2nd-Gen Camaro Project
Why should we all make the same mistakes? Let me make the mistakes, we can all learn from them!

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Project Updates

6/26/05 - Sunday

"Gears and Ears at the DuPage County Fairgrounds!"

"The weather was HOT but so were the cars! Check out the 71 Camaro SS's first trip to a Car Show!"
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Points No More!

"Time to replace the old Points with a new MSD-8361 Pro-Billet Distributor! What Better timing, since the power is out!"
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6/25/05 - Saturday

Finally, Resolution to the Passenger Door Panel Restoration!

"With only hours to spare before the Car Show, the Door Panel came together. Now for a Midnight Wash & Wax"
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6/24/05 - Friday

Round and Round we go!

"OK, so it could have been anticipated better. But what would the fun in that be? "
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6/23/05 - Thursday

New Lessons Learned?

"...the quote un-quote easiest part of the door's reconstruction was the weatherstripping, right? Wrong..."
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6/22/05 - Wednesday

A Minor Job takes a turn for the worse:

"...little did I know, that a piece of window felt would cause such problems. Take my advice..."
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6/21/05 - Tuesday

Interior Remodeling Begins:

Passenger Door Panel & Weatherstripping Rebuild in progress

Oops...didn't have the retaining clips!
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Upcoming '71 Projects

Next Up-

  • Driver Door Panel & Weatherstripping (Currently in development)
  • Interior Carpetting
  • Stereo System
  • 4th Generation Center Console
  • 4th Generation Dash
  • TH-350 --> T-56 Transmission Swap
  • Engine Modifications
  • Fuel Injection Retrofit


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    1971 Camaro Interior Remodeling:

    Passenger Door Panel


    After finding a new supplier for reproduction interior parts for my '71 Camaro SS, I collected them together to double check. It just so happened, that when I looked around online for parts, and selected the best pricing for the parts I needed, unbeknownst to me the Supplier was right down the block from me! A Special Thank you to the guys from D&R Classics, who were very helpful. Below you will find the list of parts that I picked up for the first leg of the interior remodeling.

    '71 Camaro SS Interior Parts List:After finding D&R Classic Industrieslkkkkk

    • FI0404-BLK - Molded Carpet set
    • FI0016-BLK - Door Panel set (L&R)
    • J10060-AR - Sill Plate (LH)
    • J10060-BR - Sill Plate (RH)
    • J00061 - Sill Plate Screw Kit
    • FI0053-BLK - Arm Rest Pads
    • Z20078 - Speedometer Gear (Yellow) for 3.73 - 4.56
    • P001-105D - Complete Weatherstrip Kit

    Before Remodeling:

    The last time the 71 Camaro's interior had been remodeled, I was much younger. At the age of 19, I wanted to install a stereo system...so I had purchased 2 - 15" Kicker Competition Subs, a set of Blaupunkt 5x7's and a set of Pioneer 4-way 6x9's. In order to make the system work in that vehicle, I would need to remove the rear seats. For all intents and purposes, the rear seats of a Second Generation Camaro are pretty much useless anyway since no normal sized human being can possibly sit comfortably in them. Also, the vinyl on the rear seats had been recovered 2 times, and they were ready to be done again. Hence the monstrous Speaker box in the place of the backseat. While my view on the stereo has not changed, my ability to work with wood and also to design HAS improved. Therefore, when I pull up the carpet, I will also be dismantling the speaker-box to redesign a more modest and functional unit.

    Aside from the beheamoth speaker box, the interior of the 71 Camaro SS was pretty much trashed. This vehicle had been my first car, and was beaten daily during my first few years of driving. Between the abuse of getting in and out of the car and constant driving, the carpets, center console, seats, and door panels had especially seen better days. So the interior could certainly stand to be gutted and customized to suit my tastes and needs. For a few weeks, I had been looking at my 2002 Camaro SS, and eyeing the Door Panels, sizing them up for a possible retro-fit into the older model...but I decided that the stock design would be functional for the time being.

    The next step was finding suitable parts for the 71 Camaro. With a plethora of online camaro parts retailers, I began scouting around. I compared pricing and product brands for several days online, and finally arrived at D&R Classic Automotive. They had nice downloadable PDF Catalogs which included almost every part I would need for the interior rebuild, as well as every other project in the forseeable future. Unbeknownst to me, they were located right up the block, tucked away behind several other businesses in an industrial park I barely knew existed. That close to home, it was very encouraging, that I wouldn't even have to wait to start the project! I ordered the above parts and instantly began the Door Panel tear-down as soon as I arrived back at the garage.

    1st Step: Removing Old Door Panel

    Although the 71 Camaro's driver side door panel was in much worse shape, I decided that it would be best to first tackle the passenger side. This would give me the opportunity to see more of the way the door panel was supposed to be installed, as the driver side panel was mutilated beyond recognition. The passenger door panel was showing signs of wear: Small scratches along the plastic lower door panel, small cracks in the armrest, scrapes along the plastic upper door panel, splits in the vinyl lower section of the main door panel, missing door panel clips, cracked weatherstipping that was missing over half of the clips. As seen in the photo, the weatherstripping had even been glued back onto the door using 3M Super Weatherstrip Adhesive.

