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Confirm assumption about 'squaring up' and fitting doors in K-body Hardtop WITHOUT WINDOWS

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  • Body / Glass: Confirm assumption about 'squaring up' and fitting doors in K-body Hardtop WITHOUT WINDOWS

    hi,
    you know what they say about assumptions....
    So thought I'd confirm one of mine here.
    Working on replacing floors and rockers and front floor-to-body support arm, in my '57 Golden Hawk and have both doors OFF. (photo) I do have the angle-iron 'cage' welded in, (yes, higher than optimum... but now I can put my doors back on WITHOUT moving the angle-irons, which was why I welded them there....had originally hoped to NOT remove doors)
    It has been highly recommended that I REINSTALL the doors to check for even gaps, before I weld anything, as I am replacing the support arms.
    Doors are completely gutted (no windows, handles, latches etc.) so 'reinstalling' will simply be screwing the hinges back into the cowl and moving door (if it moves much? Not sure there is much lee-way in those hinges) to confirm gaps.

    I ASSUME that the hardtops had enough adjustments and lee-way in the door glass and rear-quarter glass assemblies mounting to accomodate any modifications that might be required to original door fit?
    Seems any adjustment I am 'allowed' to make by where the hinges get screwed back in would be minor and easily adjustable for glass later during THAT reinstallation. (needed new glass anyway) :-) And if I can't get doors square by nudging around the hinges as-is, I have some modifying to do to my new sheetmetal. In my other hobby, pocketwatch restoration, the rule is 'never modify the original part, always make the NEW part fit the old...." Seems same advice holds here. :-)

    Just checking. Thanks!
    Barry
    Attached Files
    Last edited by bsrosell; 11-27-2011, 04:57 AM.

  • #2
    I've never worked on a K-body,but I can tell you my C-body has barely enough adjustment to make up for the added weight of the glass and mechanisms.[ Not much adjustment at all] I would definitely bolt the doors on and open and close them often during the wleding phase.[check and recheck the gaps,and plumb with fenders]
    Oglesby,Il.

    Comment


    • #3
      Whew! When I first read the title of your thread, I thought I was going to read a nightmare story of someone hanging a pillar post out in space and discovering the folly of trying to "eye-ball" it back into a correct position. Glad to see you are seeking help before that scenario.

      I agree with 52hawk...these cars had fit issues off the line and anything you can do to assure good fit is time well spent. If you go the museum in South Bend and see the piece of art that is the gauge block for the C-cabs on display...you will understand the importance of making certain of squaring up a body. Those C-cabs are one of the neatest buttoned-up cockpits in the industry. They had relatively short doors and are for the most part very compact sheet metal "capsules." Even there, engineers saw the need for the gauge block for checking dimensions...so much more for the coupes and passenger cars.

      I admire the work you are doing and know the difficulties. If more of us attempted this work...there would be fewer critics. Once you are done, you can take comfort in the fact that few of the folks, viewing the results, have ever done the work themselves.
      John Clary
      Greer, SC

      SDC member since 1975

      Comment


      • #4
        ah, another good example of why I ask questions; your comments make me think (for first time) if the 'added weight' of all the glass and metal in the 'accessories' hanging on a fully loaded door will change it's 'hang' enough that I should actually be targeting a slightly larger gap at the top vs bottom NOW (at door handle side), because the extra weight will pull her down into more-square orientation?
        hmm. never thought about that. But, those doors are pretty sturdy, as are those dang hinges from personal hours of intimate experience with them last week. :-)
        Originally posted by 52hawk View Post
        I've never worked on a K-body,but I can tell you my C-body has barely enough adjustment to make up for the added weight of the glass and mechanisms.[ Not much adjustment at all] I would definitely bolt the doors on and open and close them often during the wleding phase.[check and recheck the gaps,and plumb with fenders]

        Comment


        • #5
          I had a real solid K body to start with on my Speedster project, But still had to add an 1/8 in. to the passenger side door to get all the gaps correct.
          I like it now, but don't know how many folks notice it.
          Klif
          55 Speedster/Street Machine
          63 Avanti R2
          64 Convertible R1

          Comment


          • #6
            My K body came off. My doors came off, the glass was all out and it went back together many times before it was right. Even the rubber spacers on the body to frame mounts will change the alignment. It was all lined up and then the trim was added and lined up, then removed, again, for paint. All the panels came back off for paint and then the process continued. Finally adding the glass did not change any door or panel alignment. Getting the rear quarter window regulators to work properly caused a few relapses, but it finally went back together straight. I spend the good money on professionals after a few failed attempts with friends. Good luck. You will love the final result.
            Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)

            Comment


            • #7
              The door, 1/4 and rockers all need to be fitted BEFORE welding. The fender has enough adjustment on it to compensate for any misalignment. BUT, if the doors, rocker & 1/4 fit, the fender will fit. Yes, the mounts under the body can & will change the gaps! Just as much as the bolts need to be tight!
              It is MUCH easier to move the sheet metal around before it's welded, then after! Be sure to use a weld thru primer for corrosion protection, before you weld. Also, be sure to spray some kind of body wax or other corrosion protection inside the panels. All of the above are available at your local automotive paint store, and they are NOT that expensive.

