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E34 Door Panel

Discussion in 'E34 (1989-1995)' started by 109941, Feb 27, 2009.

    • Member

    109941

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    Hello,

    I have a low mileage (~72K) 1989 525i which spends most of its life in the garage. My wife uses the car as her summer car, so it leads a soft life. In any event, I tried one repair on the rear door panels which lasted a few years, but it's now failed and all the other door panels are in some stage of death (vinyl shrinks and pulls away from frame). The upholstry shop that did the first repair, refuses to try again. They claim it would be pointless.

    So, I have two options, the salvage yard or new from BMW. The cost of new is a bit harsh, $675~775, depending on which door. Salvaged parts are an option, but many of the available pieces show some sign of failure or I can't match the colors. Therefore, that option doesn't sound too promising.

    Was this a problem for all years of the E34 or just some? Has anyone else faced this problem? If so, how have you dealt with it? If I buy the new panels, how long until they die?

    Thanks,
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

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    Ver common E34 problem, and sadly there is no cheap fix.
    • Member

    109941

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    Are the BMW replacement parts any better than the original?
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

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    Dunno. Never knew anyone to pony up the dough
    • Member

    109941

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    So, you're saying repairs don't work, but you've never seen anyone replace with new. If that's correct, then all E34's have door panels that look like Saran Wrap on leftovers?
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

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    The vast majority of them, yes.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Mine certainly do - car was 14 when I got it, and the vinyl had shrunk and door panels had come unglued well before then. If replacement parts use the same vinyl, glue, and foam backing, I'd have to guess they'd fail just the same in roughly the same time frame.
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    Jeff Gomon

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    Very common problem....My E34 M5 has had the problem as well. There is a partial fix for this. You can relieve the pressure of the shrinking material by doing the following. Remove the insert panel that runs thru the handle on all the doors. It is only glued on with yellow glue or even double sided tape in some cases. You will notice that the material is solid behind the insert. At this time, take a razor blade and cut a slit in the material toward the top of where the insert rests. This will allow the material to be repositioned and re-glued into place. Note, you need to use a chemical (acetone) to clean the existing glue off the material and door panel. The glue of choice with my M5 buddies has been Gorilla Glue which seems to be pretty strong. Read the instructions as it states to use a little moisture to affect curing. Further, weight the door with shot bags, sand bags or whatever will keep the fabric pressed in place for several hours. At the factory, they are vaccum bagged and stretched over the door panels and let dry for hours.
    For blind areas, some have purchased large syringes and hypodermic needles and injected the Gorrilla Glue right through the material and pressed it down. The holes are not noticeable when done. Now, once the glue dries, you can re attach the insert right over the slit you cut and you will never see it. There are some processes/pictures on M5Board.com and other E34 M5 related sites. Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not recognize this as a defect and the availability of some of these panels are becoming NLA.


    Just FYI, some replacement door panels are available but expect to pay $400-$450 per door :eek:

    Hope this helps in some way
    • Member

    109941

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    Thanks for the input, but I'm still looking for a non-surgical solution (plus, I truly hate Gorilla Glue).

    However, in my searches I have come across a few websites listing "collision catalog" prices for the door panels and the Vinyl w/wood trim panels are lower price than the Vinyl w/o wood tim panels (Tischer BMW in MD). Anybody have any input on what separates these "collison catalog" items from the OEM articles?

    Thanks
    • Member
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    mooseheadm5

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    Surgical is the only solution I have seen work and even then it may only turn out so so depending on how things work out. No idea about the collision catalog stuff.

    wesmajor guest

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    Hello,

    I'm new to the forum and am curious if you have found a repair/replacement for you door panel problems. I have a 1991 525i with the same problem. I was able to purchase a drivers side door panel from BMW ($545), but am now being told that the panels for the rest of my doors are no longer available. Any input appreciated........
    • Member

    109941

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    Wes,

    Sadly, no. I've toyed with buying the new panels (if available through Mobile Tradition), but the total cost ~2200 would be about the value of the car.

    Surely, there has to be someone servicing this market?

    Jon
    • Member

    gtopaul

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    The only E34 door panels worth buying are those from 1995 models. Get the premium panel with the leather insert. BMW used a different glue on these panels which holds up much better. I changed all four door panels on our 93 M5 to 95 540 panels and they look great! Tough to find them sometimes because everyone is looking for them. I have a tan set of 95 panels I just bought for my 91 M5. Hope to redye them to silver and install them this summer.

    Paul

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