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Door Gap Adjustment

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andy303 Avatar
andy303 Gold Member Andrew Blackley
Chardon, OH, USA   USA
I am looking at a car that had a frame off restoration about 10 years ago. The gap of the doors at the top seems too small. Perhaps it closed up over time and gravity. While the doors open and close ok, but it appears that the body flex on the road is causing some paint chipping which is just visible in the photo below.

Is it possible to open the gap at the top by adding a shim(s) to the front body mount? Or shim the upper hinge?

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andy303 Avatar
andy303 Gold Member Andrew Blackley
Chardon, OH, USA   USA
Perhaps I need to expand my question. I have google searched the three primary Triumph fora and it appears possible that the body packings used under the outrigger mounts can be susceptible to deterioration over time, one post even suggesting that the rubber compounds could "cold flow" over time. This can affect door gaps such that a gap that once as 1/8" may now be less than 1/16", which could not jam the door on a stationary car but might cause rubbing due to scuttle shake underway.

My question is, if this is indeed the case, is it feasible to replace these packings on a finished car? What is the best way to do that? Place a jack under the sill adjacent to mount, remove the bolts (loosen the other mounting bolts too?) and carefully jack the body enough to withdraw and replace the packings?

Thanks in advance,
Andy

CJD john durant
Southlake, TX, USA   USA
The packings would more affect the rear door gap than the front. They will not do anything to change your top gap. To decrease the gap at the top, the door hinges must be loosened and the front of the door moved downward...which will, in turn, reduce your bottom front gap. Of course, lowering the door at the hinges will also reduce the rear bottom gap.

The simple act of moving the hinges will also affect the in and out position of the door. Now, front gap can be decreased and rear gap increased by removing the hinges and compressing them in a vice or tapping with a hammer. The opposite can be accomplished by spreading the hinges or shimming them.

The angle of the door can be changed by altering the body mounts, or adjusting the hinges as above individually instead of together.

None of this is difficult...but I would allow about 10 hours per door!! Everything you do affects everything else, so it is a matter of loosen, wing it, tighten, check...and start over. It is extremely time consuming, and you could end up with a door worse than when you started if you do not stick it out until the end.



John
Southlake, TX

'55 TR2

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Tobyallen Avatar
Tobyallen Michael A
Maple Ridge, BC, Canada   CAN
About ten years ago I restored a Camaro Z28. Probably the worst mistake I made was removing the doors for doing the body work. I wanted all the Jambs and undersides of doors finished as good as the body. They fit perfectly before I removed them. When i reinstalled doors in preparation for body paint had a nightmare of a time aligning for body contours. Never gotten fit to my satisfaction. TR3 doors are so much lighter so would be much easier but it is NOT an easy task. Extremely fiddly! But it’s not acceptable to have the doors binding on the front fenders, chipping up what looks to be a pretty nice paint job.I think you’re forced to rectify the issue no matter how you accomplish it.Patience is the ticket!!! Good luck!

brucejon Avatar
brucejon Gold Member Bruce Jones
Santa Cruz, CA, USA   USA
1960 Triumph TR3A
1963 Triumph TR3B "Tupperware TR3"
1969 Triumph Spitfire MkIII
1972 Triumph TR6
A trick I picked up somewhere is to drill 1/8 holes through the hinges, doors, and body before loosening/removing the hinges as alignment holes. When you reinstall the doors use 1/8 drill bits to realign everything



60 TR3A (red), 62 TR3B project, 72 TR6, 69 Mk3 Spitfire EU setup
https://spitfiremk3.wordpress.com

andy303 Avatar
andy303 Gold Member Andrew Blackley
Chardon, OH, USA   USA
Thanks for your input guys.

John: to increase the gap at the top front would shims work best placed behind the upper hinge? Is it better to put the shim between the hinge and the door or between the hinge and the A post?

I saw the youtube video by Chef Tush where he made a shim from gasket paper and placed it between the lower hinge and A post to close the upper gap, so I assume that one placed at the upper hinge would have the opposite effect. Its not clear but it looks as if the screws on the other hinge were not disturbed.

link: starting around 5:25

CJD john durant
Southlake, TX, USA   USA
In reply to # 1592562 by andy303

John: to increase the gap at the top front would shims work best placed behind the upper hinge? Is it better to put the shim between the hinge and the door or between the hinge and the A post?

This will work, BUT!, it will lower the rear of the door, so the bottom gap will change. Specifically, if you shim the top hinge alone, the door will tilt to the rear, opening the top of your front gap, the bottom of the rear gap...and closing the rear bottom gap, while leaving the front bottom gap about the same.

So, if you can accept all the related changes, then the answer is yes to your question. Unfortunately, it is never that simple aligning these doors, where only one change fixes everything.

Take pics of all 3 gaps and we can give you some detailed ideas on how best to handle it.



John
Southlake, TX

'55 TR2

andy303 Avatar
andy303 Gold Member Andrew Blackley
Chardon, OH, USA   USA
In reply to # 1592630 by CJD
In reply to # 1592562 by andy303



Take pics of all 3 gaps and we can give you some detailed ideas on how best to handle it.