              Jim
              "We can't all be Heroes, Some us just need to stand on the curb and clap as they go by" Will Rogers

              We will provide the curb for you to stand on and clap!


              Indy Honor Flight www.IndyHonorFlight.org

              As of Veterans Day 2017, IHF has flown 2,450 WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans to Washington DC at NO charge! to see
              their Memorials!

              Comment


              • #8
                Gauge Block for K Coupes

                Originally posted by jclary View Post
                Whew! When I first read the title of your thread, I thought I was going to read a nightmare story of someone hanging a pillar post out in space and discovering the folly of trying to "eye-ball" it back into a correct position. Glad to see you are seeking help before that scenario.

                I agree with 52hawk...these cars had fit issues off the line and anything you can do to assure good fit is time well spent. If you go the museum in South Bend and see the piece of art that is the gauge block for the C-cabs on display...you will understand the importance of making certain of squaring up a body. Those C-cabs are one of the neatest buttoned-up cockpits in the industry. They had relatively short doors and are for the most part very compact sheet metal "capsules." Even there, engineers saw the need for the gauge block for checking dimensions...so much more for the coupes and passenger cars.

                I admire the work you are doing and know the difficulties. If more of us attempted this work...there would be fewer critics. Once you are done, you can take comfort in the fact that few of the folks, viewing the results, have ever done the work themselves.
                It's amusing to me to hear all these comments about the struggle to get proper fit. When I was in the trade 40 years ago and a new car arrived from the factory to be prepped for the floor, a copy of Hotrod magazine was our favorite adjustment tool. We'd loosen up hinges and latches just a tiny bit - enough to move things with a lot of force - and then we'd close that copy of hotrod magazine between the leading edge of the door and the back of the fender and along the bottom or trailing edge of the doors, moving it as needed. Once we got the door where we wanted it, someone would carefully open the door while supporting its weight while someone else would use an impact driver to set the hinge screws and the latch screws.

                I remember when I first saw it done. I cringed, half expecting to see the leading edge of the door bend inward. Somehow, that never happened.

                As I read this thread I was thinking that door stampings and hinge castings/assembly are going to be pretty consistent but that it would be the inconsistency of 50's era welds and flexibility that would cause these kinds of issues. To a large degree, I suppose the thick door rubbers were supposed to help with this.

                Just as I was wondering to myself whether Studebaker had a standard set of dimensions for the openings you mentioned the gauge block.

                It stands to reason, at least in my mind, that if one were to measure specific dimensions on, say, about ten or twelve separate K coupes that one could come up with a template for a gauge block that would be within about an 1/8-inch of optimum on all axis. This would probably work on all body series.

                There are fixed reference points at the rear door post area. Using a drawing and measuring from these reference points while using a protractor to determine azimuths, I think it would be possible to come up with a template for a gauge block if ten or twelve owners of restored or original K coupes with good-fitting doors would be willing to take some measurements on some pre-defined axis and then post the results. It would probably result in results like, "Axis A should be XX.X inches + 1/8 inch; axis B should be XX.X inches + within 1/8 inch.

                Folks could use those dimensions to create their own gauge blocks so that things could be fixed in place prior to welding in order to minimize welding shrinkage and creep.

                Of course, you realize, I have a selfish motivation for such a suggestion; I have a K coupe with the glass still in and the doors on, but I've already taken it off the chassis and noticed a definite difference. So much so that I don't think I could get accurate measurements now. This body is going to need a lot of welding. Before I start removing old metal, I'd like to kind of lock things in place.

                If I come up with a sketch with defined axis, are there any K coupe owners out there that would be willing to take some measurements on my behalf and on behalf of the brethren and email them to me? With that info I can probably come up with a full size template done on graph paper, scan it, shrink it and post it here.

