Doors are a glutton for punishment. They get flung open and slammed countless times over their lives. Inevitably, their mechanical bits wear out. If you own an old Fox-body Mustang, chances are your door hinges are sloppy, the strikers are broken, the power windows are lazy, and the door panels are floppy.
Fortunately for us, the Fox-body enthusiasts at Late Model Restoration (LMR) stock everything we need to take a Mustang's door panels from clapped-out to classy. To get the windows rolling up properly, our shopping list included new window motors and window guide bushings. We picked up a set of replacement door hinge pins, bushings, and strikers to ensure the doors would close better and the hinges wouldn't clunk when going over bumps.
On many Fox Mustangs, the door panels' upholstery isn't the issue, but rather it's the backing board to which the upholstery is attached. The wood-fiber backing boards are often warped, and the pushpins holding the panel to the door have pulled out. A cost-effective alternative to new door panels is to refurbish the existing panels with new backing boards from Late Model Restoration. While it took a little time, the results were worth the cost savings. A new set of LMR's vapor barrier sheets kept the new backing boards from getting water damaged.
We ditched the saggy map pockets altogether in favor of map pocket delete panels. Nothing is more annoying than loose door armrests, so LMR sent us fresh armrest pads and hardware to give them a new look and feel.
To finish it off, we received replacement door handle trim bezels, mirror hole covers, and window switch panels. A can of LMR's interior dye fixed decades of scuffs and sun damage on the door panel upholstery. LMR even sent the hard-to-find clips and screws to do the job right.
Thanks to Late Model Restoration's vast supply of Fox Mustang restoration parts, this Pony's doors close with a satisfying "thud," and the door panels look like new.
The doors on this Fox Mustang were plagued with all the common maladies: saggy map pockets, broken switch panels, crooked windows, cracked bezels, sloppy hinges, and missing hardware. The folks at Late Model Restoration had everything we needed to give these doors some love.
Here's our shopping list. All the parts were available from Late Model Restoration, making for easy one-stop shopping.
Once removed from the doors and disassembled, the armrests got a couple light coats of LMR's black interior dye to get them looking like new.
We used the existing screws to attach new armrest pads to the armrest.
The window switch panels were broken in the corners, so we replaced them with fresh panels.
Compared to the old armrest (top), the restored armrest (bottom) was a massive improvement.
We used panel clip pliers to separate the door panel from the door. If you don't have this tool, get one! It prevents damage to the backing boards when you remove the door panel.
With all the fasteners detached, we unhooked the door panel from the top lip of the door.
If your door panels are floppy, here's why. Hasty removal combined with weak backing boards pull these panel pins out. There's no fix once the damage is done.
After separating the old backing board from the door panel upholstery, we riveted the new backing board to the aluminum top panel.
We used spray adhesive to glue the bottom section of the upholstery to the backing board.
The new backing boards from LMR fit the existing upholstery perfectly. We used spray adhesive and stapled the edges of the upholstery to the perimeter of the backing board.
Bye-bye, saggy map pockets. We replaced those eyesores (top) with map pocket delete panels (bottom) from LMR.
After securing the map pocket delete panels to the door upholstery, we used screws to fasten the speaker grilles to the backing board.
LMR supplied us with fresh door panel pushpins to attach the restored panels to the doors.
Before reinstalling the door panels, we replaced the lazy window motors with these new replacements from LMR.
Another common issue with Fox Mustang windows: worn window guide bushings. After detaching the door window weatherstripping, we removed the window guide rod.
We replaced the worn window guide bushings with new ones to keep the windows rolling up straight.
To tighten up the door hinges, we used LMR's door pin and bushing kit. First, we used a rotary tool to cut the old door hinge pins in half and removed them.
With the door free of the hinges, we replaced the roller as well.
After prying out the old bushings, we tapped the new bushings into place.
The door hinge pins from LMR are held in place with a pin, which makes future service much easier.
It's not uncommon for sloppy door hinges to lead to a damaged door striker, and that's exactly what happened here. We replaced both strikers with new parts from LMR.
To keep moisture from damaging the restored door panels, we installed LMR's replacement vapor barriers. They're much thicker than the originals and are secured with spray adhesive.
After pressing the new door panels into place, we used fresh hardware from LMR to properly secure the armrests to the doors.
The door handle trim bezels were broken, so fresh bezels from LMR fixed that problem.
Reproduction mirror hole covers replaced the cracked originals.
That's more like it! With parts from Late Model Restoration, we got these doors working and looking like new!
Late Model Restoration
Photography by Wes Duenkel