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Tutorial: Door Skin Removal for Dummies.

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This is a basic tutorial for the removal of the door skin on your Zed.

The only reason you would want to do this is to fix rust in the frame of the door,

Or to perform rust proofing to the inside of the skin or frame.

You might also do this to perform panel beating work.



Mig welder

Angle grinder (with wire brush & cutoff disc).

Door skin removal tool.


Wooden dolly



Before you begin:

Get yourself an old flat blade (wide as possible) screwdriver that you don’t mind ‘butchering’.

With Oxy or propane torch heat the end of the screwdriver till its ‘cherry red’.

Place 10-15mm of the end of the screwdriver in the vice & bend it around as far as you can.

Then hammer the end of the screwdriver around until it’s at 180deg (see pic).

While it's still red hot, drop the end of the screwdriver into some used motor oil - this will have the effect of re-tempering/hardening the end.

This is now your special door skin removing tool!


Step 1:

Strip the door down, remove the window frame followed by the glass, runners & locking mechanisms.

Use the workshop manual as a guide to help you disassemble the door.

Put the door internals out of the way where they won’t be disturbed.


Step 2:

You should now be left with a bare door.

Taking your angle grinder with a wire attached, wire brush the seam around the outside edge of the door where the door is folded over.

At this stage you can buff any other rusty patches on the door

Change to a 1mm cutting disc & cut the two welds at both ends of the door at the top.

This ‘should’ now render the tops of the door free once you’ve finished unpicking the folded seam.





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Step 3:

With your ‘special’ screwdriver, start at the top of the door (at either end) by sliding the blade between the door skin & the frame.

Push down on the handle so as to move the door skin lip up at a 45deg angle.

Slowly & gently continue around the whole of the door.

Continue back the way you came on the lip levering it up at a 90deg angle until the door is free.

Doing it this way, lesions the risk of stretching the skin ‘lip’.

You should now be able to remove the skin from the fame.



With the door split in halves, you now have the opportunity to carry out repairs on the door frame and/or door skin.




Step 4:

When you have completed the repairs to the fame and/or skin , paint the insides of the two parts with a rust proofing paint or similar.

Next, clamp the two halves together GENTLY with some suitable clamps, into the correct position.

Place a small tack weld at the top ends to hold the skin to the frame – Do not weld it fully yet.

Take a block of wood (to use as a dolly) & gently start working the bottom skin lip over the frame to a 45deg angle. Then start on the side lips.


You also want to make sure you maintain the radius at the bottom rear of the door when your peening the lip over.

Once you have the lips all bent at 45deg angle, you can now completely fold the lips down hard onto the frame.

Take your time here as you don’t want to stretch the lip too much.

Once the lip is down hard, remove the clamps & then weld 20mm down the top of the door at the top (as pictured).

Finally, give the seam & welds a quick wire brush & coat of rust proof paint.



You now have the complete door ready to be repainted & assembled!

While it’s a fairly straight forward job, it could be a tad tricky for a novice – so be forewarned!   

Question & comments welcome :)





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yeah this is perfectly acceptable  ;)

I very rarely reuse a door skin at work so i usually grind along the outside of the folded seam with a flap disk grinder to separate the fold. The only benefit in this is to save time, which keeps the boss happy



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Well the new door skin I fitted had Nissan written all over it, so I can only assume it's a genuine item.

The one's from (I think) rare spares have the same reinforcing panel welded onto them too AFAIK.

But I'm not sure of the fit quality...


BTW, he's the reason I fitted the new skin  :-\


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  • 4 months later...

I have a feeling I might need to do this myself..... I'm glad you have posted this Lurch.

Has anyone bought a new door skin from rare spares??? I'm considering doing it for the drivers door seeming its got a fair few stress lines in the metal, might see how a hammer and dolly goes bit trial and error not exactly experienced in metal panel beating / shaping but really keen on learning if people have some good tips that be great

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  • 2 months later...
  • 5 months later...

They fit - but make sure to take your time fitting them.

The welds at the tops of the doors need to be good 'n' strong too before you start knocking the lips over.

I also found that annealing the lips on the door made them much easier to knock over ;)

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So how did you anneal them Lurch, without spoiling the skins...I'll be re-skining mine some time in the future, got two Rare Spares skins here ready to go




A supplementary question : What to do with the old skins if they only have small rust holes ? toss em or hang on to them

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Firstly, I really shouldn't call it 'annealing them' - more softening them to make it more pliable when beaten over the door shell.

I take the lips back to bare metal, then lightly rub some liquid soap onto the lips then heat the area (with a Map Gas torch) till the soap goes black.

Then hammer away while they are still warm ;)


Secondly, if they only have a few holes in the old skins, I'd just repair them.

I'd only replace the skins if they are well & truly stuffed.


Thirdly, Pete please change your user-name as it's gotten quite silly now!




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Thirdly, Pete please change your user-name as it's gotten quite silly now!


From the papsmear himself??




My door skins look just like yours did before you replaced the skins.  Is that the best/only way to fix them or is it possible/feasible to cut and replace the bottom couple of inches?



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Thanks for that tip Lurch...I guess the thing to avoid is overheating the metal so it doesn't distort the skin, I'll be very careful and sparing with the heat...I think annealing is a good idea, even standard practice too I think among professionals


Actually my old skins or at least one of them has had the treatment that MaygZ just talked about, replaced bottom 3 inches...but probably done without removing skin first, rego job most likely, heaps of bog to finish off


So to answer MaygZ's question, remove skin first for the best job....if you learn how to fuse weld with an oxy you'll save yourself a lot of heartache...and of course panel beating but yes it is very possible and feasible to replace that narrow bottom section, it's a dying art though, thankfully there's that show on TVS channel, forget what it's called now but lots of good tips on panel work


No worries there Lurch, you read my mind, gunna change my ID soon, already have one in mind, wait for it !........



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