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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Cutting the sills to change the door gaps.

As the title suggests, I'm wondering if anyone has realigned their door gaps, by cutting the sills -- inner and outer -- in order to restore the correct door gaps/angle. I think I remember reading an a-post thread in the archives, in which this was discussed, and seem to remember someone (Onno?) suggesting this as a possibility, but I can't find it now. ( I should have linked to it).

Anyway, I'm considering this on the midget I bought. All I wanted to do with this car was (instead of scrapping it for the profit from spares), mot it, and drive it for a year or so. But now I'm getting fussy. The doors shut ok-ish, but the gaps aren't great - too small, esp' at the top. No doubt as a result of previous sill replacement.

The distance at the top between the a-post and the b-post is too small by a few mms. The car has folded somewhat.

I have no desire to remove/replace the sills. So I'm wondering, if I were to cut the sills vertically, would it be possible to "flex" the side of the car, to open the distance between the tops of the a and b posts?

Has anyone ever tried this?

Lawrence Slater

Not done that. Gaps that narrow towards the top, especially at the rear edge of the door usually indicate a weakened sill structure, or as you say one that has been repaired with new sills welded in "without due care and attention".

Gaps at the A post that narrow towards the top are more likely to be down to poor hinge adjustment, rather than sagging sill syndrome. Or maybe they have been adjusted to try and compensate for the narrowing B post gap.

Cutting vertical slits in the sill sounds pretty drastic, although I can see the logic of what you are getting at. But you would need to be sure that the problem is with sound sills poorly replaced, rather than weakening at the bottom of the B post / sill joint. Not sure I would risk that as a solution.

If all is genuinely sound, but the rear edge gap is still wrong, then one trick is to slice down the rear wing, immediately rearwards and parallel to the B post. Adjust the forward facing edge of the B post to match the door edge and reweld. I have done this. Its quick and simple and doesn't compromise the structural strength at all - it is just cosmetic alignment. And the weld, being maybe 1/4" behind the outer corner of the B post, is easy to dress in and conceal with a smear of filler
Guy W

I'd be interested to try that trick Guy suggests at the end of his post... cos thats whats wrong with mine... i'll try upload a photo but by description... my new sills were put in fine, but when the PO welded in a portion of the rear wing it changes the angle of the B post. That is, the top 6" of the b post runs parallel to the door then where the join in the rear panel is it begins to taper away such that there is a large gap at the bottom. Its totally cosmetic but I haven't thought of a good way to fix it.
C L Carter

Thanks Guy.

How can I best check for weakened sills, as opposed to sills wrongly fitted? They "look" strong enough, but looks are deceptive.

On the passenger side, I've jacked up the car under the edge of the floors, close to the sills at various points, and under the floor at the jacking point, but the gaps don't open up. They remain essentially the same. So I'm assuming from that, there isn't a strength issue. Also, the passenger side door has been off for a couple of months now, -- possibly not a good idea -- and the car hasn't folded completely, again that makes me think the sill structure is strong, but incorrectly installed.

If I cut the B-post, would this be from top to bottom, and include a horizontal slit at the top, from the outside of the wing to the rear of the b-post? I assume this will also move the striker plate rearwards too.
Lawrence Slater

I am not sure how one would fully check. I would have done what you have suggested, with a jack at various points to see what, if anything, moved. I think that the weak point is the horizontal joint between the rear wing (inner and outer) and the top of the sill structure. So I guess a sill that is apparently solid along most of its length may still be a problem.

When I slit the wing beside the B post on mine it was just a single straight slit from the horizontal crease line just below the cockpit rail. down to about 4" above the sill. The gap at the bottom was fine, so I was adjusting from there upwards. No horizontal cut needed, but if you were compensating for more than about 3 mm you might need to do that.

I did this on my present car. I had replaced the inner and outer sills so I knew they were solid, but despite bracing the door gaps with temp welded in struts, the B post gap still turned out wrong. So I was doing a minor "correction" that I had seen mentioned somewhere ages before hand. There is a thread in the archives where I explained the method, and someone else posted a photo. I think it was Malcolm who started that thread. Don't ask me to find it. I don't "do" archives.
Guy W

Lawrence,

I don't remember any talk of cutting the sill to change the door gaps, but I do remember the talk of slitting the rear wing and moving the B-pillar.

However, I suspect that you may be able to stretch the gap with a porta-power without doing any cutting and welding as long as you are not trying to open it up very far. If you try that, I would suggest supporting the car in the center of the door gap so that the load is not on the wheels.

If you don't have a porta-power, there are likely some cheap ones at discount tool places. I think I bought one about 15 years ago for around $50 USD, though I have to admit that when I tried to use it for a house jack the other day, the ram started leaking oil and it failed to raise the house sufficiently. Alternatively, you might be able to do something with a mechanical jack.

Charley
C R Huff

Thanks Guy. I've been searching the archives for references to slitting the b-post. No luck, but from your description, I think I get it, and can work out the rest as I go along. It could well be the easiest solution.

Charley, I was wondering about spreading the posts apart, and that's why I thought about a vertical slit down through sill. But you reckon that enough force would do the same without slitting, but instead by bending metal. I don't have the tool you mention, but I guess I could try a bottle jack, placed horizontally, and extended with something to give it sufficient reach. But where would it(the car) bend, and wouldn't it bend back after a while, with the natural weight of the car and passenger? Unless I added strength somehwere. So where would I add metal to add strength?

More thinking makes me think the problem lies at the A-post end. If the mistake in alignment (top of a-post too close to top of b-post) occured at the b-post, the rearwards angle of b-post would be less than it should be. (If the b-post had "hinged" towards the front of the car that is. ). But I don't have this problem. The angle is pretty much the same as the door. I compared the two with a template I made.

It's easier to understand how the a-post has been tilted back towards the b-post. This could have happened if the a-posts had been replaced and not put in at the proper vertical(with reference to the sill) alignment. But these haven't been replaced, from what I can see. Lots of original paint.

However. The a-post is welded to the upright wall in the footwell, and there is evidence of past rust repair patching at the lower end of it, along the sill line. Also, the outer sills have definitely been replaced, around the existing a-post. Suppose the rust was bad enough to allow the footwell wall to flex towards the b-post, this would carry the top of a-post and top hinge bracket with it (towards the b-post), whilst leaving the bottom of the a-post(and hence lower hinge bracket), substantially where it should be. Which is what I seem to have.

So, instead of a vertical slit in the inner and outer sill, a horizontal slit at the top of sill, just above the bottom of the a-post, would allow me to spread the distance between the top of the a-post and the top of the b-post. That is flex the footwell wall back to the correct vertical alignment, and then weld it up again.

It wouldn't be much effort, and be invisible from the outside without the need for cosmetic repair.

Of course I have to cut off my newly made lower hinge bracket again, but it's pretty easy to make another. I kept a picture Guy posted of a home made one late last year

How crazy am I sounding?
Lawrence Slater

A cut something like along the white line. You can see it was pretty weak from rust around there anyway before I added some more metal, and that makes me wonder if the collapse/flexing rearwards, has happened here.

Lawrence Slater

Lawrence,
The A post is very easily checked by using the door as the datum. Correctly positioned the panel gap along the bottom of the door and up the front of the door sets the angle between the sill and the A post. Yes the A post should be vertical but the accuracy is not easy to measure because as little as 1 degree out will show as misalignment. Using the door as a template for the angle is much easier!

It may be that when the outer sill was replaced the door was removed to ease access. Common mistake! The door needs to be left in situ in order to get the A post to sill angle correct. It is much easier than trying to measure the angle A very slight error here is then magnified up at the rear of the door and it then looks as if the B post is wrong when, as you seem to have determined, it is the A post that is the cause of it all.

If slitting the A post as you indicate, to alter the A post angle do remember to double check with the wing offered up that the forwards panel gap to the wing is still OK.

