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View Full Version : A new Idea for Attaching Upper Door Panels



Chris 16409
07-10-2011, 06:47 PM
I really dislike having to remove my upper door panels. The fir trees are pain. Every time I remove them, one of fir trees is inevitably ripped out of the panel. So I was thinking, what if you glue magnets to the door panel around were the fir trees use to be and use them to keep the panels on. A magnet should adhere to the black metal bracket the fir trees stick into. Here is some magnets I found on eBay. There pretty much have the same diameter as a fir tree. The three millimeters of thickness should be enough to make contact.

http://cgi.ebay.com/10-Pcs-Neodymium-Disc-20mm-X-3mm-N48-Magnets-Rare-Earth-/280707799039?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item415b7d17ff

Has anybody else done this? This would literally turn the job of removing the upper door panel into a 2 second task.

Bitsyncmaster
07-10-2011, 09:17 PM
Good idea but I don't think they will be strong enough to hold the panels on. Maybe there is some different kind of clip that could be found.

DavidProehl
07-10-2011, 09:55 PM
Great idea! The auction you linked to doesn't say how much weight they will hold, but other magnets could work. I found these on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Super-Strong-Magnets-Unbelievable-Holding/dp/B000BKXHXQ) that claim to hold over 2 lbs per magnet! Anyway, my point is that I think you could find strong enough magnets if you wanted to give it a shot. I'd love to see this in action if you do it.

Edit: Here are some with over 6 lbs of force per magnet - http://www.amazon.com/Neodymium-Magnets-inch-Disc-N48/dp/B001KV38ES/ref=pd_sim_ac_2

Chris 16409
07-10-2011, 10:41 PM
These are the ones I ended up ordering:

http://cgi.ebay.com/10-Pc-N42-1-2x1-8-Strong-NdFeB-Neodymium-Disk-Magnets-/310330028370#ht_2284wt_1013

They have a pull force of 5.25 pounds each. I will try five per panel and see if they hold. These Neodymium Magnets are really strong. This seller is in the US, and the other was in China. I'd rather buy from a US seller, and it only came to $5.80 for ten magnets.

dvonk
07-10-2011, 10:55 PM
if you can secure them properly to the vehicle & headliner, there are magnets that will surely hold. one issue i could imagine is the magnets having more attraction to each other than the glue (or whatever you use) and pop off and stick to each other when being removed.

also--depending on how powerful the magnets are--i would suggest embedding them in or covering them with a thin pad or shock absorbing material of some sort. super strong magnets will snap together with such force they will actually fracture and crack bits off each other. :eek5:

ramblinmike
07-10-2011, 11:19 PM
Magnets stick to stainless? They don't stick to my fridge.

dvonk
07-10-2011, 11:24 PM
depending on the strength of the magnet, the attraction to the stainless would be very mild at best due to the low content of ferrous metal in the alloy. it would not be enough attraction to support the weight of the headliner.

he would need to secure the magnets in some manner--a bracket, glue, etc. or, conversely, install the magnets in the headliner and attach ferrous metal strips to the doors.

Chris 16409
07-10-2011, 11:46 PM
I was only going to use the magnets for the upper door panels. The black metal brakets that the door panels rest on are not stainless, so it shouldn't be a problem. You are correct in that the magnets won't stick to the stainless, so using them to attach the headliners won't be a good idea.

I plan on using this stuff called Goop to glue the magnets down. It's pretty strong. And, I'll be positioning the magnets far enough apart where they shouldn't attract each other.

dvonk
07-11-2011, 12:13 AM
i suppose i couldve read the actual title to the thread and noticed that nowhere are headliners mentioned, but that would make too much sense. :lol:

sounds like youve got it all figured out... let us know how it works! :)

dhaney
07-11-2011, 10:36 AM
I am curious why the need to take the panel off? I have taken the door panels off exactly 3 times in 26 years. Are you using it as a storage area?

There are also tools availible to work the fir trees out gently. Check this out less than $3 from DMCH...

http://www.delorean.com/store/p-10504-fir-tree-removal-tool.aspx

Dan

Ashyukun
07-11-2011, 01:13 PM
I've had to take mine off more times than I'd care to remember since my passenger window really likes jumping off the track, so this would be a nice convenient way to make it easier to both remove and put back on...

Farrar
07-11-2011, 01:14 PM
The first time I pulled off an upper door panel the curved bracket at the end snapped off and fell down inside the door (where it still rattles to this day). Another method of attachment would be welcome. I look forward to seeing how this works out.

Farrar

Chris 16409
07-11-2011, 02:34 PM
I am curious why the need to take the panel off? I have taken the door panels off exactly 3 times in 26 years. Are you using it as a storage area

I'm sure once I do this mod, I won't have to take the door panels of again! But anyway, I've had to remove them several times. I put in door lock actuators, I redyed the panels, and I installed new door pull straps. When I first pulled them off, the fir trees were all chewed up, so I replaced most all of them. The fir trees were rather expensive ($1.25 each or something), and they are a consumable item. A couple more times of removing the panels, and I'll have to buy more. These magnets should be a one time purchase, and should stand the test of time.

