It turns out, doors are pretty complicated. And getting all of those complicated parts inside the door through a few small holes and slots is quite the puzzle. Both in taking them apart and in putting them back together. But I have emerged victorious.
So first, I have to say I got a ton of good info from 68vert’s blog on tearing down the doors. (found here). That was a great intro into learning how the doors all come together. The 68 doors are very similar to the 67 with just minor differences.
For my project, I had the doors replaced when the body work was done, rather than dealing the the normal skin rust in the lower front corner, as well as an abundance of surface rust on the interior texture. In restoring the doors, I realize just how much it cost me to leave it outside for a couple years, waiting to get around to getting it running again. Lots of pitting in the window chrome and surface rust on the interior metal areas.
Here you can see the heavy pitting in the chrome on the vent window as well as the surface rust across the top inside of the door. Clearly I need to replace the warn arm rest/handle and other chrome as well.
One of the previous owners didn’t address a broken door stop on the driver side, causing the door to open too far and crush a groove into the door skin itself.
Add that to the beginnings of the tell tale rust in the lower front corners of the doors, and the case is pretty strong for replacement looking at it strictly from a cost perspective. Try to ignore all of the other problems in this picture. Those too will be corrected before I’m done. The aluminum siding is already a distant memory. The fender has been replaced with one that actually fits too.
I started on the passenger side since it’s in the left bay of my garage and I have more room to work. The new doors are mounted and fitted with good lines from the body shop. The old ones are waiting in the pile of old parts.
The chrome on the outside is pretty rough as well. Door locks are just plastic and cheap replacements, so no brainer on those. Most, if not all of the exterior chrome is showing it’s age with heavy spider webbing, or in the case of the handles, wear down through the chrome to the base metal. The edge of the glass is stainless steel though, so they are reasonably good. I looked at the cost and quickly decided to reuse the original window. The vent windows were mostly chrome, so those had to go.
Taking off all of the hand operated hardware first, then the decorative cover revealed a paper vapor barrier and liberal applications of semi hardened gunk sealant. I knew I would not be using the vinyl or the vapor barriers so I didn’t take much care removing them as I might otherwise. The cover attachment clips can be tricky. There is a tool you can get from NPD if you don’t think your skills with a flat tip screw driver are up to par. Pro Tip: get the tool. Your skills are not what you think they are.
I’m glad I will not be using the old doors. I would be compelled to clean off all the gunk. It’s bad enough that I had to clean it off all the parts I was transplanting.
Pay special attention not to lose the arm rest clips. These may be hard to find and can easily be consumed by the vapor barrier gunk.
The arm rest clip location can be seen in this picture. The replacement door had me scratching my head a bit, trying to figure out how to line up the holes where the clips go. Note that the back one is on the edge of the rear access hole. The front one is about 6 inches in front of it on a horizontal imaginary line.
The replacement doors are different. Probably to fit different years or options. I first thought the rear hole was where I needed to put the clip, but the replacement door has a flange in the area where the original hole was. The rear fastener hole on the replacement door doesn’t exist on the original, and in it’s place is the access hole. On top of that, there is a plastic wedge in the correct hole. I needed to move it up to get the hole in the right place. I can only assume that its higher on another option and the slider needs to be pushed to the bottom of the hole. The picture shows the correct place to mount the arm rest retainers for the early 67 with standard interior (2B).
I was ultimately convinced I had it right when I put the door cover up against the access location and lined up the spots for the arm rest to crew through.
The cover just has cut outs in the cardboard, not in the vinyl. The screw for the arm rest just gets pushed through to make a new hole. But you can see where the door remote actuator hole lines up and the cut outs in the backing lining up with the correct holes in the door for the clips to mount to. It took me a bit, but mystery solved.
With the latch mechanism, I saw another opportunity to use the blasting cabinet. There was at least one previous paint job without good masking evident on it, plus the routine 50 years of neglect and accumulation.
With the resulting assembled part looking pretty clean and sharp.
I had some issues with the new chrome handles on the passenger side. I am guessing its because a little burr on the screw hole, but the new screw was slightly shorter and wouldn’t reach. The one I am talking about is the one you can see in the door jamb above, at the top of the picture. I was reluctant to grind it off since it’s already painted and I wasn’t sure the screw would cover all of it up if I ground it off. I just ended up using the original screw and it worked out. I didn’t have the same issue on the driver side.
It looks like I didn’t take any pictures, but the weather stripping went on pretty easy. I used my left over adhesive from the trunk weather stripping installation. I started on either end, then went to the middle and made sure it compressed evenly and there were no slack points where it would bunch up. Once that was in place, along with the new rubber bumpers seen above, the door closes very nice and seats well. The strike plate fit without adjustment or shims on the passenger side. I am still working on getting the driver side to shim correctly. I need to get it rolling to get it far enough from the wall to put the weather stripping on the passenger door as well. The door needs to open entirely for that job.
One of the other areas I had issue with was removing the rail from the main window assembly. There are 3 screws 68vert mentions having issue with as well for disassembly. I ended up just drilling off the heads and removing the left overs with pliers. Two of them go into an extruded speed nut and the other is threaded into the window frame itself.
If you look close, you can see the 3 screw locations.
I somehow lost one of the speed nuts, so I had to do some digging. Ultimately I bought a box of them on Amazon, then of course later found a kit from AMK via CJPonyparts. But now I have 49 spares. The left is the original, the right is the bulk replacement.
The screw is an 8-32 x 1/2″ flat head, counter-sunk. I picked a pack of them up at the local hardware store for about a buck.
As I mentioned earlier, my chrome is heavily pitted. I opted to just replace the whole vent window assembly. Not cheap, but a lot less hassle. With all the parts I would have had to replace, it would have been about the same. I would have been left with all new, but original glass. Worth avoiding the work.
It was kind of difficult to get in. I put some painters tape on the edge when re-inserting the 2 window assemblies. By the time I finished putting them back in, I finally knew what every screw and bolt was for. I had to do it about 3 times to get it all in correctly.
The last area I had issues with was the dust cap at the back of the window, on the door itself.
On the left is the original. Notice the difference in material on the right side of the hole. The area where the original screw holes is isn’t there on the new door. That causes some concern.
The replacement part was great. It was very close to the original. That’s not the issue this time.
In order to make it work, I had to use my tin snips and cut off the raised edge on the new part. I also had to cut off the raised flange that would go to the inside of the window edge. Since there are no other holes in the original door, just indentations, I didn’t want to drill yet. There is another part which I believe is late model that I want to try. If the new one doesn’t work, at least I have something that can be made to work. I just don’t like cutting up brand new parts.
The last pieces were the cat whiskers and rubber window strip to keep the water out of the inside of the door when you roll the window down. Those clipped on simple enough. I think CJ also has a video on it as well.
A last note, In putting this all together here, I notice the replacement colors are not the same as the original. All of the vinyl replacements are a bit more teal than blue, but they are the only blue that was available. I guess as long as they are all the same, its fine. Just something to note if you are trying to go back to original.
All in all, this is something I am glad to put behind me. I am sure my next set of doors will go much smoother. Though I have to say, I am excited to see brand new doors. The newest I have seen before this were 30 years old.
Update: I made a follow up post as I assembled the driver side door. This one focused more on assembly.