Having said all of that, the suspect area to me is still the connection between rear wing (inner and outer) to the sill, just forward of the rear bulkhead. That is where the leverage of the rear springs acting to rotate the whole of the rear tub of the car upwards relative to the sill is at its greatest.
Guy W

If your selling the car in a year and not keeping it for the rest of your life and it is a 50 year old car so id think qiurks, flaws and issues are to be expected....unless this is a concourse car your building

Why not just shim the door to make the door gap uniform...

use the lower hing as a templete and make a shim the same thickiness of the amount your trying to reduce at the top of the door gap and place that shim on the back side of the lower hinge...

Problem solved

Tell the new owner ... let them fix it correctly with a bottle jack or by sliceing the B post...or they may choose to live with it

The question is... if you spend.the time and money to fix this correctly.. will you, make a profit, break even or lose that money and time you have invested into this repair when you sell it...that says alot about the direction of how to fix it or even if you should fix it

Frankly.. a hinge shim is simple, fast and cheap.

Maybe the new owner will fix it correctly maybe they live with it....50 year old cars should have flaws and quirks...is it your intention to make this into a concourse when your done? If not shim the lower hinge and move on.

Prop

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Only thing is Guy, I'm pretty sure my a-posts haven't been removed/replaced. So even if the door was removed when the sills were replaced, why would the a-post angle then change, unless the wall the a-post is welded to, flexes back towards the b-post?

And you may have answered my next question.

I was going to ask, if the sills are removed, where is the primary area of weakness/collapse? Where does it all bend?

You answered that. --
"the suspect area to me is still the connection between rear wing (inner and outer) to the sill, just forward of the rear bulkhead. That is where the leverage of the rear springs acting to rotate the whole of the rear tub of the car upwards relative to the sill is at its greatest."

I'll make an exact stiff c/board pattern of my door, (easier to manouver), and double check the angles you refer to.

PS. Prop, shimming won't work, the top of the a-post is too close to the top of the b-post.
Lawrence Slater

I had an issue just like you posted above on my passager door ...it devoloped over time...was not there when I got the car

The weld that holds the perpendicular plate to th A post that the lower hinge is bolted to had broken free, it would flex back and forth at the low side of that plate ever so slightly it was undetectable ...it took 3 months to figure it out...once I did, a simple re weld and I had straight gaps in my passanger door once again....

I think the cause of the broken weld may have been leaning on the top of the door when its slightly open...just a guess as I see red necks do it all the time...my self included

prop

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I thought you had said that that A post angle had changed:
<<<"It's easier to understand how the a-post has been tilted back towards the b-post.">>>

I was just saying that using the door is the most accurate way to check that. But I still think the rear wing angle is where the fault arises. Its a well known point to look out for when looking to buy.
Guy W

PS. Prop, shimming won't work, the top of the a-post is too close to the top of the b-post

Hmmm... im not sure why it wont work, its a common hill billy fix esp on old mustanges from 60s and 70s

Is the gap between the door, tue A post and the front wing uniform or is it off by the same amount as the gap between the door and the B post...if it is off between the door A post and wing... then the B post id think is fine

.
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

You wouldn't need to add shims, as the hinges are adjustable in all 3 dimensions. But that isn't the solution anyway.
Guy W

Ooohhh....

I understand now...im sorry, hey I was getting turned on watching 2 squrrials screwing in my front yard so I was a bit distracted...haha

So BOTH the tops of the A post AND the B post are leaning IN towards each other !!!

Well that sucks...im liking the idea of a porta jack / bottle jack a whole lot more with this new understanding

Just dont do the spreading at one time between the 2 post...do one post at a time or else the only the weaker post will move and not both at the same time or the same amount...basically you will need a permant or soild wedge for the jack to push off of to move the post Into proper postion

But the real trick is as you have Stated, how do you determine how much the 2 post have collapsed into on each other...not to mention how do you know when to stop pushing out the tops of the A&B post as to not go to far in the other direction

Now thats what I call a mental jig saw puzzle

HEY ...YOU DAM SQURRIALS ...GET TREE FOR GOD SAKES, AND STOP TRYING TO FORCE THAT IN HER BUM....it dosnt go there,... idiots

prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

So let me see if I understand this correctly...

In your words you are so fruggle that you go thur the hassle of rewinding the fjne copper coil of a $14 drill and you rebuild your wheel bearings instead of replacing them

But now your going to do this....hahaha

Hahaha...sorry just the oddity of that tought, ...just giving you grief

Personally if is shutting ...okayish, id leave it and maybe shim the hing, In my opinion this im fearing this could be similar to the front suspension, once you make that cut, it could get hairy fast and that means CHA - CHIGN, goes the register...no telling what will happen next or what you might find, if simple cuttingthe sill was a solution, we would be seeing alot more of this type of modification

Here is a thought that could fit your situation. It is a 50 year old car... and you only want to keep ita year, maybe this is a good project for the next owner to under to under take...no law I know of says you must sell a perfect used car... they are allowed to have flaws...tell the new owner the truth, maybe he fixes it or lives with it, ...is the cost of the repair if simple cutting the sill goes south the same as the return you will recieve when you sell the car ???

Personally...I like my used cars to have flaws, perfection of a used car makes me un easy as to what mysterys lays ahead

I only read your 1st posting...so others my have mentioned this

Is the door hing attachment to the A post okay...I had this issue, it looked okay but the weld in the A post that supports the lower hing area had given way and was causing the door to move ever so slightly during open and shut,, it took 3 months to discover why my door was doing the same thing...I rewelded the Apost...problem solved, door shuts fine

2nd thought....what shape is that little 90 degree metal edge on the bottom of the car...( the frame rail ) it looks harmless... but if its cut or fractured it can make the car fold in half as well

Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

What is going on with this BBS site...nothing is staying deleted there rising from the dead...did jesus decide to finally get around to showing up after 2000 years...is that what he meant that the dead shall rise agian...

please Ignore my DELETED post above this current one

It was trashed for a reason


.
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Door alignment and gaps on a Mini are a huge pain, and correcting it involves a number of dodgy but effective techniques. Here's an article with lots of lovely pictures that might give you some inspiration:

http://www.theminiforum.co.uk/forums/topic/205532-how-to-get-those-tight-doorbonnet-boot-gaps/

Growler

Lawrence, Midgets tend to sag with age; they can be opened up without resort to cutting sills. You need to get the car off the gound far enough to be rocking on a lump of 4" x 4" minimum timber placed between a pair of axle stands amidships. Then with 3 people to sit on the boot lid/rear deck to hold it down, two people jump on the front ends of the chassis legs a few times, check and adjust to suit. Did this on my trials car so I know it works.
David Smith

Some useful stuff there Growler.
Another thing - if adding extra metal down one edge of a panel gap with a MIG, there's a neat way of ending up with an even gap. You run a slightly oversized bead down the edge and then use a 2mm slitting disc down the gap to even it all up. You can also match the width by using the thin 1mm discs and fitting a stack of 2 or 3 to the angle grinder to get the gap needed.
Guy W

Prop, you're right, but as I said in my first post, for some reason I'm getting fussy, when really I shouldn't give a hoot about it. The trouble is that now I know it's there, I feel challenged to fix it. lol.

Guy, yup the angle of the a-post has changed relative to the b-post, because the wall the a-post is welded to, has changed it's angle of tilt toward the b-post. It must be this, if as I believe, the a-posts haven't been replaced and are original. My reasoning is, -- "Suppose the rust was bad enough to allow the footwell wall to flex towards the b-post, this would carry the top of a-post and top hinge bracket with it (towards the b-post), whilst leaving the bottom of the a-post(and hence lower hinge bracket), substantially where it should be. Which is what I seem to have."

Growler, thanks for that link, I'll read it tomorrow when the Guiness has all become urine. :).

