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I recently purchased a pair of black door panels from this forum that supposedly had no rips or tears. Upon arrival they had 2 small tears (not from shipping) at the lower portion about an inch in length. has anyone tried the vinyl repair kits? Will black silicone work? Also, the grommet is missing where the lock pull goes through. Are these available anywhere? TIA, Brian
 

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Vinyl Repair is one of the trickiest repairs to do. Since the door panels also have a little bit of padding behind them, it makes it harder because you can't just apply your typical compound that you then vulcanize with a grain paper, without melting the foam padding behind it and having a dent.

There is a new repair compound available now, that supposedly cures with contact to air, but haven't used it and I don't know much about it.

Depending on how big and how noticeable the rips are, you might be able to use some of the stuff available at most hardware stores. One is called VLP and the other is VynaBond. I've used both and they work fairly well, but the key is to be careful with the amount and how you use it.

The VLP is Liquid, and a little goes a LONG way. The VynaBond is thicker and more in the lines of a silicone sealant, although not as hard to work with as silicone.

The key to doing this as invisibly as possible is to get graining paper. You might be able to go to a craft store and find the graining paper you need. Graining paper is basically treated paper with the reverse of the vinyl pattern embossed onto it. This way, you apply your repair compound, cover and press with your graining paper, and allow to cure. When you remove the paper, it will have textured the repair compound so as to blend in with the original material.

Depending on where you are talking torn is how difficult a job you have.

If you are in the middle of a padded field, with no heat seams anywhere near it, then you must have the graining paper if you are going to have any luck in hiding the seam, or you must be able to repair from the back, in such a way that you leave very little edge to be visible.

If you do have FULL access to the back, you first apply a very small amount of the VLP on the front of the vinyl, just enough to hold the two pieces together at the edges. Go ahead and use your graining paper if you have it, but hopefully you won't need it since you will actually be applying the patch from behind, and the amount of VLP you are using is just enough to get the vinyl to "melt" enough to erase the tear. The bulk of your repair patch is done fully from the back. Apply a small amount of the Vynabond over the tear, both sides, being careful NOT to open the tear up, then you can apply a thin piece of reinforcement fabric or just let the VynaBond set. I use cut up pieces of pantyhose to reinforce when I do it this way.

If you don't have full access to the back, then very carefully insert a very small amount of the Vynabond on the back side of the vinyl, press both sides of the tear into the Vynabond,and then using a small amount of the VLP touch the edges of the tear together. Then apply your graining paper and hold it in place until the stuff sets. Be careful to apply JUST enough pressure to grain the VLP, but not so much as to crush the vinyl to the backing board and hence collapse the foam with cured Vynabond.

On areas next to heat seams, the tear is usually from the vinyl shrinking and pulling at a weakened piece of vinyl and then tearing. You must first get the vinyl to relax in order to NOT pull on the repair as it sets. I like to use a hair dryer and not my model or industrial heatgun. The hair dryer will warm up the vinyl enough so that I can pull and relax the stress, but not so much as to deform or mar the piece. Once this is done, you can usually use a small amount of VLP and using a clamp or weight, press down. Since the heatseal already melted and collapsed the underlaying foam, the repair shouldn't be readily discernible.

Unfortunately, vinyl repair is tricky and it takes experience. I've seen "professional" jobs that came out poorly just from not taking the time.

You might also check with some auto detailer shops, sometimes they know of people specializing in this type of repair.

Good Luck.
 
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