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tcconvert

Those Attractive Interior Panels

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If you want an easy makeover for those exquisite wood panels in the back of your van, here's a quick and easy do-over:

*Purchase a quart of pickup bedliner paint, in your choice of color (mostly you will find black). Try not to notice how much it costs. Some Nitrile gloves will spare your hands. I chose a water-based Polyurathane material which was dry to the touch in an hour or so, and had minimal fumes.

*Remove the panels. The fasteners come out very easily by prying from both the tiny slots at the same time with two small screwdriver blades. Don't lose or damage them.

* Use a sanding block with some rough sandpaper (80 grit is good) to roughen up the smooth front surfaces. This will make dust. I suggest you have plenty of old newspaper on hand. It doesn't take much sanding. Just enough to get the shine down.

*Stir your paint thoroughly. It will have goop that has settled. Use the worst brush you can find. The more frayed and splayed the better. No primer or undercoat will be needed. Place your panels on newspaper with each one supported above the paper on something like wood scraps. This will keep the panels from sticking to the paper as they dry.

*I found the easiest method was to scoop a bunch of paint material out of the can with my wide stir stick and drop and dribble it onto the wood panels. On the two large ones only do about a quarter of the area at a time. Now take your splayed brush and STIPPLE the paint around until it evenly covers the area. DON'T BRUSH. Use a dab-and-jab method (Think of Bob Ross doing his Chik - Chik - Chik technique to add trees to his bad landscape paintings). You are essentially distributing the goopy material around to get an even coverage of sorts. The more you stipple, the more even the texture. I wanted a rough finish so I didn't stipple too much. If you were smart enough to by the gloves you can handle the panels to get some paint on the edges without worrying about the mess. You can go back right away and touch up any spots that show bare wood.

* I let my panels dry overnight before re-installing them. When re-installing the panel clips, pull the center post almost completely out of the clip before attempting to push them back into the holes. Hold the panel up and pop in a clip. If you do it right it will easily go right back into the hole. You follow up by firmly pushing the pin all the way down until flush.

*I spent less than two hours on this project. The reason I chose the bedliner paint was because I wanted some texture, a durable surface that can easily be touched up, and ease of application without having to use primer. I feel like a much classier guy now whenever I look into the rear of my van. My next project is to fit Alupanel Aluminum material over the ugly metal sidewalls - and then perhaps an insulating headliner.

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Edited by tcconvert
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I did not want to get too involved. I wanted the open space to haul my works of art which oftentimes are crated in large, 80" long x 12" x 24" cardboard crates, each weighing about 45 lbs.. I could stack six of them in the back! I have already moved several around and noticed that these objects can encounter the walls where the wood panels are. There seemed little point in doing anything to the panels that would not withstand some abuse in my workaday world. This is why I went to the van from 15 years of mid-size pickups. I do have to make an effort not to inhibit that large, spacious back end. That cavernous interior is where it's value lies. 

It's also my personal vehicle though, and that unfinished interior is not exactly attractive. My overexposed iPhone flash photo taken in the dark makes it look terrible, but in daylight if I look at it, it is just a textured black and seems to fit right in with the plastic trim. It feels comfortably finished now. Next I will be covering the barren rear upper side walls, probably with Alupanel.

The two remaining important issues I would like to deal with are the lack of rear ventilation, and that uninsulated metal roof (a simple local headliner job would cost about $500). I also need to decide upon what to do about some form of restraint that will allow carrying of things like grocery bags and odds and ends without attaching to the interior. I do have items in athletic-style tool bags that can be tossed around or removed as necessary when hauling space is needed, but I want to consider those solutions further. I also have some security concerns. The two extra 2nd row windows, along with the two in back, don't hide anything. I considered aftermarket tinting for privacy, but it's not an option I fancy much.

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I'll be relining mine soon. Tar mat first, then aluminum composite plates on top. Should protect the bare metal parts from dents from inside out. Should also help with noise levels.

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Quality UV-laminated print will last for 5+ years, no discoloration.