David, I've currently got the car jacked up on the passenger side, and pivoting about the jacking point near the a-post. But now you've said that, I guess this could all stem from a sagged chassis. So I need some fat mates to sit on the car huh? There's a weigh loss trainer lives near me, I'll ask her if I can borrow some of her clients. lol.
Lawrence Slater

I was going to suggest a porta-power, like Charley said.
Dave O'Neill2

One thing is for certian, im looking forward to seeing how this is remedied...you have a interesting project lawerance

Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Lawrence:
<<Guy, yup the angle of the a-post has changed relative to the b-post, because the wall the a-post is welded to, has changed it's angle of tilt toward the b-post. It must be this, if as I believe, the a-posts haven't been replaced and are original. My reasoning is, -- "Suppose the rust was bad enough to allow the footwell wall to flex towards the b-post, this would carry the top of a-post and top hinge bracket with it (towards the b-post), whilst leaving the bottom of the a-post(and hence lower hinge bracket), substantially where it should be. Which is what I seem to have.">>

I still think the problem is far more likely to be with the B post. There is very little stress on the A post to make it move and it is well supported as being integral with the whole of the footwell construction. The only leverage on it is from the relatively lightweight door. But there's no need to theorise, it is a very easy check to see if the A post has moved by looking at the gap to the rear edge of the front wing, and also checking the angle with the sill by using the door as a template.

Start by fitting the door into its opening - propping it there will do - and use strips of hardboard or something similar along the bottom edge so that it has a consistent panel gap to the sill. This will then give you the position at the front corner that you mark for fitting the trailing edge of the A post cover. At the same time you can check the top corner of the A post to be sure it hasn't moved. As yours hasn't been replaced I doubt that it will have moved at all, despite your comment "the footwell panel may have flexed".

The B post moving is far more likely. Its a common well documented problem and is one of the things usually listed to check for when buying a car. That is where the stresses from the rear suspension banging up and down are fed in at the much shorter joint between wing and sill, and it takes a lot of loading.
Guy W

Lawrence, it would have helped a lot if you had photo'd the car before with the panels in view to show how it was / is at the start from outside and inside on that side.
Do you have some and can you post them?
Dave Squire (1500)

Yup, Dave Squire, it would indeed. But as I wasn't changing the sills or the A post, I didn't bother to record the doors in postion prior to taking them off. As I've only drivien the Midget once, from London 35 miles, I didn't have many ocassions to open and shut the doors. From memory, shutting the passenger door was a bit of a slam, and ok-ish, but as the bottom hinge seemed solid enough, I just figured it was badly adjusted. The drivers door had definitely dropped though, and had to be lifted to close it. The lower hinge on the drivers side is worse than the passenger side, and is has moved back due to rust.

Guy, checking the front wing to a-post gap won't help. If the whole upright panel has moved, then to too have the bolt holes for the front wing, and the gap will have moved along with the a-post. Although the gap under the front wing will have altered. So there should be a larger gap at the front by the wheel arch, than by the bottom of the a-post. As for the gap under the door relative to the sill, I can't really judge by that can I? The sills have been changed, and might have been put on with the wrong angle relative to the a-post.

Is the sill to a-post angle supposed to be 90 degrees?

I'm not neccessarily disagreeing with you about the b-post having flexed towards the a-post rather than the other way around. If it's weaker there than the a-post, with the sills off then that makes sense. But I've already checked the angle of the sill to the b-post, and it's the same as the angle on the bottom of the door to the rear edge of the door.

But again if the sills were positioned to maintain this angle, the could still mean the top of the b-post has flexed forwards to the a-post, and narrowed the gap.

I marked the sill prior to removing the lower section of the a-post skin, so I'll wedge the door in and put the skin back and take a pic.

Notwithstanding the possibility of a sagged chassis, let's assume the b-post is the culprit. If so, then I need to move flex it back again. Any suggestions that don't involve the complete removal of the inner and outer sill?

Where can I slit, flex, and weld up again?

I'm going to read Growlers link now.
Lawrence Slater

Sorry, I was labouring the point. I was trying to say that if the top of the A post has moved rearwards, towards the B post this would change the angle made between the A post and the sill. And this can be checked against the door shape. Yes, I think it is 90 degrees, but I am not sure, which is why I say use the door. But in your case as you have removed the A post skin this isn't quite so easy.

__][___/_
---------

!
Guy W

Just located some sales photos the seller sent me. They were sitting in my inbox as an attachment, that I hadn't bothered to open since I was going to see the car anyway. Mostly they are close-ups of the rust spots and split roof etc, but there are a couple of side shots too. I'll cut the size down and post them later.
Lawrence Slater

I probably should have paid far more attention to this stuf when I bought the car. But in my defence, I was probably going to scrap it for spares. It was only when driving it home, that I began to think seriously about putting it on the road with a new mot.

Anyway, Here's a picture of the passenger side, it's a bit blurry and the bottom of the door isn't distinct.

If you enlarge it, ----

The whole of the rear of the door is very close(touching?) to the b-post. The top of the rear of the door appears lower than it should.

The top of the front of the door, is very close to the a-post, and there is an increasing gap as you follow it down.

The front wing to sill gap, appears to be less at the rear by the a-post, than at the wheel arch. But with the sills having been replaced, and that side having had a significant dent in the sill (just forward from and above the chrome Midget letters) that could have dragged the top of the sill down, it's not conclusive.

I'll post some others soon. Elevenses calls. :)

Lawrence Slater

As you say, not conclusive is it? But that rear door gap certainly looks to be too tight.

Pretty solid looking car though. A good Buy I would say, even if it does need a little "adjustment"
Guy W

This one is a little clearer. I took this outside the sellers house when I went to see it, and forgot all about it.

The under door gap looks uniform, possibly reducing towards the b-post. But overall you can see how tight the door is in there.

You can just see the drivers side headlight of a brown Allegro he was selling too. I've cut it out to reduce the size of this picture, but if anyone's desperate, I can post it in full. lol.

Lawrence Slater

And another.

Looking by the handle, you can see the paint has been knocked off. And having had a fresh look at the door just now, I can see that the rear of the door has been hitting the b-post quite hard.

Lawrence Slater

And this is the only other pic I have of the car prior to me pulling the door off. The seller took it to show the interior, and caught the top of the passenger door.

Shows it tight, but not as tight as it now seems to be when I trial fit the door. I wonder if it has sagged further with the doors off?


Lawrence Slater

Here's the drivers side door. Much better fit even though the door has to be lifted when closing it, to compensate for the collapsing lower hinge bracket in the a-post.

So as the sills have been changed on both sides at some point, perhaps they were fitted properly with respect to door alignment, and the passenger side has suffered from post sill replacement sag? Perhaps due to new rust?

In any event. Without doing the job properly and taking off the passenger side sill, how can I most easily open the door gap, with appropriate cuts and welds?

I'd like to avoid slitting the rear wing/b-post if possible. It would allow the door to move back, away from the a-post, and create a gap between the rear of the door and the b-post. But it would put the b-post at a different angle to the rear wing, instead of the 90 degrees I assume it's supposed to be. Won't that look a bit odd?

Lawrence Slater

<<But it would put the b-post at a different angle to the rear wing, instead of the 90 degrees I assume it's supposed to be. Won't that look a bit odd? >>


Depending on how far you would need to move it, I don't suppose anyone would really notice.
Dave O'Neill2

Just found 2 more of the drivers door, which I've merged together. Apart from showing the ding in the sill, and the rust in the bottom of the door/rear wing, it shows a useful gap at the a-post lower section (even though it's too tight at the top of the a-post), and how tight it is to the b-post.

I think before any slitting of the rear wing/b-post, I'm going to try and reverse sag the car as David Smith suggested. I've got a few acrows. I can cut one down to the door gap width, and use it as a spreader while the car is suspended and rocking. I only need a couple of mm. So I reckon it's worth a try.

If that doesn't work, I may just shove it back together, and slam the door hard until I sell it - as per Props suggestion. The main thing is that I want it on the road, so I can pull my Sprite and rebuild the engine. Then maybe think about what to do with this next year.

Cup of tea and more thought required. :).

Edit. Blast. Forgot the picture.
Lawrence Slater

I keep thinking of the thread I saw in the archives. I'm certain someone has rectified this same thing before by cutting and welding the sills. I'll have another search.

Lawrence Slater

Malcolm had similar alignment problems with the A post to sill angles when fitting new sills. Only worse l think. Quite a lot of discussion about it around 6 months ago. Maybe when you were on holiday. Not sure of he ever told us how he resolved it.


