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Discussion Starter #1
So the door card fabric has been 'billowy' since I bought my 147. Some time ago I had a stab at regluing it, but not successfully. The problem was the 'orange' rot', the remnant of the backing foam behind the cloth and of the glue which once held it onto the surface of the card insert.

Whether intending to reglue the old fabric, or replacing it with new fabric, or any other strategy for addressing the problem, after peeling off the fabric there is still 'orange rot' that has to be removed before anything can properly adhere to the surface of the card insert. The orange rot consists of crumbly foam particles mixed with old rotted glue that just falls off, and degraded sticky gluggy glue and foam particles still adhered to the substrate. Much of it can be removed by brushing or rubbing it off, but the surface of the insert will still be more or less covered in orange rot (not a good base onto which new glue can be applied).

I tried cleaning it off with turpentine, paint stripper and methylated spirit, but it was very 'glumpy' and difficult to remove. I failed to remove it all, the surface remained sticky with old glue despite several attempts to clean it off with the various chemicals. However I reglued the old fabric (with contact adhesive) and it was good, for a day or so, then it started to lift off again. At that point I gave up.

Yesterday I decided to have another go at this, because the 'billowing' had deteriorated to peeeling from the edges of the fabric as well. I removed a door card from my parts car to practice methods of rot removal (also with loose fabric and orange rot).

First thing is to get the card off the door (fairly straightforward, there is probably a 'how-to' somewhere). Next is to get the cloth covered insert off the door card. With the card laid face down on a table (on an old blanket to protect the card), you can see that the insert is held onto the card with several 'tabs' which are inserted through slots in the card, and a number of 'spots' that look similar to plastic 'spot welds'.

The tabs have been melted where they pass through the slots, the melted part of each tab forming an elongated 'blob' which physically prevents the tab from pulling out of the slot. The blobs need to be cut away with a sharp blade, until the tabs can come out of the slots. The 'spots welds' can also be cut with a blade, slid between the card and the insert (and some of my cards 'spot welds' just 'broke' free).

The tabs and 'spot welds' are not essential. When reassembled, the insert will remain adequately attached to the door card even if these 'spot welds' and tabs have been cut. At its' rearward end the insert is wraped around the card (holding that end of the insert in place), and at the oher end is held in place by the door handle.

The door handle also needs to be removed from the card (in order to remove the insert from the card). There is a multi slotted washer which holds one end of the handle onto the card, and I found that this washer has to be more or less destroyed to remove it, but not to worry, this washer also isn't important...

Cleaning the orange rot off;
This time I decided to try a stiff bristle brush, warm water and liquid laundry detergent. This worked much better than the chemicals I had previously tried. Nearly all the rot scrubbed off fairly easily, leaving very little old glue remaining on the card substrate. After rinsing and drying the card I did find several small areas of old glue, which cleaned off first with turpentine and then with methylated spirit. This left nice clean surface ready for new glue, or in this case, a different solution.

So I repeated this cleaning process on the drivers side card insert from my driving car (the spares car is a five door, driving car is a three door, so the cards are diferent). At this point I decided not to recover the card insert, but instead to paint it. This was mostly because I had failed to source an appropriate ultra stretchy fabric with which to recover the card (the fabric needs to be very stretchy because the card is so very three dimensional in shape). It was also because I suspected that recovering would possibly be a PITA process, and that if the paint didn't work out, I could always recover later....

I used a spraycan of 'Rustoleum' satin black paint, because this brand specifically states that it will adhere to a variety of surfaces including plastic. Several light coats and it looks quite good (as good as hoped for and a lot better than feared...). The new card insert surface is textured, partly the paint seems to spray on with a textured finish, but also largely because the surface of the card insert itself is also textured.

The passenger side door is still to be done.

Regards,
John.
 

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I found using a hair dryer helps to soften and stretch material, especially vinyl if you are doing some recovering.

You could always try an auto-upholster to do the task of replacing the material. A friend of mine had an some door cards of a VW polo reupholstered for about $150 each.

Of course, that times 4 doors does add up especially when the value of the car may not be worth much or there are more critical areas which need money spent.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There are only two doors so only two card inserts. It's my spare parts car that has a more sensible and practical number of entry / exit points. Even with only two doors there is no way I'd pay even close to $150 each to have the cards professionally upholstered, it's not as if the car is a cosmetically pristine example otherwise...

This was always a job which would only ever get done if it didn't cost significant money. So far I've spent about $26.00 on two cans of spraypaint, but I'll probably only need one of them. The painted cards are hugely nicer than they were when covered in tatty old delaminiating fabric...

Regards,
John.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Any pics of the finished product?
Tom,
As you can see it's not perfect, but a lot nicer than the old wavy droopy threadbare cloth.

