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Vinyl Repair


BrianM
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So I have some damage to to the arm rest in my Riviera. I have been looking but haven't found any original parts better than what I have.  

Anyone have experience with vinyl repair services? I spoke with a local upholstery shop and they said they could cover it but that it would be expensive and would have multiple seams due to the complex shape and it would be months before they could get to it. 

So advice, options, reputable shops for this type of work?

 

20220208_171954.jpg

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Replacing the arm rest with original that is not torn is an option. Less heart burn.

i have an arm rest. That is not ruined, but the year of your Riv and what side door is necessary if I have what you need. I’m sure there are other suppliers that have what you want. You should not have problems finding one.

Turbinator

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Mine is a 1970 and the major issue is the driver side. Should be the same or similar door card as Toranado or El Dorado 
I haven't found any suppliers yet for this or for the 1/4 window weather seal. Any help finding either would be greatly appreciated.

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For a while, during the recovery of a spiral fracture of both my tibia and fibula, I tinkered with some vinyl repair.  That kind of arm rest vinyl cannot be repaired; it’s really molded plastic, not vinyl.  I would look for a good one and have some vinyl dye - paint with a flex agent added - mixed to match.  That panel cracked because it dried out.  Chances are someone used too much Armoral on it and the silicones caused plasticizer migration and it dried out.  If you repair these cracks, new ones are going to form, quickly. 

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😆 I lived with three stainless steel screws in my tibia for three years.  A really good orthopedic surgeon took very good care of me.  Coincidently the company I worked with was called “Doctor Vinyl - Plastic Surgery and other Cosmetic Operations.”

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On 2/11/2022 at 12:15 PM, BrianM said:

Mine is a 1970 and the major issue is the driver side. Should be the same or similar door card as Toranado or El Dorado 
I haven't found any suppliers yet for this or for the 1/4 window weather seal. Any help finding either would be greatly appreciated.

The Eldorado and Toronado inside door panels won't interchange with Riviera.   I had a '68 Eldorado and the door panels on all 3 makes are unique.  GM introduced the molded vinyl on foam door panels on many of its lines in 1968.  I believe their first use was on the 1965 Corvette, which had one-piece molded door panels. 

 

Before about '68 most inside door panels were 'built-up' from various pieces to make the entire panel, e.g. top portion, door pull, and lower often carpeted portion.  These types of panels are easier to restore, e.g. if the door pull cracks then that element can be repaired or replaced.  Not so easy with the later molded panels because when one part of it cracks/breaks then usually the whole panel must be replaced.

 

I tried repairing the cracks in the armrest of my '68 Eldorado door panel by taking it to a local "vinyl doctor".  He mixed up some liquid vinyl to match the panel color and filled the cracks as best he could.  But, the repaired areas were visible because they lacked the original graining molded into the panel.  And, the fix didn't last long, especially on areas that got flexed due to the weight of your arm on the rest or from pulling the door shut. 

 

The 1/4 window seals are available from various vendors.  They are similar for several cars of the era.  All you need to do is remove the old seal and lube up the new one, slide it into the metal quarter window molding and cut off any excess with a razor blade.

 

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Having the structure repaired (similar to a modern bumper cover) and then covering the repair with upholstery vinyl seems to me the best alternative to the vacuum forming approach.  Though not OEM, I think it would look good (even with stitching that was not present originally) and anyone not familiar with the original door cover would likely assume that's the way it always was...

Edited by EmTee (see edit history)
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Thanks for the info Alex. That narrows down my options for replacement arm rests even more. I had hoped some of the other GM cars would cross over. 

As for the 1/4 window I am not looking for the seal between front and 1/4 window, I have that ordered. I have a chunk of the seal between the 1/4 window and the roof that is missing. Looks like it might have had a metal guide for the top of the 1/4 window to align it to the roof weather strip that has just torn off. All of the weather strip kits I have found for the window to roof only cover the front window.

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  • 10 months later...

