The White GTE Doors
Something was keeping the door of the white GTE from closing and I was asked to take a look. Door fitment is something that often has to happen all the way back to when the car was stripped to bare metal. There are dozens of factors that can affect door fit. Hinge pins, body mounts, pinch welds, door frames, weather stripping, and striker plates all play a role in how the door closes. Sometimes a solution cannot be reached without stripping the whole door down, but I was willing to give it a shot just short of repainting the door!
I started methodically removing each part of the door and checking the door closure on each step. When the door finally closed with decent clearance and little effort, I found the problem. It turned out the door frame was tilted a little too far inboard and was putting pressure on the door as it closed, preventing the door from fully closing. Adjusting all the parameters to make it work better helped a lot. The new weather stripping will still needed to be compressed, but at least the door is closing properly!
With the door disassembled, I had to address some steps that were missed like gluing in the window felts. I would have preferred doing this with the window frame out of the car, but after getting it to fit the door, I didn’t want to pull it and start all over again with the alignment.
I also riveted a new window scrubber piece to the inner cap molding. It takes three times longer to get these perfectly lined up with the original holes than when this part was originally installed. When the factory installed the felt, they drilled the holes and screwed the felts in place. When I installed the felts, I had to individually line up the holes, drill the next hole making sure the felt was flat and in tension, and move onto the next one. With all the rivets lined up, I applied contact cement to the felt to insure everything was nice and flat, and then pop the rivets in place. They originally used flat head phillips screws, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t!
Another thing on my list was to see if I could wire in the dome light. It looks like when the upholsterer installed the headliner, he forgot to pull the wire through the headliner for the dome light. Doh! Finding the original wire with the headliner installed was going to be tricky, and I didn’t see it heading out toward the dome light, so I decided it was easier to run a new wire. Since I had the weather stripping out of the left door frame I could sneak the wire along the edge of the door fame down to the door switch. After a couple tries at fishing the wire, I got the wire where I needed and knocked another item off the list!
I stopped work on the left door so I could address the mounting of the side view mirror. With the door apart, it will make it a lot easier to mount the mirror, so I turned my attention to the right door. With all the adjustments, the left door now closes better than the right door, so I decided to see if I could make improvements with the right door as well.
The right door’s problem was the door panel was not aligned properly and sitting a little too low and forward. As the door closed, it was hitting against the door opening and putting tension on the door latch. Getting the door panel to fit better allowed the door to close with less slamming. The re-positioned door had a cascading affect on the clearance of the door panel holes, so I had to cut the door panel holes so the knobs could poke through.
I also re-worked the window crank the best I could. The cable set up was not ideal, but I manged to get the pulleys and cables to line up better so there was less binding. Each little improvement allowed the whole door to work better and smoother. I also installed a vapor barrier to help seal some of the moisture away from the door panel. Although this car is headed to Southern California, Tom Wilson insists it rains out there!