Roadster Door Opening/Body Shims

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2005: Roadster Door Opening/Body Shims
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Buchholz on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 01:53 am:

I recently put new body panels on my 25 Roadster. I replaced all the wood according to Mel Miller's plans. With my panels installed, the door I picked up for the new panel just barely fits into the door opening. I've heard that putting shims under the body to frame brackets will increase or decrease the door opening. Has anyone else dealt with this problem in Roadsters? Which bracket is shimmed, the front or middle body bracket? I used oak for my main beams. Will shims actually make much bend in the panel with such a solid wood? And finally, how much of a gap should there be between the door and side panel on an easy closing door? Thanks


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 06:41 am:

As far as I know, body builders from the beginning depended on shims to align door openings in all cars. If your door opening is too close at the top, then naturally you need to raise the area at the body mount closest to the door. The door gap is right when it is fairly uniform top to bottom and the door opens and closes wihout rubbing anything.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Jeandrevin on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 06:55 am:

I ended up somehow with just a little too much gap above my doors. Not bad enough to get crazy about, but if anybody knows an "easy" fix for this, I would love to hear that also. I got lucky though, that my doors work great! Smooth as a new car, so I don't want to ruin that in the process.

Tim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thomas J. Miller on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 07:31 am:

For Roadsters: http://www.abarnyard.com/workshop/door-2.htm

Fordor: http://www.abarnyard.com/workshop/door-1.htm

These are Model A examples and they have a couple extra frame mounts versus the Model T. But, The adjustment principle is similar.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Guy D Nelli on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 11:29 am:

i have a 1915 roadster, with a door that doesnt fit very well. we all know henry didnt care much how body panels fit, even past the 30's. the top of my door hits (or rubs) on the body. you are not going to adjust the door by shimming the body. (the body and door have been rewooded) and is one solid piece, its not going to bend w/o warping the metal. my door is a small section of the side panel, with alot of metal panel below the opening. i have spent a good many hours trying to remedy the problem. trying to bend the hinge might help in some situations but not in mine. i finally elected to file the metal where it hits, repaint, and leave a sleeping dog lie. guy


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 01:19 pm:

For Richard -- if you did not receive my e-mail I sent to you yesterday on this, please let me know and I will post it.

For Guy -- Actually the body will flex quite a bit without bending/damaging the metal or wood. The Ford bodies were designed to go over rough roads and fields and have a lot of flex in them. You can adjust the door fit a little bit (1/2 inch easy -- but getting it to adjust where you want it to may or may not happen) by shimming between the body bracket and where it meets the frame. Ford did not normally shim the bodies (too much time) and he was insalling new bodies on new frames and he didn't mind a little variation.

The ideal situation is to rebuild/rewood the body on the flat frame you plan to use it on and build it where the door opens and closes properly. But if things got a little off, you can make minor changes by shimming. See the links Thomas Miller posted above on the Model A Fords. On a Model A closed cab pickup up I was able to stop the door from flying open when I turned left, but adjusting the shims between the body and frame.

You can also change the shape of the door by removing the screws in the wood (remove flat metal brace if it is nailed to the wood on the inside of the door.) Then take a screen door turn buckle and adjust sag, or apply pressure as needed to reshape. When you have what you want, if the holes are close you can reuse them, if not drill new holes and tighten up the wood screws (reinstall the door inner flat piece of metal).

No you cannot adjust for a foot off by shimming the body -- but it is amazing what you can do. It works for old houses also -- we jacked up the beam about 8 inches (plaster went every where) but the floor was a lot better and the doors now needed wood added back where the previous owners had continued to shave the wood off so they would open.

