frame.


I've got to start all over again, but at least I know I can get there!



I know that reproduction sill plates are available for these cars, but I have about 3 full sets of parts so I thought I'd try cleaning and polishing some of the parts I already have.
This is typical of all the parts; a few dings and scratches and serious oxidation.



The areas with the worst dents are circled .

I've bumped them out and am beginning to work out the smaller imperfections. This is going to take a lot of time...42043173320_9587449185_b.jpg


Starting to assemble the front bumper:



With the brackets attached to the bumper, I tried lifting the assembled bumper on a beam spanning two floor jacks.28775997127_0c71882903_b.jpg


No luck; I opted for two friends to hold the bumper up while I bolted it to the frame. It still needs to be adjusted, but it's amazing how much the bumper made it look like a car again!

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First time this car moved under it's own power since I've owned it...and probably since the '70s!42822109595_c618e7281f_b.jpg


Front bumper adjusted and aligned:



Can't wait to drive this beast!



There are a couple of updates in this next photo.
First is the polished hubcap and the new emblem, ready for installation.


And beneath the hubcap and emblems are the pre-cut deadener/insulators for the bottom of the spare tire storage compartment.


Assembled hubcap installed:





The rear bumper trim panels and all of them were corroded and/or dented. These replacements were made by Todd Reiter at Reiter's Metal Craft.

They've been primed and are painted with the dull aluminum color for the "silver" areas of the panels.



I made a template from the original parts to help with the masking. The aluminum color stripes are 1/8" wide, the black bands are 11/32" wide.42006946160_2cdddf1282_b.jpg


After masking the aluminum base layer, the black was painted and the mask peeled.42006946550_f0ab02ff28_b.jpg

One panel came out perfect, but a few areas of the aluminum paint came off with the masking tape.


Do-over went well:


Mocking up the center section of the rear bumper. It's going to look great!



Installing the deadener strips on the spare tire stowage area:



Contact cement and a rubber roller...job done!


Finishing up with the floor pan deadener installation:



Harness covers installed at all 4 door openings:


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8 hours ago, Roadmaster75 said:

Would love to see your masterpiece in person someday.....


One really has to!


I personally have seen it at various stages and can say it looks even more spectacular than his photos show.  

(Of course I'm just a bit biased...)

Truly nice work Joe!

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Congratulations on the BIG DAY!


It looks better than terrific.  Your restoration sure is well-chronicled as well.


Jim Vesely

BCA # 39477

ROA # 7437



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With all the door glass installed, I began working on the glass alignment. It's been a frustrating experience so far...

I started by installing the roof rail weatherstrip retainer and the new weatherstrip.



As I mentioned earlier, the Body Service manual states that the rear door glass must be adjusted to the front door glass and the front door glass is adjusted to the ventilator frame. The ventilator gets adusted to the windshield frame/A pillar, so that's where I started.

The driver's side looks pretty close, but I don't have the windshield moldings yet. The moldings I have are for a different body style. I will start on the passenger side.29794188108_bb6b86aa23_b.jpg


Got a long way to go...





Started by installing the roof rail weatherstrip.



This is the best alignment I could achieve between the ventilator and the front door window. It looks good in this photo, but the rear of the door glass is not touching the weatherstrip.43701952442_404514aa29_b.jpg


No matter what I did, I couldn't get the back corner of the glass to contact the weatherstrip.

Going back through the shop manual instructions, I found a reference to the upper attachment between the ventilator frame and the outer door frame. I had not installed that attaching screw and I couldn't get the screw to engage the threads, so I had to remove the vent window assembly and repair the threaded hole in the door frame. The arrow points to the guilty culprit. 



After repairing the threads, I re-installed the ventilator and tried to set the ventilator relationship to the windshield frame.

I installed the windshield reveal molding so I could see the exact relationship between the ventilator and the windshield pillar.



The ventilator and pillar relationship looks great, but I still can't get the upper, rear corner of the door glass to contact the weatherstrip unless I allow the front of the glass to travel at least 1/4" beyond the top of the vent window frame.

