Sunday, November 16, 2008

Driver's door

Fun weekend. Spent the entire weekend on the driver's side door, and it isn't even close to finished. The door consists of a fiberglass "skin" over a steel frame.

I'm following the directions Mark Dougherty posted a while back instead of the FFR directions. First I trimmed the door skin to just fit the opening with tight gaps. This wasn't hard, but it was a little bit scary because I really didn't want to trim too much. I tried a couple of methods but what worked best was an angle grinder with a flap wheel. A light touch is essential!

Next I worked on the door frame. Got the welded bolts roughly parallel, ran a thread die over all of them to clean up the weld oxidation, and ground out the slots on the hinge arm for a "sloppy" (i.e., adjustable) fit. Opened up the factory door hinge cutouts (they were way too small) and installed the hinge and frame. Opened up the hinge cutouts some more to allow full motion. I also installed one shim washer under the upper bolt of the hinge mount bracket to get the angle of the frame a little better.

Then I installed the striker bolt, and adjusted the door frame to engage it. Perfect. But then I hit the first big snag.

Dougherty's directions call for sliding the door skin over the frame while the frame is already mounted and aligned on the latch. But the cutout on the front of the door is not large enough to fit the frame/hinge arm assembly as a unit. OK, fine. A bigger cutout is no big deal. 30 seconds with the Dremel and I have the skin on the frame, feeling like I'm a genius because fitting the doors is supposed to be really hard and I'm almost done.

Center the door skin on the body. Easy. Clamp the door to the frame. Oops. Not even close. The genius feeling is gone.

I have a few problems to work out. I need to extend the striker a little bit more, which should be easy. I need to shim the hinge forward on the frame a bit, which is also pretty easy. I need to grind out the slots on the hinge arm to angle the door up even more. No trouble. Shouldn't be more than 10-20 hours more work and I'll have a working door on the driver's side.

1 comment:

meng_mao said...

:/ that much work just to put the door on. Why is it so hard -- bad factory tolerances?