If you've ever removed your door panels, you know how much of a nightmare it is to unclip the upper trim. You might have even broken the trim as i did. Between my car and the parts car, I was able to get four door panels that I was happy with but only three upper trim pieces. I've been driving around without one on the passenger'* front door for some time. We can't have that
now... can we. Here is my resolution to the upper trim replacement.
I went to the hardware store and bought a 6' piece 1/2" aliminum channel and a 8' piece (they didn't have a 6 footer) of 1" x 1/16" angle aluminum. The longer length were cut to a managable 36" or so. I also had to cut the angle legs to 5/16" X 13/16". I did this on my table saw with an aluminum cutting blade. Here'* the original and the cut pieces:
In order to bond the two pieces of aluminum, I used contact cement. I taped the areas that I did not want any cement on and applied after cleaning the surfaces with 0000 steel wool.
Once the contact cement was ready, I joined the two pieces. This was a little difficult because I wanted to duplicate the shape of the OEM piece by recessing the part that faces the window. I did this by clamping the remains of the 5/16" cut to the bottom of the angle material. This produces a 1/16" recess.
Here'* a side-by-side comparo of the two profiles:
Unlike the OEM piece, the new and improved one does not lock the panel at the top of the door. My observations when I had no trim at all showed that it was really not necessary. The bolt at the top of the handle provided enough support to hold the top of the panel.
I just have to decide on a finish for the new trim piece. I've narrowed it to three choices:
Body color (green)
Textured and painted just like my new dash trim panel.