The Service Manual states that the upper, rear corner of the window can be adjusted to travel higher by raising the rear attachment of the inner panel cam. The circled area in this picture highlights the rear cam adjustment on the left front door.



I've done that, but I still could not get enough additional travel.

I lengthened the slot for the rear attachment point, giving additional upward adjustment to the rear cam attachment, but that didn't give enough additional travel, either.

That led me to look at the window frame and glass assembly itself. This window frame had to be repaired and reinforced due to corrosion damage at the bottom of the channel. 

I feared that the repairs increased the thickness of the lower sash enough to force the forward, top corner of the glass too high in the vehicle. I also saw that I could get additional room for adjustment if the back of the door glass frame wasn't so tight against the rear guide.


I removed the window from the door and took the glass out of the frame.

I re-set the glass, concentrating on getting the glass as far rearward in the rear sash as possible.

The re-installed glass was easily adjusted to align with the ventilator.


Now, on to the rear door...



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Sometimes I feel like there is nothing more tedious than window adjustments.

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13 minutes ago, Smartin said:

Sometimes I feel like there is nothing more tedious than window adjustments.



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My helpers finishing up the deadener in the rear compartment.



Now that the passenger side windows are adjusted, I am moving to the driver's side. I am still missing one of the reveal moldings, but I can get everything lined up and ready.

I started by aligning the ventilator frame to the A pillar. I noticed that the inner panel moved when I tried to tighten the attaching bolts.

I found that there were 3 spot welds holding the 3 layers (inner panel, reinforcement and outer panel) together.

One of the 3 welds only held 2 layers together, causing a fatigue failure adjacent to the weld.


Got some advice from some VERY experienced friends...


They recommended drilling and tapping 3 holes in the 3 layers, then using 3 fine thread set screws to lock the layers together. The set screws and the interfaces between all 3 layers are coated with JB Weld epoxy.




Repair worked great!

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After repairing the broken weld, I installed the ventilator and lined it up to the A pillar.

On this side of the car, window alignment was easier and took a lot less time then the passenger side. Part of the time savings was due to what I learned on the passenger side, but the other big time-saver was being able to get the glass aligned without dis-assembling the window sashes to re-position the glass in the perimeter frames. All 3 of the windows on the driver's side (vent, front door and rear door), were correctly seated in the sashes.



Now, on to one of the challenges I face with the interior...


These cars were built with a molded trim cover over the inner rear wheel wells.



Most of the restored cars have had those molded covers replaced with sewn vinyl covers.



I want my wheel wells to look like the originals....so...

57BuickJim and I agreed to work on this little project together. 

Jim found some supported vinyl with a very stretchy, knit backing. The grain is a very close match to the original grain, as it appeared under the folding seat latches.

We thought about this a long time before we took the first step...

We cut a piece of the vinyl with enough extra material to allow us to hold the perimeter and we attached the lower, front corner to the inner fender, at the floor.42118740060_0fc0581e65_b.jpg

It took us a couple of hours over two evenings, but with me pulling at the rear and along the perimeter and Jim applying the adhesive, warming the vinyl with a heat gun and stretching the vinyl into position, we were able to get a very nice result.



The puckers around the perimeter will be trimmed away and any wrinkles near the edges of the wheel well will be completely hidden by the load floor and the trim moldings that surround the floor.

Now, I have to touch up a scuff mark and dye the vinyl to match the dark tan color of the interior.

This is exactly what I hoped to accomplish!
One down, one to go!


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Nice Team work you guys!


Jumping the gun I'm sure but what is the dye process to match the interior colour?  

Edited by dei (see edit history)
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On ‎8‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 8:52 AM, Roadmaster75 said:

Simply spectacular work on a spectacular Car.....!

Would love to see your masterpiece in person someday.....


I was over to Joe's house today and the car is truly spectacular.  It should be at OKC next year from what the current plan is.

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7 hours ago, dei said:

Nice Team work you guys!


Jumping the gun I'm sure but what is the dye process to match the interior colour?  


