Cracked Door Panel Repair / Reinforcement

HeX

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Cracked door panels seems to be a common issue for 6th gen Civics due to the poor grade brittle plastic Honda used for that gen. on that upper portion of the panel & the armrest. I was able to find 2 used panels in great condition at great prices. Before installing them, Ive chosen to reinforce the crack-prone sections by coating them with SEM Multi-use Panel Adhesive (39747). This stuff isnt cheap, but it works great in bonding & stiffening plastics. It dries very rigid yet has some mild flexibility.

Has anyone else used any similar methods (epoxies, fiberglass) with long term proven success?


 

HeX

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FYI, after letting it sit for 24 hours (it only needs 4hours to harden), I installed the panel today and it feels incredibly sturdy. And now for the test of time! I hope this helps those of you weary of the same issue.
 


sohclubkid

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FYI, after letting it sit for 24 hours (it only needs 4hours to harden), I installed the panel today and it feels incredibly sturdy. And now for the test of time! I hope this helps those of you weary of the same issue.
my 98 has holes in the armrest areas... ive been debating how i want to fix them.
 

HeX

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my 98 has holes in the armrest areas... ive been debating how i want to fix them.
If theyre cracks, this stuff will seal them up nicely. The panel pictured above had some cracks on the arm rest as well, which is why I sealed it as shown. If you have open holes, I'd suggest putting some sort of sheet of plastic or thin metal to fill the holes & use the SEM to hold it all together. Keep in mind the SEM adhesive is designed for metals so bonding metal with plastic should be a cinch.
 


HeX

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Im a bit surprised there hasnt been much interest in this. But for any who may be interested, its been over 2 months and the panel is holding up very well.
 

JohnS.

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I have a 99 and my panels haven't given either my brother (previous owner) or me any problems :what:. They've been off dozens of times too.
 

woopah

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i'd picked up some door panels for a power conversion, they're hurting a bit was looking at fiberglassing, mebbe i'll check this too.
 

JJT211

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Im quite surprised as well there hasnt been more interest....

Both of my door panels cracked at the top where its curves in to hang on the door when installing. I got them on, but that eventually led to my weatherpanel strip smearing against my windows over time. I had to rip off the weather stripping and have yet to install new ones until I can figure out how to fix my existing panels or buy new ones.

I was really leaning towards buying new ones until I saw this thread. Ill give it a shot and update with pics.

Thanks for the thread!!
 

HeX

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Keep in mind the SEM adhesive is designed for metals so bonding metal with plastic should be a cinch.
FYI, I recently used the product to adhere metal & plastic for a custom tweeter install & it bonded very securely.

Im quite surprised as well there hasnt been more interest....

Both of my door panels cracked at the top where its curves in to hang on the door when installing. I got them on, but that eventually led to my weatherpanel strip smearing against my windows over time. I had to rip off the weather stripping and have yet to install new ones until I can figure out how to fix my existing panels or buy new ones.

I was really leaning towards buying new ones until I saw this thread. Ill give it a shot and update with pics.

Thanks for the thread!!
Im glad this post is helpful for someone. My panels were pretty bad when I purchased the Civic; moreso the driver panel. Since my original post, I have also reinforced the passenger side panel. Both are holding up very well after multiple door panel removals and daily driving.

If your unsure if your panels are within a repairable state, feel free to message me some pictures & I'll let you know what I think. Ive been working with the stuff for multiple random projects with positive results. I repaired my buddy's broken tailgate handle on his work truck & it feels sturdier than the unbroken portion. I also fixed the rear hatch handle on a '05 Scion xB, which commonly break, and its holding up extremely well.
 

srobster123

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I had/have the same problem with my door panels. My arm rests were completely gone in the same area as yours and my vinyl leather that was on it was tore up from the sharp edge, so I had to remove the arm rest piece from the panel and reupholster it.

I used expanding foam to get a rough shape, like you would use to fill in gaps where plumbing goes into walls, chopped it down to the correct shape with a razor, used Spackle to refine the shape, covered it in fiberglass resin and cloth, did more sanding, then reupholstered it. I haven't found a good way to reattach the arm rest to the panel, so it is being held in place only because there isn't a bunch of wiggle room on the door, but I plan on using zip ties and zip tie clips to hold it in place.

Honestly, I almost say it is worth it just to buy a new one at the point my door panels were at, though. It was such a time-consuming process, and the foam, with Spackle and fiberglass is completely rigid, so there is no give which makes it feel a bit uncomfortable. I was pretty happy with my upholstery job (heat gun to help form the vinyl to the shape of the arm rest), but I am going to probably redo it with some kind of suede backing the vinyl, instead of the backing foam I used, as it makes the arm rest a bit poofy.

If anyone is interested, I will post some pictures of the before and after. The process I used works, but like I said, it is a good bit of time-consuming work for a decent result.
 

HeX

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If anyone is interested, I will post some pictures of the before and after. The process I used works, but like I said, it is a good bit of time-consuming work for a decent result.
I'd like to see some pix.
 

Trekk

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Of the 3 civic I've owned most if which had the door panels off a few times for speakers and regulators. I've never had one crack or anything. I do tend to lean the most on the center arm rest or out of the window if its down
 

TokyoSkies

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Mine are pretty thrashed on both sides. There's no room for repair on them, I'll need to replace them, but when I do, I'll be sure to use this method to reinforce them. Plenty of my friends have damaged EK/EJ8 door panels.
 

HeX

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Of the 3 civic I've owned most if which had the door panels off a few times for speakers and regulators. I've never had one crack or anything. I do tend to lean the most on the center arm rest or out of the window if its down
Mine are pretty thrashed on both sides. There's no room for repair on them, I'll need to replace them, but when I do, I'll be sure to use this method to reinforce them. Plenty of my friends have damaged EK/EJ8 door panels.
Thanks for sharing, TokyoSkies. Perhaps the issue is more common on Civics that have experienced neglectful owners. Either way, I started this thread to share my remedy which has worked very well. Also, this Panel Adhesive is great for a plethora of uses. I now keep an extra tube in stock just in case.
 

cgpEJ6

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I've never heard of this problem either.
 

C_Rock77

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I've had TWO civics that suffer from this. My hatch has old Manual door panels and when I went to press them back on in the flat spot that tucks behind the dash, they cracked to SH*T! The stuff was so brittle it was insane.

I really don't know what one can do to protect against this. It seems like the environment of some civics makes the platics brittle as hell...others don't. I'm wondering if it may have to do with UV or heat exposure. Not sure how much UV they would be exposed to behind the vinyl.

I've got another couple of door panels that are cracked (minor cracks) that I'd like to try this on.

That adhesive is pricey. How much of the container did you use on your pair of panels?
 

HeX

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That adhesive is pricey. How much of the container did you use on your pair of panels?
One tube will suffice enough for one panel. But it also depends on how heavy you wish to apply it & if you want to only reinforce the high traffic areas or the entire upper panel & arm rest portions. If the latter is your goal, then I would suggest to buy 2 tubes per door panel. 1.5 should do per panel, but I personally rather have too much than just enough.
 

Hondar

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I'm really surprised to see this post.In my 9 yrs of owning a civic and visiting various civic forums including this one this is the first time i've seen someone post abt this problem.I myself have this problem,infact i inherited it from the previous owner when i bought my hatch in 2004.I was really shocked back then to place my hand on the armrest one day and realised it was cracked.Couldnt believe an 8 yr old civic had this problem when eveything else was in immaculate condition.Sheer negligence on the previous owners part.I've learned to live wid it over the yrs but glad to see this post.
 


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