what is the accepted space between the door and side panels ?
I went out and looked at our 1918 touring – mostly still original (Beaudett body). It looks fine with a gap of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. And in some places it is a little less or more depending on how things warped over the years etc. It functions fine anywhere in that range. If you can make the gaps appear approximately the same – it looks nicer. Note the Model T touring doors 1915-1925 have a slight taper to them. So they are a little smaller on the inside than the outside of the door. The openings are similarly shaped to help make it easier to close the doors. For the rear doors – I would recommend setting them up closer to the 1/16 to 1/8 inch where the latch to the back of the front seat. In general as you add heavy passengers to the rear seat – that gap will increase a little.
For door gap information recommend seeing:
Recommend you take a look at some of the Ts near you. Also, you didn't say what year or if it was a touring or sedan. All that can make a difference also, as the sedans often had a lip on the door that hid the gap while the open cars did not. Also the earlier cars tended to have more of a gap than the later 1926-27 all steel bodied cars.
If you want a copy of RV Anderson’s 1923 low cowl roadster rewooding article from the Vintage Ford, click on my name and send me an e-mail and I will forward a copy to you. The MTFCA allows us to share those to promote our club and our hobby. He addressed hanging the door and fitting the door and body when it is being rewooded –the placement of the latch etc.
And as my Dad used to enjoy sharing about our USA bodied T as he talked with folks about it, “This driver’s door was the only one that never rattled.”
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
Actually, the door gap is used during a heavy rain storm to let the water out.
Fred, I thought the slots around the pedals were for that? I guess I need to see why the rain don't run out the doors correctly.
Does this affect judging?
The rear doors on my Dad's '24 touring are in the 1/8"- 1/4" range, similar to Hap's car. We had difficulty getting the front door to fit and it ended up slightly more than 1/4" gap and it doesn't look that great. We plan someday to change that door out to improve the gap. It shuts fine, but just doesn't look as 'neat'.
I think the key to gap is to have them consistent and to have the doors operate smoothly. With some open bodies your're lucky if you can keep a 1/4" or sightly more. If some are tight and some are loose, 1/8" to 5/16", that's what looks bad.
If you post of picture of your front door where we can see the gap -- some of the folks may have some simple suggestions you might want to try. If it is more than 1/4 inch all around -- it is harder to fix. If it is wider where the latch is and closer where the hinge is, you can shim the hinge to make the gap on the other side smaller. You could also bend the hinge -- but I prefer shimming -- as I think it is easier on the parts.
You should also be able to put shims under the body mounts and change the door opening / door fit some. That one gets debated, and some day I'm going to do some measurements. There is a posting thread on that at: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/47333.html It obviously varies from car to car -- some have very solid wood framing and others the wood framing has gotten softer with age.
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford Touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC
Hap, I would be happy to post a picture of the door next time I visit my Dad, but there's more to it then you might think. Short story is that when we were attaching the body panels last fall we thought we could use some repro panels to replace some rot-through on the original body, especially the section just forward of the front door.
The repro piece was too wide so we-- here comes-- cut the door in half top to bottom and removed 1/2" from it and welded it back together. We still couldn't get the repro piece to fit/look right due to manufacturer problems and we went back to an original piece, but had to use the same door as it was his only one in half decent shape. Hence the BIG gap.
I did place shims behind the hinge just to get the latch to work. We will eventually replace the door, but after 31 years of being a rusty parts pile, we are going to enjoy driving it for a while first. This spring when we pull it back out of the barn I plan to take some photos of the car and post them for you to enjoy.