The tool that DMCH sells is on the short side, and it doesn't look like it will reach all of the fir trees. I'm sure it works great for the door heainers. As a matter of fact, I have a similar tool that I've been using, and it's too short as well. That is why I always get a firtree or two that pull out of the panels.

Ryan King
07-11-2011, 02:36 PM
I'm sure once I do this mod, I won't have to take the door panels of again! But anyway, I've had to remove them several times. I put in door lock actuators, I redyed the panels, and I installed new door pull straps. When I first pulled them off, the fir trees were all chewed up, so I replaced most all of them. The fir trees were rather expensive ($1.25 each or something), and they are a consumable item. A couple more times of removing the panels, and I'll have to buy more. These magnets should be a one time purchase, and should stand the test of time.

The tool that DMCH sells is on the short side, and it doesn't look like it will reach all of the fir trees. I'm sure it works great for the door heainers. As a matter of fact, I have a similar tool that I've been using, and it's too short as well. That is why I always get a firtree or two that pull out of the panels.

Ive also had problems removing the Upper Door panels trying to use an assortment of tools, and I actually damaged some of the window weather stripping trying to do so. I'm excited to see what Chris can work up

dhaney
07-11-2011, 03:15 PM
I understand now but it also seems to me that magnets, no matter how powerful, MIGHT come loose in spirited driving or on a bumpy road.

But I too am curious to see how well it works. Good luck.

I simply used the DMCH tool as an example, I happen to know that the automotive market is full of this type of tool and somewhere there is one perfect for this particular job. I was also able to locally source fir trees cheap from an automotive specialty shop. If you look around you most likely can as well.

Dan

dvonk
07-11-2011, 09:08 PM
...it also seems to me that magnets, no matter how powerful, MIGHT come loose in spirited driving or on a bumpy road...

this has come to mind. i think if done properly with strong enough magnets, it wont be an issue. e.g., using 8 of those 6 lb magnets = 48 pounds total of strength... this could be feasible. but, as with any experiment, it may require some initial trial/error.

since ive never seen a DeLorean door or an upper door panel, i cant offer any input on placement of the magnets, etc... but it sounds like Chris has some ideas in mind. im definitely interested in further developments.

also, im biased because i love magnets. :headbang:

Chris 16409
07-18-2011, 03:17 AM
I've got my new magnets from eBay, and started to glue them onto my door panels. I glued five magnets onto each panel. I used Goop to glue the magnets down, and I believe it will hold the magnets down. Before I reinstall the panels I want the Goop to dry overnight. I did however do a test fitting, and it looks like the magnets will hold the panels down nicely. Once I have them fully installed, I'll see how the five magnets works out. I can add more magnets later if need be.

Here is the eBay page again:
http://cgi.ebay.com/10-Pc-N42-1-2x1-8-Strong-NdFeB-Neodymium-Disk-Magnets-/220812776317#ht_2284wt_1013

DavidProehl
07-18-2011, 02:09 PM
Here are the specs of the magnets used, copied from the eBay auction for posterity:


N42 Neodymium Magnets Dia 1/2" x 1/8"

Diameter: 1/2"
Thickness: 1/8"
Grade: N42
Pull Force: 5.25 lbs.
Mag Direction: Poles on the flat surfaces
Coating: EPOXY
Gauss: 13,200

Chris 16409
07-18-2011, 04:59 PM
David, thanks for doing the extra bit of leg work for me. Those eBay links are only good for so long.

I have now installed both panels and I am very satisfied with the results. The five magnets seems to be holding the panels on nicely. Now the upper door panels are no longer a hassle to remove. Now, I have very easy access to the insides of my doors. I want to replace the outer window seal wipes in the future, and this mod will make is easier to do so. I've attached some pictures of the panels installed. You can barely notice any difference. For some reason, the driver side panel always fit better than the passenger side. On the passenger side there was always that lip up, and the magnets didn't help with that. I tried to push on that edge to see if I could bend it down a bit. I think it worked a little.

Nicholas R
07-18-2011, 05:26 PM
Sounds to me like after this mod the panels will get knocked off pretty easily. Especially if they get bumped with the door open.

Chris 16409
07-18-2011, 05:46 PM
Sounds to me like after this mod the panels will get knocked off pretty easily. Especially if they get bumped with the door open.

I've already driven the car after the mod and the panels did not move. When I shut the doors, the panels don't budge either. Trust me, these magnets are strong, they aren't like refrigerator magnets. My friend got one stuck to the the fender of my dad's GMC pick up, and it was very hard to get loose. You kind of have to slide them to the edge of the mounting surface, and then you can pull them off. I hope I have cast your doubts aside.

dvonk
07-18-2011, 11:02 PM
neodymium magnets are indeed very strong. does the Goop seem to hold them well?

also, (forgive my ignorance, no D yet :() but what is it on the doors that attracts the magnets?

ramblinmike
07-18-2011, 11:24 PM
neodymium magnets are indeed very strong. does the Goop seem to hold them well?

also, (forgive my ignorance, no D yet :() but what is it on the doors that attracts the magnets?

