Help Me Replace My Acura Door
October 12, 2011 6:16 PM   Subscribe

YANMAuto Body Shop: I need to replace the door (?) of my 2001 Acura 3.2 TL

My aunt gave me a 2001 Acura 3.2 TL last month. Sometime in the last 5 years, someone tried to break in through the passenger side door.

The little nib that indicates the door is locked is gone, but the door still opens and locks. The inside of the door is completely intact.

See the damage here and here.

What parts are needed to replace this eye sore? Is it just a new door shell? Where can I obtain these parts?

She said when she was quoted a year or two ago, the repair would cost $1000. Can I do this repair myself?

Thanks for any and all help.
posted by ptsampras14 to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
If you're looking to do this on the cheap, I would find a salvage yard with an Acura of the same model, year, and color with an intact right door and put that on as a complete unit. They'll probably only want to sell you one that way, in any case.

If the trim and inner gubbons on the replacement door aren't as nice as yours, you can take the panel(s) off your old door and put them on the new.

The paint may not exactly match (either from sun damage or just from being painted from different batches of the color), but it will still be nicer than what you have.
posted by maxwelton at 6:21 PM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: Also, look on eBay. Here's a sample door, have no idea if it's a good deal or not, or exactly the right color.

Shipping is going to be the killer, so see if you can find one close enough to pick up in person if you go this route.
posted by maxwelton at 6:23 PM on October 12, 2011

Replacing a door is fairly easy, but sometimes fiddly. It will involve undoing some large and tight bolts or screws, and then putting them back. There will be a wiring harness which needs to be disconnected and reconnected, often only accessible once the interior trim panel is removed.

The fiddly bit is that unless Acuras are put together better than the cars I normally work on, you need to fuss a bit with the position of the door on its hinges to get a good gap all the way around and to get a good shut action and seal. This can take awhile.

You'll need to change the lock in the new door to the one in the old door or accept that you won't be able to unlock it with a key, or have to carry two door keys, assuming the vendor of the used door allows you to have one.

When buying a used door with all the stuff inside of it, make sure it's got the same options your old door does, or accept that you'll be swapping the innards around. Things like power windows/locks vs. manual windows/locks...

Note that the stuff inside the door is complicated, and accept that it requires some patience and probably the proper pages from a repair manual as it may not be intuitive. The openings in doors always seem engineered to be as small as possible, which means lots of contortion and the conviction that part A just isn't going to fit inside--but it needs to be at an exact particular angle, and then moved forward and down and back up, etc.

You'll save yourself a lot of labor by buying a complete door, if you can find one with the right colors and options.
posted by maxwelton at 6:34 PM on October 12, 2011

You can either do this cheaply or properly, but not both.
posted by twblalock at 6:37 PM on October 12, 2011

You can either do this cheaply or properly, but not both.

I totally disagree with this. The door won't come cheap, but it's certainly something that OP can do himself/herself, and so he/she won't have to pay for labor, which would probably be exorbitant.

ptsampras, go on Amazon and pick up a Haynes manual for your car for $15, then shop around for a door. Grab a buddy to help you heft the door, and you'll be fine.
posted by InsanePenguin at 7:02 PM on October 12, 2011

If you can find a door from a junkyard that matches, you can always take that too a shop and see what they will want to do it. I just did a similar repair to my nieces CRV and it is fiddly, and requires patience and some skill, but it is not impossible to do if you know which end of a screwdriver to hold. It does require some tools. A good assortment of philipps screwdrivers, metric socket set and ratchet with extensions, possibly a set of torx sockets, allen wrenches and maybe a honda/acura specific tool (a good repair manual-I would get the Haynes or the factory- will tell you this and you might find a how to article on line). If you do need to switch internals around, and you almost certainly will, you are probably going to need to get some new plastic snap in fasteners from Honda as well. The parts guy will look at you crazy if you try to describe them so just take in the broken ones after you get the door panels off. Oh and someplace dry to work with lots of space and light will be great. YOu will also need another strong set of arms to hold the door in place while you mount the new one and to catch the old one after you undo the bolts. These things are heavy. It is easier to take the internals out with the door still on the car and this helps make the door lighter as well.

-Good luck.
posted by bartonlong at 7:06 PM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: I am not a mechanic, but I was the guy helping my buddy when he changed a door on a Ford F-150. I got to hold the door and look for the right size sockets. Having watched this once, I wpuld be willing to try it myself. It will be an all day+ project.

It is hard to see in your pictures, but i have repaired some dents on my own using suction, pushing from the inside and/or dry ice. It looks to me that you could improve the door significantly by taking off the inside panel and pushing the dents out. You will have paint issues and probably some creases but it is an intermediate step.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:47 PM on October 12, 2011

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