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Guy D Nelli on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 05:44 pm:

hap, just for the fun of it i loosened, is that right? well anyway- the three mounts on the passenger side, slipped in a wood wedge ,and tightened down the front and back mounts.(a little at a time and kept checking the door clearance. had at least 1/4 inch shim at the center. guess what - ziltch, nada, no change, nothing. so i put everything back as it was. i figure just maybe after the next restoration it will get fixed. guy


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By jack daron-Indy. on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 08:16 pm:

Guy,the process in adjusting any door is not real complicated,just got to picture where and how far you want things to move. Sometimes it can be bending the hinge or shimming the body up or down. If door is tight at top,adding a shim washer underneath the center body mount will raise body and should open up the door opening slightly. This is just an example,and you got to look at yours and see where it needs to be. Good luck.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 09:57 pm:

Mine are 26's so they will be a little different from your car, but this is how I did it. I started with the front of the cowl and raised or lowered the body just in front of the door to where I got the best fit of the hood. Then I raised or lowered the body just behind the front door to get the best fit of the door and then went to the front of the back door which will also affect the front door. If you raise it here, the front door will be tight at the top, and if you lower it here the door will be loose at the top. Then go to the back of the rear door and finally the rear of the body.

With a roadster you can stop at the back of the door and then work from the back of the body. I do this with the top down, because when the top is up it tends to pull the body together at the top of the doors. After the body is bolted tight, the top will not pull the body together.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 12:30 am:

I hear you have to do this. I'll be doing it soon, but haven't quite got to that point yet.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Mortensen on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 08:30 am:

You may also find that the fit changes depending on whether you have the top up or down. This has been my experience anyway. Then the trick is to find a happy medium where the doors don't jam with the top up but still latch with the top down.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Alexander on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 08:46 am:

Richard: Could you email me please about some '25 T roadster body questions I have ? Many thanks. Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 08:55 am:

Guy,

That is beautiful 1915 Roadster on your profile page! Thanks so much for going to the effort to “run the experiment” to verify what was being said. I still remember the class on electronics with for us a fairly complex wiring diagram of resisters, capacitors, transistors, etc. We did the math and they graded our papers. We all corrected our papers to 100% so even if we had goofed originally we all had the “book answer” for that test. Then we built the diagram on the wiring board. And we got out the multimeters to check the readings. What!?! There isn’t supposed to be any voltage on that side / wire? And when we asked the instructor he shared, “That’s right, in theory no voltage/current goes that direction but there is always a little leakage.”

So in your case – for some reason you did not see any change in your door spacing. (Hey for me – I would ask my daughter or someone else with better eyesight to check and see if there was any change – especially if it was only a small amount.) I don’t have time this morning to reply properly to why you did not see any noticeable change in the door fit, but I’m 100% sure there is a logical repeatable reason or reasons why that occurred. If you want us to follow up on that – just let me know – if not, I’ll just have some fun thinking about it but I’ll save the time of writing it down for other items (honey do list etc)..

Note, it is documented that adding shims to the body mounting to frame brackets does change the door fit in some cases. For example see the posting at Fordbarn about a 1917 Centerdoor which has the same body mounting locations as all the other 1915-25 Ts. The door is in a different place but the concept worked on that T. See: http://www.fordbarn.com/tforum/messages2/203749.html for the start of 1917 Centerdoor discussing door alignment. Or for the “it worked testimonial go to: http://www.fordbarn.com/tforum/messages2/203877.html

Again thank you for checking. If you would like to run some additional tests and let’s document the results – I would love to do that. I need to check and see how far away in North Carolina you are.

For others, next time you are working to correct door alignment, if you could please take a few pictures and measurements. Please document how thick and what type of shim you use. Which direction you are trying to change (i.e too wide a door opening, too narrow, which door etc. [and yes if the door is hitting one side (such as the striker plate side) and has a large gap on the other side [such as the hinge side] – shimming the body is probably not the solution. In that case adjust the hinge and door to fit in the already correct size opening. I would like to get some numbers on adding 1/4 inch shims to the middle body bracket produced (0.xx inches difference in the opening or fit). I know it will be different depending on the body, the wood in the body, the frame, the body mounts, etc. But just to document if shimming the body brackets normally works or 50/50 chance of working, or we should recommend folks purchase a lottery ticket because they have a better chance of winning there than changing the door alignment. However it comes out – we will share – we just want to know.

Again, Guy and others who take the time to check things out – thank you so much. That is how we gather additional information to help all of us and those who will join us in the future.

