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Sunvisor refresh


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After looking at my original "saggy" sunvisors for a few years (and with lots of "sheltering at home" time) I decided to try a "fix". The vynil skins themselves are in great shape but it seemed as if the internal stuffing had deteriorated over 40 odd years and there were wrinkles here and there on the visors. I didn't want to change the original vynil for leather (visor repair kits on the market) so I decided to cut them open along the forwardmost seam with a fine scalpel blade, staying on one side of the seam so I could later close the seam almost invisibly.

To my surprise the foam layer inside was pretty intact and the cause of the wrinkles on the outside was just loose, saggy vynil. I cut out a filler panel for each side out of closed cell foam, 2.5mm thick and carefully fitted and glued it to the existing foam with 3M spray glue. Closing the seam again was tricky but all I could come up with was using a strip of Gorilla tape (that stuff really sticks). I placed half the strip along the inside of the top half of the vynil and slowly pulled the bottom half over the exposed tape until a precise closure was achieved. The result is a nice firm visor with an almost invisible seam. See pics below.

PS: I've only done the passenger side (which has the vanity mirror and is a little trickier) because I ran out of the foam. I will do the driver side once I get the foam and will post any details that I might change for improvement.

Original "saggy" visors (I know, they're way better than most!!)

20200425_140820.jpg20200425_140810.jpg

New foam filler (white) fitted and glued to each side of the original green foam:

20200425_150112.jpg20200425_151632.jpg20200425_151606.jpg

Trim the foam edges so approximating the vinyl edges can be achieved with just a little stretch:20200425_151542.jpg20200425_151622.jpg

Gorilla tape on the inside of the top half and then bringing the bottom half of the vynil over the bottom half of the tape until the edges are precisely closed (start in the middle):

20200425_152251.jpg20200425_155026.jpg

Final result:

20200425_155013.jpg20200425_155001.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by dmorales-bello
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Very nice work.  A few questions for you on 'technique':

  1. Why did you decide it was necessary to glue the new foam in place?  It looks like it would have stayed in place w/o the need for glue.
     
  2. Did you really manage to bring the two seams together perfectly, first time, or did it take a few tries to get it right?  If so, how did that work out? That Gorilla tape sounds pretty unforgiving. 
     
  3. The picture where you're just bringing the top and bottom edges together makes me wonder how you managed to push the tape back into visor cavity without getting it wrinkled and/or making a mess (which you clearly didn't).  How was this accomplished?
     
  4. What is this 'scalpel' thing that you used?  Hobby knife, or actual medical scalpel?

Overall, I'm concerned that the tape joint is going to give up over time, esp. right at the seam and esp. when exposed to summer heat.  I guess only time will tell. 

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6 hours ago, Namerow said:

Very nice work.  A few questions for you on 'technique':

  1. Why did you decide it was necessary to glue the new foam in place?  It looks like it would have stayed in place w/o the need for glue.
     
  2. Did you really manage to bring the two seams together perfectly, first time, or did it take a few tries to get it right?  If so, how did that work out? That Gorilla tape sounds pretty unforgiving. 
     
  3. The picture where you're just bringing the top and bottom edges together makes me wonder how you managed to push the tape back into visor cavity without getting it wrinkled and/or making a mess (which you clearly didn't).  How was this accomplished?
     
  4. What is this 'scalpel' thing that you used?  Hobby knife, or actual medical scalpel?

Overall, I'm concerned that the tape joint is going to give up over time, esp. right at the seam and esp. when exposed to summer heat.  I guess only time will tell. 

Great questions @Namerow

I just finished doing the driver side visor with a denser (dark grey) foam, same 2.5mm thickness. The denser foam gives you a result that's a bit flatter, less plump. I also revised a few technical details as I went along which made things easier and I will discuss those as I answer your questions.

1.- I decided to glue the new foam because it makes the visor a bit stiffer. It doesn't flex as much when you handle it and feels much more like the visors in other cars. It would have stayed in place without the glue anyways but the visor was more flexible.

2 & 3.- Because it was difficult to align the edges perfectly with the inverted strip of Gorilla tape due to the width of it (which made difficult putting it in place without wrinkling the vinyl) and the very strong hold, I used a 1 inch wide strip of double sided tape (used for carpeting) along the joined top edges of the filler material. It's also very strong but not quite as much as the gorilla tape. I did however use a strip of Gorilla tape to join the top edges of the foam before applying the double sided carpeting tape (see pics below) so as to narrow the edge a bit and take all tension out of the vinyl edges when closing them. I think it's really important that when approximating the vinyl edges they do so with very little tension, start in the middle with about a two inch section and then work your way from the two extremes toward the middle distributing the vinyl appropriately so you don't end up with wrinkles. Both tapes (Gorilla and carpet) initially allow you to separate and reattach the material with moderate effort so you can fiddle with the edges until they line up properly. It's not as difficult as it seems.

4.- I did use a medical #11 blade on a scalpel handle but Exacto makes similar #11 blades that can fit their handles. I would not use a utility knife for that cut.

I liked the second approach (carpeting tape over the Gorilla taped edge) so much better that I took the passenger side visor apart again and changed it accordingly. It took a lot of effort and care to unglue the vinyl from the Gorilla tape after it had set! That stuff will not loosen with summer heat, believe me. I don't think the carpeting tape will loose its adherence easily either as long as there's very little tension when you close the vinyl edges.

All things considered I'm quite satisfied with the results and I don't have to stare at my saggy visors anymore.