I plan to use custom mixed SEM color coat.

I've had great luck - on many projects - with that product.

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The interior of this car was typical of a desert car that spent too much of its life in the sun...

These are the driver's side door trim panels; crispy critters!



Notice that the rear door "Century" script emblem is slanted rearward and the front door script is slanted forward...
The rear door is correct; the car was built with 3 of the forward-slanted emblems. Having come from the OEM interior trim business, I suspect that someone pierced the driver's door panel in the wrong punch press or upside down in the die, depending on how the tooling was constructed. They either had to scrap the panel or install the forward slant emblem and ship the part. Obviously, they chose the latter course.

I will correct the error when I make the replacement part, but part of me wants to build it wrong because that's the way it was done 60 years ago...

I disassembled the panels to understand how they were built; the sequence of assembly is critical to re-creating the original appearance. This is a de-constructed rear door trim panel:42240269590_79d0e97676_b.jpg


I used heavy kraft paper to create patterns from the original parts. 



and made test parts using scrap vinyl from previous projects. The ivory colored material is excess from a 68 GTO vinyl roof cover...29206635327_45629a755c_b.jpg


After verifying the contours and shape of the main panel, I traced the original part shape onto new "100 point" (0.100" thick) hardboard.44149693392_3e92d5506e_b.jpg


I laid out the patterns on the main panel, along with the moldings to verify the seam positions, cut lines and armrest & molding attachment points.43499246754_c80db749e0_b.jpg


I still wasn't ready to cut the vinyl parts, so I used some of the flawed areas of the correct vinyl material to cut my "final" test parts.43658028844_67779d9836_b.jpg


Here, I have peeled the laminated padding back from the outermost edges of the dielectrically embossed inserts to exactly match the way the original pieces were cut.44374794301_962053f0f4_b.jpg


Everything looked correct, so I proceeded to cut the "production" parts...



And also cut the loft pads for the door panels and pre-punched the holes for the window regulator and  latch control spindles, as well as all the attachment holes for the armrests and moldings.42595724530_f628046464_b.jpg


I also straightened the perimeter metal edge-fold pieces and replaced the corroded parts by modifying tri-five Chevy components:42595728730_a5a55bec27_b.jpg


I bonded the pads to the main panel substrate with permanent contact adhesive



Verifying position of the sub-assembled panels onto the main panel with the trim moldings44431261122_1b2c6c3357_b.jpg


One of the "Century" emblems had a missing stud, so I fashioned and threaded a replacement stud and drilled and tapped a blind hole in the emblem into which the new stud was epoxied.42690687360_d2423255da_b.jpg



If anyone has one of these rearward slanting emblems, I need another one!


Edited by 95Cardinal (see edit history)
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Before installing the vinyl cover on the left rear inner wheelhouse, I did a little body work to smooth out a few dents and battle scars.



After another adventure with 57BuickJim, spray adhesive and heat gun!



Shortly after Labor Day, I visited my friend Pat. He is building the seats and helping me with the door trim panels.44676133521_e93a1e6ed8_b.jpg


The seat covers are looking great!



He developed patterns for the door armrest covers and he sewed the parts while I was there.



We were not able to build any of the main seat parts, but we determined what still needed to be done before we could install the covers on the frame & spring assemblies.


When I got back home with the armrest covers, I started assembling the door trim panels. I began with the right, rear door.

I installed the armrest base to the main panel with the original steel tabs and rivets where the tabs were broken or missing.

Then I added a layer of batting and the trim cover





Mocked up the armrest with the upper sub-assembly



The right front door armrest had significant corrosion damage around the upper pull handle and the entire bottom perimeter area. I was not looking forward to all that welding repair, but on a recent visit to CARS (Chevrolet reproduction supplier) in Auburn Hills, MI, I noticed several armrest bases that looked a lot like the Caballero armrests.

1955 Chevy Nomad front armrest bases are the SAME as the 58 Buick Century bases.

The reproduction parts are made of ABS plastic, so I fabricated 3 retainer tabs to duplicate the original retaining tab designs. The molded armrest upper pad might need minor modification, but the contour and size is correct.





