Fir trees are small plastic fasteners used to attach interior trim panels to the body. They are also known as door panel retainers and trim panel clips. They allow trim pieces to be attached without any visible anchors by hiding the anchors in the back of the trim. In the DeLorean, they can commonly be found on securing the upper and lower door panels, the door headliners, the door A-pillar trim, and the rear side wall trim panels covering the rear speakers.
Design and Use Edit
Fir trees are plastic fasteners featuring a cap and a segmented shaft. The cap at the base of the fir tree is permanently attached to the trim panel, while the longer, corrugated shaft is inserted into holes in the body. The teeth on the shaft catch onto the edge of the hole, locking the trim panel in place. The pointed end helps guide the shaft into the hole in the body. The flexible ledge between the cap and the shaft provides constant outward pressure against the shaft's teeth, ensuring that the panel stays locked in place and fees secure.
To put a panel into the car that uses fir trees, simply line up the fir trees with the holes in the body and firmly push them into place. The trees will lock securely, and the panel will be tightly attached to the body. Removing the panel is simply a matter of firmly pulling on it until the fir trees iares free of their holes. A flathead screwdriver or small pry bar can make it easier to free the panel's fir tree from the body, if you can get it between the body and the trim. Be sure to pull the panel only straight away from the holes; pulling at an angle will cause the fir trees to grip more tightly and may damage the panel or force the fir trees to pull out of the panel.
After removing a trim panel enough times, the fir trees will start to wear out. The tree's teeth will become bent and broken, no longer gripping the hole in the body sufficiently. The only solution is to replace the fir trees.
There are many styles of fir trees on the market. The ones used in the DeLorean are similar to those used in Fords from 1981 to 1994, and can be found at many auto parts stores. Bringing an old fir tree with you to the shop can make it easier for them to find a proper match.
An old firm tree can be removed from the panel by pulling and twisting it with a pair of pliers. It is not uncommon for them to be very hard to remove, as they are not meant to come out.
Once removed, a new fir tree can be inserted into the original hole. Again, this is quite difficult due to the fact that the base of the fir tree must be larger than the hole in order to release it. You may want to trim the base down with a Dremel or similar tool to make it easier to insert into the existing hole. Don't trim it too small, though, or it won't stay mounted in the trim.
Online Resources Edit
- DeLorean Reborn has an article on Fixing The More Difficult Fir Trees, where he needed to replace the fir trees in his door's A-pillar trim. He cut off the old fir trees with a dremel, and removed the vinyl covering to get to the orphaned caps, inserting new trees into the holes.