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How To Swap 91-93 Door Panels To 94+ Car

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(Author: Kyle Anderson)

There are three main issues when swapping years:

The first and most obvious is that the mounts are different.

The second is that the lock rod is longer on the 91-93 doors and can be dealt with a couple different ways. This is the most difficult aspect of the swap.

The last is that after removing the door mounted seatbelts you’ll have to also swap to b-pillar belts or do a custom harness setup.

Tools needed. This includes all tools needed for removing and installing the new panels.

Phillips screw driver
T30 torx bit
15mm socket or wrench
Drill and bits
Pop-rivet gun
Hacksaw or cut-off wheel

New parts needed:

Entire door panels
2 black mounts per side
1 brass upper mount per side
Door handle surrounds
2 T30 bolts per side. One short for the upper mount, one long for the lower.
All pop-in fasteners. These can be used from the 94+ panels, but the old ones have one more per side.
All other parts can be reused from the old panels.

Make sure you have everything before starting the swap.

Start out by drilling the 4 rivets out of this mount:
Old  Mount

This seatbelt mount needs to be removed in order to reuse one of the holes. This is after taking out all seatbelt related parts, but those 2 nuts would normally hold in one of the reels. The other reel in the door must also be unbolted.
Belt Mount In

Unbolt all of the seat belt related stuff and disconnect the wiring. Next, drill out the two rivets that hold the mount in. This is what you end up with:
Belt Mount Out

Old junk and one broken drill bit later:
Old Stuff

These velcro patches just pop in under the windows. The holes are already there; no drilling required:
Velcro Patch

The holes circled in red are the ones that will be reused for the new mounts. The spot in blue needs to be drilled out, I’ll cover that later.
Hole Guide

The new mounts riveted in. You could also bolt them in if you wish. Make sure that the longer, vertical mount has the flat portion facing up.
New Mounts

Every single pop-in fastener lines up between years except for one. I don’t think it would hurt to leave this one out, but since everything is already there I decided to do it. The hole is punched from the factory, so drilling it couldn’t be easier:
Bottom Hole Punched

Find a bit that matches the other holes and drill away.
Bottom Hole Drilled

The rivet to the left of this square hole needs to be drilled out for the top mount:
Upper Before

Drill that bish:
Upper Drilled

In this pic you can also see the new top mount. They are side-specific and only fit in one way. The tab end of it fits in the square hole with the tab down. You can’t possibly get the one for the other side to line up; you’ll know if it’s not fitting right. After it’s lined up rivet it back in.
New Mounts

Repeat for the other side and you’re done with the mounts.

The next issue is the lock rods.

Here’s what the rod looks like fully extended in the 94+ surrounds:
Extended Rod 94+

And fully extended in the 91-93 surrounds:
Extended rod 91-93

The lock rods need to be 5/8″ longer. You can either swap out entire locking mechanisms and rods, which requires a lot of drilling out rivets and re-mounting. It’s not hard, just time consuming. You can NOT swap just the lock rods because they’re a completely different setup. The other option is to weld in an extension, which is what I did.

Mark the rod where you want to cut it. This can be anywhere that doesn’t interfere with the plastic guides or the plastic rod end piece. After you’re set, hack it off.
Mark Rod

Weld in a 5/8″ extension piece from similar diameter metal; I used smooth sections from a bolt.
Rod Done

Make sure everything fits:
Pass Done

Driver Done

Mount the new panels and revel in your newfound coolness.
Passenger Side Door Complete

Drivers Side Door Complete

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