How To - Change Your Door Fabric | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How To - Change Your Door Fabric


June 12, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Waltham, Mass
Year, Model & Trim Level
'04 XLT
Hey all,
After my riveting, spine-tingling first post entitled, 'How To - Change your floor mats', I thought I'd give you my next installment on interior customization. :)

This was the first project I started, but just finished today, with pictures.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, there is a padded section on the door panels of my '04 XLT. I saw a first gen X on here where someone did the same thing with a paisley print and I really liked the customization so I stole the idea. I don't think there was a write-up for it, so I tackled it, hope you enjoy.

On a scale of difficulty levels, 1 being "Change Your Floor Mats" and 10 being "Rebuild Your Engine By Hand Blindfolded", I'd rate this a solid 5.

As far as time goes, I've never removed door panels so to get all 4 off took about an hour. Isolating the correct panels took about half an hour. Attaching the fabric - 2 hours. Each door section is plastic-welded and the technique I used to put the door back together took about 2 hours. Putting the door panels back on the door took 15 minutes.
Total Amateur Time: < 6 Hours
I think someone who's more 'door-panel savvy' could do it in 3 or 4 hours.



The 2 front doors both have 2 screws each holding the door panel to the door frame. Also, you'll want to remove the panel that encircles the handle first.

Then remove the panel that holds the window switch, unplug the switch without damaging it. (I sadly broke one)

Now you can remove another screw that you can now see is holding the door panel to the frame. (I have no picture, it's a white L-shaped bracket)

Also, I screwed up because I never knew this bracket was here so I broke it too :(

Now if you pull up and then towards you, off comes the door panel.

There are 6 screws the hold the padded armrest tightly to the panel. You will want to loosen these. I know of 2 methods for removing the fake carbon-fiber section: 1) Wedge a flathead screwdriver between it and the panel and pry it up. It is plastic-welded to the panel and the welds can simply be broken. I did this and did not damage any of the fake carbon panels. The other technique is one that I read about here on the forum, you can just drill directly into each weld from the back.

Now you can simply remove the carbon panel. If you use the same technique on the panel we're going to cover, you'll have it removed in no time.

BTW, my truck's name is Kelly, and she's damn sexy. Before anyone says anything, yes I know the fabric I bought has flowers in it, I like it and no one is going to change my mind. I think it adds a nice touch to the interior. It's not like it's pink lillies, it's red on black, so shut yo mouth :)

I cut out an appropriate section of fabric. There is no need to remove the stock fabric or padding, all we're going to do is cover it.

Here's the fun part. I used a very strong super glue to mount the fabric to one of the plastic panels. On the other 3, I used gorilla tape. The trick is to be sure that you stretch it tight enough not get any air-pockets, or lines, etc.
Here are some photos:







Next, we have to reattach the sections. I wedged the newly created piece behind the padded armrest. Then came the process for remounting the fake carbon.

Since there are only 2 plastic tabs that weren't plastic-welded, we'll use those as giudes to mount the carbon. Since the other welds were broken, I went and bought an epoxy product by Devcon called Plastic Welder. I used it to reattach the broken welds. If you put the carbon back on the panel, and look at the back side, you can see 2 tubes coming through the panel that we used as guides for the carbon. I put washers on these then used self-tapping screws to hold it together. Here are photos:




This is the tube that WAS NOT plastic welded.



This is 3 of the plastic welds that I used the Devcon Plastic Welder on.

I held it together while it dried with this clamp, and my sock to prevent damage.


This is the screw and washers. You'll want to make sure you use multiple washers to prevent accidently screwing right through the front of the carbon section.


Now you have finished panels :):):)

These are the "Hunnie, can you hold these?" photos




And the finished photos:




Hope you enjoy :)

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...Nice writeup, and the seamstress should get the kudos for doing all the work...:D

...Btw, :shifty_ey ...Has anyone seen my sock???

Everything looks good with the right girl showing it off.

Seriously though, nice job. Looks pro. Time to change the headliner now to match :-D

Dame good job A+++ job was going to do the same thing but you beat me to it not to bad u can type so ppl can read so it works out in the end. just one question wear the door in this pic?????

Next time use 3m spray adhesive on the door panel and fabric, then a spreading tool to just tuck the fabric in to place instead of removing the small panels.

Looks good though.

You should lace paint the exterior roof to match!

I laced the roof on my 65 plymouth and 64 imapala and this would compliment it very well.