John: As I mentioned in the first post I am looking at purchasing this car and I am working from the photos that I have been given so far, but because of the angles, and BRG being so dark, the rear gaps are hard to see. The seller is going to provide some additional pictures taken in better lighting of the specific areas. He says that the doors open and close fine and that there are no rattles while driving.

I am going to inspect the car before any deal is concluded, but I wanted to have an idea of how much would be involved to improve the door gaps.

Many thanks,
Andy

andy303 Avatar
andy303 Gold Member Andrew Blackley
Chardon, OH, USA   USA
In reply to # 1592500 by brucejon A trick I picked up somewhere is to drill 1/8 holes through the hinges, doors, and body before loosening/removing the hinges as alignment holes. When you reinstall the doors use 1/8 drill bits to realign everything

Bruce: That sounds like a good idea, especially if one is just shimming and not moving the hinges into a different position. It also provides a reference point to return to if needed.

CJD john durant
Southlake, TX, USA   USA
Oh...looking to buy. That changes everything. Like I said, one shim is not going to fix anything...count on 10 hours per door if the gaps need adjustment, and even then it may not be possible without hammering, welding, and damaging paint. Without pics that is the closest estimate you can get!



John
Southlake, TX

'55 TR2



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-01-28 03:51 PM by CJD.

Tobyallen Avatar
Tobyallen Michael A
Maple Ridge, BC, Canada   CAN
Just thought I’d mention this. The seller of your prospective car states doors open and close fine.My TR3B underwent a full body off frame restoration ( and done very well) many years ago,One of the things I love about my car is the sound the doors make when they close. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like a real solid sounding “click” as the striker and jamb engage.One of your first impressions when you drive a car is the “action” of the door as you open and close it. The door is your initial gateway to the driving experience.Hiw it opens and closes, the sound it makes as it closes are all a preview of the drive you about to experience. I always marveled at how a Porsche’s door opened and closed. You knew before you even turned the key that you were about to drive something special just by the door. Same for the TR, at least mine. You open that beautiful cut down door, slide in ( I’m 6’2’” so not so much the sliding action!) and there’s that satisfying “click” as the door closes. You know your in for a special driving experience even before you turn the key and push the start button! Get it right, because it is so well worth it if done correctly!!!!

peerlessgt Avatar
peerlessgt paul milsom
Llanfair Caereinion, powys, UK   GBR
Hi... having worked all the tr range in the past, canada notably, I wouls suggest this. all this shimming is a pain in the arse. 2 things come to mind. 1) borrow a 'porta-power' or a body jack, make up a couple of pads and put it between the front and reR door jambs, ie: where the hinges mount and where the catch mounte. door open of course, measure the current gap, then jack the gap open by an extra 5mm then release. , and remeasure. and repeat until you get an extra 5mm from original. this should fix it. ,, method 2 ) jack the car up on the frame in the centre of the door gap .. get a couple of friends to sit on each end of the car and gently bounce in time until the door fits just right. job done.

note. this might seem brutal, but it is a method that will have been used in the classic car repair shops since time was spelt T I M E
All trs have a problem when the chassis is welded, because only the bottom and sides can BE welded, the body being in the way of the top. when the weld cools, it shrinks, bending the chassis like a banana opening the door gaps to about 1/2 inch which cannot be shimmed. the only way to fix this is either, on a hoist where the ends of the frame can be supported and the hoist lowered whilst chained to the centre. thus bendind the frame, 2nd method... underground carpark. a length of 4x2 timber to go from floor of car to ceiling.. axle stans under front of frame. trolley jack under the rear. thus bending the frame upwards at the endf. thus closing the gaps. all this is tried and tested.

andy303 Avatar
andy303 Gold Member Andrew Blackley
Chardon, OH, USA   USA
Thanks to all for the helpful advice. The seller sent me some iphone videos that show the doors opening and closing on the latch and they look good to me.

I have posted them on Youtube, links below. I am going to inspect the car in person in two weeks, and if it checks out I will buy it.

Passenger side:

Driver side:



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-02-02 03:55 PM by andy303.

Tobyallen Avatar
Tobyallen Michael A
Maple Ridge, BC, Canada   CAN
Well I for one think this looks like a sweet ride. I don’t really think you have a serious door gap issue. The reality is , from what I understand, these cars were pretty much hand built The consequence of this is there is great variation in the fit and finish right from new. I’ve tweaked my hood and trunk gaps. It was really easy, done in a couple hours.My passenger side fender/ door gap could be better but doors close and engage so well that I’m not going to try to rectify. That old saying ..... why fix it if it ain’t broken.Beautiful looking car!!Hope it works out for you! I sure have no regrets buying mine. I don’t imagine this one is cheap, mine sure wasn’t but worth every penny!

TR3nut Nelson B
Atl, GA, USA   USA
You can re-tight the front bolts in the engine compartment, or shim floor pan, or both. But raise car from floor and level it first, like you are leveling a pool table.

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