3M Tech Tips: Automotive Foam Applications in Door Skin Replacement

3M Tech Tips: Automotive Foam Applications in Door Skin Replacement


hi I’m Sean Collins technical service engineer for three M’s automotive aftermarket division and I’m here now to discuss some issues with applying foams to door skins it’s a common operation we see in the body shop every day but there’s a lot of confusion about how to handle applying the foams once the the skin is attached to the vehicle so we’re going to talk about a couple of things one thing we want to make sure we do is to use the correct product or the correct foam now some technicians may just grab any seam sealer off the shelf and you may have problems with that keep in mind that some of these products have solvents that allow the product to shrink down so whatever product you’re using make sure it’s a hundred percent solids there are correct products for this that are designed for this purpose and one would be a flexible foam such as this so as a name says it’s flexible it’ll flex in and out as the door skin moves keep in mind that this metal door skin will expand and contract with heating and cooling cycles on a vehicle just like any other panel you can heat shrink a vehicle or a panel with heat that panel is going to move in and out so if we apply something solid to that panel that does not allow that panel to move we’re going to see some ripples down on the door so we want to make sure we use either a soft foam or there’s another material called an NVH or noise vibration harshness material now this material also is soft enough that’ll allow the door to expand and contract and we’ll move with that part this is also a hundred percent solid so you won’t get any shrinking that will draw that panel in so the first thing again is to use the correct products for the job we don’t want to just grab any product off the shelf the other thing we want to know is how to properly dispense these products and I’m going to use this store here as an example there’s actually some spacing between the door skin and the intrusion beam in a couple spots there’s some damage foam that’s broken away and I’m just going to use this as an example how to get the foam in that area without just having a rundown on the panel so I’m going to first put on my safety equipment and grab my foam here now I’m going to use a flexible foam for this application now one thing I see is a lot of guys will just dispense this foam rapidly and not allow it to foam up but what we really want to do is dispense it slowly until it starts to actually form its way out of the nozzle so if you dispense it too quickly I’m just going to show this as an example and you just quickly dispense it’ll just run down the panel so what we want to do we want to actually watch and we’re going to see that foam up and it’ll start to foam its way out of the nozzle being patient now it’s starting to foam now we can apply it and it’s not going to just run right off the panel so it’ll apply it down in the door skin that’s all we would do slowly dispense the foam as it forms out of the nozzle now one thing we always always want to keep in mind is what happens to this door after we have the foam put in here now that the foam is in there the last thing we want to do is set this door down flat on a stand and sometimes that happens a technician will set it down and put the foam in and then it’ll expand and contract it’ll move around a little bit so we don’t want to lay this door flat until this foam has completely set up so not only the technician who put the door skin on have to be careful that but he’s got to be careful that when he hands it over to the painter that the painter doesn’t set it down on a stand flat to jam the outside of the door so very important what we do after this is installed as well there’s one more issue that we run into occasionally where there’s not a lot of room to put foam into some of these areas on a door Chevy trucks are known for that where there’s a very small area here so what I tell the technician is as much as they can possibly do use a heat gun to take the door skin off on the outside and leave the foam intact so you’ll leave that foam on there and then you can use the NVH material and apply some of that onto the foam that’ll attach it back on to the new door skin so using these tips with these foams should really help you to understand better which products to use how to use them and how to handle them after they’re applied for a safe and successful repair


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