Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Shaving A 92-95 Honda Civic Door Molding And Handles

Today we go import for a bit. Starting with a slightly modified 92 dx hatch, while clean. Had been repainted a few times covering the door moldings and handle, which had started to crack and discolor. The simple approach would be to replace them, but we wanted a cleaner and more custom look. So, we decided to shave them. Here's how and what we did to accomplish it.

We started by tach welding to small strips on the inner panel to retain the doors shape for the next part. Using a plasma cutter to cut a along the bottom of the moulding, gave us enough material to use a hammer and dolly to not only remove the indention but have enough material to trim and make our flush welds. The reason for the strips in the beginning is because this  is structural as well as for holding the door guards. Had we just cut it there is a good possibility the door would loose it shape. While this is fixable it would cause much more work in the end. Once seam welded again we removed the inner bracing strips.

For the door handle. Using a thin gauge steel panel bought from a local hardware store. We simply held it up to the hole and trace out the pattern from the inside. Using some tin snips, made quick work cutting it out. Then we simply made several well spaced tach welds until the patch was completely welded. Its important to not heat the metal in these areas for long periods as it will start to warp causing headaches down the road. That's why we do several tach rather then a bead all the way around. 

And my favorite part filler and sanding. Take your time with the hammer and dolly.  A few extra minutes spent will save you tons of time in sanding and filler. When you apply the filler, its not like lotion you don't need a generous amount if done properly. Start by scuffing the surface and degreasing it thoroughly. Apply in light layers making as smooth as possible. On large surfaces such as doors like this, you will need to use a block sander. If you don't have one you can make a generic one by wrapping a straight 2x4 with sandpaper. I started with a heavy grit (80) and once it was fairly close switched to a lighter grit (160). After a few filler applications and sanding Furies, we were close enough to final product to switch to the the last grit (220)
Since shaving the handles left us with no entrance in the car, we turned to Autoloc. They have several easy to use shave and keyless entry kits available. All utilize plug and play harnesses, with easy to follow instructions and small servos which really help in small spaces like our civics doors.

The result is a very clean look, with a cool keyless entry feature. The added benefits on being a little harder to steal and seeing people try to figure out how to get in the car, is just a bonus.

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