I've also been working on the upper "C" pillar trim panels. These are steel substrates, covered with a thin layer of padding and a vinyl cover.30712032958_7d06d1bb70_b.jpg


Earlier this year, I installed the clock after having it refurbished and it only worked for a few minutes.

I recently pulled the clock out of the dash and was surprised to see a piece of gasket material trapped under the clock's second hand. As I removed the clock from the car, the gasket dropped away from the second hand and the clock began to run.

I dis-assembled the clock and found that the gasket between the housing and the lens had been glued in by the rebuilder, but it he had re-installed the pieces of the original, brittle gasket.

I removed the gasket pieces, cleaned and re-painted the black bezel under the lens, made a new gasket and re-assembled the clock. It is back in the dash and working perfectly.29621472687_c255911cb6_b.jpg



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Wow -- beautiful!  Where did you get the pleated vinyl?  It looks very similar to the pattern used on my '74 Glastron GT-150.  I need to reupholster the original seats and would like to match the material as closely as possible.




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1 hour ago, EmTee said:

Wow -- beautiful!  Where did you get the pleated vinyl?  It looks very similar to the pattern used on my '74 Glastron GT-150.  I need to reupholster the original seats and would like to match the material as closely as possible.





I bought the vinyl from Original Interiors and I had it embossed by a manufacturer who makes automotive trim.


If you search for embossed vinyl boat trim, you should be able to find a distributor of embossed marine vinyl.

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Work continues on the rear door trim panels....

Test fitting the upper trim assembly.

All the tan and beige vinyl components are mounted to a .030" thick hardboard foundation, which is then mounted to the main substrate panel.44703738241_bc00b2329a_b.jpg


Mocked up in the car:



Those wrinkles around the upper, front and rear edges are there because the perimeter vinyl hasn't been edgefolded to the main substrate yet.


Satisfied with the progress on the right rear door, I started on the left rear.





Then, mocked up quarter trim panels to verify the shape and the color split lines.



This is what came in the car, so I had to do a lot of interpolation:




I didn't like the loose appearance of the cover, so I kept fine-tuning the substrate and cover to improve the fit.


More progress on the rear door trim. 
I pre-assembled the 2 bottom sections in preparation for sewing them to the main panel.



I've been looking for an industrial sewing machine to be able to do more of my own trim work. 57BuickJim and I went in on this Singer 111W155 "walking foot" machine.

It will sew stuff that my little home machine could only dream of!



Pre-installed the lower trim to the door panel with staples that will be removed after sewing.44843041202_9652cfc1e8_b.jpg

Ready for edgefolding and moldings!



With the sewing done, I installed the metal edging to the substrates. I had to stop all the sew lines short of the edges to allow for installation of the edging. I tied off the stitch lines to keep them from unraveling and handstitched the outermost inch of the trim so the edgefolded panels would have the correct appearance. I also had to replace several of the attaching "nails" where the originals were broken or missing. Turns out they are standard 1" ring shank nails!



The steel edging gives a smooth appearance to the perimeter of the panel and also incorporates barbs to retain the vinyl as it is edgefolded around the back of the panel.44844707272_6031ea587d_b.jpg


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I've also bought tools that got used once:



This kids can figure out what to do with this later...

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10 hours ago, kgreen said:

I've also bought tools that got used once:



This kids can figure out what to do with this later...

Hopefully, it will be a long time before the kids have to deal with it!

I plan to use it for this car and the next 2 cars that are waiting "on deck". The machine's co-owner also has 2 interiors to do.

We'll keep it busy for a while!

Edited by 95Cardinal (see edit history)
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11 hours ago, 95Cardinal said:

Hopefully, it will be a long time before the kids have to deal with it!

I plan to use it for this car and the next 2 cars that are waiting "on deck". The machine's co-owner also has 2 interiors to do.

We'll keep it busy for a while!


