The most important and difficult work on a car body, repair of the door. Here for a Volvo 144.

The part that plays the most important role during a rebuild of the body is the door. If the work starts with a proper door repair the chance to be successful with the rest increases. Proper means accuracy both with the measurements and the shape. The method used here shows that the door can be repaired to very exact dimensions within small margins which mean less than a millimeter! And, the door chapter is the biggest in the book which reflects the importance of the door. It can´t be repeated often enough!

Beside all the usual tools used in the workshop one tool is of special interest for a good door repair: the reinforcement frame. Image 1 and 2 shows frames of different design. The first has a rectangular shape and the other looks like an H. Both are made of square tubes in the dimension 40x40x2 or bigger.

Image 1 A rectangular reinforcement frame.
Image 2 A reinforcement frame shaped like an H.

When using the frame for measuring and for controlling the work the frame is completed with an L-square, Image 3.

Image 3 L-square to use together with the reinforcement frame.

During the work, the frame should be welded to the door frame, Image 4, with small MAG-welds in the corners. Sometimes with help of a small strip of sheet, it depends on the shape of the door. Small dots because the frame must be removed easily and without traces from the welding with a cutting disc when the door is repaired. And important, if the frame is thoughtfully dimensioned the door can be fitted to the car during the work, with the frame on the door, for different control s.

Image 4 The reinforcement frame carefully welded to the door.

The door we are going to follow through the process is a front door from a Volvo 144. Small blisters at the lower edge indicated that the skin was in need of attention. Deeper study of the door revealed the need of replacement of the whole lower edge. In that situation, the customer decided to fit a new complete original Volvo skin.

To protect the door during the work, especially when the new skin is fitted, the work bench is covered with something soft. In this case with an old luggage boot carpet. During the work the surface of the bench will be covered by debris which causes scratches of the new panel. The painter will appreciate that kind of care!

As we soon can see, the reinforcement frame is also a perfect base for all measurements needed during the repair work. The work starts with marking out the measures in height, length and depth or in Z, X and Y directions, on the L-square. See chapter 9 in the book. The marking is done on masking tape strip, Image 5, easy to remove when the work is completed.

Image 5 Markings on tape strips at frame and L-square.

With everything under control the door skin can be carefully removed, Image 6 and 7, and the edges of the door frame cleaned up from surface rust. Often there is some hidden rust under the skin, Image 8. This rust is usually easy removed or repaired, Image 9, 10 and 11. When the rust is repaired, the frame and corresponding area on the inside of the skin was painted with welding primer. After drying of the primer the work with fitting the skin began.

Image 6 The skin edges were grinded away.
Image 7 Splitting skin and door frame at critical places.
Image 8 The skin flange was removed by a pair of pliers.
Image 9 The hidden rust along the frame edges was removed with a strip disc.
Image 10 Rust along the frame edges was repaired.
Image 11 The weld was grinded away and the surplus sheet removed.

Before the skin and frame are joined a sheet of sound deadening board was adhered at the inside of the skin, Image 12. Another important detail was to clean the threads for the lock cylinder locking screw, not shown here.

Image 12 Fitting of self adhesive sound deadening board.

To be continued……..

Panel Beating Doctor Bengt Blad

At this point in my life when I was about three quarters through the medical schooI I discovered the English wheel and the Eckold machine, and, one thing leading to another - no more time for med school.

More about the book

This book, with around 1,500 pages of reader-friendly text and about as many illustrations, is a summary of 40 years of working with vintage, collectors' and racing cars.