In the photos, your door looks as of it is hung a little low at the back, which will aggravate the problem of contact with the rear wing.
Guy W

"your door looks as of it is hung a little low at the back, which will aggravate the problem of contact with the rear wing."

Yep and that's exactly what I found when I put the door in on it's hinges Guy. I can't raise the door sufficiently at the rear to level it, and make a gap at the b-post, because the door hits the top of the a-post skin.

I suppose I could take a grinder to the a-post skin above the top hinge, and weld it up again. But that mean screen off to protect if from heat, and I'm not sure how it would look afterwards.

Malcolm? How did you fix it? lol
Lawrence Slater

Lawrence,

It sounds like you want quick and painless. For that, I don't think you can beat Dave Smith's suggestion. If all you need is a few mm, I strongly suspect that method will turn the trick. If you only want to stretch one side, I suppose you would only raise one side.

I've straightened badly sprung Volvo doors by simply hanging on them with tennis shoes and twisting them back, and I only weigh about 150 lbs when well fed. It is kind of surprising how easy it can be to bend a car.

If you want a little more precise control you could weld a couple plates to the sturdy part of the frame channels fore and aft, put holes in them, and chain them to the ground. The put a timber and jack under the center.

Of course the problem is finding something to chain it down to. A friend and I have done this to damaged frames, but he had rings that were installed in his concrete floor before it was poured.

Charley
C R Huff

Yup I knew I'd read it, so that's where my idea came from.

"Door Fitting Problem" 2010 technical archive. C.Burley swapped a passenger door, and it wouldn't fit. He said, --
"Yes thats right - the door is tight to rear wing (worse at bottom as it actually touches) and there is a gap between door and A post, but very tight at the top near windscreen mount."

Almost identical to my problem.

Onno and Norm suggested some slitting and cutting, but not exactly where. It needed some checking and identifying where the cuts could be made.

Guy you suspected the b-post had folded in due to weak sills, as with mine, and that could well have been the case.

It finishes with C Burley saying --
"On looking at it further, the sills are very solid, as is the A Post. I am going to try the old door as there were no fitting issues with that. One concerning point is the inner panel in the footwell the A post is welded to has been patched in the past and the metal appears slightly distorted. This could be the cause I guess."

So C. Burley, what did you do?

Charley. Yup quick fix please. :). I've got a spare engine I can dump in the boot for ballast, and a concrete floor I could fix a steel eye to.
Lawrence Slater

Those photos helped alot

I dont think there is a problem with the A post...look at the gap between the A post and the front wing,...its uniform and straight...maybe the gap is a touch wide but nothing we havant seen before...if there Is an issue its the perpendicular plate inside the A post that the hinge attatches to

If its fast and simple you want...id use a jack on the bottom corner of the A post and sill and the other end to the near top of the B post and shove it UP and over maybe 3/8 th inch then shim the top door hinge 3/16 th to 1/8th inch I think your problem is solved

Seriously... I dont even think there is an issue with ither posting...im thinking in the direction that the car got warpped...like a really obease person ...800lbs sat in the car

If thats the case... I love the last person that Mentioned using a train track rail wood timber under the sill and some LARGE HEAVY men to push down on the front and back of the car to open the distance between the top of the A and B post.

Am I wrong looking at the photo... it dosnt look like you need alot of extra gap...it looks like anything between 1/8 th to 1/4 and your in great shape...it may not be perfect but its still decades better then where your at

In situations like this...I start at the least intrusive and work my way up....I think thats the direction id go here

Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Lawrence

I've had exactly the same problem with my car - all my own fault. When I first restored it 10+ years ago (as a fussy young man) I wanted perfect door gaps. So when repllacing A-posts and sills I got the gaps down to a few mm rather than the much more 'relaxed' gaps on a standard car.

You probably won't have seen it (it's on the K-forum), but I've had a 1.4K in for a number of years, but as part of a year-long rebuild and upgrade to a 200bhp odd engine, I did a lot of strengthening to the transmission tunnel and also added reinforcement to the bottom of the door apertures.

Like a complete idiot I didn't brace the shell and it moved - not much, but enough to mean the tiny gaps I had closed up enough to mean the doors wouldn't fit. Maybe only a couple of mm each side. I suppose I thought as the shell was quite solid to start with it wouldn't move - or maybe I am just an idiot.

I tried various things to open them up - turnbuckle arrangement first, which was no good. I had a go with a bottle jack and toyed with the idea of a body jack, but from what I could see, any of those methods looked more likely to either distort the face of the B-pillar, or push the A-pillar forward and crack the join/paint at the top.

Maybe it was because I'd made the shell a lot stronger that I could not get it to move at all. I did think about slicing and re-welding the sills, but that felt dangerous to me - wouldn't you end up with what might look like a cut and shut, or at least weaken the area around what you had sliced. I was also trying to avoid doing any external paintwork as the previous paintjob was still very good.

In the end I modified the doors along their front edge. A couple of inches at a time I cut maybe 3mm off the folded skin and tacked the three layers back together along the edge, and worked my way down the door. The skin is now part of the door of course, but I won't be restoring this car again. Linished it back flat and got them painted - probably the least risk way of sorting the problem.

The doors are now bespoke to the car, but most vintage Ferraris are like that so I'm not bothered and you wouldn't know by looking at it.

I saw the method of jumping up and down on the chassis rails to bend the shell a bit - blimey, if that works then how the hell don't they all fold up just driving them day to day? Glad I did all the reinforcing I did if they move that easily.

Anyway - if I were you I'd modify the doors and leave the structural bits alone. Just my tupppence-worth!

Good luck, Lloyd



L McInally

"if there Is an issue its the perpendicular plate inside the A post that the hinge attatches to"

That's my thinking Prop. But looking at various pics by people here, who've been replacing their sills, just as Guy says, you can see how easily the car could bend at the b-post when the sills are off or weak.

Maybe it's a bit of both. Probably no way of knowing.

I've got the car jacked up and suspended on the passenger side. I've been playing see-saw with it. But tomorrow I'll suspend it as Dave says, and also make a spreader to assist the "bending". Should be fun.
Lawrence Slater

Lloyd

you got a pretty mouth, I like the way you talk...hahaha

Welclome to the forum....thats a great idea

Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Thanks Lloyd. Worth considering I guess. The whole car needs a spray, so if the door edges look rough it won't really matter very much.

More food for thought. :).

Speaking of "standard" gaps, was there ever a measurement quoted for the gaps, or door widths?
Lawrence Slater

If you do it you also need to take a tiny bit away at the top angled bit of the door so it doesn't foul on the screen frame, and watch for the 'box' where the courtesy light fits - one of mine just touches the frame when almost fully closed.

I've trial fitted the quarterlight and it looks OK and I shouldn't need to move the screen frame.

All a bit embarassing really - I should have blamed it on a PO...
L McInally

One of the doors on my car is "bespoke" fitted. An outcome of fitting new sill, A and B posts and not at the time grasping the significance of building the car around the doors, rather than expecting the doors to fit the car. Once I worked that out, I have had no further difficulties with sill or hinge replacement.
Guy W

That turnbuckle comment that lloyd mentioned captured my imagination

If your going to spread em....I would NOT put a jack or turnbuckel between both post at the same time and push

The force will simple push off the strongest post and move the weaker post

The post have to be pushed seperatly...so take that into account when daydreaming the big push out tomarrow


Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I seriously think you'll end up creasing the b-pillar/rear wing and pushing the A-post forward/cracking the join at the top. Unless you've weakened the sill structure first. Lots of work.

Doors took me about half an hour to do each one, and gave them to a paintshop.

I'll say no more!
L McInally

I don't like the idea of pushing. I have used body jacks and chains to re-align bent chassis rails on a modern where the damage was kinked rails due to impact damage. That worked out OK. But in this case the distortion doesn't seem to be as a result of something being bent, that could therefore be straightened.

Body jacking would possibly distort the shell back to where you want it, but is likely to weaken it further. If it will flex with a body jack, then it will be at the weakened points in the shell that it will bend, and it is likely to slump back again fairly quickly.
Guy W

Guy ...