                Mike O'Handley
                Kenmore, Washington
                hausdok@msn.com
                Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
                Kenmore, Washington
                hausdok@msn.com

                '58 Packard Hawk
                '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
                '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
                '69 Pontiac Firebird
                (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Good idea Mike! (mine won't qualify for you obviously :-)
                  Good suggestions on prep and triple-checking prior to welding. I already have my can of 3M "weldable primer" for the body mounts and tops of torque boxes and all edges, and a can of Bill Hirsch Miracle Paint (ie: POR15 basically) that I'll swab around as far as I can reach INSIDE the torque boxes before they get sealed up 'forever'. Have just enough floor cut out that with my long arms (I'm 6'6") I think I can get the entire inside with a sponge or foam brush....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you are having any second thoughts about the bare doors being different from a fully fitted door with glass and all the mechanisms and bits, (they are--I have NOS bare shell SASCO front and rear sedan doors out in the shed) why not hang a couple sandbags or similar but thinner over the empty window channel, half inside, and half out, same weight as the missing bits? I thought of those sandbags I put over the tunnels for dog Agility, but something less bulky would work as well, to give the hinges the proper heft and weight to work with before doing interim adjustments.
                    Last edited by Jim B PEI; 11-27-2011, 09:25 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You can get all the measurements you want from members and their cars. However, if other members are as bad at reading a simple ruler as I am...you would be in a world of hurt. I think nothing is better than actual fitting of the parts.

                      As recent as the late 90's, while visiting some automotive assembly plants, I saw crowbars, wooden boards, and assorted improvised tools along assembly lines used for aligning doors and panels. With all our technology and science...there remains an aspect of "art" to the trade.
                      John Clary
                      Greer, SC

                      SDC member since 1975

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm following these threads closely, as I'm a step or two behind brosell. I'm doing a floor repair, body brace and torque box replacement, and a frame swap. After following along here I've decided to do as much as I can with doors, fenders, etc. in place. I'll leave the body on the old frame until the structural repairs are complete, and the finish work after the frame swap.
                        Dwight 54 Commander hardtop

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          yet another clever idea regarding the adding of some weight to the doors. thanks! :-)

                          Here's another question unthought of until now: how much do you guys end up playing around with adding/subtracting rubber body shims upon final assembly? 52Ragtop's comments got me thinking about that, too. (real question; how much "improvement" is achievable by means of adjusting rubber pads when mounting the body after paint (or more likely after starting to bolt everything together tightly and finding "not quite right".
                          On my Model-A Ford, there are wooden body blocks, with rubber shims on top, and I spent a considerable amount of time under that car AFTER it was all done and painted (body off) to get hood gap and door gaps "close" (never did get 'perfect', but.... a year later it doesn't bother me anymore. Drove me crazy for a few days. ;-)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            When I was doing my business coupe, I supported the body at the frame mount points as much as possible. When I had the doors on, I tried to work with the doors closed as much as I could. Any time I needed to work with a door open, I would place blocks and a small bottle jack for support under the door to keep the overhanging weight from flexing and warping the body.

                            As far as rubber pads...I think their main purpose is for sound deadening. I think I would use metal spacer plates or washers for body shims in conjunction with rubber insulators for the purpose of leveling and frame height dimensions.
                            John Clary
                            Greer, SC

                            SDC member since 1975

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bsrosell View Post
                              yet another clever idea regarding the adding of some weight to the doors. thanks! :-)

                              Here's another question unthought of until now: how much do you guys end up playing around with adding/subtracting rubber body shims upon final assembly? 52Ragtop's comments got me thinking about that, too. (real question; how much "improvement" is achievable by means of adjusting rubber pads when mounting the body after paint (or more likely after starting to bolt everything together tightly and finding "not quite right".
                              On my Model-A Ford, there are wooden body blocks, with rubber shims on top, and I spent a considerable amount of time under that car AFTER it was all done and painted (body off) to get hood gap and door gaps "close" (never did get 'perfect', but.... a year later it doesn't bother me anymore. Drove me crazy for a few days. ;-)
                              Barry

                              When I lowered my 54K body back on the frame after totally rebuilding the lower side on a rotisserie, I lowered it until the closest point was one rubber mount away from the frame and added shims and rubber mounts to the remaining locations until the body was supported by all the mounting points. I'd only used one rubber mount per position and the remainder, steel shims. When I tightened it down I was amazed to find it was pretty stiff with all the new steel panels, troughs and mounts. Then I hung the quarter panels and then the doors.

                              You are correct that this is the time to renew the mounting rubber. I used pieces of conveyor belt I found. Old tires work well too.

                              Jim (52 ragtop ) said it well, be sure everything that can be tight is tight before you adjust the doors. You'll find out why all the door screws need to be functional when you start adjusting the doors.

                              Bob

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