We finally found time to get the doors completed. It was a bit of a challenge, but the results were well worth the effort. We started by installing the outside rear view mirrors since they require mounting from within for support from the inner door skin. Once the mirrors were in place, we began preparing the doors for the new stereo speakers and the 'new' door panels.
We never liked the factory door trim from very start. The placement of the power door and window switches were poorly designed. The original trim was also lacking in storage space for miscellaneous small objects. We decided to install a set of door trim panels from a 1995 donor truck. This required a bit of extra work since the newer trim has the power switches mounted high and facing up as well as having small white courtesy lights which the original trim did not offer. The other issue was the configuration of the 'wing' windows. The original windows made a complete triangle. In order to use the newer door trim, we had to upgrade our vent windows as well. This was done at the body shop when the doors were hung on the truck.
The hard part was finding the donor parts necessary for the swap. The door panels were easy enough, a local salvage yard had a wrecked '95 F-150 with the doors still in tact. However, they were only willing to sell the panels without the wiring. They wanted $100 per door for the wiring on top of what we paid for the panels (which was pretty steep already). This is where it started getting difficult. The main difference between our '87 and the trim for a '95 is that the power lock and window switches are in a completely different configuration as well as having the courtesy lights near the edge of the door. We did a lot of calling and scouting around. Finally, we found Miller's Auto Salvage in Owensville, MO. Mike, the owner, turned out to be one of the nicest guys we'd ever met. He had the wiring available and actually helped us get the wire harnesses out of the salvaged trucks in his yard. The best part, was that he only charged us $10 per door for the harnesses. What a blessing!
So now we had the wiring, but our door wiring had already been installed by the body shop when they reassembled and hung the doors. We decided that it would be easier to simply change out the switch panel plates in which the power switches plug into. We had to be very careful to ensure the correct placement of the wires since we were removing them from the original plates and installing them into the donor plates. Each switch has six wires to which it connects. Once we removed the plates from the donor harnesses, we went wire by wire, from the old plate to the new plate, ensuring correct placement of the wires.
Now we had to install new speaker wiring since the factory wiring was probably not capable of powering the new infinity speakers we purchased to replace the old worn out factory speakers. We also had to install a couple of new wires for the courtesy lights which our truck did not have previously. This was a task in and of itself. We had to cut away the old cloth tape holding the wires to the rubber boot which mounts between the door frame and the door so we could pull the wires through making up the difference for the length of wire needed for the door switches.
Lastly, we installed the speakers. The factory speakers showed years of exposure to the elements without protection. We decided to install speaker baffles to protect the new speakers. These are just foam inserts which completely enclose the speaker. We did have to punch holes in the bottom of them to allow the speaker wire access. Once the new wires, speakers and door switches were in place, we were ready to put the new panels in place.
We began with the passenger side. Holding the panel up to the door, we first coaxed the door handle through the center opening. Now we were able to push the switches through their opening and mount them to the switch cover. Lastly, we installed the courtesy light socket into it's respective housing. Now it was just a matter of guiding the panel into place and securing it with the hidden pop in fasteners. It took a bit of finesse, but we got it in place. One problem. We found that the glossy blue finish of the door shown through the speaker grille and around the door handle. So we removed the panel and grabbed a can of flat black paint. Once the paint dried, with the help of a heat gun, we replaced the panel and the installation was complete. For the driver's side, we painted before installing the panel.
Now we have an updated, and much nicer interior than ever before. No longer will our knees press against the window or door lock switches causing unwanted activity. We are very happy with the result and we would recommend this upgrade to anyone restoring an '87 - '91 Ford truck.