Thats a lot of common scence 101 your talking...careful that the NSA dosnt show up on your door step

Going back to lloyeds suggestion...it sounds like a lot of work, but the more I think about it, the more it appears to be the easiest cure...it takes the whole car structure out of play and cosmtically fixes the problem

Its not something im a fan of in my pay job profession, but ive done it as im sure we have all fixed the symptom and not the cause, at various points of our carrers...I mean that as an interior home painting contractor

Like you said lawerance...your only keeping it another 350 days....its still not to late to let the next owners deal with it, you have your hands full as it is

Prop

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

"Unless you've weakened the sill structure first. Lots of work."

And that takes us back to the title. An appropriate cut in the right place would allow the posts to be moved apart without so much force applied. The outer sills are weak compared to the inner sills. If the inner sill was slit at the right place(s), the outer sill would "flex". The movement needed is only 2/3mm maximum. Since the movement needed is at the top, there wouldn't be much movement across the wing, and hopefully no visible distortion.

The decision is where to cut the inner sill.

I suppose I could go half hog. Cut out the lower section of the rear wing adjacent to the b-post to expose the inner sill. Cut a horizontial slit, which would simulate the removal of the inner sill. This should allow the b-post to flex.

How about a cut along the white line?

Lawrence Slater

Lawrence,

Indeed we have come full circle on this. That is, back to cutting the sill.

So, that brings us back to considering cutting what is probably the most critical part of the car's strength, to make a silly door fit.

You need to go sit in the corner have a time out. You have your cart before your horse.

Lloyd did have pretty good idea by suggesting that you take your frustration out on the door rather than the super structure. I think that is well worth considering. It is more time in bodywork, but it is a pretty safe bet that you won't screw something up.

That said, I also suspect that that you could just bend the whole car without cutting anything because you don't need to bend it very far.

But, the most important part of what I am saying is that if you are thinking of cutting the sill to make a damn door fit, put your tools down, go drink a beer, and get a good night's sleep!

Charley
C R Huff

Thanks for the concern about my horse Charley, lol, but it's not as dumb as it appears :).

"So, that brings us back to considering cutting what is probably the most critical part of the car's strength, to make a silly door fit." ---.

I don't entirely agree there. The car won't fold in half if I cut a slit down through, or along the sills on the passenger side. There's also a g/box tunnel and the other side of the car to prevent that. Before the inner sills were replaced on my Sprite, they consisted in large part of newspaper, perforated ally sheet, and Isopon. I drove it like that for the best part of 20 years before I couldn't get it mot'd anymore. Unfortunately (and the only time I ever had someone else work on my car ), I didn't do the sill replacements myself. If I had, I wouldn't be asking questions here. I'd probably know exactly where to cut.

Agreed, I could make the door fit the hole. I'd thought about it prior to Lloyd's post. And Lloyd's post made me re-think it again, mostly because I'm a lazy b'stard, and always look for the easy way out. It would clearly work, and I think if I'd got the car back together after doing the sills, I might go down that route, rather than have to re-do the sills again. But in my case I have a car that needs some welding anyway.

My instinct is to fix the problem when I can, rather than work around it. The door isn't too big, the hole's too small, and the wrong shape. So the fix that's needed, is to make the hole the correct size and shape. It's only a matter of finding the easiest way to do that; -- if I do it at all. So I just wondered, after seeing a thread in the archives discussing this, if anyone has ever fixed this problem in the way I'm proposing/asking. And it would appear not, or the people who have, haven't seen the thread or not replied yet.

Apart from reducing and or changing the shape of the door, the other suggestion, one currently under trial, is to bend the car -- without cutting --, on the assumption that it's sagged. As I only need a small amount of correction, that's what I'm trying first. The counter argument is that it might/will sag back again. But if Dave Smith's done this successfully on a trials car, it must have a pretty good chance of working on my road car I reckon, -- assuming the passenger side sill is as solid as it appears to be.

If it doesn't work, then either very soon, or next year if I can't be bothered now, I'm going to be cutting either vertically into the sills at some location to be decided, or, horizontally/diagonally into the upright panel that the a-post is welded to, or, as in my last picture along the line of the rear of the inner sill below the b-post.

And another or, as in this picture, somewhere here diagonally, to allow the b-post to "hinge" back to it's correct position, if that is where the fault lies.

As someone said in another thread (paraphrasing), if you cut metal in the wrong place, who cares, you just weld it back up again.

PS. Hope you don't mind my borrowing your pics "spinny.org"?

Lawrence Slater

I should also add, I haven't ruled out Guy's suggestion of a slit down the back of the b-post.
Lawrence Slater

Lawrence,

If you try bending the car, and it sags back again, then you are just back where you started and you haven't spent a lot of time and work to get there.

Also, if it sags back again, I think it probably means that the structure was compromised already. If that is so, then slitting and welding probably won't fix it either. If it is that compromised, doesn't it mean that it needs more work than anything you have been contemplating so far?

Charley
C R Huff

I agree Charley, but it can't be that weak as I've already tried supporting it in various places along the length of the sill, and it hasn't opened up the door gap that I could tell. It's also been sitting -- unsupported -- without the door for quite a while with me climbing in and out, and the gap hasn't closed up anymore that it was already, -- going by the pics I posted of it, which were taken when I bought the car back in November 2012.

But if there is a weak spot, -- and I still think it lies in the region of the a-post vertical plate in the footwell --, then cutting and welding there, or wherever the weak structure is, should both allow me to both flex the car and strengthen it without drastic surgery. Hopefully. :).

I'm assuming that if it is structurally strong in the sills (the gearbox tunnel looks as good as the day it was made) and it's sagged, then it would need to be bent just past the amount needed, so that it would then settle back to the right point.

The cars must "flex" in the middle to some degree. All there is, is a tunnel box section, and two sill box sections (on the later cars). How much 'can' they flex before they bend?

Lawrence Slater

Growler, Thanks for that mini link. I have read it. That chap has both skill and patience aplenty. :). I guess I could alter the door, but I reckon there's less work if I cut and re-weld the sills.

Leaving bending aside. In the worst case, if I cut a vertical slot, through the inner and outer sills, flex the relevant a/b-post to the correct angle, I could re-weld them together at an adjusted angle. If I remove a vertical section of the outer sill, with the gap I then have to work in, I could easily plate the insides of the sills using plug welds, and then flush/butt weld another bit of metal in over the top. (If that description makes sense). It would be stronger where I cut it, than before I cut it, theoretically. :).

The more I think about it, the more enthused I become. I put it down to mental illness lol.
Lawrence Slater

I dont see what the fuss is about? I just lean to one side and the door gap fixes itself. Of coarse I cant close the door Im nearest as the body flexes a bit.
Arnt these cars supposed to do that?

Steven Devine

"Arnt these cars supposed to do that? "

I wish they were, it would make it so much easier to close the doors. lol. Actually, I thought frogs and mk2's were more rigid than the later semi-elliptics. You have a chassis rail running the length of the floor. On the later cars only have the sills and tunnel.

Why is that? They should have kep that chassis section in the later cars. And there's an idea. Get some channel and weld them in over the floor, just as in the early car.
Lawrence Slater

Is there supposed to be a piece at the front of the rocker? Im a little confused. Lawrence why does your car have all that extra metal where the rocker is located?

Steven Devine

By rocker you mean sill?
Lawrence Slater

Yes, Ill have to learn to speak the kings english someday!
Steven Devine

If this was a house and was showing signs of settlement - you know, door frames out of square so the doors catch, sloping floors, that sort of thing.. . . It could be because the house builder wasn't much good with a spirit level and built or repaired it that way.

But a structural engineer would come along and say, Oh yes all these houses suffer that way, its the underlying Dover Sands strata with underground streams and the old Kent coalfield workings around here that all cause subsidence. Before specifying the necessary repairs he would want to check if the subsidence was still happening and would want to get that sorted by underpinning before any door frame repairs were done.

