I've run across some pretty bad RQPs and often they look like they're beyond hope. This one was warped and busted up pretty well, but I managed to get it straight. I figured I'd pass along a few tips.

  1. Take the mounting brackets off. You can rivet them back later.
  2. Take the foam off. It won't survive the repair process and its cheap and easy to replace.
  3. Heat the warped area along the edge and toward the inside about 6-10 inches.
  4. Use a real heat gun. A hair dryer doesn't get hot enough.
  5. Get it hot enough so you can't touch it but not enough to burn it.
  6. Clamp two pieces of 3 inch flat metal stock to each side.
  7. Tighten the clamps enough to hold the metal in place.
  8. While its still hot, slowly tighten the clamps.
  9. Turn on some music and have a couple beers nearby.
  10. If you hear cracking, stop and apply more heat.
  11. Take your time. It took years for them to warp. It'll take a few hours to get them straight.
  12. Once the clamps are tight, reheat the entire area.
  13. Let it cool overnight.
  14. Repeat the process if it didn't get it completely straight the first time.
  15. If the curved B pillar or top section is warped, the same process works using a 2 inch pipe clamped into the concave area and a piece of sheet metal on the opposite side.
  16. Replace the foam and mounting brackets & cut out the speaker holes

I didn't get a pic of adding resin and fiberglass to repair the cracks and adding broken sections back. Laying fiberglass is a whole other project for another time.

I've yet to add the leather cover but will post a pic when its done.

Rob Budd

I did my '88 three years ago using heat and metal plates as Robert Budd describes, but I had not seen his post at the time and had to 're-invent' the process. The one plastic clamp was used over the retainer after the heating step. I glued the old leather down again afterwards, but obviously displaced somewhat since it had shrunk.

clamp pic

I did it 'my way', and it did work out well. Hot water was my softening agent for the pressboard. First I removed the leather from the board. I then applied large sponges saturated with the hottest water I could muster to soften up. I then used metal 'L' braces to maintain the shape I needed. Two strategically placed on each side. I employed a little bending to get the exact shape I needed. I used flat round top bolts which laid under the leather. I removed some of the foam for the bolt head to sit in and cut a Dr Scholl's moleskin to fit exactly over the bolt head so there would be nothing obvious to the contour. It really worked out well. I disconnected the panels, but did the job without removing either side from the car. Sorry I can't provide a pic now, for my teenage kids left the Nikon D100 in the rain on the patio. I did have one casualty from the job, but it was related to my error. While moving things around, I wasn't careful and let the panel flex just behind the pillar in front of the window. This resulted in the dried leather tearing about 2 inches linearly. Because I'm such a dope, it happened on both sides. I tried various agents to fix this tear, but what finally worked was extending the cut perpendicularly so that I made an 'L'. This allowed me to reinforce it from below by using Permatex 80016 Non-Hardening Pliable Gasket Sealant adhesing a pleather material. I then used the same black material to generously cover the linear 'L' shaped seams of the tear. I let it 'harden' for a few days and then went back and sanded it down with 320 then 1200 grit paper. I liked that the material was hard but 'giving' so it would react well to expansion/contraction. I then sprayed it with flat black Rustoleum fabric/vinyl spray. It looks great.