Volume I, Issue 5, Page 26


Door restoration can only be skin deep.

Our 1969 Camaro was in dire need of a makeover, especially in the door department. This door, because of its solid, rust-free inner structure, was a perfect candidate for re-skinning.







Step one was removal of the door at the hinge point. We used penetrating oil to help break the bolts free, but, alas, we were not totally successful. While most of the bolts were removed using normal hand socket wrenches, one bolt broke off requiring use of a drill and Easy Out.

It’s an ugly situation but not uncorrectable. Doors with lumpy or dented exterior surfaces can be easily repaired by the installation of new door skins rather than having to opt for long hours attempting to bring your doors back to original straight and true condition via body filler. Unlike the challenges presented by human “demonological” skin reconditioning involving high cost plastic surgery, the automotive exterior repair process simply requires the removal and reinstallation of panels -- no exfoliation required.

We began the door skin restoration process by cleaning out the entire door of excess debris to make certain it was as solid as it appeared from the outside.
The inner window mechanisms were then removed including the glass and window regulator tracks.

Our subject 1969 Camaro had a pair of doors that had suffered from extreme abuse over the past 37 years. While the driver’s side door was fairly straight, the passenger side had clearly gone beyond normal wear and tear with a huge dent just back of the hinging point. The inner structure of the door, especially the bottom inner portion that can rot and rust over time, was still quite solid. Even the hinges and striker plate areas of the door were very sound.

It’s important to be careful removing the window glass working it out slowly. There are several points of connection between the window and the regulator. A vehicle chassis manual can be helpful here to ensure that all of the bolts and screws are removed prior to attempting to slide the window out.
All of the window weather stripping, especially the window “felts” were removed carefully by prying open the attachment clips so as not to dent the door shell. These felts will be replaced with new ones, as well.

Using the services of Johnz Customz & Performance, we set about changing over the door skins on the Camaro. After removing the door from the car we dismantled all of the internal components starting with the door glass, which was carefully slid from its moorings. What was remarkable was the amount of window track corrosion we encountered. If the window tracks are corroded, they should be replaced to avoid future operational problems. Our Camaro was equipped with power windows, which can be especially plagued by poor window movement if everything is not just right.  

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