Chicagoland MG Club:Photos
Changing Doors on a MGB
November 23, 2003 - Streamwood, IL

Some things look easy, but there are always a few new tricks.

Click for larger images, average 35KB.

Eight club members convened to help swap doors on Cowboy's '67 MGB. The typical "crack of doom" on the outer skin near the window track was well out of hand on both doors, and it was about to get newer doors from a rubber bumper car. Removing a few screws gets the inside door cap, then the door pull, inside door handle and window winder crank handle. Removing the door trim panel reveals an inner seal sheet in original vinyl that appears to be unmolested since new, even though it bears some over spray from a prior body repaint. A few taps on an impact driver loosens the hinge screws, and the door comes off with little problem. Not bad for a 36 year old car. Meanwhile some other hands are working on the other door, also removed with not much problem.

The replacement doors come from a newer rubber bumper car and are at least a third heavier with stronger impact beams and slightly different latches. When first installed the door won't close on the latch. A little investigation reveals that the newer striker plate will not mate with the earlier latch, and the newer latch will not mate with the earlier striker. Placing the striker plates together (first picture below) shows the variation. The later model is slightly taller, with a bit wider face bar at the latch point. The hole pattern and screws and shims are the same, so the parts are interchangeable as mated sets. Being easier to change the striker plate than the latch, we opt to go with the later style improved parts. The taller face bar on the striker tucks inside a flange on the latch to provide an additional interlock to prevent separation in event of accidental impact. Not shown here is an additional smaller striker plate that fits the door jam below the main latch on the later cars to provide additional interlock in event of impact. The door then carries a mating pin with a large rivet head. Neither the lower striker plate or the mating pin will fit on the earlier car, as the door post is not formed with space or holes to accept the plate. So we install the better main latch from the later car, and leave out the secondary striker and pin (like the earlier car).

A point of curiosity, the striker removed form the car was backed with a sheet metal shim, probably installed at time of repaint when some bondo work had been done around the rear wheel arches. The factory fiber shim is shown with the newer striker plate on the right (in first picture above). Some of the screws were being stubborn for removal, so Cowboy brought out his handy dandy screw extractors. Not to be confused with the ill-fated Easy-Out, these Screw-Out(TM) tools are actually special left handed drill bits formed much like a center drill. The stubby straight cutting flutes are designed to take a good bite in the screw and transfer some significant torque to the screw rather than making a low friction cut like a normal drill bit. Used with a reversible power drill running backward (anti-clockwise), this tool will quite often unscrew the fastener before the drill bit bottoms out on the shoulder. In this case all of the screws were successfully removed, so no fuss required to drill out or repair the tapping plate in the door jamb. The Screw-Out tools are available as a set of three sizes from Sears as item number 52154.

With the newer striker plate installed the door will close and latch, but still needs some adjustment for final alignment. Paint mixing sticks and stacks of playing cards are used as spacer shims at the front and bottom edges of the door. Here the front edge of the door was tucked in behind the back edge of the fender a bit so it would catch and scrape when opening the door. The bottom hinge was loosened from the front pillar (gotta love that impact driver) and moved outward slightly to bring the outer door panel flush with the fender. In the end the replacement door would open and close and latch like a new car, and the other side was soon to follow suit. All is well that ends well. The inner trim was left off pending repaint. Body to repair the wheel arches may be fodder for a future tech session.

Photos and web page courtesy of Barney Gaylord.

©2003 Chicagoland MG Club, All rights reserved.