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Old 11-07-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
Davey Boy
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HOW TO-Make custom inserts for door panels

Hey! Here is how I made suede inserts for front and rear panels on my SVT. Also, what I learned from it and how I would go about doing it again.
I took the rear panels off to do them first, here are the tools I used.

and a heat gun.

Very carefully use the heat gut to melt the adhesive holding the inserts on, but be careful not to melt the leather or get it so hot that the leather peels up. I did and it makes gluing the panel in when finished much harder. Heat the insert evenly, then use the putty knives to slowly peel the panel off.

Be sure to take your time, and avoid breaking the panel. Its made of particle board and is rather brittle. Here is what the first one looked like when I was done getting it off.

The second one I took my time doing and got it to come off in one piece. You want to do this for both so you don't have to recreate the inserts. because that can be difficult. Try to get them both to look like this.

If you get both rear inserts off like this that is awesome because it is hard. If not don't worry, you can just make new ones like I did. For the front inserts, just pull the panel off, and do the same technique to remove the inserts. These ones are plastic, but I still managed to break one. Just take your time and its a lot easier in the long run. If you botched the inserts, you need to make some new ones. What I did is buy some thick illustration paper, and cut them to shape. Then I got spray adhesive, and used trunk padding from a fabric shop to replace the original foam. Just follow the instructions on the can, its extremely easy. I recommend replacing all panels if one is messed up, to keep them looking uniform.
Then, after remaking your panels, or being awesome and not having to, you have to upholster them in your fabric of choice. I decided on a red suede, which isn't very stretchy. The stretchier the fabric the easier this part is. Upholstery is really simple, just get some fabric glue and thumbtacks. If you are using the original inserts, just put the new fabric right over the old, saves a lot of work and is easier. Then lay your insert on the fabric face down. Pull it tight and pin the top in place, making sure there is NO slack in the fabric between pins.

Then go to the bottom and slowly work outward wrapping the fabric tightly around the insert. The front inserts are much more difficult than the rear because of the unusual shape. I recommend doing the rear ones first to get a feel for it. For the front inserts you have to do some pleating to make the fabric fit around the outward curve. This is how mine looked when done.


After pinning all of the fabric in place, just use a generic fabric glue to hold them in place. Gluing the corners down can be a bit tricky but just use a lot of glue and hold the folds down until it dries enough to stay on its own. Again, follow the glue instructions for use and dry times. After you inserts are all done, here is what mine looked like.

I just used some generic Loctight glue to put the inserts back on the panels. I would recommend using a quick drying high strength epoxy instead. It was very difficult to prevent the panels from peeling up without it. I applied a lot of glue to both panel and insert.

Then just hold the insert to the curves of the panel until the glue dries. I used some sand bags and my hands. If it peels up at all, just get some more epoxy and apply it directly to the spot needed. If you accidentally get glue on your fabric like I did, I discovered a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a que tip will remove the glue with out messing up the fabric. Just dilute the left over alcohol on the insert with water when your done and let it air dry. After all of that these are what my panels looked like, front and rear.


I also replaced the little handle insert on the front panels with suede. THat wasn't too hard, just tricky. If y'all want I'll post how to do that aswell.

EDITTTTTTTT:::::::::::::::::::::
Finished and installed!
My windows are so dark I had to take 7 pictures of the rear until I got one with enough light to see it. And it was mid day.




Another tip, Mechanics have black hand, and WILL (and did on mine...which sucks balls) ruin the suede if they touch it. SO BE WARNED. I have to redo one of them or find a way to clean it.

If you have any questions or additions, just throw them up here and I'll edit this, or help you out! It took me a long time to do this cause I"m a lazy bastard, sorry!



Last edited by Davey Boy; 11-15-2010 at 01:34 PM. Reason: new pictures!
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:31 PM   #2
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Very nice job! Good tip about the heat gun, I almost destroyed my panels ripping those things off. When I did this, I found it easier to cut the vinyl layer with a razor and it pulled right up. The adhesive for the vinyl was weaker than whatever unearthly crap they used for the inserts.

I think I like your method of making new inserts better than the balsa wood I used. More easy to trim than wood is
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:33 PM   #3
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Very nice job! Good tip about the heat gun, I almost destroyed my panels ripping those things off. When I did this, I found it easier to cut the vinyl layer with a razor and it pulled right up. The adhesive for the vinyl was weaker than whatever unearthly crap they used for the inserts.

I think I like your method of making new inserts better than the balsa wood I used. More easy to trim than wood is
Yeah, I spent like a full 2 weeks shopping for a material to use. I was going to use some thick plastic sheets and then heat them up and mold them to the shape of the panel, but couldn't find any ones that would work.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:35 PM   #4
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Nice work, Dave. That looks sweet.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:39 PM   #5
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Looks great, ive been looking at doing this in my 05. Appreciate it.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:44 PM   #6
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Thanks! I'll try to get some pictures of them in my car up tomorrow.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:46 PM   #7
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Looks great, ive been looking at doing this in my 05. Appreciate it.
I think your website is messed up, at least in Opera the components aren't spaced out or anything.


-its just opera
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:02 PM   #8
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You can buy cabinet backing at Home Depot/Lowes. Its that thin press board you see on the back of dressers. That should work okay for the panels.
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:09 PM   #9
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You can buy cabinet backing at Home Depot/Lowes. Its that thin press board you see on the back of dressers. That should work okay for the panels.
I couldn't find any of it at my home depot. but it would work just as well I'm sure
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:15 AM   #10
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Good work this should def be archived.
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