Black steel bracket that the upper door panel fir trees attach to.

dvonk
07-19-2011, 12:09 AM
ah yes. i believe you had alluded to those in a previous post. before i saw your magnet placement photo i had mistakenly thought the brackets were in the panel and you were gluing the magnets to the door. all clear now.

thanks for humoring me. :wink:

Nicholas R
07-19-2011, 12:20 AM
I've already driven the car after the mod and the panels did not move. When I shut the doors, the panels don't budge either. Trust me, these magnets are strong, they aren't like refrigerator magnets. My friend got one stuck to the the fender of my dad's GMC pick up, and it was very hard to get loose. You kind of have to slide them to the edge of the mounting surface, and then you can pull them off. I hope I have cast your doubts aside.

Interesting, in that case that's pretty awesome. Hopefully like you said you'll never have to take the panel off again haha, but still job well done!

Chris 16409
07-19-2011, 01:28 AM
Ddoes the Goop seem to hold them well?

The Goop takes a while to dry, but once it does, it is very strong. The packaging says that it may take up to 48 hours for the Goop to completely set up. I don't think I'll have a problem with the magnets coming off. I'll be interested to know if anybody else tries this.

Kukem
07-19-2011, 02:03 PM
Chris, I think that is a really cool idea! I am just curious if you notice any shifting or sliding of the inner panels if you put pressure on them? Or are the magnets just so strong that they do not shift while they are together? All in all, a good idea!

Chris 16409
07-19-2011, 04:02 PM
So far, I have not noticed any movement. Once they're on there, there really isn't anywhere for them to go. They really can't move side to side since they're confined in the window sill area. They can be pulled away from the window, but the magnets hold strong. That's how I take them off; I don't lift the panel up, I pull it war from the window.

Another thought was to get the magnets that have the countersunk hole in the center. Then you could fix them with a pop rivit or something.

Farrar
07-19-2011, 04:22 PM
This is excellent news! Congrats for being the first person to try it, and also for having it succeed!

Farrar

Chris 16409
07-19-2011, 04:56 PM
The natural progression of this mod is to find a way to "magnetize" the lower door panel. The screws would obviously stay, but the fir-trees on the bottom of the panel could be replaced with magnets. Here, you would need a magnet fixed to the actual door, and another fixed to the door panel. This would be more of a challenge because both magnets would have to line up exactly. The magnets with the countersunk holes would work nicely for the door side. Then, you could poprivot the magnet. You would I've to drill a hole in the door though. :( I may play around with this idea.

Farrar
07-19-2011, 08:35 PM
The natural progression of this mod is to find a way to "magnetize" the lower door panel.

Why not glue a ferrous metal strip to the inside of the lip? If neodymium magnets are as strong as you say they are, they should grip right through the stainless.

Farrar

r00b
07-20-2011, 04:07 AM
Magnets lose their magnetism from being struck or from being heated. I'm interested in how long these magnets will last in a car in central California during the summer? Speaker magnets seem to do fine, but they are not as strong as these.

SamHill
07-20-2011, 09:07 AM
Scientists are gettin' me pissed!

Farrar
07-20-2011, 10:40 AM
From WIkipedia:

"Neodymium magnet electric motors have also been responsible for the development of purely electrical model aircraft within the first decade of the 21st century, to the point that these are displacing internal combustion powered models internationally. Likewise, due to this high magnetic capacity, it is heavily used in the electric motors of hybrid automobiles and in the electricity generators of commercial wind turbines."

How hot does an electric motor of a hybrid automobile get?

Farrar

Ashyukun
07-21-2011, 10:39 AM
Why not glue a ferrous metal strip to the inside of the lip? If neodymium magnets are as strong as you say they are, they should grip right through the stainless.

Farrar

Or better yet, another set of magnets so things line up perfectly on their own...

TTait
07-22-2011, 12:54 AM
That was my thought - If you can get your hand to the inside of the door where each hole is drilled, simply goop glue a magnet 1/4" forward of each hole, and use the fir tree holes on the door panel as a guide to put magnets there too. I suggest going just off the stock locations in case you ever have to or want to use a fir tree again, you still can.

OK - I'm ready to do this mod too, but I'm too ADD to wait. I have a NOS grey upper and lower door panel pair that I want to stay perfect (Got em on ebay the other day for $300 total - sorry you guys missed out!)

So, what national chain sells the magnets? Michaels? Lowes? have we seen these things sold retail somewhere?

Thanks for coming up with this Chris!

BTW Chris - I assume you are not the same Chris Miles who designed The Silver Legacy... are you?

Chris 16409
07-22-2011, 02:53 AM
BTW Chris - I assume you are not the same Chris Miles who designed The Silver Legacy... are you?