    New parts in hand, I began to remove the door handle, window crank and armrest screws, followed by the removal of the door panel.

    First, I removed the screws holding the door handle to the door panel. Luckily the inner door handles are one of the only items that are still in decent condition, especially since they seem to be harder to find than most of the interior components.

    So far, so good. removal of the window crank is easy, when you use the correct tool, anyway. The open end of the clip that holds the window crank on is usually opposite the handle. That is, as long as someone didn't force the clip on the wrong way the last time it was removed.

    Next, I removed the 2 exposed screws from the armrest of the door, and the screws at the front and back of the molded lower door panel. This would be the last of the screws in the door panel, except for the fact that I installed several more across the bottom of the door panel to hold it in place years ago...since at the time the door panel was flapping loose, and I didn't have the time nor the inclination to fix it right. So I had to remove those too.

    Finally lift the door panel straight towards you and remove.
    Note: Most stock doors will have thin seals over each of the door access panels that will be visible once you remove the main door panel. However, during my previous interior modifications 7 years ago while installing the stereo and speaker box...I installed a dynamat insulation to help cut down road noise, and prevent the annoying rattle usually heard from vehicles with powerful subs.

    After removing the door panel, I removed the extremely flat phillips screws that held the molded lower panel to the vinyl main door panel. After removing the lower panel from the main door panel, I removed the 2 remaining screws that held the armrest pad onto the lower door panel. I had purchased replacement armrest pads but not lower door panels. Initially, I thought that the molded lower door panels would be fine, as long as I replaced the cracked armrest pad. Once I installed the new armrest pad in the old lower door panel, and the lower door panel onto the main door panel for reinstallation, I realized how WRONG I WAS! The armrest pad didn't fit very well at all against the lower door panel. See Photos Below

    Though it wasn't the best fit...just the armrest wouldn't have been enough to keep me from reinstalling. as I looked at it more, the difference in shade in between the new vinyl and the old molded plastic would have bugged me had I reinstalled it now. The combination of the 2 problems, sent me back to D&R the next day to get the new lower molded door panels.

    Even knowing that I couldn't possibly finish the door panel tonight, there was still much to be done, so I forged on. I still had the weatherstripping to replace. After all, I had ordered the upper molded door panels! What I neglected to consider, and would change for this if I had to do it again, is to order ALL new parts to begin with. Old faded black parts next to brand new black parts definitely shows the age of the faded parts.

    As I removed the Upper Molded door panel, I realized that there should have been clips holding the vinyl door panel to the upper molded door panel. But there weren't any! Add to the parts list for tomorrow. Not everyone has the benefit of having a Classic Camaro parts specialist near them, so look carefully at the parts needed before ordering...unlike I did. That is why I created this website, hopefully I can help someone else who might not realize some of the things that I discover...and perhaps I can help save you time, frustration and money, by sharing my mistakes, learnings, and experiences for all to see.

    Once the upper door panel was removed, I realized that the inner window seal was stapled to the upper molded door panel. While I certainly could replace this now, I knew that I would not be satisfied with the old upper door panel with the new vinyl door panel, so I would just wait until tomorrow. The only thing I had left was the removal of the weatherstripping and replacement of the window seals...easy right? I didn't know what I was getting into!

    It was about this time, that I realized that the Window would need to be removed in order to remove the outer window seal. Now 8-9 years ago, I know that I would have looked for any other way around doing this, and probably spent twice the time...but I was not about to cut corners now. I also have a lot more patience now, after having taught in a school for the past several years. So I forged on.

    Once the window was out of the way, I could now access all of the screws that held the window seal in place. Removal of the seal was now very easy.

    The new outer window seal went in as easily as it came out! All screw holes lined up, and for the most part, it looked like it would contact the window squarely throughout the length. Now to put the window back on.

    I grabbed an extra set of hands, and lowered the window back onto the track. Luckily my girlfriend's brother was over at the house to get his PC fixed, which I was doing in-between activities above, so I could draft him (Thanks Kyle!). He was quite a good sport, and we had the window out and back in, in no time flat.

    This was about all that could be done tonight...as I was waiting to go back to D&R after work the next day for parts.

    And thankfully so, as it was about 90 degrees and still humid beyond belief at 11:00 PM and I had been working in the muggy garage since 5:00PM.

    And so we end today...Sweaty and Tired, but the door panel was well on the way to being completed...So I thought! As soon as I got a few more parts: Lower Molded Door Panels, Upper Molded Door Panels, Lock Bevel for upper door panel, inner and outer window seals. All-in-All it was a very productive day.

    And after 6 years of not doing much with the '71 Camaro SS,
    the project had once again come alive!

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