Monday, December 6, 2010

Your door is ajar... Your door is ajar...

We all should be proud of the cars we drive.  But sometimes we can't blame ourselves for embarrassing things our cars do.  The exhaust can smell bad, or a light is flickery --not so bad.  Driving on a flat tire is bad, it would make a grown man scrunch down in his seat.  Then there is the backfire --although rare, it is really-really bad!

Maybe most embarrassing of all, something people never let you forget, and children will point and giggle!  Yes it's --flying doors!!

You're pulling into a drive-in or show and a door, on the opposite side of the car, swings open as if to expose your car's weakness for a cheap laugh --nooo!

THIS CAN BE PREVENTED!!  Mindless door swinging may occur due to worn or broken latches, panel misalignment, or just plain forgetting to close a door fully --you silly person.  Then when you are driving along, or making a turn, or driving up or off a driveway, the body may twist just enough to launch your door into the open breeze.  And it's an especially bad problem on old roadsters, let me tell you. 

In my case, is was a misalignment problem.  The rear quarter panels and door didn't meet properly causing the passenger door pop open on the slightest bump or twist of the body.

So last week I used my last two use-them-or-lose-them vacation days from work to fix Daytons 'haunted door' problem. 

 The fix requires a strap placed diagonally across the inner trunk that would 'square-off' the rear of the body.  I made a strap using 3/16" cold rolled bar, heated & bent to form hooks & loops, and used a store bought turnbuckle for adjustment.  I made a bracket to attached it at the top to the quarter-to-upper panel seam.  At the bottom, I anchored it to an old piece of angle iron welded to the subframe (used to support the gas tank.)

<<<< BEFORE                      AFTER >>>>

 I know it doesn't look like much.  But that little bit has it made all the difference

By tightening the turnbuckle, it brings the driver-side upper quarter closer to the passenger-side lower quarter, squaring the body just enough to close the door gaps.  Now the wide gaps are lessened,  the result is better door latching and no more embarrassing door flying.

It took me two whole days to make that parts, install them, and relocate the gas tank a couple of inches from where it was before.  And I finished it just in time to take the car to the Petersen Swap Meet the next morning at 6.  Boy, what a load off my mind!