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Door Card Rehab



My door cards were suffering from the age old problem of warped backing boards. The vinyl was in an ok condition but the fake chrome strips were shot. As ever there's not exactly a glut of high quality replacements available in Australia and I am not quite at the point of wanting to commit to new replacements without working out what to do with my seats.

Luckily, for a change, we have in Australia Beaner7102 (Shaun) who has manufactured CNC cut replacements from a form of high density foamed plastic board. This has all of the good properties of Masonite compared to plywood like thickness but is fully water proof, relatively light and appropriately stiff.




I ordered a set and they quickly arrived, beautifully wrapped with sheets of self adhesive film to seal up the inside of the doors. Perfect. Having arrived at my place they then sat for a year or so until I could get to the point of attempting this job.

Anyway, I started by pulling the old staples off the back of the cards. The glue had mostly separated all the way around so it was simple enough to peel this off. Having gone this far I was confronted by the wadding type material between the vinyl and the card. You can choose to either peel the vinyl off clean and leave the wadding stuck to the card or dig through and pull the wadding from the card with the vinyl. I suppose if you are really doing this properly then you could renew the wadding, even bulk it out a bit more for a different look. I cheaped out and chose to reuse mine, transferring the vinyl and wadding still mainly stuck together.

The top section is attached to the board via circular rivet type arrangements with 'petals' that are swaged over. Most of mine were broken clear of the board so it was just a case of bending proud again with a screwdriver, pliers and brute force. I laid the vinyl and top section down on a flat surface and slotted my new plastic board over the top of the rivets. The new board is a closer match than thin plywood to the board so it easy to secure the rivets by peening the petals and tabs over with a hammer and punch.

Once the top was secure I pulled the vinyl folded lip over the rest of the board. The cover basically retained this shape so the corners actually needed to be gently pulled over the board. Once in place I added a large number of the 200 1" bulldog clips that I have bought for completing a headliner replacement (thanks ClayW). I then checked the fit from the front and then removed 6 at a time to paste contact adhesive into the folded seam before replacing the clips and removing another 6. After this was done they got 24 hours to dry.

The fake chrome on the front had done a good job of blistering and peeling off like the plastic film that it is. I took some 50 grit sand paper and finished off the job before switching to a Scotchbrite pad. The junction between the strips and the vinyl need to be gently scraped to get all of the residual foil out and any other crud hiding in there. Once I was happy with its cleanliness, I wiped the whole panel down with wax and grease remover and then masked the strips off from the rest of the panel. I had auditioned a few different paints for this role including silver paint and what is described as 'chrome' paint (slightly lighter silver). In the end I used 'SilverGal' zinc rich paint which is usually used for touching up galvanised steel when cut. No reason other than I preferred the finish.

After the paint was dry I wiped them down with a cleaner / restorer / preserver for vinyl, I then replaced the 'fuzzy felt' window strip that runs along chrome strip at the top and called it quits. The rear quarter panels were cleaned up and the 'chrome' strips painted in the same way. The boards at the back of these were in perfect shape so I gently removed the ashtrays by bending the tags in rear. The chrome on the ashtrays was marked by tarnish and who the hell knows what. These cleaned up nicely with a scrub with a wadded up ball of aluminium foil with a drop of penetrating oil. A polish with Autosol metal polish followed by treating the vinyl centre with cleaner / protector saw them finished and ready for another 40 odd years of people lazily stuffing candy wrappers into them.

I have a full set of new push fit clips, door lock grommets and cleaned / re-lubed locks to go back in the doors when I reassemble. I also have the upgraded door brakes to install so I am hoping that I can apply my self adhesive film over the door shell and not touch it again for another 40 odd years (I wish).


Beaner7102' door cards


See the thickness


What I started with


Rivets with spread petals


Straightening them out


The wadding under the vinyl


Fitting over the rivets


Peened over


Clipped up


Choose your weapons


Masked up for paint


Cleaned and polished ashtray


Sprayed strip on rear card


Finished front


Finished rear



Recommended Comments

I know this is an old post but just thought I’d say thanks for your effort writing this up. One bit of advice re the chrome foil that you repainted. You can buy chrome myla tape which is self adhesive looks great 

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Only just seen this post, 6 years late.  any Advie on cleaning the old vinyl, nothing seems to touch it, remains stained and dirty from years of sweaty hands etc?



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