I had to google that, and I sill was not sure what that was (I saw something about a casino)! So to answer your question, no I am not the same Chris Miles.

About the magnets, I do not know where you can get them locally. Maybe an old fashion hardware store might sell them. For the price, you can't beat the eBay auction. Look for CMS-Magnets on eBay if you want to see a listing of all their inventory.

I'm jealous you got two NOS upper door panels on eBay. I din't see that auction, are they the plastic backed panels or the fiber backed ones. Mine are the fiber backed ones, so that is why I had the issues of the fir tress pulling out of the panels.

Spittybug
07-23-2011, 09:57 PM
Great idea and it sounds like it has worked nicely. I found some pretty damned strong magnets at Harbor Freight. I also got a bunch that were sold as a bracelet on some web site...need to dig it up. They were very inexpensive, small cylinders that all stick together very strongly and make for a funky bracelet. I bought them thinking about their possible use for sensing cam or flywheel positions by attaching them and using a hall sensor. Haven't done that, but door idea sounds good. Got me thinking about a slick way to mount my GPS unit too, but will have to see if the magnets interfere with any of the electronics first.

TTait
07-23-2011, 10:12 PM
I'm jealous you got two NOS upper door panels on eBay. I din't see that auction, are they the plastic backed panels or the fiber backed ones. Mine are the fiber backed ones, so that is why I had the issues of the fir tress pulling out of the panels.

It was a drivers side upper and lower - NOS - with the fiber backing. They were both buy it now for 150 each or make an offer. I made an offer, but then just bought them 10 minutes later. They came up in the middle of the night and I figured by the next morning someone would just grab them.

Your mod comes with perfect timing.

T

dvonk
07-23-2011, 10:57 PM
I found some pretty damned strong magnets at Harbor Freight.

i almost posted last night that i saw some at Harbor Freight, but after i couldnt find the magnet(s) on their website, i thought i had imagined it... i guess i wasnt crazy after all. :wiggle:

Chris 16409
07-23-2011, 11:31 PM
i almost posted last night that i saw some at Harbor Freight, but after i couldnt find the magnet(s) on their website.

I love harbor freight, but sometimes they will carry something for a short while and they get rid of it. I go there all the time, I'll have to see if they still carry them. I think that eBay is still the way to go. One of these days I'll do it with the lower door panels.

TTait
08-11-2011, 12:49 AM
I just did this to one of my cars. I hated cutting out the old fir trees - we always feel so lucky when they stay in and here I was cutting them out.

I'll gladly confirm that this works well. Great idea Chris!

I got inspired and used the same magnets to permanently repair a warped A-pillar trim too! http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?1151-How-to-permanently-repair-warped-a-pillar-trims&p=12831#post12831

I'm a happy boy.

I just hope all these added magnets don't upset the gauss properties of the stainless steel body when using the flux capacitor.

dn010
08-11-2011, 10:17 AM
Excellent notion. However, my panel seems like it is a bit warped, would these still hold it down? Thanks to the previous owner, my trim panels have never been exactly right, I hate it!

TTait
08-11-2011, 10:46 AM
You bet. That was the whole point of my mod. Mine was all warped to hell on the inside surface, the one that sits against the A pillar and faces toward the rear view mirror. It was just flat material that was warped, once the plastic got to a curved area it got structural enough to stay in shape, on mine anyway.

That warped plastic all gets cut out and thrown away, and you use a steel plate to replace it. Much the same way you would cut away a rusty floorboard in another car and glue a thin piece of steel down in its place..

See the thread over in the how-to section for photos and more details:

http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?1151-How-to-permanently-repair-warped-a-pillar-trims

Spittybug
08-14-2011, 11:32 AM
I just did this mod to my driver's side door. It seems to work fine. I had to take a heat gun to the back of the upper panel's trailing end to increase the bend in it so it would sit flush against the door bracket, but that's about it. With the rigidity of the panel, the tabs that align it into the arm rest and the clip that holds it tight to the rear of the door, the magnets don't really have much to do. My only reservation is that the act of closing the door might, over time, stress the tabs into the armrest if the magnets allow any movement of the upper panel....we'll see. Overall I like it though and you don't have to worry about prying up fir trees and beating them back down again.

I used good old 2 part epoxy after roughing up both the door panel and the magnet surfaces. I don't think they are going anywhere.

Chris 16409
08-15-2011, 04:44 AM
Recently,I added magnets to my passenger side lower door panel. This is a bit trickier since I had to not only glue the magnets to the door panel, but to the actual door as well. I still need to do the drivers side panel. I glued the magnets to the door panel first. Then, I placed a cut piece of a index card over the magnet and laid another magnet over the card. Next, I glued the second magnet to the door. The index card keep the glue from bonding the magnets together. The tricky part is to get the magnets in the correct position first, so that the panel lays flat against the door and that there is no excess gap between the two. Now that I've done the passenger side, I have a better plan of attack for the driver side.

