1915 runabout: wrong door?

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Steve Jelf
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1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:23 am

IMG_4011.JPG
The way this door sticks out at the bottom rear makes me suspect it belongs on some other car, perhaps a touring of the same year. Am I guessing correctly? This one sticks out so far that at the bottom you can see a little daylight showing from inside the car.
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Original Smith » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:34 am

Usually a turn buckle placed inside will correct the problem.

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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Rich Eagle » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:03 am

My '15 Runabout is the same. I thought it was my re-wooding.Rich
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Rich Bingham » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:32 am

Just for purposes of speculation, is the plane of the body "turn under" at the "B" pillar the same for tourings and runabouts ? Or does the runabout body have a tighter curve at that point ?

I can see a turn-buckle arrangement bringing a sagging door back into shape if the frame is old, but with new wood and tight joinery, not so much. Seems like a new door frame should match the contours before "skinning" with the metal panel. Rich, I can't imagine yours is very far from a good fit. Has it "relaxed" over years ?

Steve, do you know for sure if that door was "foreign" to the body ?

Just wool-gathering, I wonder how much the need for structural integrity influenced the decision to forgo a driver side door once the body style changed to "permanent" fore-doors ?
Another factor, the "no door" side would have been a little cheaper to build ! I wonder how many owners regularly mounted from the "near side" in the days before doors ? How many owners of '09-'12 Ts do so nowadays ?
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Norman Kling » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:02 pm

It could be the firewall is tilted due to a sagging frame. If you can find someone who has the same year and body style who would be so kind as to loan you a door, you could see how it fits. Sometimes even bent hinge can cause it. I have the same problem on a 26 touring. I also have a 26 roadster and tried the door from it on the touring and it fit fine, so in my case, the door is bent. I am afraid to try to straighten it for lest I destroy it in the attempt, so I have adjusted the hinges so it sticks out a little at the top in front which causes the bottom rear to set closer to the body and is not so noticeable.
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Rich Eagle » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:36 pm

I might add in my case the wood was a kit offered 30 some years ago. Some fitting was required. I didn't consider fitting the wood to the car before skinning it back then. The door was with the '15 body when I purchased it but I really don't know it's history.
I hope others with similar experience will comment.
Rich
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Scott_Conger » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:37 pm

If you remove the interior panel and look at the edge metal that faces the edges, and the curled metal which "captures" the door wood, here's what you will find: there are notches sheared into those features at strategic locations. One that I remember absolutely for sure is on the door hinge face. There is a notch such that with the correct wood curve, the door will "suck in" at the bottom leading edge. There are others.

When I rewooded my car, I had the devil of a time making the door fit. I realized that in addition to these notches I mentioned, by simply increasing the clearance angle of a given edge of the door from 90 degrees, to, say, 85 degrees, the metal will "suck in" (or out, if the angle is increased toward 90). It was a simple matter for me to remove the wood, and bend the metal (the door latch face), and bingo, the door sheet metal fit perfectly to the body. Modifying that particular wood piece and repacing it was all it took. No turnbuckles were involved in the fix.

I would check for any evidence that the door was rewooded or at least repaired in the past.
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by NealW » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:48 pm

Steve,

The bottom edge of the door on my 15 runabout stuck out similar to what your picture shows. Mine was out about 3/4". If yours is like mine, then the upper edge of the body at the door cutout is splayed out. I was able to see how much I could move the door in by pushing inward on the upper edge after my upholstery was removed. I added the clip shown in the picture, and the second picture shows how well the door fits as a result. I haven't reinstalled the door yet after repainting, so hopefully it still fits as nicely! I closed the door and pushed inward until the door edge was where I wanted to be, and then drilled the holes for the screws into the seat base. I will need to get creative when I put the upholstery back in to cover over the clip, but at least I have a nice fitting door now. The body feels MUCH more solid now on that side too.
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by HornsRus » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:06 pm

the doors are very flexible!!! its all in the wood.charley


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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by wayne sheldon » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:44 pm

When I got my '15 runabout body from a very good friend, it was missing its door. He looked through several doors he had and we tried them for fit to the body. My understanding is that the runabout's one door and the touring car's right front door are supposedly the same. None of the doors fit really well, but he chose the one that fit the best and included it with the body.

The earlier "black" bodies, like the earlier brass era cars were made by several outside manufacturers in batches. the bodies varied from supplier to supplier as well as from batch to batch. So ill-fitting doors on late '10s open cars is a common problem. Aging, and warped wood, along with sagging joints doesn't help any.