Very Respectfully,

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 09:19 am:

Rich -- just in case you did not receive my e-mail, I will post it below. You answered one of my questions -- about what if anything changed -- your posting above shares you installed new panels and new wood using Mel Miller's plans. Did you rewood the body without having a door to help with the alignment of the panels and wood parts? Or did you rewood it with one door and you are now trying to fit a different door?

Your original e-mail to me contained another clue to help solve this one: You shared,

“My door opening on my 25 Roadster body is about 1/4 inch too tight. I've been told that shimming under the body brackets will help increase the opening. To get the 1/4 inch increase, do you shim with washers under the front body bracket or the rear bracket? How many shims does it typically take to make a difference?”

If you mean it is just too tight at the top of door, I believe shimming can help. However, if you built the seat section with the door post too close to the front cowl, you may need to look at a different solution. For example, if the door openings are parallel to each other, will the door fit the opening without the hinge on the door? If so, you could remove the hinge, remove some wood where the hinge mounts, recess the hinge and that could help some. I don’t think it would take care of a full 1/4 inch and still look right. Or you may need to “bite the bullet” and move the seat / door latch pillar back (or cut a little/sand some off of it).

If you could post some pictures of the door and how it is fitting, it would make more sense. And of course if you have some T folks or folks that have helped fit doors in general take a look at it, they could probably solve it a lot easier there than we can over the forum.

Below is my original e-mail to you—it repeats some of what is shared above by others:

Rich,

It is good to hear from you. The short answer -- it is mostly done by trial and error. But take a look at the description at: http://www.abarnyard.com/workshop/door-2.htm it discusses a 1928-31 Ford roadster door alignment -- but I think it will help you understand the concept. The 1925 Model T has less wood than the 1923-24, but it still has more wood than the 1928-31 Roadsters. The 25 T also has the body brackets to frame bolts in different locations and it did not use body blocks.

You can use steel washers between the frame bracket and the body bracket on the T. You could also use rubber ones -- but I think the weight of the body would tend to tear up the rubber washers -- just a thought -- no evidence one way or the other. If you make and/or purchase some "U" shaped washers -- it makes it easier as you do not have to take the bolt out to get the washers in -- just loosen and lift the body (keep the fingers well clear of anything that could fall and crush or cut them off).

I would go search McCaster Carr (sells all types of fittings) for "U" shaped shims/body washers for you, but it would dump my e-mail and I'm ready to quit for the night. I even think the local Advanced Auto parts type store will have U-shaped shims/washers for use in lining up body panels and parts etc. If you can take some pictures from the side, we may be able to look at it and tell where to start putting the shims.

Also of note, did the door work ok previously? If so when? What changed? If the door worked fine on one frame and you have bolted it onto another frame then perhaps one or both frames were bent differently (they should have been straight -- but if not they can change the door opening). Did you rewood the body? You can also do a check by loosening some of the body to frame bolts and see how that effects the door opening and closing. If it works well with one or two bolts loosened and the others tightened -- put the shims under those bolts and retighten.

I hope that helps some. If you can find one of the folks who has done one -- the next one is always easier. The same for you -- once you play with it some you will figure out how adding a washer here impacts over there. Remember you also want the car to "look right" and not just have the door open and close ok.

If you can take some before and after shots and let us know what thickness of shims/washers you use where -- we can give the next person a better feel for how much shimming changes how much door alignment. It will still be trial and error, but a little less error at that point.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Hap Tucker, 1915 Modle T Ford Touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 09:33 am:

For Ray,

Just a note – I’m 99 % sure Ford didn't use shims between the body brackets to frame brackets to align the doors on the Model Ts when they were built. If anyone knows of a case or cases where Ford did use shims with the pre-1932 cars, please let me know (hey with 15,000,000 plus cars – there is lots to learn). Ford was dropping new bodies (supplied by various body makers during the years) on new frames/chassis. Instead of making sure that all seems, doors, etc. maintained a perfect alignment, he used "the gap can vary a little as long as it works ok" approach. And for the T -- that worked fine. With the flex in the body and the rough roads they were driven on, it was good to have a little clearance and not to be concerned that today the gap was larger or smaller than it was yesterday before we drove through that ditch.