I have the same problem with cracked torn vinyl on driver's door armrest.  I'd like to bring mine to a local vinyl repair but, don't laugh, I can't figure out how to detach the armrest from the door.  Any help? 

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1 hour ago, 63west said:

I have the same problem with cracked torn vinyl on driver's door armrest.  I'd like to bring mine to a local vinyl repair but, don't laugh, I can't figure out how to detach the armrest from the door.  Any help? 

You need the Body Service Manual. The procedure is slightly different depending on the type of armrest that you have.

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Hi Brian.  

  I went through this several years ago on my driver side arm rest on my '64.  The passenger side was fine.  

I came to the conclusion that it was not repairable due to the material being dried out.  

 

I had mine replaced at an independent local auto upholstery shop. One small concession that I had to make was that the corner had the extra material folder over whereas the original was a smooth molded piece on the corners.  The shop owner said that he could not reproduce the original seamless form because it was done with purpose built jigs and other heating/stretching techniques, which made sense.  

 

The folded over material is barely noticeable when the chrome end cap is installed.  I attached two photos.  The first shows the folded over area, and the second is the same area with the end cap installed. 

 

I think I paid $100, but that was about 6 years ago.  Another thing that helped control cost was that my interior is black and he was able to match it perfectly with black vinyl that was already in stock.  I'm sure that it would have been much more had it been a color not on hand. 

 

Good luck.  

 

 IMG-0473.jpg.f011f61beadca0730e565cac75673d1b.jpgIMG-0472.jpg.795f29ed0c9c7b05533172606bcff0dd.jpg 

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Thank you Eric for the info. Mine is black as well and beyond repair.  The fold doesn't look bad, especially with the cap on.  This is the type of repair I want to look into.  How were you able to get your armrest off?

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Brad,

 

You'll need to take the door card off first. Generally they have press-in clips along the bottom and sides. Get a siding tool (works great IMO) or headliner tool to make it easier. Insert next to the clip and rock the tool back and forth to pop the clip out. Once the clips are removed pull up on the door card since it's hooked over the window sill. 

Edited by Riv Eng (see edit history)
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Oh. And I think you will need to remove the two screws in the finger pull pocket before you pull the door card. If I remember the dissambly on mine, these two screws fasten to a bracket on the interior door panel. 

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Oh and goes without saying:

1- make sure your paddle-style door pulls are removed (Philips screw). A right angle screw driver Is required for this. 

2- remove any power window bosses and chrome plates (also Philips) 

3- remove your door lock ferrule... thing? The thingamajig. The door card won't pull up with it in place. It jut unscrews from the lock post

Edited by Riv Eng (see edit history)
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On my 67 I needed the long door pull, which was vinyl. I think Ed is right in that your piece is molded plastic btw. I followed some advice on this forum and bought an original in good condition but the wrong color-maybe fawn? Anyway, to repaint it with lacquer paint was easy as long as you remember to prep it by rubbing it with lacquer thinner first. Apparently it not only cleans but opens up the "pores" of the material. I sprayed it, replaced it, and no one ever knew the difference. Made me look like I knew what I was doing. 

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That style armrest has been a problem on 1960's and later Cadillacs for a long time. I have not been involved with that style Cadillac for a couple of decades but some research on the Caddy specific forums should turn up some answers to how those owners are repairing them.

 

I will check around myself now that my interest is up.

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I took my car to 2 different local upholstery shops and both said they could cover them but there would be new seams. One shop said $300 a door the other said for $650 he would do both doors and recover the armrest on the stratobench seat that has a small tear. Both shops were booked out for months

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I checked with Just Dashes and they gave me a quote for my drivers side armrest:

 

Our current lead time is approximately 6-7 months from the time we receive your parts.

 

Here is an approximate cost of your restoration:

Armrest - 10" $300 each (estimate)

Armrest - 12" $400 each (estimate)

 

$300 Color Matching & Painting Fee

*No extra charge for black

+ Shipping

 

I think this is the way to go if your local upholstery shop's cost is anywhere near that.  The 6-7 months is a big bummer though.

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