How do you mend cracked plastic arm rest assembly?

I have a 76 Lincoln with seriously cracked arm rest assembly. Previous owner must have wanted to get at something in the door and was lazy and did not undo many bolts and clips but instead went at it with a crow bar by the looks of it. Arm rest assembly holds all the switches for the electric windows, electric seats, side mirror controls and surrounds the inside door handle/release.

It’s a large plastic panel and various Lincoln dealers will sell refurbished ones from scrapped cars for $200.00 EACH !!

I’ve tried to put mine back together as I just want it back together and don’t care too much for its appearance after the fact as long as its holding all the window switches in place and looks fairly clean.

I have tried every adhesive known to mankind and cannot find anything that will hold. The Plastic is very brittle and when it cracks it’s a very shiny clean break. Nothing sticks to it. I even tried a tip i found on the web that involved heating paperclips with a soldering iron which melts a little of the plastic and holds it in place at a seam. Kind of worked in theory but when you close a door on a 76 Lincoln Mark IV the sheer force just separated all those sealed cracks.

Again i have tried all adhesives, two part epoxy’s i could find and nothing seems to adhere to this type of plastic.

Any ideas ?

I guess I could try fiberglass strips from behind but a glue would be easier

On questions like this, you are going to get answers all over the place.

Based on your posting, it looks like you plan to drive this car a while longer.

If you are destitute, then you have to keep on trying to cob it up, I guess. Have you tried, er, Bondo in large quantities? I am talking what is politely called Brute Force applications of Bondo, not a neat, tidy job which will clearly fail again.

If you like that old car, and can at all afford it, I’d say save your bucks and spend the $200 on a refurb. That $200 is a couple minutes depreciation on a new car.

…but fiberglass sounds more like the answer.
Can’t guess about the adhesion, but even for my 92 Explorer ( steel brackets bolted in behind the inside pull handle ) it sounds like a good idea there.
Yet after all this bother, wouldn’t a $200.00 used one fit the bill ?

Fiberglass won’t work. As soon as he brushes the resin and hardener for the fiberglass on, it’ll melt the plastic.

He needs to find a replacement from a local auto recycler.


$200.00 x 2 = $400.00. I only paid 1500.00 for the car ? The wife hates it and wants it out of the driveway, If I spend $400.00 on door panels I’ll be sleeping on the back seats for a week. Thanks for the advise, just wanted to see if anyone knew of any adhesive that might adhere to this type of plastic.

You said the Lincoln dealer would charge $200 each. Tester suggested that you contact a car recycler (junk yard) yourself. If you remove the door handle from the scrap Lincoln yourself and install it yourself, the cost will be way less than $200 each. Recyclers advertise on line. Browse the web and see if you can come up with a good deal near your home.

I wish, I have tried that route but no 76 Lincolns in any scrap yards up here in Maine, I am sure they have all rusted away. In fact couldn’t find any in New England. Maybe if I lived in the South I’d have more luck. Thanks any way

Might any other Ford model work? Maybe the TBird? And the Mk IV was produced from '72 to '76 - are you checking for all years, all colors? You could paint one.

Anything here work?

Now I’m talking about wooden hand made replacement stuff. I make my own string trimmers from a $20 model Black & Decker so the obvious next step is to weave an entire car. I can reach a long way with my newest creation.

I imagine that you’ve tried “Superglue”? In my experience it’s pretty much worthless – except with ceramics and shiny surfaces. Duct Tape won’t work? Wire it together? How about making your own armrest from Bondo and fiberglass using the original as a guide?

I’ve tried to fix plastics on motor scooters and the only thing that seems to work some is putting a patch of another piece of plastic (milk gallon?) on the back, with Gorilla Glue. You have to clamp it or press it together until it hardens. If the original plastic is curled or twisted warming it up with a heat gun, carefully, and pressing it into shape does help, too. It’s going to take a while.

The ugly alternative is to patch it together from the front, and secure the patch into place with pop rivets. This choice has a certain pure ugly charm, perhaps correct in a mid 70’s Lincoln.

They didn’t change every year. Did your scrap yards check all the years that might apply? And you can have it sent to you from New Mexico if you want. At least one prominent board member has an old Lincoln; he’s even a #1 scrounger (I admire that, by the way). Maybe he has some suggestions.

He already chimed in below! I knew he’d have good sources.

Duct tape? How 3rd world! I’m sure that Mrs. Shepherd007 would love that.

Making a new one might be reasonable, but only if another can’t be found. Lincolns seem common enough that jshepherd007 should find one on line. OK4450 had a wealth of parts at eBay! (I knew he would)