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A fairly common problem is lacquer peel / varnish chips on the door caps, this is definitely something you can do yourself and, whilst it requires a little patience, it can be done with basic tools and relatively little time.

Step 1 - Open your door and clear out your storage pocket, this is where we start



Step 2 - Undo the two screws and cup washers inside here with a posidrive screwdriver




Step 3 - Next are two invisible screws! You can faintly see them if you look closely as shown in the first picture, one at either end of the door card - remove both


 

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Step 4 - Now gently but firmly pull the corner away (picture 1), it will resist a little but should pop out. Once you have the trim out a little, run your fingers along the length of it and up the door shut popping all the clips as you go

Once all the clips have popped, the outer door card will pull away (picture 2)

The third picture shows you all the clips and the fourth is a close up of one






Step 5 - Next you need to look at the underside of the arm rest (picture 1) and you will find two hex head screws and a bulb (picture 2). The bulb simply pulls out (it will be hot if you have had the door open for a while!), you don't have to remove it but I did to save it getting bashed about.

Remove both the Allen key bolts (4mm) then pull the bottom half of the arm rest gently away




 

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Step 6 - Carefully pull the bulb bezel out from the arm rest then remove the lower section of the arm rest from the car




Step 7 - Grab some small flatblade screwdrivers next and remove the 'escutcheon' (which is just a cover) for the door handle and simply eases out as shown. Remove the two flatblade screws behind this cover.






Step 8 - Repeat this process for the window switches (and central locking button if you have one)


 

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Step 9 - Now you can slide the light and loom through the hole in the door card and remove the inner card completely




Step 10 - With the door card removed you can change speaker, fix broken windows and locks or, in our case, get to the door cap rails. Simply peel the plastic sheet back a little and remove the bolts holding the rails in place (10mm I think)



Step 11 - Two more screws and it is out - the first is at the front where the hinge is, use a small flatblade screwdriver (or one either side) to ease the cap out (picture 1). Peel back the rubber (picture 2) and remove the screw



 

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Step 12 - The final screw is in the door shut, again, ease the rubber away (this bit is sticky) as shown in the first picture then remove the screw




Step 13 - To get the cap off, the door lock needs to be off, this simply unscrews. If it is tight then pop a towel over it and use some pliers to crack it off




Step 14 - Now you can lift the door cap off and remove it from the car


 

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Step 15 - While you are working on the wood, you can drive the car 'as is' and everything will work fine, you just have to close the door by opening the window when sat inside



Step 16 - Peel back the rubber seal (you can remove and re-staple it) before you sand off the varnish (if any!). For the thick bits as shown in the second picture, I just used a flatblade screwdriver and hammer to chip away at these or a gasket scraper for the larger buts (picture 3). I began with coarse grit sandpaper and an electric sander as shown in the final picture





Step 17 - Once you have removed the majority of the varnish, move to wet sanding the wood for a smooth finish. Simply ensure you regularly apply plenty of water then sand in long even strokes, it doesn't need an expert eye for this as the wood will already be pretty smooth. Repeat until you have a smooth finish


 

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Step 18 - Get yourself some clear yacht varnish, it is very cheap (99p for this tub) and a good paintbrush that doesn't drop bristles!



Step 19 - My 'clear' was tinged red so did alter the shade of the final finish so be aware of this if you are only doing one door cap as it may stand out



Step 20 - Paint the whole piece and then leave it alone, the varnish is like hammerite, it self-smooths once left




Step 21 - (21 and 22 are optional) Give the varnished coat a light wet sand after about 12 hours and then dry off with a tissue

 

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Step 22 - Apply a final coat of varnish



Step 23 - Once the varnish has been allowed to dry for a good 12 hours, back to the car for a refit



Step 24 - Pop the door cap in place and screw the lock down



Step 25 - Fit the three 8mm bolts holding the cap in place



Step 26 - Pop the two end screws in behind the seals

 

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Step 27 - Fit the inner door cover in place (thread the bulb wiring through) and then screw it down with the three lower screws




Step 28 - Screw the door handle surround and central locking surround in place and fit the covers



Step 29 - Bolt the upper arm rest in place and then screw the lower arm rest on



Step 30 - Refit the screws in the lower door card and the two with cup washers in the storage compartment

 

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awesome

Brilliant description of how to repair the wooden trims.
Any suggestions, the top of the trim is like a dark brown, do you think this is the varnish coat and then top coated all over.
Its nearly translucent letting you see the grain,

Really in amongst my restoration project now, you can tell the car is hand built by the number of nuts and bolts, the front air ram was a pig to get off.

Incidentally cleaning up the tool kit which is original to car, all of the spanners are AF does this mean that the car is AF nut and bolted, cant see that as UK built and 21 yearas old, any advice?

once again brilliant info on doors
 

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Hi

I now have two of the door cards off on one side, have you any suggestions on the window chain drive, would you suggest lubricating with spary agrease etc, I aso noticed like mine your speakers were shot, just picked up a couple of sets to replace for about forty pounds.
Looking forward to stripping back the varnish on the wood and getting it back to A1

once again great info on door card removal

John
 

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Great Instructions!

Thank you for taking the time to create this instructional post. I am looking at a 1986 RR with all four door caps needing to be redone. Until reading your post, I thought the wood had chipped. Without woodworking skills, you have given me new hope that it can be done with patience.
 

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Hi,
very nice job and thread with many pics for many thanks :wink:

 

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You did a splendid job jseaman, I was inspired to do my door caps :D
However they are not turning out as nice as your product :(
The top varnish had lifted off very easily but that's where it ended as from there on I used a small flat scrapper which unbeknown to me was denting my soft insert :shock:



After a Quick sand with wet and dry I applied my yacht varnish, fairly wet coat and left it till the next day. All the shine had gone and what was left was a rather sad looking wooden cap suitable for a Triumph Vitesse :roll: I sanded it back and reapplied another coat so I now have got to this stage



Another sand down and another coat of varnish and things are starting to look better plus the small dents are smoothing over :)



I will re sand this again today and re coat this evening, I think another 2 wet coats should see it looking good, I have also tried buffing the varnish to see whether it is able to be polished and it is so that should at least get the dust that settles sorted.
The other small problem I will have to over come is the top of the cap as it is a different colour to the sides :roll: I will experiment with some stain to get the effect looking original.
 

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The stain I bought has darkened the top of the cap has worked out quite well and think I will leave it at the one coat,



the 3rd coat of varnish is slowly filling all the dents, so by the 4th good coat it should be finished. The ends of the door caps on my car are painted in what I thought was black, I have repainted these in the same colour as the car. Certainly with the next door cap I start I will not attack it with the flat scrapper :roll:
 

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I finally have the 5th coat of varnish on the drivers door cap and I am glad to say it looks 100% better than when I first gave it the first coat.




I flatted it back with 800 wet and dry and then buffed it after the 4th coat only to discover that it wasn't going to shine, hence the 5th coat. You always learn by experience in my book. I even tried to spray a clear lacquer over the flat looking 4th coat only to have it react, so it was cleaned off very smartly. I must say jseaman you did a great job on yours, the next 3 door caps I am anticipating a much easier way :wink:
 

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Refitted the door cap and this is the end result



I am pleased with how it has turned out, so thought I would start on my other old car and refurbish the wooden door caps before finishing off the Bentley.
 
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