Spittybug
08-15-2011, 02:52 PM
Time for some moonwalking... The rear of the upper panel comes off too easily. The clip that goes into the door body and holds the panel tight to the other trim piece (that goes to the top of the door) just doesn't do the job by itself; it needs something to hold the rear of the panel in place. I'm going to try some alternates to fir trees however since I just hate those things....

Chris 16409
08-15-2011, 03:15 PM
Spittybug, from your first post it sounds like you have the plastic upper door panels. They appear to be heavier than the fiber ones that I have. That may be an issue as well. One thing I didn't like was the fir trees would easily tear out of the fiber panels. That's what drove me to get rid of the fir trees. In your case the plastic panels are stronger, and I doubt any fir trees get yanked out. You may want to add more magnets to compensate for the added weight of the plasic panels. I probably would not have bothered if I had the plastic panels. I was just tired of the fir trees ripping out of mine.

Spittybug
08-15-2011, 03:18 PM
Spittybug, from your first post it sounds like you have the plastic upper door panels. They appear to be heavier than the fiber ones that I have. That may be an issue as well. One thing I didn't like was the fir trees would easily tear out of the fiber panels. That's what drove me to get rid of the fir trees. In your case the plastic panels are stronger, and I doubt any fir trees get yanked out. You may want to add more magnets to compensate for the added weight of the plasic panels. I probably would not have bothered if I had the plastic panels. I was just tired of the fir trees ripping out of mine.

I do indeed have the plastic ones. I tried a couple of other fastener types but with no luck. A single tree in the last hole and magnets for the rest seems to be the best compromise.

TTait
08-16-2011, 01:56 AM
One of my panels was in pretty good condition, and the clip at the rear was in place - that panel took only 5 screws.

As the clip was busted off the other one, I installed 7 magnets on it and its holding well too.

I have fiber panels.


Chris - for the lower panel, consider gluing a steel strip in place on the lower half of the door for the magnets to grab...

Chris 16409
08-16-2011, 04:48 AM
Chris - for the lower panel, consider gluing a steel strip in place on the lower half of the door for the magnets to grab...

I believe Farrar suggested that as well. It's a good idea, and I may try doing that for the driver side. I was just thinking it might be hard to find the correct thickness of metal.

Farrar
08-16-2011, 09:36 AM
You can find sheets of steel at Lowe's/Home Depot-type places thin enough to cut with a Dremel tool. That's what I'd use. (I'd also paint them to protect against rust, masking off where the glue will be.)

Farrar

Chris 16409
08-18-2011, 10:42 PM
I went with Farrar's suggestion and found some steel strips at the Home Depot. This was already the right width and thickness (1/8th of an inch). I just had to cut it to length, and I had a big enough piece to do both sides. The steel came zinc plated, so that meant I wouldn't have to paint it. I used pop rivets to secure it to the door instead of the goop. I think this will work better, and will make doing the driver side easier.

Farrar
08-18-2011, 10:49 PM
Nice, Chris! You've implemented my suggestion faster than I ever could. :lol:

Farrar

dvonk
08-18-2011, 11:00 PM
those pop rivets will definitely hold it. did you have to drill the stainless or could you use existing holes? (again, apologies for my lack-of-D ignorance)

Chris 16409
08-18-2011, 11:49 PM
those pop rivets will definitely hold it. did you have to drill the stainless or could you use existing holes? (again, apologies for my lack-of-D ignorance)

I suppose you could utilize the existing fir tree holes, but with my positioning of the magnets on the door panel, I could not use the existing holes. I had to drill new holes into the door. Luckily, the stainless in that area is very thin. It was harder to drill out the steel strip. Now, I am able to glue more magnets to the door panel to hold it on better.

TTait
08-19-2011, 12:41 AM
Now that you have done it, another idea occurs to me. Rather than a full steel strip that could affect door sag at some point (it is as far from the hinge as your gonna get), you could have just put steel sheet metal screws into the fir tree holes. If you then glue the magnets over the fir tree locations on the panel, you know they will line up. If the steel causes any problems ever then consider this as a backup plan - good thing you used rivets!

robvanderveer
09-05-2011, 12:55 PM
I've been just reading this thread, and I can't really see the issue with the door panel. Just get a proper fir-tree-removal tool and you're done. I mean, how often do you need to remove/replace the door panels? If there was area for improvement on door trim, it would be a trick on how to remove/reattach the door handle bracket.

Jeff K
09-05-2011, 02:51 PM
I've been just reading this thread, and I can't really see the issue with the door panel. Just get a proper fir-tree-removal tool and you're done. I mean, how often do you need to remove/replace the door panels? If there was area for improvement on door trim, it would be a trick on how to remove/reattach the door handle bracket.

Why did you feel the need to post this? OBVIOUSLY people are having issues with this, thus the thread and the creative fix. It's good that you don't, but a lot of us do.