This is a self priming black 'satin' spraypaint. It sprays on either 'textured' or smooth(ish), depending on how close the can is and how slowly or quickly the spray is moved across the surface being painted. The substrate surface is itself lightly textured, but on one of the cards it was not evenly textured, there were a couple of areas where it was fairly smooth. It's a bit difficult to get a more or less uniform paint finish, but I'm reasonably happy.

For the last two coats I found that keeping the can quite a long way from the surface, and spraying with very light passes helped to create a more even paint texture. The 'texture' can be a bit 'sandpaperlike' to touch, light sanding between coats helps a bit with this. I'm now considering whether or not to give the card inserts another light sanding and then respraying them with a matt black paint (rather than satin).

(The paint texture is I think created by the droplets partially drying and so forming a 'skin' as they travel from the nozzle to the surface, and the longer the distance between the nozzle and the surface the 'drier' this skin becomes. When the droplets hit the surface they don't fully flow into each other, but are held in partial droplet shape by the skin, creating a textured paint surface).

Regards,
John.

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That looks good John,I found that I just took the door card leather/vinyl covering off and blasted the door card with the hose gun on "jet" setting,the orange stuff washed off easily.Had a go at recovering one but it was not good so might give your option a go.
 

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I found using a hair dryer helps to soften and stretch material, especially vinyl if you are doing some recovering.

You could always try an auto-upholster to do the task of replacing the material. A friend of mine had an some door cards of a VW polo reupholstered for about $150 each.

Of course, that times 4 doors does add up especially when the value of the car may not be worth much or there are more critical areas which need money spent.
There are only two doors so only two card inserts. It's my spare parts car that has a more sensible and practical number of entry / exit points. Even with only two doors there is no way I'd pay even close to $150 each to have the cards professionally upholstered, it's not as if the car is a cosmetically pristine example otherwise...

This was always a job which would only ever get done if it didn't cost significant money. So far I've spent about $26.00 on two cans of spraypaint, but I'll probably only need one of them. The painted cards are hugely nicer than they were when covered in ta
I found using a hair dryer helps to soften and stretch material, especially vinyl if you are doing some recovering.

You could always try an auto-upholster to do the task of replacing the material. A friend of mine had an some door cards of a VW polo reupholstered for about $150 each.

Of course, that times 4 doors does add up especially when the value of the car may not be worth much or there are more critical areas which need money spent.
It is a very difficult process to make the door cards of an 147 like new even for a professional because of the various curves they have. There you have to use a hot air pistol and then stretch the leather (real or artificial) something which "breaks" it.The best a good professional can do is to glue the same material but as they told me when I had mine reglued you mustn't remove it by yourself because then it shrinks. In an older thread you can find pictures of the front cards of my car. They are perfect. Unfortunately I removed the rear cards artificial leather so they couldn't fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes it seems that the original glue dissolves more readily in water than in nastier solvents, so I assume it is likely to be a water based glue (?). I didn't try hosing it off, went straight to the coarse scrubbing brush.

The deep curves are a pain. Even when I was just regluing the old fabric, the 'topography' made it quite difficult to align the fabric in its' original position and get it to adhere in exactly that position, contact adhesive being what it is. And after all that difficulty, the new glue failed after a few days.

I found that if there is any tension in the fabric where it is stretched into a depression, then that tension will tend to gradually pull the fabric away from the substrate of the card insert, unless the adhesion is pretty good.

Regards,
John.
 

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Gotta be honest John, that looks pretty good.

I am wondering, one can buy certain paints that when dry, "wrinkle" and give the effect of it being a material/vinyl/leather look, that may be worth try too?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Given that the paint I used did unexpectedly become significantly textured, if I were doing this again then I'd at least try using a 'wrinkle' paint deliberately designed to create a textured finish. Hopefully this would be somewhat more consistant than the texture my card inserts now have.

That the paint spayed on with a textured effect was not a deliberate choice, just what happened. Once I realised this was occurring I understood that it was probably going to be better than a smooth surface, so adjusted my spray technique trying to maximise the effect. If the paint had gone on with a smooth finish then I don't think it would have looked as good as it does, as the faults on the substrate surface would have been 'enhanced'.

The substrate surface has its' own texture which seems to initiate the 'texturing' of the paint as it contacts the surface, 'sets up' and dries. This substrate texture is not perfectly even over the entire surface, so the way the paint generates its' own texture is affected and so varies from place to place (one of my card inserts was somewhat worse than the other in this respect). Also, the surface of the card insert is not perfectly shaped / formed, but has areas with a degree of uneveness that would be highlighted by a smooth paint finish. To a significant degree this is disguised by a textured paint surface.

The surfaces of both of my card inserts look quite consistent if you aren't looking too closely, but if you do then the texture does vary noticably (but looks fine at a glance). They are not perfect, but I expect I'll stop noticing within a week.

Regards,
John.
 
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