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Transform your classic Ford’s tired interior without breaking the bank. Here’s how to recover trim panels.

how to recover trim panels

1. Remove the old trim, taking care not to damage it — you’ll need it for reference. Carefully remove the old material from its backing. The gaiter was removed first by undoing its securing staples.

how to recover trim panels

2. Using the old material, measure up the new vinyl. If necessary, allow extra material when measuring. Any excess can be trimmed before final fixing. 

how to recover trim panels

3. Working on the gaiter, apply trim adhesive to the top fold. This makes it easier to sew and strengthens the top of the gaiter. Mask off or cover areas not being glued.

how to recover trim panels

4. Next, fix the gaiter-joining seam using 25 mm masking tape. A straight sewing line was then marked on both sides of the masking tape. This makes the job less fiddly, especially if you have sausage fingers.

how to recover trim panels

5. Using a needle and thread, sew along the line, overlapping stitches to create a stronger seam. A good trick is to sew an inch at a time and then tie the thread off. This will prevent the whole seam coming undone in the future in the event of damage or wear.

6. The old base panel was used as a template, and the new panel cut out using a jigsaw and drill for fixing holes. Use material that matches the original in terms of thickness, rigidity and suitability for the job.

7. Cut the foam filling, overlapping by 25 mm. Apply adhesive and press the foam firmly into place once the adhesive has flashed off. Do the same with the vinyl. 

8. Begin in the middle of each section and work towards the corners. Pull the corners over as shown and secure with a staple. If necessary, trim the raised folds with a sharp knife to allow the panel to sit flush.

9. Make several cuts to create the ‘ears’ and secure the gaiter hole material. Trim back the ears as necessary. Practice on a scrap piece of material first if possible.

10. The gaiter bottom is also given multiple cuts and then stapled into position. The more cuts, the better the circle shape. As in the previous step, practice on a scrap piece of material first.

11. Allow the adhesive in finished trim to dry before fitting, in case any adjustments are needed. Remove any adhesive overspray with white spirit.

12. As good as new and at very little cost.  This repair cost less then £5. Compare that with the cost of buying a new panel — if one was available.

This Classic Ford guide to how to recover trim panels first appeared in the July 2018 issue

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