Door skin removal and replacement

Posted By: kevinfromnj

Door skin removal and replacement - 07/09/13 12:40 AM

Procedure for changing door skins on 1987 Monte Carlo Doors.

As usual all safety cautions apply. Eye, Face, and Ear protection as well as a dust mask or respirator. I did both doors with skins purchased from Mikes Montes.
Tools Needed: Stable work surface, angle grinder with grinding disk and wire wheel attachment, your favorite rust CONVERTOR!!!! I used 85% Phosphoric acid.(Did a great job), self etching primer, undercoating, Hammer and dollyís, drill and drill bits. I had spare doors I was working on inside my garage. I wouldnít try this on the car.
Optional is an air hammer and the attachment to help fold over the skin. Still a lot of work but I left no marks on the outside of the door from a dolly.
This is what I started with. I thought the door was in good shape but when I took it apart there were some previous repairs and internal edge rust.

Step 1. Disconnect the rods going to the door lock and the door handle. Remove door panel and water shield.
Step 2: Grind the entire edge of the door. You will know you went far enough when it starts to separate. You can see the separation in the left side of the pic. See attached pic.

Step 3. Drill out or chisel spot welds holding door skin to the inside of the door. They are located on the top inner section of each side. You have to grind or chisel out the seam sealer. The door skin should come off at this point. Look at the new door skin to get a better idea of what I am referring to. See attached pics.

Step 4. Remove any parts from door skin you want to keep such as the outer window sweep, door handle and lock mechanism. Keep the skin around for reference when you want to double check how the two top edges of the new skin attach to the door.
Step 5: Remove left over strip of metal from inner door edge. This is held on my spot welds. I just peeled this strip back and most of the welds just popped off. Either drill the welds or grind them with a Dremel tool. Whatever works for you to remove that strip of metal.
Step 6: Clean inside and outside of door of door. Use a wire brush to knock off big pieces of rust or junk. Treat rust with rust convertor, naval jelly, wire wheel, etc. I sprayed the entire inner and outer part of the door with 85% Phosphoric acid. See attached pic. Before and after.

Step7: I used baking soda to neutralize any acid that was left over after convertingto the new phosphate coating. I then washed this off with water and sprayed 70% Isopropyl alcohol to speed the drying process. Doing this on a sunny day helped also.
Step 8: Using a hammer and dolly straighten out the door edge. Use a grinder to knock down any pieces of protruding metal left from the spot welds.
Step 9: One corner of the driverís door was really thin from rust. I made a template and replaced that small section of the edge of the door. To me it seemed important to have a strong edge. I welded in the replacement metal. See attached pic.

Posted By: kevinfromnj

Re: Door skin removal and replacement - 07/09/13 02:31 PM

Step 10: I used self etching priming to spray the entire inside and most of the outside edge of the door. See attached pic.

Step 11: I then used rubberized undercoating to spray the inside of the new skin as well as the inner door structure. See attached pic.

Step 12: Now is the time to drill the holes for the outer door trim. I didnít do due to other reasons. It can be done after the skin is installed but the middle hole is difficult to drill unless you lower the window way down into the door.
Step 13: Lay the door skin good side down on some blankets or something else soft and unlikely to scratch it. I put a two by four towards the top and the bottom under the skin when it was on the saw horses. I felt better giving the skin some support before lowering the door onto it. See Pic in Step 11.
Step 14: Have a helper to lower the door onto the skin. Adjust the door accordingly to get it to fit inside the skin. Double check all areas and body lines. Check the two pieces of the skin that attach to the top of the inner door. Make sure they didnít get bent or crushed. See attached pic.

Step 15: I covered my hammer and dolly with a few layers of duct tape to minimized scratches. If you are unsure how to use a hammer and dolly the correct way please look it up on YouTube.
Step 16: I started with hammering over the bottom edge of the skin first. TAKE YOUR TIME AND DO IT IN MULTIPLE PASSES. I probably took 6 to 7 passes before it was almost flat. Verify that the door edge will be sandwiched between the folded over metal. Check the side fit also.
Step 17: Start to hammer over the sides. Again take multiple passes and check fitment and such.
Step 18: When the edge was almost totally folded over I used my air hammer and the door skin tool to complete the job. Wear ear protection. See attached pics.

Step 19: I spot welded a few sections around the door. Grind the paint away and just add a few welds.. See attached pics.

Step 20: I used a rivet or two to attach the two inner pieces to the door frame. I drilled through the existing spot weld hole. See attached pics.

Step 21: Spot prime where you welded.
Step 22: Apply seam sealer purchased from an autobody supply house. Mine came from a friendís father. Smooth it out nicely. Donít gob it on. Allow to dry according to the directions. You canít see it well in the following pic but that just means I duplicated the factory look. Thin layer. Very subtle when you are done. See attached pic.
Posted By: kevinfromnj

Re: Door skin removal and replacement - 07/09/13 03:58 PM

Step 23: Prime over the seam sealer.
Step 24: Being a little over zealous when it comes to rust prevention, I also applied undercoating to the inside of the door along the bottom and the side edges. It can be done but itís a hassle. Rest the door on its side edge and bottom edge with the window up and put your hand inside the door with the can of undercoating. This way I know the edge is sealed and it wonít allow water to collect. Ensure drain holes arenít clogged when you are done spraying it.
Step 25: Adjust the window stop(s) accordingly once you put the outer window sweep on. Now is the time to repair or replace your hinges, door handles, door locks, etc. Also recover the lock and door handle rods to quiet down the doors if yours are missing or torn.
Step 26. The finished product.

I hope this helps. Donít be intimidated about replacing your door skin. It can be done at home. My biggest surprise was seeing how much rust was on the inner edge of the door once I removed the skin. The design allows water to collect there and rust it. Once you take the skin off , previous repairs are very evident.. Nothing like seeing a row of drilled holes filled with Bondo from an old repair in a few spots on a set of doors you thought were pretty good.

To anyone in NJ, you are more than welcome to come and see the doors in person or I can come and give you a hand with yours.

Thanks for looking and Thanks to Paul C. for hosting the pictures and the writeup on

Kevin 84 Monte Carlo CL with 87 style doors...
Posted By: ls1_monte

Re: Door skin removal and replacement - 07/10/13 02:54 AM

How did you line up the skin on the inner structure?
Posted By: kevinfromnj

Re: Door skin removal and replacement - 07/10/13 03:01 PM

The skin is almost self aligning. The edges are pre-bent at a 90 degree angle and you only have a little bit of room to move the skin around the door structure. I used the edges of the body lines on the inner door to line the door skin up with that. HTH.
Posted By: jlsiler

Re: Door skin removal and replacement - 11/07/16 01:07 AM

Nice work
Posted By: kevins88ss

Re: Door skin removal and replacement - 11/07/16 12:10 PM

Great write up! Thanks for sharing.
Posted By: LXXXIV SS

Re: Door skin removal and replacement - 11/10/16 02:36 PM

Great thread!
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