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Old 04-19-2012, 12:12 AM   #1
e28forever
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Thumbs up e36 door panel fix "How to"

Ok, this is for those of us who need to fix that "door panel flaw" of the e36 bmw (if you don’t know what im talking about, it’s the "plastic door panel posts are no longer glued to the door panel" problem). so here are some directions on how to fix that problem so that you never have to mess with it again.

Things needed

1) Epoxy (grab some from walmart, grab 4 tubes or so, and if you need more, then go get more)
2)Fiberglass kit
3)Large head chisel
4)Sharpie or other permanent marker
5)Patients, this will take a couple of days, so be ready to spend those days without door panels

Directions

1) Take that sharpie that you grabbed for the project, and mark the corners of each plastic post in such a way that when you remove the glue the marks are still there, my suggestion on marking is shown below.

2) now that that the corners of each of the posts are marked, go around and remove each post one at a time, after removing a post, look on the bottom of the post and take not of the number, be sure to mark
that number of the post next to where the post had previously sat (se pic below)

3) now that you have removed all of the plastic posts, take that chisel you rounded up for this project, and use it to remove all the epoxy that is on the door panel (CAUTION: BE CAREFUL NOT TO DIG INTO THE DOOR PANEL WITH THE CHISEL!) if you happen to remove any epoxy with placement markings for when you re-attach the plastic posts, be sure to remark what was removed as best you can.

4) now that you have removed all the epoxy that was on the door panel, take each post individually and apply a decent amount of epoxy to the bottom of the plastic post that you are on, and then place that post in its respective spot, then applying some pressure and holding it in place till the epoxy starts to harden. do this for every plastic post, then set the door panel aside.

5) ok if you are only fixing one door panel, then make sure that you give it a good 30min-1hr to harden, if you are doing multiple door panels then you will repeat step 4 on your next door panel(s).

6) This is the step that takes the longest and is why your car may go a few days without door panels. Now it's time to break out that fiberglass kit. you are gonna take that fiber glass kit, and fiberglass the plastic posts to the back of the door panel (make sure you only fiberglass the base of the pedal..not the whole thing) make sure the fiberglass is spread over a large area, do this for say half of the posts on the back of the door panel then go on to the next door panel and do half of it. let the door panels sit for awhile (whatever the prescribed waiting time is for your particular kit) then come back and finish the other half of each door panel.

7) ok, now you need to set these door panels aside overnight to let everything dry/harden. after they have set/harden/dry. apply a second coat of fiberglass just to make sure you are thorough.

8) you're done! although this took quite some time to fix, at least you are doing it right (my way isnt the only right way, im sure there are other ways to fix them) now your door panels should last until the outside is either jacked up, or until you put the car out to pasture.
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Last edited by e28forever; 04-19-2012 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:48 AM   #2
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Good write up. I found that liquid nails works too. Just use a dremel or something to rough up the surfaces of the plastic post and where it rests on the old epoxy so the glue has something to adhere to. Squirt a little liquid nails, press together, enjoy a frosty beverage and allow to dry.
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:24 AM   #3
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5min plastic epoxy works too...much faster

and fiberglass resin cures in less than an hour. this is a 3hr project at most with cure time if using resin
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:05 AM   #4
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like i said, this is a long term, never have to do it again type of fix, im sure there are better ways to do it, but this is how i did it. The time i gave in there to do things was based on the amount of time i did the project in (too many projects, too little time). I do appreciate the positive feedback on the write up.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:41 AM   #5
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I like to clean the surfaces with a mild degreaser after I've mechanically cleaned and abraded them. I know a lot of the car's hard plastic is ABS/PC which can eventually crack if touched by some strong solvents. I clean it with isopropyl alcohol or stoddard solvent to be safe.

I will be curious how long the epoxy lasts. A lot of people won't use it on wood because wood's expansion and contraction can make the epoxy fail. I believe the door panels use some sort of medium density fiberboard, however, which expands quite a bit less with humidity.

Last edited by John Firestone; 04-19-2012 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:04 AM   #6
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I used metallic JB Weld for this job with good results
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Old 04-21-2012, 02:11 AM   #7
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Nice write up. Anyone have an idea where I can get replacement clips? My TI was in Texas and the clips disintegrated a few years ago.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue76 View Post
Nice write up. Anyone have an idea where I can get replacement clips? My TI was in Texas and the clips disintegrated a few years ago.
If your refering to the little plastic clips that go all around the doors and clip into the holes then go Ebay. Just type in BMW door clips. I got a box of 50 for $10 shipped when I bought my Ti 2 years ago. Work perfect!

Had the time so heres a link.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-Clips-BMW...item3cb77e1ea4
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:07 AM   #9
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Cool! Thanks.
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Old 04-29-2012, 04:44 PM   #10
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PL is another adhesive that works. Similar to 'liquid nails' but far stronger. Works well on a lot of dissimilar materials too (porus and non-porus), which is key to the sucess of this repair.

They just came out with a new "premium" PL which is gray rather than the old tan stuff. This is what I just used last time. (Gel super glue does not work- my first repair attempt- well, it only lasted five years)

Acetone wash surfaces, apply a tiny drop of the PL to the old glue surface, set, aply a bead all around the edge of the black stand-offs (sort of a weld bead around the perimiter for better mechanical holding), let it sit overnight (at least).

I know PL will work. You can glue plastic to brick and the bond will outlast the brick...

Other options I know will work:

JB Weld (not JB quick)
West System with slow hardener. (messy)

I bet 3M ScotchWeld would also work, although that is optimized for steel.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:19 PM   #11
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Hello there this is my first post. I wanted to know if there was an easy way of knowing the exact position of the clips on the actual door panel. I bought my ti and the door panels were already coming off. So i took them off completely and the clips are stuck in the door and the back of the clips are disintegrated by someone that used gorilla glue.the original glue was removed so i do not have any idea of their actual placements.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:27 PM   #12
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Good info- I did not think the popular Gorilla Glue would last, but I held my opinion back.

I think you can figure it out by looking at the other panel as see if you can determine it. They are numbered, but the numbers sound like they may not be visible now.

If you are careful in watching the orientation while removing them from the door itself, you should be able to figure out how they mount to the panel.

You could also leave the stand-offs in place, apply the glue of your choice to them, and press the door panel back on, watching to see that they are meeting the contour of the panel correctly.

Best solution is probably new panels from another car that has not been 'messed with' yet.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:45 AM   #13
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Yeah thats what I've been thinking prob going to save myself the time and just get the new door panels.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:55 PM   #14
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I'm going to raid a junkyard and just grab a door panel. Frankly I don't know what BMW was thinking when they designed the E36 interior mechanics.
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:15 AM   #15
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Default Silly me -- do interior door panels from any E-36 fit the 318ti ???

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