Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Doors of Perception and Otherwise

This is not a treatise about Aldous Huxley, but rather a few remarks about the front doors of the car.  I  perceived quickly while buying the 2000 that the the two front doors didn't shut properly.  Again, since I had dealt with the issue during work on the 2002, I surmised that I could take care of the situation without much bother.

When I shut the doors, they did not stay firmly closed but rather jiggled in the frame.  Very annoying, especially when knowledgeable people tested them. For their take on the play in the doors inevitably became the basis to inform their decisions as to my own skills. Since those are not exactly outstanding, I was forced to take immediate action.

First, I noticed that the latches themselves were stiff with age.

1) The moving parts on the door itself. This is the open position. Originally the left side of the latch was topped by a plastic bushing but the only ones I have seen recently cost more than 20 Euros a pop

2) And here is the closed position

I doused them with WD-40 and shifted their positions manually many times, pushing the button on the door handle to do so.  After a few minutes they became as loose as, well, you pick the simile.

While that made the doors easier to close - no slamming required - it did not address the jiggle factor.  So I turned my attention the non-moving mechanism on the B-pillars.

3) B-pillar latch

Held secure by three screws, I already knew that for unknown reasons -at least to me - the screws had a tendancy to loosen with use and would not stay tight. Fast verification with a screwdriver proved my point. They were loose. This is a crtical situation, for when loose the latch itself shifts position and will not sit still. Therefore you get the jiggle.

So I obtained some Lock-tite. Loosening all the screws and shifting the latch to a place where I thought the door would shut tightly, I then tightened them to see if this was the case and closed the door. Perfectly tight. I then examined the outside of the car to see if the doors shut seamlessly against the body of the car.

4) A nice fit, not perfect but what can you expect on a 44 year-old car?

Now for the final step.  I loosened and removed the screws, one at a time, and applied a generous amount of Lock-tite to the holes, waited fifteen minutes between each operation, and screwed the fasteners in tight. At fifteen minutes per screw this involved 45 minutes and an egg timer, along with some mindless CNN drivel on television to kill time.

Now when people open the car doors, they are suitably impressed with the car and with my (almost non-existent) skills.  Thank goodness I had the foresight to learn this stuff on my old 2002.

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