That is terrific news, really it is!  I'll want to follow both y'alls cars during the process and certainly want to see this Cabellero in person when complete.  This is an incredibly beautiful car.

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4 hours ago, kgreen said:


That is terrific news, really it is!  I'll want to follow both y'alls cars during the process and certainly want to see this Cabellero in person when complete.  This is an incredibly beautiful car.


Hopefully you'll see it somewhere in our travels.

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These wagons were equipped with molded, perforated hardboard headliner panels. Pete Phillips (Buick Bugle Editor) had previously posted on the AACA forum about the difficulties he encountered when trying to install the reproduction panels. He used a steamer to soften the hardboard panels, but they still cracked. He also shared that the plastic retainers also fractured when he tried to install them, even though they had been softened with a lengthy exposure to hot, Texas sun.

Based on Pete's experience, I asked around for ideas. Larry Schramm and another restorer friend of mine both recommended steaming the panels in a steam chamber to soften them before trying to install them.

Here's the steam box I built. In the plastic bag are 57BuickJim's panels from one of his wagons; I planned to use them as patterns.



I decided to use the steel retainers as patterns  instead of risking any damage to Jim's parts.

I used the retainers to make a pattern to pre-form the headliner panels.



It's a piece of luaun underlayment, attached to a pair of 1X8 boards in the desired shape of the headliner panels.

I didn't worry about making a form for each panel; I knew the parts would be "close enough" if I used an average shape.


In this photo, you can see the relief slots I cut to enable bending the luaun to shape.

I cut through 2 of the 3 payers of the underlayment so it would easily flex, then screwed the luaun to the 1x8s.




Here's the form installed in the steam box.

I lined the box with 6 mil plastic film and laid a sheet of plastic film between the pattern and the part being steamed.



Lid on the box and steam nozzle inserted in the side of the box:


If you look closely at the far corner of the box, close to the roll of blue paper towels, you can see steam wafting out from the lid.


The steam generator is this little beauty:


It is marketed as a weed killer!

It will generate steam at about 300F and up to 65psi.

It worked great to supply steam for the chamber. After a few minutes in the box, the panels were quite flexible.

I loaded them into the car and help them in position until they dried, using a variety of implements.

The crutches worked great!









The soft pads helped protect the painted surface of the panels.

I also used spring clamps and short pieces of the plastic retainer to keep things in place.


After allowing the panels to dry completely, I proceeded to install the retainers.


When I looked at the way the panels and retainers are installed, it appeared that the installation sequence had to begin at the windshield and progress to the rear of the car.

To begin, I had to button up the dash and install the windshield garnish moldings and visor brackets.

Before installing the upper dash panel, I finished up the wiring and added redundant grounds to the instrument panel and radio circuits. 

My previous experience has taught me that I can't rely on good ground connections through all the epoxy primers, powder coating and layers of paint on restored parts.

I add terminal strips that connect the individual device or circuit grounds directly to the body or frame. In this case, the terminal strip is connecting the instrument cluster/gauges/dash lights/radio and antenna ground strap to one of the IP to firewall brace attachments, which was cleaned to provide a good metal-to-metal connection.



New speaker mounted to the upper panel



It took me a long time - an MANY tries - to install the upper panel to the IP carrier with an acceptable fit to the dash pad.

This is one of the early trials:



Getting close!


Before installing the first (front) panel, the windshield reveal moldings must be installed.

The reveal molding clips are attached to the body by studs that go through the windshield header.

The attaching nuts are installed through clearance holes in the windshield header, above the headliner panel.

Here are 3 of the reveal molding clips and the flange nuts that are used to retain the clips.

You can see a little bit of black sealer on one of the nuts; that is how I kept the flange nuts from dropping off the nut driver and falling into the body structure.



Here's a close look at one of the clearance holes with the nut installed on the clip stud; not a lot of room to work!



Exterior moldings installed...



The front headliner panel is retained at the front by the rear view mirror bracket, the windshield header garnish molding and the sun visor brackets.

The sides of the panel are retained by the roof rail garnish moldings. The rear edge is retained by the snap-on plastic retainer.