And thank you for sharing your thoughts on the use of the shims – your advice should work. It is the same method I have seen work to help align other doors. Thank you.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout (no shims on those bodies either -- but no doors to align). Sumter SC.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Patrick - (2) '26's - Bartow, FL on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 09:58 am:

Ford just built them. The fine tuning, tweeks and touchups were expected to be done by the dealers, once the cars arrived at their destinations to be sold. Jim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Guy D Nelli on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 12:55 pm:

hap, thank you, the center body (frame) mount, is located 15 inches rear of the door opening. (latch or striker plate side of the door opening) i feel if it were under or near the latch opening. it would open the opening better. did i say that right? as for our eyesight, i only needed .020 thousands for it to clear, so it wouldn't hit. so i could have been blind. it was just a matter of feel. holding the lever back and open and closing the door. which there was no result. i feel that when rewooding a body, you must check and recheck, and if need be take the pieces back apart and trim, shave , file or sand. because as in my case it doesn't take much. a small 1/8" here and 3/16" there, when trying to put them together, your out more than a 1/4" (and im only talking .020 thanks guy


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 11:16 pm:

If you want to really experience a door opening and closing, try a '13 touring! You can't ever get them just right, but I try.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hap Tucker on Monday, February 11, 2008 - 08:05 pm:

Rich sent me an e-mail with the question below. I don’t have a 1925 so I thought it would be better to ask some of the folks more familiar with the 1925 cars if they would add any corrections or additions they believe would be helpful -- thanks!

Question:

I have run into another problem that I'm hoping you can help shed some light on. I was forced to buy a new passenger side body panel for the 25 roadster. I also had to purchase a different door, as the old one was more fiberglass than door. The used door came with the "triangular shaped hinge" typical of a roadster. The new body panel and the hinge have the same hole patterns for attachment of the door. So far so good. However, I also had to buy and install a different/used steel door pillar. The door pillar came with a square hinge attached. The door pillar and hinge only have four holes for attaching this hinge. I've sent a picture to show you what the square hinge looks like. Is the hinge in the picture for a rear door on a touring car? Did they/do they use this type of hinge on the front door of a roadster? Can you shed some light on my mystery? I can use the "triangular shaped" hinge, but will have to drill holes in the steel pillar post to attach it. Any advice would really help.



Response:

1. I believe the hinge you showed is for a 1925 car. I believe it will fit any door on the 1925 touring or roadster. I would recommend using the square/rectangular hinge which I believe is the correct one for the 1925 cars. Any 1915-25 front door should fit (hinge holes may need to be changed and if you have the early 1915-early 1916 door latch it would need to be changed). (Be sure your replacement door is a right front touring/roadster door and that it fits/looks correct). I would recommend using the metal brace/door pillar to mount the door hinge to the body – as I believe that is correct for the 1925 cars. Note – you may want to confirm that your body is a 1925 and not a 1924. Or if you are assembling it from parts (Ford did that also) pick a year style that you like and make it that one. I.e. while you can mix and match the 1925 and 1924 and even earlier roadster parts – it would take you additional effort to line things up and to make it look correct.

2. Additional details:

An excellent posting on rewooding a 1925 roadster at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/37068.html shows some of the differences between the 1925 and the early high cowl 1924 (includes high cowl produced in later 1923 but called the 1924 model ). While they look very similar – Ford made several changes to reduce the amount of wood in the body. You will note that the door hinge is different from the earlier hinges. The parts list book also indicates the used a unique hinge on the 1925 model year cars (although it shows 1924 – but they probably made some of them in 1924 but they would have been considered a 1925 model).

Part # 5297x fits 1914-1924
Part # 20022X fits 1924-1925 ( I believe this is the one you have and it fits the cars with more metal which are considered 1925 models by most folks.)

And the section from Bruce McCalley's Parts / Price list information:



That hinge is shown below and was taken from http://steamingdownsouth.com/25T/25_T_Body.html



Additional rewooding postings you may want to review: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/22138.html

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/47317.html

I believe you could also use the earlier style door hinge – but if you want to go that route, I would recommend making the body a 1924 style with the additional wood as shown at: http://www.model-t-ford.org/projects/rewooding_cowl/

Good luck with your body and please keep us posted on the progress.

Respectfully submitted,

Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.


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