First and foremost, you
need to know that creating custom door panels is not an easy task, but
it is something that most people can do themselves with a little bit of
time, money, and creativity. These instructions are here to
show you how I personally did mine, but should apply to virtually any
vehicle that you are customizing. Please also note that if
mess up your door panels by attempting this, YourCustomCar.com can not
be held responsible.
To begin, consider what you want the final results of your custom door
panels to look like.
- Do you want to use the original design of the door panel
and simply create a smooth-as-glass, paint-able, panel?
- Do you want to add components to the door panel, like TVs,
speakers, audio components, or 3-d sculptures?
- Do you want to eliminate the pockets on the door panel?
- etc. etc.
Material List, Tools, and Panel Preparation
You will need a work area that you can use to design and construct your
custom door panels. I used my garage and the entire process
took me two weeks to finish. If you do your
sanding indoors, like I did, be sure to prepare yourself for some
serious dust cleaning when you are done with your project!
- In this work space you will need to have a work bench that
you can get dirty. I covered my workbench with drop cloth to
prevent it from getting too messed up.
- dust mask,
safety goggle, latex/vinyl gloves (Wear these anytime you
are sanding or using the chemicals involved in this project!)
- electric, or pneumatic sander
- Sand paper: 1-2 packs of each 60 grit, 100 grit, 150 grit,
220 grit, 400 grit (wet/dry), 600 grit (wet dry)
- Sand paper backing pad
- bucket and sponge
- liquid dish wash detergent for removing grease, and Armor
All from the door panels
- spray bottle
- staple gun
- At least 1 gallon of fiberglass resin (how much you need
will depend on how many door panels you are doing. I used 2
gallons to do 4 full- size door panels)
- Extra tubes of resin hardener
- MDF board for creating mounts for speakers, TVs, audio
- 3m Spray adhesive
- glue gun
- polyester blend t-shirts or fleece
- body filler (Bondo, or Evercoat Rage)
- plastic spreaders for the body filler
- clear coat
- necessary tools to remove and reinstall your particular
Remove door panels from vehicle
- be sure to label any electrical connectors that you have to
unplug and bag any screws that you remove in order to get the door
panel off of the vehicle. This may sound a little excessive,
but it has helped me many times in the past.
Lay your door panels on your work bench and disassemble them completely
(i.e. remove the door handles, any electrical components, etc.)
If your panels are multi-piece with a section that is
upholstered, like my Impala, and you want them to remain this
way, separate the panels by removing any plastic clips or
Now you need to grab your bucket, sponge, and liquid dish
- Fill your bucket up with water, hot if possible, add the
liquid dish washing detergent and scrub those door panels down to get
all of those years of Armor All of of them! I suggest the
liquid dish washing detergent because it is inexpensive and does a
great job at breaking down the grease and oil on your door panels.
After thoroughly scrubbing, do it again to be sure that those
panels are spotless and grease free! Rinse and let dry
(after completely disassembling and thoroughly cleansed)