Aluminum inner door panels

Discussion in 'Discussion Forum' started by carl, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    IMG_0379[2].JPG IMG_0380[2].JPG IMG_0382[1].JPG Worked on this today. 2'x4' sheet of 0.025" aluminum sheet from Lowes. Used a good door panel to make a pattern and cut it out with a jig saw. The window crank hole and door handle hole index the panel, then drilled the three holes for the arm rest screws which I use to center attach the panel whether or not I use the arm rest. Next I'll use sheet metal screws around the perimeter. The old, tired panels were already held on with screws so I just have to try and match the holes already in the door. This is all the same basic procedure I did for the spider doors.

    After it's done, it can drip rain water all it wants into the door and the panel won't be affected. Also more in tune with the theme of my interior.
     
    JimD likes this.
  2. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    It seems all of the old 'cardboard' panels get water-logged and warped/swollen. If someone wanted to make new "upholstered" panels, a sheet of ABS (I think is the type) plastic works great. It is easy to cut and you can staple into it for attaching the upholstery. It can be had in the same thickness as the originals so the regular clips can be used. And it holds up really well to the elements.

    I just posted a comment in another thread about the ones you made for your old 124. I really like the padded tops with aluminum lower section. Have you considered doing that with these X panels?
    https://xwebforums.com/forum/index.php?threads/progess-on-the-77x.34267/page-3#post-301976
     
  3. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    Carl, I'll use your thread to offer some style ideas I've been considering. Please let me know if this is too much off-topic and I'll move it to a new thread.

    For custom panels like these aluminum ones, reusing the stock armrests helps give them a more "civilized" look, if that is the direction you want to go. Otherwise if you want more of a "track car" look, consider eliminating not only the armrests but also the inner door handles (release levers), in favor of something like the Porsche RS. They have web or leather straps to pull the release mechanism (to unlatch the door). They also used various types of door pulls to close the door, including similar web or leather straps, small 'Porsche 356' style handles, and simple plastic handles:
    DSC00190.jpg door panel.jpg dscn0809.jpg DSCN9841_t1153979518.jpg 25327466451_c62bcce60a_c.jpg Porsche RS style door panels.jpg
     
  4. dragonsgate

    dragonsgate True Classic

    Location:
    arkansas
    Nice work and will look interesting but are you going to do much cold weather driving?
    Metal door panels with no insulation will radiate cold.
    Any amount of time in the car during cold winter weather even with the heater full blast your left arm and leg will feel the cold.
     
  5. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    The reason I had the padded upper panels on the spider is that's the way a spider panel is made and it would be a pain to figure out how to attach the upper part of the panel as that padded panel has a downward directed flange that goes into the door and include the felt wiper.

    The stock panel was so warped and ill fitting that air leakage was already a minor problem. Fiat heaters are so great that a cold door panel would not be an issue for me.

    I do want to add a pull strap to close the door from the inside with the window up so any source would be welcome. I do like the faux racer look of my interior but the stock door latch is rather non-obtrusive so I'm OK with the stock one...it will look much better when I install the plastic trim ring that goes around it.
     
  6. Fiataccompli

    Fiataccompli Chris Granju

    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I've driven the white 124 with those panels in cold weather and insulation did not seem to be an issue.
     
  7. kmead

    kmead True Classic

    Location:
    Michigan
    I think those Porsche owners are trying too hard.

    Nice solution to a real problem in your case.

    You can buy the nylon webbing at most sporting goods places and crafts places, a heavy duty sewing machine makes it easy but if you capture the ends mechanically and if you flame/heat the ends to keep it from unraveling.
     
  8. Mechanogeek

    Mechanogeek True Classic

    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    JimD likes this.
  9. kmead

    kmead True Classic

    Location:
    Michigan
    Yes but is it strong enough...:)
     
  10. Fiataccompli

    Fiataccompli Chris Granju

    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Well, there's a key ring carabiner for the driver's door on the 124 & nothing on the other. Windows are usually down, but I could see a strap being nice enough. On Xs & 124s, there is a pronounced lack of roof grab handles, which I often hold simply for comfort, so the door handles make a halfway decent substitute. I probably won't add them to this 124, but I'd probably include them if I were doing custom panels.
     
  11. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    I also like the small 'swing out' pull handles. They pivot to lay flat until you need them:

    119434.jpg DSC_00621286125672.jpg

    You can get them inexpensively from VW supply houses.
     
  12. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    The tow straps are an obvious design style that I want ( I have one in each X to actually use as a tow strap) but are a tad too big for a door pull. We just need to scale it down so it's about 3" long.
     
  13. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    A bit of size envy Carl? :D
     
    Brayden_connolly likes this.
  14. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    At my age, size is not the issue, it's function....I'm talking about door pulls, of course.
     
    Brayden_connolly, kmead and Dr.Jeff like this.
  15. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    Just keep pulling on it.
     
    Brayden_connolly likes this.
  16. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    It can be hard to find...the door pull.
     
    Brayden_connolly likes this.
  17. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    That's what she said.....when getting out of your car.
     
    Brayden_connolly likes this.
  18. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    She refuses to go anywhere near that Fiat.
     
  19. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    We all have our pet names for it. Although I've never heard a guy call it his "Fiat". Isn't that Italian for "tiny"?
     
    Hasbro and Brayden_connolly like this.
  20. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    Mine is mid engine and has low power.
     
    Tom Ginefra likes this.

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