The Doors

I’ve spent a couple of sessions in the workshop fiddling with the doors – or to be more precise, the drivers door. As mentioned in previous posts, the doors have never fitted very well and because I braced the shell before I chopped all the panels out and replaced them, everything is as it was before – and the doors don’t fit any better than they did before I started, if anything the fit is worse than it was before.

Being an upbeat sort of chap, I made a plan. No amount of hinge packing would make up the discrepancy and I’m either left with a large gap at the bottom of the door (at the front) or the top of the frame at the rear. I could (and probably will have to) give the door a bit of a ‘heave ho’ to twist it into shape. Anyway, before this I thought it would be best to flip the body on its side, lay the door into the opening and then adjust the hinges to fit. Brilliant…

on its side – easy peasy

Looking up through the passenger door opening (this is a left hand drive van) here’s the door sitting in its aperture as viewed from underneath

Note the large ‘Air gap’s at the bottom – not good

With the hinges in place, there’s clearly something amis. No amount of packing with the flat packing pieces is going to make up the wedge shaped gap between the flat faces of the door and the hinges. So, I’m either going to have to make up a ‘wedge’ of steel to bridge the gap – or bend the hinges into shape. More on this later, because the act of flipping the shell onto its side has exposed the underbelly of the beast, which needs a bit of attention. Here’s what it looks like from a distance – not too shabby… N’est-ce pas?

New floors, sills and toe board from underneath on the left and to the right, the original ‘van’ part of the body

On closer inspection, you can see a bit of crustiness on the front crossmember – at the top of the picture. Close up – there’s a hole.

I cleaned it up with the wire brush on the angle grinder (an unforgiving tool) and the hole became larger.

I chopped out the rust with the cutting disk on the grinder and was left with a neat hole, 6 inches by 1 inch wide, into which I placed a patch of 3ml steel, held in place with a magnet, which enabled me to weld the edges..

A bit of tidying up with the flap wheel and and a dusting of primer – and it’s looking much better. I’ll put a bit of seam sealer over the weld before I paint it later. This part of the crossmember needs to be strong as it the jacking point is fixed to the end of it.

Actually, sorting this small bit of corrosion out has offset the door / hinge issues nicely and I was quite happy to leave it at that for the day. More on the hinges in the next post. There’s a forge and anvil at the workshop, so I’m going to have a go at re-shaping the hinges (opening them out a bit), to see if that helps solve the problem. The doors are not the original van doors, when I took the door cards off, they are painted red inside and are off a much later 2CV saloon. Perhaps the dimensions of the AK350 doors is different to later models – someone might know, but not me.

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