Chris 16409
09-05-2011, 06:52 PM
I've been just reading this thread, and I can't really see the issue with the door panel. Just get a proper fir-tree-removal tool and you're done. I mean, how often do you need to remove/replace the door panels? If there was area for improvement on door trim, it would be a trick on how to remove/reattach the door handle bracket.

My main reason for doing it it that every time I remove the panels, at least one fir tree rips out of the fiber panels. This is even with using a fir tree remover tool. Some of the fir trees can't be removed with the tool because the are in tight areas. I was tired of slowly destroying my panels. Now, if you have the better plastic door panels, then I can see where you are coming from. The fiber panels are very prone to breakage, especially since they're only getting older.

robvanderveer
09-06-2011, 05:13 AM
Why did you feel the need to post this? OBVIOUSLY people are having issues with this, thus the thread and the creative fix. It's good that you don't, but a lot of us do.
Sorry i've stepped on something, sir. If the fiber is breaking because of removal, maybe the fir trees are just too tight. Either enlarge the hole, file down the trees or get smaller ones. I agree that the panels are too delicate and pricey to have them degrade.

TTait
09-06-2011, 07:23 PM
The fiber is breaking because its old. This mod allows an old and fragile panel to still be used - it does not modify the car that said panel mounts too.

Steve from Baton Rouge recently sent a email from inside his car asking for help because he was locked in. He had to remove the upper panel from inside the car. If he had performed this mod, then he could easily remove the upper panel with no tools.

I don't like modifications just for the sake of changing something, but this one allows an expensive piece to keep being used with less chance for more damage, with no alterations to the car itself, and its reversible.

I understand your door panels aren't damaged, ours are. I used to worry about removing the panels, even using the proper tool. I would never want to have to test multiple fir trees, installing them, uninstalling them, shaving them by hand, trying them again - when the panel has already suffered damage.

It does work, and its not as bad an idea is you fear it is. We appreciate your input, but your not in the same situation it seems.

Chris 16409
09-07-2011, 02:44 AM
:thumbup:


The fiber is breaking because its old. This mod allows an old and fragile panel to still be used - it does not modify the car that said panel mounts too.

Jeff K
09-09-2011, 01:20 PM
Now that you have done it, another idea occurs to me. Rather than a full steel strip that could affect door sag at some point (it is as far from the hinge as your gonna get), you could have just put steel sheet metal screws into the fir tree holes. If you then glue the magnets over the fir tree locations on the panel, you know they will line up. If the steel causes any problems ever then consider this as a backup plan - good thing you used rivets!

Good Idea too! My guess is the weight savings from the new door lock actuators and windows regulators would be a push with the steel strip.

Chris 16409
09-09-2011, 10:03 PM
Good Idea too! My guess is the weight savings from the new door lock actuators and windows regulators would be a push with the steel strip.

That's what I was thinking too.

DeloreanJoshQ
10-19-2011, 09:22 PM
Hey guys, what's the best way to fix broken plastic tabs on the bottom of the upper door panels?

Thanks!

TTait
10-20-2011, 08:49 PM
Busted fir trees? I'm guessing yes because the other tabs are metal...

You have two options:

1 - Replace them. Try to rotate the fir tree and see if you can work it out - the head is a cam shape, kind of like the shape of a conch shell or a word bubble in the sunday comics. As such you can work it back out of the hole in many cases. If not you have to cut it out.

You can carefully use a blade or cut off wheel to cut any remaining shaft and lower flange off flush with the board. This will still leave a head inside the panel. once the new one goes in it may bulge out a bit. If that's not acceptable, then you can carefully peel back the vinyl over the top of the panel and cut them off, so the head won't be stuck inside.

Then you can order and install new fir trees.

2 - Replace them with the magnets as outlined in this thread. I've done this on one car and it works very very well. I'll do it on the other when I next have the upper door panels off anyway.

You can get them from any of the vendors, and auto parts stores, but I'd suggest the vendors as they will be the right side and we need to support them if we want them to be here in the future.

DeloreanJoshQ
10-20-2011, 08:55 PM
Busted fir trees? I'm guessing yes because the other tabs are metal...

You have two options:

1 - Replace them. Try to rotate the fir tree and see if you can work it out - the head is a cam shape, kind of like the shape of a conch shell or a word bubble in the sunday comics. As such you can work it back out of the hole in many cases. If not you have to cut it out.

You can carefully use a blade or cut off wheel to cut any remaining shaft and lower flange off flush with the board. This will still leave a head inside the panel. once the new one goes in it may bulge out a bit. If that's not acceptable, then you can carefully peel back the vinyl over the top of the panel and cut them off, so the head won't be stuck inside.

Then you can order and install new fir trees.

2 - Replace them with the magnets as outlined in this thread. I've done this on one car and it works very very well. I'll do it on the other when I next have the upper door panels off anyway.

You can get them from any of the vendors, and auto parts stores, but I'd suggest the vendors as they will be the right side and we need to support them if we want them to be here in the future.

