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Door Panel Upholstry Failure

Discussion in 'E34 (1989-1995)' started by 109941, Apr 19, 2009.

    • Member

    109941

    Post Count: 342
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    Hello,

    The E34 series has a known issue with the door panel interior vinyl de-laminating (i.e., pulling away) from the form or "backer board". Of course, the cost of new panels (if available) is about the value of these 15 ~ 20 year old cars, so that option is not that popular. However, I'm curious to know if other series/models have similar issues?

    My local auto and small aircraft upholstry repair shop refuses to attempt a repair based on previous experience with other BMW's and some Subaru's. The shop has a long standing reputation for good work, so I'm inclined to believe that repairs are not feasible without replacing the vinyl and repeating the vacuum bond. Unfortunately, vacuum bag systems are a bit beyond most upholstry shops and many BMW interior vinyls are not available in the US market as sheet goods.

    Ironically, this presents an interesting question for the future. In five years, my very clean 1989 525i with 72K miles will be considered an antique/classic car. I looks good on the outside and runs well, but the interior looks like a 6-month old Yugo. That being the case, I would assume that my case is not unique and that someone could find a way to repair/replace thes door panels at a reasonable price.

    Thanks,

    Jon
    • Member

    John in VA

    Post Count: 624
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    I have no idea what is behind the failure of the E34 (and many E36, from what I've read) panels. The panels in my E30 and E28 look as good as new. Even the 2002 panels remain in great shape when kept dry, other than the silver foil trim deteriorating after 20 or more years.
    It seems your choices would be to buy replacement panels from BMW or have an upholstery shop fabricate new panels, using sewn details vs. the original heat -pleating.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    The problem is the foam padding used in the later era bimmers, at least for those parts that are foam-backed. Foam apparently was applied to the headliners & door trim panels, and then adhered to the door trim boards/inserts (or interior roof). The foam degrades over time, and the adhesion is lost. The vinyl on my E34 door panels has also shrunk. Given all the compound-curve type surfaces the vinyl's glued to, re-gluing is problematic - maybe the vacuum-bag thing might work, but there doesn't seem to be any permanent or effective quick-fix to the problem.
    • Member

    109941

    Post Count: 342
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    Will future BMW classic car meets have a special exemption for the interiors of E34's. Great cars, but el-cheapo interiors.............what a series:)

    That would be a tad interesting.

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