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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Wondering if anyone has experience using 3M VHB to bond a chunk of plywood to the metal inside the van? I'm a big rivnut user, but tape would be a whole lot easier, and having just spent days trimming out the B and C columns, easy would be good.

I would like to cover my rear door windows with a 3/4" plywood panel, painted black on the glass side and poly'ed on the inside. Looking in from the outside, you would just see black, on the inside, a finished wood panel.

The metal frame around the rear door windows is about 3/4" wide. I was thinking of putting 3M VHB on the top and bottom and sticking the plywood panel in place. Can't use it on the sides because the window (and the metal frame around it) curves.

Not sure if there's a bid difference in which 3m to use 49xx, 52xx. Inside I might mount a towel bar, or something else on the wood on the inside. Don't want the wood to fall off on a hot or cold day!

Thinking about a similar setup to attach a wood frame around the slider door window, but not solid, just a frame around the edges to attach a curtain/shade to.

Your experience or thoughts?
 

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No experience, just thoughts. It just might work. I know Hein uses the stuff to stick on solar mounts, so it should work fine inside too. The wood needs to be smooth and splinter/dust free. A couple coats of epoxy would help ensure that. Just be sure to sand lightly afterward to remove the amine blush (post-cure film). Are you OK with "permanent"?
 

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For a non structural finish or accent piece I’d go for it. For something that has disaster written all over it if the tape fails (like the solar panels) I just can’t bring myself to trust any adhesive long term. Here in AZ we have had terrible luck with any glue or adhesive we leave through the summer. It makes one skeptical.
 

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I bet it works great! I used VHB for my solar panels in my last build and it was holding strong three years later. I tested it and the bolt was tearing through the al bracket before the VHB failed.

Agree with Steve, surface prep would be key.
 

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Problem I see is that curve is going to allow only a minute amount of contact area--only a thin horizontal line across top and bottom. Hold a vertical straight edge to it. I assume the solution would be a thicker tape intended for rough surfaces, but I'm guessing this wouldn't be the stress that tape was designed for.

Have you considered Velcro? Industrial strength rated for 140°F available on Amazon. This would add the advantage of being removeable. No matter how well you finish it, it will be exposed to the elements and eventually need refinishing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
MS, I may look into the Velcro thing. The industrial stuff is pretty strong.

RD, I was also thinking about a more lightweight panel instead of wood. Did you do some stuff with black ABS sheet material? If so, where did you get it?

Thanks all, for the ideas!
 

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The ceiling in my PM is all attached with VHB, been in Arizona/Texas heat and NW cold with no issues. I attached 1"X1" vinyl trim boards from Lowes to the roof side to side with the VHB then ran length wise Wainscot style boards front to back screwed into the 1x1. I did not want to drill holes in the roof cross rails and so far all is good
 

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I bought a 16"X48” X1/8” ABS panel from an eBay seller and cut it to fit the opening over the slider door and the two smaller openings over the back door's windows. I cut it with my bench saw and a jigsaw and installed it with self taping screws. It looks good like the factory interior panels and cut and installed easily. I noticed it was noisy when opening or closing the slider and just pulled it and added some double sided tape 1/2 inch wide. Not VHB stuff just the ordinary 3M product from the hardware store. I did reuse the screws so the tape is just a silencer.
 

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VHB would probably work as long as the plywood is smooth and dust free. VHB works better on smooth surfaces like metal or plastic. I've been using Loctite Fast Grab 8x adhesive to bond both wood and aluminum to the sheet metal in the van with good results (upper rear door panel mounts for example). Just use some duct tape or masking tape to hold it in place while it drys and seems super solid.
 

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For your critical VHB tape or VHB pad jobs to last, surface prep is the key. Here's 3M's tech sheet on that. http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/...0NI60IDFIPS8T3HR2000000_assetId=1361596607182
Thanks. That finally inspired me to do some serious VHB research. Wow, I had no idea how common it is. It's been around since 1980, and it's regularly used as a rivet replacement in trailer and RV body construction. #4941 works in most applications (80%), but not for irregular surfaces, powder coat, polyethylene, or polypropylene. There are VHB tapes for those and other special applications. Obviously, the bond over paint is only as good as the paint's bond to its substrate (over time). YouTube has tons of VHB how-to info, and tug-of-war tests. PS - it's also used to stick badging on vehicles.
 

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To improve VHB bond to unfinished porous surfaces, prime with some contact cement or 3M 90 spray adhesive. We attached our subwoofer panel and inverter/DC panel into the wall openings of our Transit with a perimeter of 1/4" wide VHB tape. These panels are made out of Celtec which has smooth faces but a porous core. We prime the machined surfaces that expose the core before applying the VHB.

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, Hein. That's do-able even with plywood! I would think a coat or two of Polyurethane would do the trick.

Hein,

I decided against the sunroof at the back of the van... as you said, too complicated making the curved adapter. I may however be able to squeak a Fantastic fan in at the back of the van. I found a company that has 'em with a flat cover and only 2.5" above the roof. Your adapters for fans should work well for that, right? Did you have special pricing for forum members? And what's the best way to order?

Thanks,
ed
 

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I used 1/4" 5952 VHB to attach formica laminated 1/8" luan panels to cover the upper open cavities in the slider and rear doors. They adhered really well and I don't foresee any issues. I didn't pre-treat the luan surface for the tape at all.
 

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How easily is VHB removed? I've been tempted to use it on the door panels, but they need to be easily removable.

Tyler, keep an eye on your panels. I put painted luan in mine and the panel on the slider is delaminating. That top edge is vulnerable.
 

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How easily is VHB removed? I've been tempted to use it on the door panels, but they need to be easily removable.

Tyler, keep an eye on your panels. I put painted luan in mine and the panel on the slider is delaminating. That top edge is vulnerable.
Thanks for the tip, I was thinking of finishing the exposed edges with poly or tough varnish. I can imagine the top edge of the slider panel will see some water at some point!

VHB won't work well for panels that you want to be able to easily remove and service. You could probably get thicker (1/2"+) finished panels removed without destroying them, but anything thinner will probably break apart in the process. I used rivnuts and pretty stainless pan head screws for the lower door panels that I may need to remove to service the handle/locking mechanisms. I do like the clean look of the panels attached with vhb tape better though!
 
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