Not the fir trees, the 3 plastic tabs(built as a part of the plastic backing) that help to line up the upper panel to the lower panel and keep it from coming outward; the metal "clip" that connects to the door toward the rear of the car is fine.

TTait
10-21-2011, 12:07 AM
I think your panel is a little different from mine, I have a fiberboard backed panel and those tabs are metal, it sound like yours is all plastic.

Having never seen one of those I'd suggest getting some steel plate at lowes and cutting a new tab to shape out of metal using a dremel and using epoxy to join it to the backing?

Chris 16409
08-10-2012, 06:27 PM
So I thought I would post an update on my "magnet mod" for the upper door panels. The panels are still holding nicely. I've only had one magnet slide a bit (most likely due to heat), but it didn't affect the functionality, and I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been nosing around. I just simply re-gooped it and all is well. I still recommend this mod for cars with the fiberboard door panels.

dvonk
08-10-2012, 08:47 PM
So I thought I would post an update on my "magnet mod" for the upper door panels. The panels are still holding nicely. I've only had one magnet slide a bit (most likely due to heat), but it didn't affect the functionality, and I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been nosing around. I just simply re-gooped it and all is well. I still recommend this mod for cars with the fiberboard door panels.

wow, its been a year already!? :paranoid:

thanks for an update, good to hear that they are still functioning properly.

darylfelsberg
03-20-2013, 09:53 PM
Just ordered the same magnets. My driver side upper panel, had it's fir tree placements ripped out. So this sounds like a great way of fixing it. Thanks for the idea!

Chris 16409
03-27-2013, 03:36 AM
I just had to remove my panels to install new outer window seals and to get the windows back on track. The magnet mod made the job much easier since I didn't have to waste time with fir trees.

Chris 16409
12-22-2016, 03:40 AM
It's hard to believe I started this thread back in 2011. Anyhow, a recent private message about the topic allowed me to revisit this thread. I wanted to provide a current link on where to purchase the magnets:

http://stores.ebay.com/CMS-Magnetics/_i.html?_nkw=1%2F2x1%2F8&submit=Search&_sid=110276065

The same seller is still active on eBay and has a huge inventory. I took the liberty to include the magnet size I used in the link above. There are many options with stronger magnets available then 5 years ago. Any yes, my door panels are still holding on tight. No issues to date. If you do the mod, you'll be wondering how you ever lived with the fir trees.

47948

Chris 16409
03-09-2017, 01:04 AM
Some people were interested to see the door panel fitment and how they laid down. This is from the driver side door:

49356

49357

49358

BladeBronson
03-09-2017, 03:10 AM
Fits better than my panels with fir trees.

lazabby
03-21-2017, 10:37 AM
I'm about to do this mod. Any problems using Super Glue to do it? From the pictures it looks like the magnets are glued next to the fir tree holes.

Chris 16409
03-23-2017, 06:11 PM
I don't think super glue will have the strength or be able to bond well to the fiber panels. Although some upper door panels are plastic. I use and recommend Goop Adhesive. It takes a day to dry completely, but is very strong. I glued them next to the holes because it provides more surface area for the magnet to be glued down, and attach to the metal bracket. Also the holes on my door panels were pretty chewed up so the magnets wouldn't have stuck anyway.

49743

lazabby
03-23-2017, 07:20 PM
I used what Superglue I had for the panels and ended up going to the store to buy Goop. I used that for the magnets. Everything looks good. I'm workoing on refurbishing the door handle now. There is a back cover on it that was separating from the rest of the handle due to the 30+ year glue. I cleaned all that off and used Goop to glue it back together. There is a metal plate (not the bracket) that's part of the handle and it's rusted so I need to fix that. There is a lot of "while I'm in there I might as well take care of ..."

volkstony
03-24-2017, 12:43 AM
I am planning on doing this mod. I was wondering if JB weld would work for the magnets

Chris 16409
03-24-2017, 12:50 PM
I am planning on doing this mod. I was wondering if JB weld would work for the magnets

I don't see why not. Should provide a strong bond. I've been using goop as a general adhesive so I usually have it on hand. I tried the goop on the magnets and it seems to work well.

Rich_NYS
03-24-2017, 02:37 PM
I hope to finish mine this weekend. My 9 year-old loves the magnets, but was panicky when she couldn't separate them -lol.

I'm really glad for this mod; Chris did it due to his fiber panel ripping out, but the plastic one I have is a worse piece of crap....breaks & cracks with the least of resistance. The fiber panel is much better IMHO. This mod will save my plastic panel from getting destroyed.

volkstony
03-25-2017, 10:17 PM
I don't see why not. Should provide a strong bond. I've been using goop as a general adhesive so I usually have it on hand. I tried the goop on the magnets and it seems to work well.
Sounds good I have plenty of JB weld great stuff

Chris 16409
07-22-2017, 01:38 PM
Hey Rich, how did your panels turn out?

Rich_NYS
07-23-2017, 06:46 PM
Hey Rich, how did your panels turn out?

