Reply To: Split door trim repair, Ford Explorer
The following is another direction you may wish to take instead of the repair. It should take much less time, produce great results, and be worth more to your customer and I mean you could charge more for it.
I have dealt with this situation before first in Cadillacs then other vehicles. When I was strictly an interior tech this was a much more difficult repair. I currently do upholstery work so I have a few more options. I never felt confident in the longevity of my repairs in this particular case so I understand your concerns for the future. I currently recover armrests in door panels in the $200 and up range. The door panels are normally not to hard to take off the door. The panel the vinyl is covering can be screwed on or plastic welded on. Both options are able to be removed. However, the plastic welds are a little more tedious to remove and reattach. The new vinyl cover with a “real” sewn seam looks like the imposter but is much stronger. The vinyl can be glued to the foam, stapled to the substrate, and is very durable. Some positives are that the material is brand new and therefore does not look like a repair. However, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is that the job can be done easily within an hour and look great. Even if you have to get someone else to sew the material for you, you will be time and money ahead recovering the panel. I doubt you will have an concern over the look, strength, or longevity of the repair. Your customer will like it and should be happy paying the $200+ recovering charge instead of the $500-$1,000 for a new door panel which they only sell in whole units not in replaceable parts.
One thing you didn’t mention is if the foam behind the vinyl is injected into a form that the vinyl is the outside skin of (basically bonded to it in a mold) or is the vinyl simply glued to the foam shape. If you can find out I might have some other suggestions.
Best of luck to you on your next fake stitching repair.
The Wandering Upholsterer
“All who wander are not lost.”