Fixing Viper Flaws

steel snake

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As we all know car designers don't have to work on the cars they design and don't always get it right. Case in point: the r/l rear closeout panels. I've had the battery cover off a number of times and the smog system panel off to get to other areas working on projects. It always irked me that a $76K car has such chincy solutions to attaching the outer edges of those panels to the lower wheel well, bumper area. The panels are a soft vinyl-like plastic and don't hold the 3 screws worth ****. My right panel had an alignment problem at the factory so they ******* into an 1/8th inch of plastic instead of the reinforced holes supplied for the screws. It's amazing the screws even stay in over the years since you can't really tighten them without striping the holes. So I redid that whole arrangement with hardware that lets you tighten everything properly. I show both fixes in case your car has any misalignment like mine. You're still working with plastic and composite so you have to use uncommon sense when you tighten, but it solves the problem. I'm not handy at setting up the pix with captions so the various shots show the hardware and the fixed panels (backside). You can see how far off the holes were from the factory positions. I fixed this side with speed nuts from NAPA #665-1955 for M4.2-1.41 screws that match the junk the factory used. You may have to modify one nut as it's a tight fit. The screws are available from Au-ve-co.com #19278 or clipsandfasteners off Amazon for $16. The other pix show how I used simple 8-32 T-nuts from Home Depot to beef up the factory holes. I clipped off 2 of the points as I thot them unnecessary. Drilled out the factory hole with a 7/32 drill to accommodate the T-nuts. You have to run a ***** in and out of the T-nuts to establish new threads being sure they don't bind when you're done. A tiny bit of oil helps. Before hammering the nuts in I put some contacts cement around the hole to ensure they'd stay put. When you put the panels back the screws take a 7mm socket. Be sure you ***** them in true and straight so as they follow the new threads.


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Big E

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I like the idea of the T-nuts. I was in a hurry and used those plastic drywall anchors with some glue. They are holding good but I'm sure I'll be replacing them again someday.
 

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