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I researched after-market add-on tinting. There is a range of quality differences. The best is quite expensive, and regardless of the quality, there are people who emphasize that they are all susceptible to scratches, abrasions, and lifting (and the low-end stuff fades), and if they do manage to remain firmly attached for years, will likely require professionals to remove and/or replace them down the road. The best grades apparently have carbon fiber and/or metal content. They claim they do not impede wireless communications but, the fact is CF is a major blocker of radio waves. If you have one of the "crippled" audio systems that do not provide a satellite radio interface, and you are stuck with using your own portable devices to stream media such as Pandora, you might have an issue.

I thought my rear and side windows might add a "cool" factor to my white and black van, as well as provide some privacy. But after doing some research it made me shy away.

Edited by tcconvert

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My next project is to attempt covering the bare rear panels with Alupanel (3/16" thick, white Polyester-coated Aluminum sandwich with black plastic center). I am looking at possibly adding a long narrow storage bin on the side of each one. I may also explore possibilities for constructing some kind of simple hanging view blocks, either a thin solid material, or fabric, that would utilize some of the numerous holes in the barren frame structures. I am even considering using sheer Polyester curtain fabric which will transmit light but obscure a clear view into the interior. I would only put them into place when I had to leave something of value parked in the van unattended. Rare Earth magnets captured in fabric at strategic places may work quite well. I will also have some sort of custom floor box that can be closed to hide smaller objects from view when I don't want to use the view blocks. This will all be done with the goal of allowing everything to be moved out or aside when hauling capacity is needed.

I have also determined that If I lop off one foot of material, I can carry 4 x 7 foot sheets of plywood flat on the floor with the doors closed. Full sheets could be carried leaning at about 45 degrees but the rear doors would have to be secured in the open position, and I don't know what the vehicle's response (or the law's) would be to driving with the doors ajar.

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If the rear doors do not obstruct the tail lights and are secure there would be no technical issue.  You would want to have the heater fan on Hi to reduce the possibility of the exhaust fumes entering the van.

 

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Got 2020 TC SWB Cargo van yesterday.  Today painted those ugly interior panels:

  • Removed Panels and lightly sanded
  • Used Krylon Primer, Paint, and Sealant

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@amish soldier - Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new van.
How about some pics so we can see a nice new shiny van.

What's the grid on the slider windows?

 

Nice paint job. I like the contrasting gray color on the black van. I did the same last year but didn't do the clear coat.

The spray coat didn't give me a nice even finish so I ended up rolling paint on.

I should probably add a clear coat the next time I repaint the panels.

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I'll put a few pics together soon.  I think the slider window grid is standard with cargo vans, can hardly see it from the outside with privacy glass. I did get a little uneven contrast on the panels due to texture differences/sanding.  I'm amazed that Ford can't install better ones instead of cheap hardboard.

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Overall, it looks good.  Good job!

 

Did you buy the van new, with the mesh screen?  I've seen similar items as an aftermarket option.  I didn't know that those were now being sold installed at the dealership level.  Those are great for cargo.  Anyone who has broken a window will know.

 

 

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I rolled satin black on my panels the day after I bought it last year.

They've taken a minor beating and generally look as good as they did the day I painted them and no clear coat.

I didn't even sand them. I just blue taped over the warning stickers or whatever they are and then painted.

Came out so good I sometimes forget how ugly they were originally.

I have a factory window on the passenger side sliding door and it did not come with the mesh protector ('17).

I'm thinking about getting a set of mesh protectors especially for my rear doors without windows to protect the body panel since it's one layer where the window would be.

Plus, it would give me a nice surface to hang various hardware, bungees etc.

 

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Bought it new.  Ordered it in February as a '19.  They flipped it to a '20.  Got VIN from dealer and tracked it here: https://shop.ford.com/vehicleordertracking#/ . In production 5/15/19.  Awaiting shipment 5/22/10.  In Transit 20 days.  Dealer delivery 7/11/19.  Here are some pics. XLT SWB with privacy glass and slider/rear windows.  If you squint your eyes could almost pass for an Amish buggy:

 

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And as an added bonus: Lunch.   Rare pizza MRE from my Air Force son for fathers day.

 

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Welcome.

 

The volume and utility of the SWB is underappreciated. Nice choice. 

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The SWB versions are awesome to drive,  i got the LWB because i wanted max room but liked how the SWB drove better.

 

That thing will get fantastic mileage .

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