Interior plastic

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Andy_R's door escutcheon repair:

After realising that I was never going to find a replacement for my broken ones, I decided to have a go at reparing them - as it turns out, to very good effect. It cost about £8 ($15) [Nov 2005] and not too many hours. Patience and attention to detail are all that are required to get a good result. Have a look at the before and after photos below.

First step is to go to the shop and get a small tube of body filler (the make I bought was 'plastic padding'), some wet and dry paper/sand paper, a can of plastic primer spray paint and a can of Halfords Rover Hurricane grey spray paint. I specify Halfords because Rover Hurricane Grey differs according to the manufacturer.

Apply a 'blob' of body filler where your escutcheon is missing a bit of its plastic. For those who haven't used the stuff before, you mix the filler with a hardener before applying - I recommend using a lot of hardener to speed up the drying process. Speed up the drying further by baking in an oven [not one used for cooking of course] at about 100º C (that's 212º F for you lot over there).

Once your 'blob' has hardened (several hours at least) you need to chop away at it with a sharp knife to get it roughly to the desired shape. It's not difficult to detach your 'blob' from the escutcheon plastic which you will no doubt find as annoying as I did, so don't chop too hard, and make sure the knife is sharp - a paper knife will work well.

When you have something approaching the right shape, start using progressively finer grades of sand/wet and dry paper to fine tune the shape.

I found that I had tiny chips in mine at this stage; I also found that the shape I had wasn't quite perfect, so to get over this I mixed very small amounts of body filler and applied tiny amounts to the imperfections to correct them. This is where the patience comes in - because the body filler takes time to dry, it may take 2 or 3 days before you finally get a good smooth finish. Make sure that if you see any imperfections no matter how small, you take the time to sort them out - after you spray paint, small imperfection become much more noticeable.

When you are absolutely sure that you have a perfect finish, check what you have created fits nicely back into position in the door, then take them out again to be painted. For tips on how to paint, read the back of the can. Again, don't rush the process.

I'm a lot happier sitting in my car now - I actually think that the Rover colour (color), close though it is, is better than the original.

Escutcheon before 898.jpg Escutcheon after 186.jpg