2.2.09

Upholstery 2: Door Panels

Guacamole Bus Upholstery
Phase 2: Door Panels

Once I did the kick panels, my original gray door panels just didn`t look right. Plus I had used some odd weaved material that was filthy and falling apart.




Obviously time for some green vinyl lovin`.


I had the panels that originally came with the Guacamole Bus, so I stripped them:




What did I find? Well, the driver`s side door panel was relatively straight and in good shape except for the PO`s (or PPO`s) cutting holes for some craptastic 6x9" speakers. The passenger door, on the other hand, was warped badly.




I soaked the panel in bleach and water (there were signs of mold too) and clamped the worst areas between some scrap pieces of wood.




That worked wonders. I left it to dry for 2 days and the areas I clamped were VERY straight.


Now to apply the batting. I used 1/4" cotton batting. 3M`s Trim Adhesive again, spray on both the panel and the batting that was cut way oversize, wait 3 minutes, then press together. Trim around the edges at a 45 degree angle for smoother edges.




Now it`s time to apply the vinyl.


I traced the door panel onto the back of the vinyl, and cut it just an inch larger than the panel itself. Adhesive again for the face of the panel and let it dry. Then I cut notches into all the curves and corners to keep the edges smooth and folded them over a little at a time. I kept the vinyl stretched taut while doing this to prevent wrinkles (like showed up on my kick panels).






I still needed to address those huge speaker openings. I couldn`t mount my 6 1/2" speakers in those as they stand. So I reinforced with some 1/8" birch ply that I had left over from another project. Gorilla Glue`d it to the panel and clamped it.




Once that was done I started cutting the rest of the openings in the panel.




And here it is, ready for the rest of the parts from the other panels. Notice I took the opportunity to put my Pioneer speakers in, instead of using the "Dual" ones that are in the other panels. The Pioneers sound MUCH better.



Interesting side note here. The vent grills are different between the 73 and the 78. In 73 VW used pins molded into the grill and friction clips, while in 78 they used tabs molded into the grill with no clips needed.




I prefer the later ones. Much easier to deal with!


Well, here they are installed. Huge improvement I think.






I did misjudge the openings available for my reinforcement to the speaker areas. They are preventing the clips in that area from seating. I`ll need to go back and shave them to fit better. But they`re pretty solid now so it can wait.


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