For my car, I even picked up the front door from a 1914. Although it fit the opening better, it had fitting issues elsewhere (another long story, in short, the hinge is different).
I reshaped the bottom of my door a bit, but really didn't spend enough time on it. There is still a bit too much gap under the bottom of the door. Maybe that is a '15 thing.
I re-wooded the body, using both wood plans and what remained of the original wood as patterns. It seemed to come out strong and straight. The plans I had did not include the door wood. But the door I got from Dan H had some wood somebody years before had started to make, and the '14 door I bought had nearly all its original wood. Some copying, some my own finagling, I re-wooded the door.
It stuck out at the lower back corner about as much as Steve J's appears to. One of our Australian friends on this forum some years ago shared a "fix" he had used on one of his cars. A steel bar with "feet" welded on the ends and holes to screw into the wood door framework. I secured one end inside the door neatly tucked under the wood piece that crosses the middle of the door. Then carefully twisted the door slightly too far and attached the other end. Removing my twisting pressure, the door relaxed back to a decent alignment.

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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by HornsRus » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:05 pm

i have rewooded 300 + t bodies when the wood is right the doors fit.ask ray wells .charley


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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by wayne sheldon » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:28 pm

Oh, I know Charley S, and there is no doubt that you and Ray W are two of the best in the nation today! I am sure that if you wanted to, you could still make good money making wood kits or rebuilding bodies for others (in spite of the fact that MOST model T people are notorious cheapskates and not willing to pay what the work is worth!). I keep hoping someone in the hobby will step up and take on the business of supplying wood kits for model Ts. If I were a couple decades younger and wasn't the caretaker for sick family, I would sure like to consider it. I find that I enjoy the work more than I did what I did for so many years.
My '15 may not be anywhere near perfect! But I like it.

Are you gaining any ground on your restorations? The Knight you have is fascinating! (The specific marque escapes me at the moment?)

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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by HornsRus » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:22 pm

1911 russell knight.with limo body. if i live long enough.i am only 76 so!!!! buy the way gas pumps & horns for motorcycles pay a lot better. i was lucky to make $20.oo hr on cars, gas pumps & horns $100.00 easy. charley


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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Joe Reid » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:40 pm

Could it all sag a little after 104 years? My 1920 runabout has a similar door.

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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by HornsRus » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:26 am

sag is a easy fix ,hinge needs a little reshaping,don't even have to take off the car. charley

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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by VowellArt » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:03 pm

Charley Shaver is correct, you have to fit doors, by bending the hinge...I had to do it to all 3 of my touring's doors, then you might want to put some sort of sound deadening material (like Jute) on the inside of the skin, makes the doors sound less "tinny" and more solid, like your Packard's. :)
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by otrcman » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:23 pm

Neal W. made an important point that nobody else has picked up on. Is it the door that's out of shape, or is it the body ? Maybe you could measure the width of the body at the door latch and compare it to another car that has well-fitting doors.

Or just push in on the body at the door latch and see if it wants to flex inward.

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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by HornsRus » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:28 pm

the tin is very flexible,the wood dose all the work of shaping the tin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.charley

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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by HornsRus » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:31 pm

the tin is very flexible,the wood dose all the work of shaping the tin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.charley


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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Ken Buhler » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:46 am

Being a body man, I disagree with bending hinges. The hinges were made in a jig and the bodies were also. All cars are built from the firewall back. First you set the cowl and firewall vertical and diagonal on a level frame (datum line). Then attach the front door to fit. Then you fit the body to match, whether you twist by shimming or tilt by shimming. This determines the position of the rear door pillar to the door. And so on to the rear of the car. The rear door pillar is then moved in or out to accommodate the fitment of the door. With more modern cars,(up to the late 80's), we would jack up at the rear of the door or twist the door to fit the hole. Steves' door must be blocked away from the top and forcefully pushed in at the bottom to bend it. It is important here to pay close attention to the fact that this is fragile stuff and we don't want to wreck anything. The wood is not like steel and it will break. Perhaps if the wood is tight and in good condition, the door should be removed and soaked for the prescribed length of time and then remounted to follow the steps I described regarding the twist. Hold it in place until the wood dries to its new place.

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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by HornsRus » Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:18 am

iam done!!charley

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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Steve Jelf » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:53 am

...do you know for sure if that door was "foreign" to the body?


No. I've had the car only eight years, and know nothing of its history other than who used to own it. I assume it's one of those famous "new" 1915 Fords assembled in the seventies from parts (the frame had a battery holder), so chances are that the door is foreign to the body.

All the wood in the body is in excellent condition, but not not so tight that I can't push the right side in a little. I find that the door is flexible enough that Larry's turnbuckle suggestion may be the answer. I'll try it and see what happens.
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:00 am

Like Charlie said: "it's all in the wood".

I could have made my door flap like a seagul or fit correctly. I purchased a wood kit for the door to start my project. It fit the door terribly and the door would have looked JUST like Steve's. I was disgusted with what I had recieved (and for the price paid) and shelved it and did the entire body myself from what little remained of the wood, and help from Mel Miller's plans, where necessary. I finally reused a portion of the door kit with heavy modifications that cause the door to conform to the necessary curves. There is no body made by Ford, that this wood kit would have made a door for.

If the wood is good (solid), the door will be very inflexible...I mean that thing is tough and stiff, and there is no altering it's shape or twisting it. A door that is flexible enough to flex that much has had one or more joint failures. A turnbuckle may be the fix...but it's not the cure.

