Monday, 3 September 2012

Parts 5 and 6.

 Parts 1 & 2 here.
(Short cut to part 3 click here) (Part 4 here)

Part 5.
Friday 29th Dec. 2006

Well, after a fairly heavy bout of flu which lasted for most of the month, and several unsuccessful attempts a couple of days both before and after Christmas, trying various different methods to remove the driver’s door, I finally managed it that morning with the help of my father who had been here for the week.
Bottom Hinge

I had for several weeks been squirting WD40 into the door hinge plates and running it down the cracks that I’d chopped into the filler that the door hinges had been set into to see if I could get the bolts to move without too much surgery. Our first attempt was with a big Philips screwdriver and a 4lb club hammer. I may as well have been trying to break open a bank vault with a Banana. So, next try was with an impact driver. Nope! No good either. Dynamite might work though.
Top Hinge
6/80 Club member Dave Ribbons in Australia (before he decided for some strange reason not to talk to me any more….dunno why) suggested using a large Philips screwdriver or cross head driver bit welded to either a nut, or a socket with a tommy bar, and then using a long metal extension, jam it against the B post (with the rear door closed) then wedge it up with blocks of wood in order to get some steady pressure on it.

Then turn the tommy bar. He said he’d had great success with this method so I gave it a go. If you look at the diagram here (below) you’ll see that I used a jack to load the pressure. Was she gonna budge? No way mate! All I succeeded in doing was chewing the head of the screw to bits. It’s a great idea and in situations where the screws may not be as rusted or jammed in there as badly as mine then it’d work a treat, hence my inclusion of the diagram so that anyone who wants to try it can see for themselves how to do it. Dave was a great source of information and sensible advice, odd that he suddenly went all strange. Ah well, nowt as queer as folk eh?

So, here above is Dave Ribbon’s “A” post door hinge bolt removing tool with a slight adaptation from me, ie, the hydraulic jack. Please forgive the small syntax error, I only noticed it after I’d pasted the diagram in and couldn’t be bothered to change it. What syntax error? 10 points if you notice it. First prize is a night in my company, second prize, three nights. Don’t ask about the consolation prize…

Paul Sinclair in Germany (another great source of helpful info, he had my 680 at the time, as you may have read), had suggested to me that I might need to grind the screw heads off with a power file, or maybe even drill them right through, then upon reassembly rethread the holes in metric and fit hex head stainless steel countersunk bolts in place. That’s what I decided to do. At my first attempts with an electric drill I managed to get through the screws on the hinge plate closest to the body but the outers were a different kettle of fish. I couldn’t get the drill in there, not even with the door retaining strap removed and the door pushed right out at right angles.

That morning, (still Friday 29th) armed with compressor, air drill and bits, Dad (Brian by the way, see pic) and I, re-visited the Mojo who was looking decidedly dejected. With dad holding the door wide open I got in there and drilled away. I used short bursts to avoid overheating the drill bit which did the job nicely but it wasn’t possible to get the angle dead right so there were still small bits of the screws hanging on in there which just wouldn’t let go. The bodger who had “Done” the A posts had not only set the hinges into a lake of filler but had allowed the filler to impregnate up through the bolt holes in the hinge plates, so that the bolts were actually held into their holes with filler round the threads and just drilling the heads off had no effect whatsoever. I had to drill them right out and go through into the A post hinge retaining plates themselves, what was left of them that is.

With the two of us leaning on the door which we kept in the “nearly closed” position so that we got maximum leverage on the hinges, it finally gave way and came off with a creak and a groan. Oh dear! What a sorry looking mess. I later discovered that the way to do A posts is to leave the door on, to get the lines right and avoid distortion, and to work from the wing side, but … well in the end I didn’t have to do them, so it was okay, but now I know.
The skin of metal on the A post was about 22SWG if that, more like Baco foil actually, and was stuck down over a skim of filler, which was in turn layered over a rusty lace curtain which pretended to be the A post. If this was the state of the better side of the car, goodness knows what I’d find on the other.

With the driver’s door in my old ‘72 Mercedes’ boot (you could almost get a coffin in there, it was that big-Merc W115 220D auto, lovely thing.) and a satisfied smirk on my pug, I toddled off home and put the door in my little work room. That evening I had a go at getting the hinges off. The bottom one gave in without too much of a struggle. I fitted a large Philips bit into the impact driver and gave it a whack or two, penetrating oil, whack, oil, whack. A bit of heat from a blowtorch (dig those fumes man) whack. They gave in. Out came the screws. The top hinge was a bit harder, I gave it the heat and oil treatment and a few whacks but it was still being stubborn so I left things overnight to soak and see what happened the following afternoon, then have a go at getting the door frame off and try to repair the crack just below the quarter light frame.

This is a common thing on Morris minors too, and on cars where the door pull has either broken or is missing, or where the owner habitually closes the door by pulling on the quarter light window catch or inner door handle.
Lead loading on top edge
It causes the top of the door structure to stress crack. I decided to weld that up, grind it flush and then have a go at the door bottom.
Spitty welding ran out of gas.

Crack welded up and ground down.

Sunday 31st Dec.

Here are some photos of the door bottom, I cut out the rusty corner of the door skin and grafted a piece of steel in.
I’d never done it before but I had several very good books about sheet metal forming on car bodywork, making flanges etc., books I bought over the internet. I understood what I had to do so it was up to me to see if I could do it. If I got it wrong I’d just have to do it all over again!

Rusty section of door bottom cut away.
Pictured also are the two screws that hold the door frame at the top. Unfortunately I had a bit of a wobbly fit when I took the photos, too much beer probably, so they’re not quite as sharp as I’d have liked, but you can just about see the location of the screws. One came out okay; the other had to be drilled through. Further down are two 7/16 bolts. I say 7/16 because that’s the AF size socket that fitted them, they’re probably 95/715ths Whitworth or something. These two bolts hold the bottom of the window frame in place and there are also two nuts which are quite tricky to reach which are just under the quarter light frame.
Window frame must be rotated to extract it.
When removing the door frame you have to pull it half out, and then rotate it through 180° otherwise it won’t come out.

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