Broken Door Panel Solution


Just thought I’d post the resolution to the broken door panel on my '97 Taurus. I had removed the panel to get at the power window motor on the driver’s door which had failed in the down postion. As it turned out, I accidentally dropped the motor after removing it and it hasn’t stopped working since. I drove around with the door panel off for about 3 months waiting for the motor to quit again, but it never did, so I finally put the panel back on this weekend.

When the panel came off, two of the “volcanoes” (I’ll call them) along the top edge that hold the blue plastic rivets which attach the panel to the door, cracked off! The tops compeletely snapped off, meaning the rivets could no longer be used! They were two different sizes: 2" and 1.5" approx in diameter (at the base, but narrower toward the top). I bought two short pieces of PVC pipe (couplings, I believe they were) and cut them back to the original height of each “volcanoe”. Then I cut notches in the bottom lips to get them to seat flush with the door panel (the original “volcanoes” were sort of conical with vertical strengthing “ribs” running from top to bottom). The PVC tubes fit snug at the base, but were much larger than the original “volcanoes” toward the top, as the originals tapered inward as they rose from the door panel. Next I drilled a couple of holes through the sides of these PVC pieces (for added “grab”). Then I set the tubes down on the door and filled each cavity with Bondo. Now, Bondo said this wouldn’t work because the Bondo wouldn’t bond with the door’s plastic, but I didn’t see that as an issue because there was enough plastic left of the shattered “volcanoes” to allow the Bondo to harden around inside and out, providing the needed “grab” to hold the replacement “volcanoes” in place. After hardening, I sanded the Bondo level with the tops of the PVC tubes. Then I applied two really heavy-duty Velcro strips (the kind for masonry) to the tops of the Bondo-filled tubes. The strips were sold as approx 3/4" wide, so I cut two half-moon pieces to perfectly cover the tops of each new “volcanoe”. Lastly, I applied the fabric receiver strips to the metal door to contact the new Velcro “volcanoes”. Seems to be working pretty good. All door panels should be done this way. Those rivets are a pain in the A%&!