I added foam at the same time as the magnets, and having some fitment issues. the magnets seem to hold fairly well, but I might need a few more.

When I get a chance, I'll take some pics of the fit. In the meantime, here's a before & after of the upper panel restoration/padding mod:

52591

dn010
10-23-2018, 04:11 PM
Unfortunately I'm at the end with the tree clips. Most of the holes are destroyed and will no longer accept the clips. I will be searching for these magnets on Amazon and gluing them on ASAP. Are you all using 1/2" X 1/8"? Everyone still satisfied with the results?

lazabby
10-24-2018, 07:04 AM
Unfortunately I'm at the end with the tree clips. Most of the holes are destroyed and will no longer accept the clips. I will be searching for these magnets on Amazon and gluing them on ASAP. Are you all using 1/2" X 1/8"? Everyone still satisfied with the results?

I love them. No problems. Get the strong ones.

dn010
10-24-2018, 09:34 AM
Thanks, good to hear. I ended up getting 20X3mm N52 magnets on Amazon and will glue them on tomorrow. :D


I love them. No problems. Get the strong ones.

Chris 16409
10-24-2018, 02:23 PM
Here is the seller I've bought my magnets from:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/321412866330

They are based in Texas so they ship from the US.

dn010
10-26-2018, 06:53 PM
Thank you for that link. I may have to get those instead. I got N52 20x3mm and considering I can barely get them apart off the stack, they may be too much for this application.

dn010
10-28-2018, 04:47 PM
To update, I used the N52 20x3mm magnets. I used 5 minute epoxy on them and used 4 per panel. Holds tight and looks good. Good god! I donít know why I didnít do this sooner.

Drive Stainless
10-28-2018, 08:12 PM
So how tight are we talking, in terms of holding power? For example, do you need to use a screw driver to pry them off?

dn010
10-29-2018, 09:23 AM
For mine all you need to do is wrap your fingers under the panel with the window open and pull & they'll pop off. If it needs more holding power I have more magnets to apply but I feel they're fine with the 4 N52. I opened/closed the doors pretty harshly, banged on the panel and tried all sorts of things and they're not moving.

Michael
10-29-2018, 12:00 PM
I laughed at this idea when I first heard it. I couldn't fathom a reason for anyone to remove the door panel that often and fir trees being a buck each, even if they do wear out, it's a cheap and easy fix. I never considered the possibility of deterioration or breakage of the panels.

Sounds like a good solution to weak or comprimised door panels!

Rich_NYS
10-29-2018, 02:34 PM
I laughed at this idea when I first heard it. I couldn't fathom a reason for anyone to remove the door panel that often and fir trees being a buck each, even if they do wear out, it's a cheap and easy fix. I never considered the possibility of deterioration or breakage of the panels.

Sounds like a good solution to weak or comprimised door panels!

That's one of the main reasons I did it to my panels; one of them is plastic, and the fir trees were breaking the panel.

dn010
10-29-2018, 02:46 PM
This was really my only option aside from buying new panels.

When I got the car, the holes in the panels where the clips are supposed to be were ripped open like someone forced the panel off and the clips stayed in the metal strip on the door. I tried various methods for years to keep the clips secured in the panel where they were supposed to be. I tried gluing them, taping them, and the latest was going to be trying to lay some fiberglass over the holes and make new ones for the clips. At this point, the magnets made sense.

My panels have been removed dozens of times in the past 16 years of ownership-door lock issues, solenoid issues, fixing dents, tinting, mirror wiring, divider channel and wipe seals.... I've always used the clip tool to remove the clips but the panels were just done.

Chris 16409
10-29-2018, 06:57 PM
I laughed at this idea when I first heard it. I couldn't fathom a reason for anyone to remove the door panel that often and fir trees being a buck each, even if they do wear out, it's a cheap and easy fix. I never considered the possibility of deterioration or breakage of the panels.

Sounds like a good solution to weak or comprimised door panels!

When I first got my car I was routinely removing the door panels. I replaced the lock solenoids with actuators, installed new integrated door straps, and few other items. Every time I took the panels off, fir trees would pop out damaging the fiberboard panels. The magnets make removing the door panels a breeze instead of a chore. The trick is your pull the panel away from the window, not lift it up. A while back I had a window go off track. It was easy to pop the panel off and reseat the window. I think people need to see the mod in person to fully appreciate it.

Drive Stainless
10-30-2018, 09:25 AM
When I first got my car I was routinely removing the door panels. I replaced the lock solenoids with actuators, installed new integrated door straps, and few other items. Every time I took the panels off, fir trees would pop out damaging the fiberboard panels. The magnets make removing the door panels a breeze instead of a chore. The trick is your pull the panel away from the window, not lift it up. A while back I had a window go off track. It was easy to pop the panel off and reseat the window. I think people need to see the mod in person to fully appreciate it.

How bout a video?

Chris 16409
10-30-2018, 09:54 PM
How bout a video?

I'll work on that!