Finally, with respect to Ken and his lengthy and I'm sure successful body experience, I will end with the fact that T hinges do in fact sometimes need bending to correct for 100 years of hefting up into the car and pulling down on the door...sometimes that's all it takes to put a door level with an undamaged body. However in Steve's case, I recognize the source of his problem, and it isn't the hinge.
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Steve Jelf » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:17 am

I'll fix it first. I may find the time to cure it later. :D
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Rich Bingham » Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:53 pm

Please pardon the following lengthy ramble:

While wood-working has remained a popular pastime, the pinnacle of achievement in "wooden technology" passed over a century ago. Certain aspects have been nearly lost from disuse, and are generally overlooked by many of today's craftsmen.

Chief among these is the application of specific wood species for particular uses. ( E.g., it's been noted on these boards that the Model T's wooden spokes were hickory, not oak, an unsuitable replacement. ) An amusing "primer", if you will, for the application of different species is the poem "The Wonderful One-hoss Shay" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. It's instructive for Model T enthusiasts that the parson's creation only lasted "one hundred years to the day". Hmmm.

While horse-drawn coach-work had reached its ultimate level of perfection before the advent of the "gas buggy", and the logical next step was to fit the "infernal contraption" with coach work made to prevailing standards, even the most rudimentary, slow moving 1890's "one lunger" imposed stresses due to load, vibration and shock beyond the demands made upon vehicles drawn by living horsepower.

While initially made soundly rigid, the wooden framework of open Model T bodies offers multiple mortised joints, all of which are susceptible to the entry of dust, followed by moisture. Coupled with the vibration of the mechanicals and the torsion of a remarkably flexible frame, they inevitably become loosened. More, as we know, the Ford was a cheap car. Ash being the preferred timber for "better" cars, Ford bodies were framed for the most part with poplar, chosen for economy, availability and machinability. It is soft enough that joinery can literally "wear out" when subjected to the gyrations of a using Model T.

Eventually, the tightest, most perfectly fitted Model T body will loosen up in time. Doors will sag, sides will splay, and "things" will need tightening, patching, bracing and bolstering to keep it all together. All in all, it's pretty "wonderful" so many Ts have already outlived the span of years the "Wonderful One-hoss Shay" enjoyed !, Very soon, all surviving Model Ts will too.
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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by wayne sheldon » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:50 pm

Like all good poetry,
a bit o'er long.
quite enjoyable,
as any good song.
A minute to read it,
you can't go wrong.
Click on the link,
and read along.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/45280/4 ... 5280-h.htm


Sorry for the continued drift.


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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Allan » Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:34 pm

When I first looked at Steve's first photo, I thought he had two problems. Sure, the door is out at the bottom, and that takes one fix. But on a close look, the curve within the door does not seem to match the lines of the door jamb, and that takes a different fix.

If the door needs re-shaping, the timber frame must be re-worked/replaced and the metal panel re-curved to fit. This may mean re-timbering the door. P ersonally, I would accept some discrepancy here and just get the door to fit in the hole better.

While a turnbuckle might be considered a fix rather tan a cure, it may work. However, there is a better way, and it follows accepted body building principles of the time. Duncan and Fraser, who were high quality coach builders in both cars and trams, and who supplied bodies to Ford in Australia, used a twist bar to adjust door alignment. On the T bodies they produced, this was a piece of 2" x !/8" flat mild steel strip, cut to the width of the door. It was drilled with two countersunk holes at each end so it could be screwed to the door frame on either side. In Steve's case, the door needs to be pulled in at the bottom. To achieve this, the twist bar was twisted so that when the hinge end was screwed down, the bottom of the bar at the other end was twisted OFF the door frame. When the screws at that end were driven home, the frame was pulled to the twist bar, thus pulling the door in at the bottom.The degree and direction of the twist governed how much correction was made and the direction of the correction.

In the hurly-burly of production, D and F twist bars were screwed directly to the door frame, and the trim panels were nailed directly over the top of them. When I rebuilt my special wide body roadster, I countersunk the bars into the frame to make a neater fit for the trim.

The corner joints in D and F doors are screwed lap joints. These are inherently more flexible than the mortise and tenon joints in a Ford door. However, the mortised joints in a T are not glued from the factory, and should flex quite well enough to make these adjustments. Rigidly formed and glued joints used in some restorations may limit the effectiveness of any correction methods.

FWIW
Allan from down under.


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Re: 1915 runabout: wrong door?

Post by Rich Bingham » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:32 am

Thanks for that, Allan ! I haven't had the pleasure of seeing any D&F bodies in person, only the photos you and our friends down under gave posted here. I get the impression they were designed and finished with more refinement than the "stock" Model T bodies from the factory. The "twist bar" concept sounds to me as if it would be a better fix than a turn-buckle !
Regarding gluing the body frame, I believe in most cases that would be a mistake. Unlike a piece of furniture which remains mostly static in use, the dynamics of a car body in use requires flexibility. The best coach-work joinery allows for a certain amount of movement.
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