So, Lawrence, throughout you seem to have concluded that the problems are down to poor use of the spirit level, rather than the obvious known common cause of Spridget doors not fitting the opening properly which is structural weakness caused by rusted sills etc. I know you have identified evidence of some previous repairs, and obviously have some rusting. But have you managed to confirm that the underlying cause is no longer continuing?
Guy W

In usa rocker is a sill, saying words like wing, boot, propler shaft, torch, spanners, ect ect can get you some confusing looks :-D

'
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

And here's another thought:
If you had declared you were going to cut out and replace the sills, you would have had lots of people say that they had done this job, or paid to have it done. Straightforward. No problems. Common task. Just make a few cuts with an angle grinder and get going with the new panel and MIG.

You would also get lots of advice - remember to brace the door openings or they will close up. And others explaining that if they have closed up, where to place jacks and supports under the floor and to adjust these to get the door opening just right before welding. All common practice, done hundreds of times.

I think you would be very unlikely to get people saying not to replace the sills, but to try bending the car instead!

Your proposal is no different in principle. Make some cuts, adjust the opening and re-weld. Job done. The only difference is that the bit of sill that you cut out is very short!

But there is another difference. When replacing the sills you know that you are working with a new sill, new metal, and anyone doing the work will understand that this need to be welded in to sound steel. If you are just slitting in one place to adjust things, are you sure that the bit that has caused it to sag isn't being left to continue its ageing processes?
Guy W

The job of replacing sills is done so frequently it is fully accepted, but because you call it cutting the sills everyone defaults into their OMG panic mode!
Guy W

Lawerance

I think your on the correct yellow brick road

Im a fan of starting with the least intrusive and working your way up

Im with charly for no more then you got to go, 2/3 mm or 1/4 inch...id start with bending...for no more then you are bending I think this falls more under cosmetic then it does structure...for so little your pushing I seriously doulbt It will fall back into place...if we were talking 1 inch or more (3cm) then I think you would reap the wrath of an ancient greek god

Charly said it best...if it does collapse back, all you lost was 1/2 hour of time and you back where you started, then you can cut the A&B post up and slice up sills

One thought I had conjured up last night thinking about slicing the sill...most saw blades are 1/8 inch wide...combine that with the amount you will have to "SPREAD" that cut in the sill to re-align the posts and that could be a Huge freaken gap...im guessing a minume of 3/8th inch and as high as 1/2 inch...thats a heck of a gap to weld over...doable, but nothing id attempt with my limited skill level and $100 harbor frieght mig welder

Prop

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Replacing the sill ....OMG !!! How far has the sky falling in the UK, it appears the sky is sagging here

Hahaha....ill get my coat


Lawerance....are you going to video this fix, I hope so...I want to watch

So.what time today are you going to do this...im excited, looking forward to seeing what happens next

Is any more discussion needed...I think its all been mentioned and covered...lets get busy bending, cutting, and welding

Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Lawrence

"I wish they were, it would make it so much easier to close the doors." Thats great! I Cant stop laughing. I think you want to fix the car but you dont want to end up with something worse off then when you started. At what point does it stop being a car and becoming a family member? After the surgery?

I think Prop is right on this one! Strap the patient down and get the tools out! But! Always have plan B ready,leave it alone and just drive the wheels of it! Thats what happened to my A!

Steven Devine

Too late for that Steven. :). Love the A.

I like that Guy, OMG, I'm cutting the sills instead of replacing them lol.. Real pioneering stuff. ;).

"If this was a house and was showing signs of settlement - you know, door frames out of square so the doors catch, sloping floors, that sort of thing.."

:). That's a perfect description of my house Guy. lol. I had to alter quite a few openings, and refit the frames to make the doors fit properly. Combination of the above causes you identified. There are a number of houses in my road, all built by the same builder, and all have(had) exactly the same faults. 50's houses slung up after the war, to a price and at a speed to satisfy demand. Basically pretty good, but by no means very well built.

Apart from the possibility/probability of Spridgets sagging with age, even if they haven't rusted, on this Midget, I know the following:

1) The a-posts have not been replaced.
2) The sills have been replaced. Rust the most probable cause for this. Although the drivers door seems to fit in it's hole properly( looking at the pictures ), the passenger door definitely doesn't fit properly. Is this due to new rust and weakness, or poor alignment of the sills? What I know is, there is no visible rust/structural weakness, and the car doesn't flex easily. So I'm assuming the passenger side sills are solid. If so, in the absence of another cause, it's reasonable to say that previous work on the sills is a very reasonable candidate for the cause of the poor door gaps. Poor workmanship? Well so far, I haven't found crap welding, but that doesn't mean someone didn't make a mistake on the passenger side when fitting the sills.
3) The outer footwell wall, that the a-post is welded to, has welded patches. It must have rusted to need repair. It could have shifted position, and not been put right when it was patched. There were holes in the lower section when I got it, and I've added some more metal. But for all I've done whilst welding, the door gaps appear substantially the same as when I bought the car.

"If you are just slitting in one place to adjust things, are you sure that the bit that has caused it to sag isn't being left to continue its ageing processes? "

Well, I can see all the outer sill. The only bit of the inner sill I can't see, that could have any effect on the door gaps by being rusty or weak, is where it disappears behind the outer sill under the rear wing. The outer sills at this point are solid, at the ends and on the top inside the rear wing. The seatbelt bolt point is solid, and shows no sign of weakness. And as already tested, the b-post doesn't move when the car is jacked up under the front spring hanger, and bounced up and down on. But I confess, to assume the bit I can't see is solid, is no more than a justified guess. :).

Prop. I'll be cutting a wide enough slit to fit a bit of metal in it. See my earlier description.

And here is the current state of play. I've now got 2 jacks under the car. One and just forward of the a-post, and the second under the front of the rear spring hanger. I've been jumping up and down in the boot, and on the front bumper mount, and on the front inner wing. I've concluded that these bloody cars are a whole lot stronger than the credit given to them.

at the same time I've also got a jack in the door gap to try and spread the post apart. One end is braced against the lower windscreen mounting nut/bolt, and the other at the top of the b-post.

Despite the thing being so taut now, as to be tuned to ring a "g" note, I don't think it's moved anything. no creaks or moans or cracks opened up. The rear wing hasn't distorted, and b-post hasn't collapsed. every half hour I give it another 1/4 turn. I'll probably be woken up tonight to an almighty bang, as something finally gives out. LOL.

Do you like the gratuitous shot of the mig, reflected in the paint of the passenger door? :).

Lawrence Slater

You've got to admit, an MGA is a beautiful beast !
Guy W

Will a late model midget sill fit an early car? I got this one at the breakers never used for $15 but it has a hole in the back. Anyone ever fill these?
Lawrence you are welcome to the chassis rail in this car. I bumped it by accident and it fell threw!

Steven Devine

The likelihood is that whoever replaced the sills did the passenger side first, got it slightly wrong dimensionaly, but not so bad that he wanted to take it all apart again. Then he did the drivers side and having learnt from his errors, he made a better job of the second side.

The fact that the gaps are out a bit doesn't mean there was anything wrong with his welding. Maybe the wedges he put in just weren't quite tight enough and he didn't know to place a jack under the floor to provide micro-adjustment before welding.

The basic design of the body tub is very strong. Which is why you can fit 200bhp engines in them safely ! But they are prone to rust which weakens critical structures. If yours is sound, l doubt very much that a few car jacks will bend it as you want. If it does bend, then l would worry that there was some hidden critically rusted area.
Guy W

Steven.

The correct sills have a slight curve from top to bottom. The later sills are flat. They will fit, but are not quite right for a Mk 1
Guy W

I wish you had the time lapse pictures like dennis had on his rebuild. It would be great to see you scurrying around and jumping on one end of the car to the other! I notice you are giving the design a little respect as you try to manage it! How did you get the car apart so fast? If you think of a good tune in G maybe me and prop can harmonize a song and you can play the jack in the back round! Lol
Steven Devine

Ok so I just wasted $15.
Steven Devine

Lawrence,

What was your thought process in putting the underside wood and jacks fore and aft of the door opening instead of directly under the door opening? It seems that your arrangement would make it harder to bend. Don't let that jack jump out and hit you in the face. I bet it would hurt a lot.

