Friday, November 13, 2015

Picked up a pair of half doors locally from a dismantler, Jeffrey had decided against the full doors for a couple of reasons. One not having the open air aspect and also the drivers door appeared to have been repaired sometime in it's life and was out of shape. We had picked these up at the u-pull. Repairs would have been too costly and finding another set would be scarce and new ones too costly. Now that we had the body dimensions squared away from the top install, door alignment was pretty straight forward. We used a method found on the internet of using a threaded rod thru the windshield hinge to align the lower hinge. Shell Valley glassed in a steel plate in that location, so all that was needed was to drill and tap to thread in the bolts. Holes were marked first before drilling then removed the threaded rod and held the half doors in place to verify alignment. Accuracy is vital here because the steel plate can't move for minor adjustment like on a steel body, where the plate is not fixed and can move around. Only then were the holes drilled and tapped. Now with the doors hinged, attention was moved to the latches. There are several manufactures that make latches for fiberglass bodied Jeeps. Some looked pretty nice. But for as cheap as we are, we decided that we could make the originals work. These
came from a YJ and were modified to mount to a flat surface. I figured since a steel plate was installed for the hinges that one might have been put in for the latches. A magnet was used and one was found. The magnet was moved around to find the outer edges and marked. With the latch rough cut, it was determined that the leading edge of fiberglass would have to be removed to locate the latch pin to mate with the door. This was done with a series of drills, multi tool and chisels. Wood reinforcement was found around the door edge. Now to make a perfect fit, I can only say 6 different small pieces of sheet metal were fabricated from cardboard patterns and tack welded in place, checked for fit then
final welded. Using a combination of stick and mig was that accomplished. Very tedious work done by Jeffrey then grinding and filling with JB Weld (done by me, he is not a fan of body work) a few thin layers of body filler then primed produced a presentable latch. After it was aligned holes were drilled into the glassed in steel plate and tapped. The rear hole will have to be done upon removal of the roll bar during tear down. The pin is still fully adjustable as stock. The rubber weatherstripping was removed from the doors for this procedure to make it easier to do all the alignment. We have more time in these latches than we care to admit, but resulted in a very solid latch. Not only are they fastened to the
 steel plate but, they wrap around the door edge and are secured with sheet metal trim screws into the wood. The rear top edge of the door does make contact with the body which will have to be addressed. Don't know at this point if the YJ doors differ or is it an issue with the fiberglass body.


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