First step is to install the mirror support and the two upper header garnish moldings



The upper, outboard corners are also supported by the A pillar garnish moldings.

The garnish moldings are installed after the lower windshield base moldings.



Between each of the headliner panels, there is a metal retainer onto which snaps a plastic retainer molding.
I found new moldings from another Buick Club member; painted the back side to replicate the original appearance, and I am installing the first piece here:



These parts are quite stiff and need to be heated to allow them to follow the roof contour without breaking.

I have tried a home hair dryer and a heat gun to heat the plastic pieces. I found it too easy to overheat the part with the heat gun, so I will use the hair dryer on the remaining parts.

Here, you can see the straight, plastic part hanging down from the headliner.

Heating the part allowed me to shape it tightly to the roof, and then I had to trim it to the proper length to fit tightly into the end cap at the roof rail molding.



Here's the passenger side of the completed installation.



And a look at the driver's side, showing the end cap above the roof rail molding:



Second panel is retained by the plastic retainer shared with the front panel, the roof rail moldings and another plastic retainer at the rear edge.

This is the panel that will hold the dome light.


Two panels down, 3 to go!

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The rest of the headliner installation went well; no broken panels, no cracked or broken retainers. 
I think it turned out great.

I am SO glad this is done!






One of the things I forgot to show previously is the "anti-rattle" felt pads I installed on the instrument panel, dash panel and windshield lower garnish moldings. These small pieces of adhesive-backed felt were applied to all the the metal-to-metal interfaces.



The fender-mounted rear view mirrors are installed, too.
These are the Buick Accessory mirrors; I think they are very cool.






Next step is to install the quarter windows. 

After looking at the fit of the gasket to the inner quarter panel, it appears that the upper reveal molding retainers must be installed before the glass is installed. 

Here's the driver's side reveal molding in position. There are 2 separate moldings nested together and retained by a set of clips that go through both moldings and through mating holes in the upper sash.



The clips have studs approximately 2 1/2" long which are retained to the vehicle with brass barrel nuts.




I tried to fit the glass into the openings (with help!) 3 times...no luck.

I asked the pro who installed the windshield and liftgate glass to give me some guidance. We tried to load the glass into the opening and he told me that the aftermarket gasket needs to be trimmed. Another project for another day...

Edited by 95Cardinal (see edit history)
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The tail light housings should be back from chrome plating soon, so it's time to get the sockets, pigtails and lenses ready.

Here is one of the original tail light pigtail & socket assemblies and the new replacement. 


I removed the grommets from the original parts and installed them on the new pigtails


I also had to replace the terminals and pigtails in the license lamp sockets. The rear bumper was removed without first disconnecting the license lamps from the body harness.


All better!




So many things to finish!
Here, you can see the vinyl cover prepared for adhering to the driver's side kick panel.


Sprayed contact adhesive on both parts, trimmed & wrapped the edges and used a rubber roller to apply enough pressure to set the adhesive bond.

Here's the driver's side as installed:


Passenger panel ready fpr bonding:


Assembled with 2-part rivets and installed in the car:




Months ago, I partially assembled the rear door trim panels. I recently installed the metal edgefold retainers and bonded the material around the perimeter.


The panel did not fit properly; I had not noticed that the attaching "nails" were not all equidistant from the edge of the panel.

There at least 3 different dimensions for the position of the nails from the edge of the panel. 


Compounding the problem...I used aftermarket repair parts to replace the missing nails; there are multiple versions of these parts as well.


I removed the edgefold reinforcements and test-fit the panel again. 


Even without the nails, the base panel does not fit properly. Re-checking dimensions, I found the armrest was installed too low on the panel, driving the panel too high on the door when installed.

Lesson learned: I had assembled the trim panel without installing the armrest attaching plate to the door inner panel. Dumb mistake...I know better.

The "fix" will require re-working the armrest position and revising the perimeter cut lines to accommodate the various nail positions.

I'm glad I found this before I made the same error on all 4 doors...

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