Charley
C R Huff

I could video it Steven LOL. The car isn't that stripped. The left side wishbone and suspension is off, the front wing is off, and the seats are out. The rear bumber is off, and the doors are off. That's about it really. Doesn't take very long to get that stuff off. Wish I could find a sill like that going cheap. I need the front half for the drivers (RH) side. Too expensive to cut a new one in half, so I'll be patching mine.

Are you sure you don't know the bloke who fitted the sills to this Midget Guy? You seem very keen on his defence. lol. I don't care what the cause is, I only care about rectifying it. Actually that scissor jack has a pretty strong lift. I haven't really begun to wind it in yet. But, so far, as you say, the car is resisting very well. Another reason to assume the sills are solid, but something is misaligned.

I took a measure 15&1/4" up from the sill at both posts, and measured the distance from post to post. I chose this because it's the height on this car, that the a-post goes from vertical to horizontal, and is an easy reference point. I got 31&1/4". When I measured it again after jacking it up as it is now, and winding up the jack, it was too close to the same to say it's moved.

But now it's braced as it is, under pressure, I bet a well placed cut will spread the posts pretty smartly. If nothing moves tomorrow, I'm going to move the jacks to under the tunnel and try and bend the whole car. If it still doesn't bend then I'm going to start cutting.

Charley, I chose those points because I don't want a bend in the middle of the sill, but rather at one end or other of the floor pan, at one of the posts. I don't really care which. If the bloody car wasn't so full of underseal, I'd turn some heat on it with a torch. Actually I should have said, "One and just REARWARDS of the a-post".

As for the jack jumping out, it wouldn't be the first time. But I live for danger anyway. There's no fun and boasting rights without a bit of risk. ;).

Prop and Steven. Can you guys jump on a plane and come and bounce up and down on the ends of my Midget?
Lawrence Slater

That last sentence sounds a bit dubious!
Guy W

Well they'd have to pay their own fares Guy, and I'd let them stay in the garage overnight -- locked in of course. lol.
Lawrence Slater

Whoops, Error.

The gap between posts at height of 15&1/4" is 30.25" NOT 31.25".

If it was I'd be in real trouble. lol.

Lawrence Slater

Lawerance....

For no more then you need to move the post...id just keep cranking on the jack till you got your 3 mm of movement...I dont think it will move any further as is

But under the current pressure...id think cutting the sill and patching welding a wedge should work

I dont like the idea of trying to bend the entire car at the transmission tunnel...id be surprised thats even doable with the jacks you have

An issue I see with the current set up that may be contributing to NO obvious movement...your using wood in your jacking points...I think thats a bad idea ....wood is squishy soft and will simple compress....esp in open fiber and your softer woods like yellow pine....id go metal on metal....id say this is the biggest reason for no movement and why there will be no movement tomrrow...if you pull it apart and see ANY indentations in the wood, then thats where your kenitic energy transfered back to potential energy


Prop

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I think you Lawrence! Have just become, dare I say it!
"The most interesting man in the world!"
You have rolled up your sleeves and are making a terrific go of it! Im impressed!

Yes I will come to your place with Prop and sleep in the garage under one condition. I want bunk beds and I get the top! I hope I dont wet the bed again! Lol!
I hope all this works out as Ill probably be next!

Me and prop using your car as a see saw! Prop what do you weigh these days! It might get stuck down on his end, Im not as heavy as I used to be!
What a great thread!
Steven Devine

Lawrence,

I thought that might be your logic for the placement of the wood. I suspect that it would be very hard to bend it at the base of either pillar because the wings/inner wings add too much bracing strength at those points.

Charley
C R Huff

Hi Prop, the wood is against the grain, even for soft wood it's pretty strong when compressed that way. And if the wood was giving way, the car would have settled back down onto the axle stands under the rear axle at the back, and the front chassis rail at the front. It hasn't.

Steven, you can have a bucket to pee in, and Prop can "slop out" in the morning for you if you like, and he's agreeable. lol.

Yep Charley, I've concluded that bending these sills is pretty hard. My only hope is to distort what's welded to them, if I don't slit the sills first.

If you took off the outer sill completely, as long as the inner sill was kept completely flat ( the job that the outer sill does), then it would still be very hard to bend the sill along it's length. The inner sill is appx 1/16" thick and 6" deep. As long as it's flat, it's like an RSJ, and will take a fair bit of force to bend it. In normal use the car is mostly subjected to sprung weight(force) from below, at each end, trying to collapse the car inwards. And in the middle a sprung weight (via the seats) from above, of the passenger and driver, also trying to collapse the car.

I'm trying to do the reverse by applying an upwards force at each end of the door opening, aided by my jumping up and down on the ends of the car. I weigh appx 155lbs. Not so much, but it's dead weight, and it increases when I'm jumping up and down on the front and in the boot, and each time I land. The force is concentrated at the two locations I supported this side of the car. And the sill hasn't bent yet, -- that I can measure. It still looks completely flat along the top as measure by a straight edge.

Assume the car is sitting on it's wheels. ---
If I took a point half way along the door opening, and used a hack saw to cut down through both sills, to say a depth of 5", and a cut width of 1/16", then as long as the sill cut ends, remained in line, all that would happen is that the car would close up the gap, by bending the remaining lower 1" of uncut sill. Obviously this would distort the lower 1", but if I then welded the sills back together again, I doubt it would have lost any or much of it's strength.

Now take the situation as it is now, supported as I have it. ---
If I choose a point along the sill in the door gap, at either end, just inwards of one of my supports, and make the same cut, the gap that I cut with the saw will open up. The lower 1" of uncut sill will tend to try and tear, or distort/bend to allow the gap to increase. If I control the extent to which I allow the gap to open, and then keeping the cut ends in line, fill the gaps with metal, when I put the car back down on it's own natural support(wheels), the gaps would compress the metal filler, and I would say be pretty much as strong as before I cut the sill. Obviously I wouldn't just leave the metal filler wedged in there, I'd weld it in place. This would then have spread the tops of the door posts by some amount determined by the angle of the gap I opened up in the sill. A bit of triangulation could probably calculate this quite easily and accurately, but I'd wing and guess it.

And that may be what it's coming to.

If I do manage to bend the car as I'm now trying, I'd have to bend it beyond what I need I reckon, otherwise I may only have managed to flex it to the point it where it will spring back when the force is removed. So how much over what I need, do I have to bend it?


Last night before I went to bed, I wound in another 1/4 turn on the jack. I looked again this morning and I've opened the gap between the posts at my measurement point by 3/16"(appx 4mm). But will it stay there if I take the brace out? Should I go further?

The sill remains flat along the top and bottom. There is no visible distortion, no splits in metal anywhere I can see. The jack is rock solid between the posts, and this makes me think that I haven't broken any hidden welds or bent anything yet. I think I've merely "flexed" it, rather than achieved a permanent distortion. I think a slit down the sill is what it's going to need.

Today, I'm going to wind the jack another full turn, and then take it out and take a look see.:)
Lawrence Slater

Been following this thread but not found the time to comment, sorry. I did read this from Guy though...

"The likelihood is that whoever replaced the sills did the passenger side first, got it slightly wrong dimensionaly, but not so bad that he wanted to take it all apart again. Then he did the drivers side and having learnt from his errors, he made a better job of the second side."

Ho ho ho... oh I wonder where I have seen/heard this before... oh wait, it was me! Doh! :-D

Because my car was in a bit more of a state of dis-repair I wedged a jack in the gap where the spring hanger used to be and jacked it to 'lengthen' the B post. But I had a different problem. Door gaps were ok but the gap wasn't 'tall' enough so the door sat too high relative to the B post.

Good luck with the fix Lawrence!

