Strongest Repair Epoxy for Automotive Plastics (structural)? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Strongest Repair Epoxy for Automotive Plastics (structural)?

SyberTiger

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Limited 4x4 4.6L
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Okay, now that I've experienced yet another broken tab on a plastic automotive trim panel I thought I'd see if anyone here has personal REAL experience with plastic repair epoxies that have structural strength.

As most of you know, a lot of interior panels like window trim, etc. usually have a plastic tab on the inward side and a metal retaining clip around the tab that are pushed into hole/slots of the body metal. And, when you pull the panels out it's all too common for the sh*ty thin plastic portion of the tab to break off.

Since the tab to be repaired is on the inward side of the panel there's no concern about the aesthetic look of the repair since it will be unseen once the panel in installed.

Any suggestions?....or am I wasting time and money?

If you click HERE then select the Best Plastic Epoxy tab there a list of "best" for structural plastic but usually I see these types of "reviews" as nothing more than click-bait advertising. The one that caught my attention is the Permatex 84145 Permapoxy Black Plastic Weld.
 



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For what it's worth, here's a pretty good YouTube video that attempts to find the best epoxy for plastic....although, those bolts are nylon so I'm not sure how that compares to automotive interior plastics (ABS plastic???).

 






Doing a little more research I came across multiple references to using SuperGlue and Baking Soda of all things. HERE is an example. If you Google it or go to YouTube and search for superglue/baking soda there seems to be a lot of believers. Anyone try it before?
 






I recently had the plastic trim piece on both interior front doors that is an accent piece running horizontally above arm rest start to come loose. Behind that trim piece are several plastic “pins” that secure it to interior door panel. Mine were breaking cleanly so that the plastic pieces could join back. I went to Home Depot and found Locktite 2part epoxy specifically for bonding plastic and so far it’s held up about 4 months now. It has very strong fumes and I think it actually chemically melts the plastic together. The set up time is much longer than other epoxies so you need to be able to clamp or tape pieces for 20 mins or til it sets. But it worked great for me. It dries yellow so it is fine for being hidden behind panels. It is called
Locktite brand Plastic Bonder note it’s different than the other epoxies Locktite has that is quicksetting and dries clear.
 






Yes the super glue and baking soda is a trick I’ve used on plastic modeling airplanes in past to fill gaps and imperfections. It’s very brittle though. You can sand and shape that type repair and for scale modeling it’s perfect
 






Also check this out for making new plastic parts from a plastic that you heat and mold to fit. May not be exact issue you have but cool way to repair plastics
 






Also check this out for making new plastic parts from a plastic that you heat and mold to fit. May not be exact issue you have but cool way to repair plastics

That is interesting but like you said it's probably not the solution to this particular problem.

Was the Loctite 2-part epoxy you used specifically the version for plastic? In second post you can see in the video review he used a Loctite gel product...clearly not a 2-part epoxy.
 












I used to build RC airplanes and always used the various epoxies from that hobby to fix other stuff. I would hit a local hobby shop and ask about their short epoxies (5-15 minutes cure) for that type of repair. You can get longer epoxies, which add strength, but you'll have to let it cure longer (a few hours). There are also various CA's for different applications for different materials with different cure times as well.
 






This guy reviews epoxy resins, but at the 12 minute mark he talks about some newer acrylic epoxies designed for composites and plastics. Might be worth a quick look. Good basic primer on epoxies.


 






I've always had good luck with JB Weld.
 












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