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 Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation

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al_roethlisberger
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PostSubject: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:38 pm


I don't know how many of your Riviera's have this problem, but I've seen it not uncommonly in several and certainly on mine.... where the vinyl door panel covering has started to separate and sag/shrink where it meets under the armrest swich panel causing an uneven gap.

In my case it is exacerbated on the drivers side by the fact that the vinyl was trimmed incorrectly from the factory and is so close to the bottom edge of the switch panel that the vinyl edge is actually sticking out a bit.

I know some little things like this don't bother most people, but it's the kind of thing that nags at me rolleyes 

I've already tried to stretch and reglue the vinyl with limited success, so I thought about just covering it.


Here's a photo of the problem area on the drivers side. The passenger side isn't quite as bad, but still sags noticably:






I'm not really into adding chrome bits and other farkles to cars beyond what was from the factory, but every so often it may make sense practically or aesthetically, especially if understated. But I had been thinking of a way to cover this area since I am afraid it will only get worse with time.

So, I was shopping at AutoZone and they gave me some stainless steel door handle covers to give a try (the packaging was damaged, and they were headed for the write-down trash). So I taped one of them in place, and you know.... I don't think they look half bad, and free is good cool  (opinions may vary of course)

Here is a photo of one mocked-up in place:




It is interesting how it mimics some of the lines of the door panel, completely by chance, and it seems like a good design location given that your thigh can hit this area of the door. So it doesn't look completely out of place.

I'm not certain I'll put this on permanently yet or not, but thought I'd share how this piece coincidentally just seemed to work.... and on a lark at that.

BTW, it is made by Pilot Automotive, and is a "Stainless Steel Decorative Door Handle Cover" for Ford F-150 and Explorer models. It seems to be a quality piece of solid stainless T-304, and definitely isn't plated ABS. The part number is SDH-201 and is actually sold under the "Bully" brand (this one is).

Here is a link for them at Autozone:

SS Door Handle SDH-201


Al

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Birdawgxx
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PostSubject: Re: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:16 pm

You know Al, that looks pretty neat. Fits good right in that area and does a great job of hiding the problem spot. How are you going to affix them without glue or screw holes?
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al_roethlisberger
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PostSubject: Re: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:37 pm


If I install them it will probably be a combination of 3M tape or some high strength adhesive.

I was also thinking about some high strength epoxy or industrial adhesive applied to a couple/three specialized fasteners on the rear (yet to find) that have a wide flat head. I'd have to pierce the door panel, but could then "suck them down" from the rear for a more secure install.

I don't really want to have exposed screw heads on the surface though.

....not sure yet, but that's what I've been thinking.
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matt270avian
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PostSubject: Re: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:55 pm

What about some of those chrome strips(the cut to length ones meant for bumpers)? Or even just replacing the piece?
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:58 pm

al_roethlisberger wrote:

If I install them it will probably be a combination of 3M tape or some high strength adhesive.

I was also thinking about some high strength epoxy or industrial adhesive applied to a couple/three specialized fasteners on the rear (yet to find) that have a wide flat head.  I'd have to pierce the door panel, but could then "suck them down" from the rear for a more secure install.

I don't really want to have exposed screw heads on the surface though.

....not sure yet, but that's what I've been thinking.
Fixing the vinyl requires removing and disaddembling the door panel, if you have the right glues it's not a big problem. But is is way involved. I fixed mine, it sucked up half a day getting that thing right.

Albertj
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charlieRobinson
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PostSubject: Re: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:46 pm

Looks good, but..
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matt270avian
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PostSubject: Re: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:55 pm

To me personally wasting half a day to fix something like that is no issue. But that being said, I tend to find lots of free time, even with work, high school, and college. The chrome trim I was talking about is this stuff;
http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Cowles-Products-Chrome-StyleGuard-edge-trim/_/N-255s?itemIdentifier=1442
If done conservatively I think it could look great.
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al_roethlisberger
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PostSubject: Re: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:17 pm


Yeah, I looked at the various edge guard and rolled "chrome" plastic trims, but found a few issues:

1) Appearance. The plastic chrome parts look cheap when installed. The chrome just doesn't look right when compared to the factory chrome accents like the door handle. I bought a piece and my kids called it out, and they don't really notice such things wink  Also, these strips do not have a elegant "end", they are just cut off exposed black plastic. So the install will not look remotely factory. This was the biggest fail from my perspective.

2) Installation. It is hard to find an adhesive that will reliably hold up to an area like the side of a vinyl armrest where one will continually be exposing the piece to bending, crushing and shearing forces, esp on something thin that has little surface area for purchase.

3) Durability. The chromed plastic on aftermarket products is notoriously poor. So just like point #2 about the mounting holding up, I would worry that in a location like this the finish would suffer.


Regarding repair, I am sure it is possible and Albertj says as much, but I too disassembled my door panels in the dining room, stretched the vinyl, and glued it in place. It was fine for a while but then slowly pulled back down. I guess 18 years of shrinking and sagging is hard to overcome dunno  On my drivers side the factory actually cut the vinyl about 1/8 too low, which makes the problem worse and harder to fix.

I am keeping my eyes out for a set at a wrecking yard that may not have the problem as bad, but we'll see.

Al
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DEMonte1997
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PostSubject: Re: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:39 pm

Careful use of a heat gun (very slow but careful) would allow you to put that piece back where it should be without using the chrome. Done it a handful of times with good success.
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al_roethlisberger
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PostSubject: Re: Polished SS door handle cover to hide door panel seam separation   Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:40 pm


Thanks, may have to give that a try.
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