I hope I've described the procedure clearly but keep the questions coming if needed.

In this first pic you can see the Gorilla tape covering the foam edges (on the right) and the double sided carpeting tape with it's white paper backing on the left side:

20200426_120300.jpg

Place a 1" strip of carpeting tape along the whole edge over the Gorilla tape:

20200426_120544.jpg 

Remove the backing paper from the carpeting tape and you're ready to start approximating the vinyl edges which can actually overlap a tiny bit as long as you left the "seam" on only one side of the cut (step 1 in the original post).

20200426_120724.jpg

Final results:

20200426_122558.jpg20200426_122633.jpg20200426_122655.jpg

There's still a bit of waviness on the vinyl skins but it's almost invisible once the visors are mounted on the car. Filling them with more foam would stretch out the wrinkles but the visor will start to look like a pillow.

Edited by dmorales-bello
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Thanks.  I think I get it now.  Results look good.  I like your resourcefulness. 

I wonder if a little heat would help the vinyl to relax and let the wrinkles/waves settle out a bit?  If you decide to try this, the upholsterer's secret is to use steam rather than hot air.  A heat gun will probably destroy the visor and even a hair dryer can cause harm to thin vinyl if you're not careful.  Hand-held steamers only cost $25 or so.

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9 minutes ago, Namerow said:

Thanks.  I think I get it now.  Results look good.  I like your resourcefulness. 

I wonder if a little heat would help the vinyl to relax and let the wrinkles/waves settle out a bit?  If you decide to try this, the upholsterer's secret is to use steam rather than hot air.  A heat gun will probably destroy the visor and even a hair dryer can cause harm to thin vinyl if you're not careful.  Hand-held steamers only cost $25 or so.

You know, I hesitantly tried my heat gun on the low setting and from about a foot away. The vinyl goes soft but doesn't get rid of the wrinkles. I quit trying after a couple of minutes afraid of ruining the material. I'll investigate the steaming of the vinyl option. Thanks.

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Tried my wife's clothes steamer on the vinyl. There is a subtle improvement. The material goes quite soft initially but seems to stiffen up a bit as it cools. The final result is stiffer vinyl although the wrinkles don't quite completely disappear. Gave each visor 3 cycles of steam and subsequent cooling. Not much difference in outcome after the first cycle. I'm not including pics because the perceived difference is not visible in photos.

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When an upholstery fitter uses steam, it's done as an aid while physically working the piece to achieve the desired positioning.  And that's what takes the wrinkles out.  To put it another way, you may have to strategically stretch the vinyl while it's soft so as to try to get a more uniform stretch across the full surface. This might be risky work, because your visors now each have a long, taped seam. 

Based on your 'before' photos, it looks like you were already 90% of the way to a perfect job.  Maybe not worth stressing over the last 10%, esp. when: a) nobody but you will notice the difference, and; b) you risk making a mistake and ruining the nice result you've got right now.

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When an upholstery fitter uses steam, it's done as an aid while physically working the piece to achieve the desired positioning.  And that's what takes the wrinkles out.  To put it another way, you may have to strategically stretch the vinyl while it's soft so as to try to get a more uniform stretch across the full surface. This might be risky work, because your visors now each have a long, taped seam. 
Based on your 'before' photos, it looks like you were already 90% of the way to a perfect job.  Maybe not worth stressing over the last 10%, esp. when: a) nobody but you will notice the difference, and; B) you risk making a mistake and ruining the nice result you've got right now.
Totally agree. Good advice, thanks

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  • 1 month later...

Very nice result.  Your perseverance really paid off.  Whether we like it or not, stuff done on the underside of a restoration matters only to the faithful.  Come up short on the paint or the interior, though, and everybody notices it.

Edited by Namerow
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  • 2 months later...
I'm attempting to recover mine, but not sure how to remove the mirror assembly. Did you happen to notice how it is installed while your's was apart? Thanks,
I did not remove the mirror in my passenger side visor and simply worked around it. I'm pretty sure it's attached with some sort of rivets. It would have been cumbersome to take out and that's why I decided to work with it in place. Not a hard thing to do.

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15 hours ago, dmorales-bello said:

I did not remove the mirror in my passenger side visor and simply worked around it. I'm pretty sure it's attached with some sort of rivets. It would have been cumbersome to take out and that's why I decided to work with it in place. Not a hard thing to do.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

Thanks for the info.

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On 4/25/2020 at 11:32 PM, dmorales-bello said:

Gorilla tape on the inside of the top half and then bringing the bottom half of the vynil over the bottom half of the tape until the edges are precisely closed (start in the middle):

I ask myself if that "gorilla tape is good for this.. does it it's work after years? i would not bett on it!  Is it still closed that visor? now after 4 month's?  @dmorales-bello

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I ask myself if that "gorilla tape is good for this.. does it it's work after years? i would not bett on it!  Is it still closed that visor? now after 4 month's?  [mention=30038]dmorales-bello[/mention]

Oh, yeah. It's still completely closed. I've used "Gorilla" tape to hold cables to an outside wall exposed to sun and rain. That 3 foot long strip is still holding after 12 years or so. Once the glue on this tape cures, it's a very strong bond although I'm sure it'll depend on the type of material it's bonding to. I'm quite sure it's strong enough to hold the visor material closed for a very long time.

BTW, "Gorilla" is a specific brand of tape (looks like duct tape). Here in America that company also manufactures several different types of glue and other tapes as well.

 

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