Malcolm
Malcolm Le Chevalier

Similar principle though Malcolm. You bent the car to your needs, rather than take the lot out and start again. :). Cheers.
Lawrence Slater

Yeah, part of me feels a bit uneasy about you chopping the sill in half and welding it back up... but then again, I have chopped my entire front end off! eek! Plenty of weld (from both sides!) should see us good though I hope! :-D

Malc.
Malcolm Le Chevalier

Malcolm, I was making a generalised comment, since most of us who have replaced a sill have gone on to do the second side. And have probably learnt something along the way so the second one should be better! It wasn't intended as a specific reference to you as it applied to me anyway, although I did recall you having to sort out problems there. I just couldn't remember how you resolved it. Maybe you kept that bit quiet!

Lawrence, if the door gap is too short, then the missing length should appear somewhere else, if you see what I mean. You start with a sill section of specified length. Along its length, attached to the upper side are:

Front wing
gap (w)
A post cover
gap (a)
Door
gap (b)
Rear wing

If any one of those is short then the missing mms should appear as a measurable excess on one or more than the others. e.g. the front wing wheel arch may not meet the front of the sill exactly as it should, or similarly at the rear wheel arch. Maybe the gaps (w) and (a) are too wide and together make up for the undersize at gap (b)
Guy W

yeah, no worries Guy. it just made me chuckle to myself when I read it because I have been there and done (still doing!) that! Happy days!

As ever, so easy to spot the cock up and how you could have prevented it when it's too late!

Malc.
Malcolm Le Chevalier

"if the door gap is too short, then the missing length should appear somewhere else, if you see what I mean."

Hi Guy, you've forgotten the effect of either of the door posts sitting at an incorrect angle to eachother. -- as of the car has folded or something has been put in at an incorrect angle.

The length of door gap along the 'bottom' of the door, is ok(ish).

There IS a gap between the lower front of the door and a-post skin, but NOT between the lower rear of the door and b-post/wing.

There IS(was?)NO gap between the top of the front of the door and the a-post.

And there IS(was?) NO gap between the top of the rear of the door and the top of the b-post.

In other words, the tops of the door posts(a and b) are too close to one another, whilst bottoms of the posts are just about ok(ish). The rear of door angle, and the b-post angle, are broadly the same.

As I keep saying, the a-post appears to be leaning towards the b-post, rather than the other way around. But as long as I can move the tops of the door posts apart, it really doesn't matter much which moves, as it will only be a small amount, sufficient to allow the door to shut without banging on the b-post.
Lawrence Slater

<<Hi Guy, you've forgotten the effect. . . >>

No. I hadn't forgotten, I was talking about the spacing of the components against the sill as a process of elimination. If all of those spaces are correct then it leaves only the angles that can cause the door tops to foul. And you had previously confirmed that the B post angle is correct, leaving only the A post angle as the cause. I was only using a different approach in order to interdependently confirm the origin of the fault.
Guy W

Ah, fair enough. :).

I'm going to have a snack and tea. Then give it one last tentative turn (it's feeling VERY tight), and then remove the brace bewteen the door posts.

Sods law, and this last turn will result in a "LOUD SNNNAAAAP/CRRRRRRAAAAAAAAACK"!!!!!!!! LOL.
Lawrence Slater

No worries Lawrence, I think you would have to be fair going some to actually "break" the shell. Famous last words... :-D

Mal
Malcolm Le Chevalier

Snap, crackle, pop ?

Nah...it will never happen, besides thats a kidds suggery breakfast cerial

I got faith in you lawerance...it will work, if it does go "S.C.P." ...then you got bigger problems then a bent B post

One huge positive note worth mentioning...this car is "SOLID" no structural rust issues to loose sleep over on this car

If your now at a positive 3/16 and your going another full Turn on the jack, im guessing thats got to be a good additional 1/16th....I think your going to be the champion....I personally cant see this relaxing more then the 1/16th

If any thing use a gas torch to slowly heat up the 2 lower inside bottom corners of the A &B post....granted thats annealing the metal but in s small dose it would allow the post to move and hold the new shape better...once set, you could reheat the same place and throw a bucket of heavy salt water or a quart of motor oil on the heated section to re-harden and add some tempor back into the metal ...its a thought at best

But I really belive what your doing will work, if not just remember, it was all charlys idea, I was just s cheerleader....hahaha

Prop

Prop

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Btw...im currently 160 lbs. so between the three of us... were still short 2 large fat men.

Steven...this could be the oppertunity for our trial 1st.time experiance of getting our gay freak on...but i want to be the gril, so you have to do all The buying and flower/candy giving

Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Snap, crackle, pop ?

Nah...it will never happen, besides thats a kidds suggery breakfast cerial

I got faith in you lawerance...it will work, if it does go "S.C.P." ...then you got bigger problems then a bent B post

One huge positive note worth mentioning...this car is "SOLID" no structural rust issues to loose sleep over on this car

If your now at a positive 3/16 and your going another full Turn on the jack, im guessing thats got to be a good additional 1/16th....I think your going to be the champion....I personally cant see this relaxing more then the 16th

If any thing use a gas torch to slowly heat up the 2 lower inside bottom corners of the A &B post....granted thats annealing the metal but in s small dose it would allow the post to move and hold the new shape better...once set, you could reheat the same place and throw a bucket of heavy salt water or a quart of motor oil on the heated section to re-harden and add some tempor back into the metal ...its a thought at best

But I really belive what your doing will work, if not just remember, it was all charlys idea, I was just s cheerleader....hahaha

Prop

Prop

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Sorry lawerance...

It was not my intention to steal your century 100 post... the bbs is re-issuing edited deleted postings agian

But congrats on a great posting making the 100 thread destination

Prop

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Ha ha. No problem Prop, you can have my 100. :) LOL. Prop, if you want to be the "gril" then is Steven going to be the sandwich in it?

I'd love to use heat Prop, but there's too much underseal Ziebart stuff all over the inner sections. It would go up in a flash.

ANYWAY. Here's what just happened.

I measured it again, and found that I had now gotten an extra 1/4" from where I started. I looked to see if anything had moved, and the result is in the pic below.

So I gave it another 1/4 turn on the jack, and then just as I bounced on the front inner wing, something let go. The jack jumped better than Mick Jagger singing his well known hit. A gas gas gas indeed. I was at the front of the car as it shot sideways and hit the wall. lol.

Although the gap has pretty much returned to where it was(but not quite), I now know exactly where to cut and weld it.

And the winner is? The bottom of the b-post/rear wing where it meets the inner and outer sills. Guy gets a prize for sticking with the b-post. -- I don't rule out that the a-post is also a culprit, or has moved, but the only evidence I can find is this pic of the bottom of the rear wing/b-post. Something here has definitely moved.

That gap wasn't there before. The filler/seam sealer has cracked, and if the outer has moved(not welded to the sill), I'm guessing, so must the inner panel above the inner sill to some extent. So I need to cut a horizontal slit along the bottom of the inner panel where it meets the sill, and a slit at the bottom of the b-post to release it from the outer and inner sills. Then jack it apart again, and weld it in place.

First though, I'm going to put the door in the hole again and see how it fits. If I've gained a mm or so, it might just be enough. "Good game, good game", as Brucie used to say. :).




Lawrence Slater

Interesting!
One problem area that anyone replacing an outer sill will have encountered, is how the hell do you weld the bottom, inward facing flange of the rear wheel arch to the top of the sill. Its along the seam line where your seam sealer has cracked. When replacing a sill, it is extremely difficult to get at that joint. The best one can do is to reach in through the oval holes in the inner B post and plug weld as best one can. Very limited access and generally involves welding "blind".

Maybe yours wasn't welded properly there when the sill was replaced, which is why it gave way, and why it has now cracked along that seam.

Next time I do that job (probably on my Frog) I plan to make a 3/4" X 3/4" "L" shaped strip, weld that to the top of the sill to make an upwards pointing flange, just inboard of the outer panel which I will then plug weld on from the outside. Should have added, I have the rear wing removed but commonly one would be fitting a patch panel to that part of the wing anyway.

When you have got the door hung correctly as regards the B post, you can do any final cosmetic fine tuning in how you line up the A post cover piece to get the gap at the front looking right

Guy W

And here's the other part of the puzzle Guy.

How didn't I see this? Bugger, wish I noticed this before. I've just shone a light on it looking for a good place to cut. It's the bottom of the LH wheel Arch to B-post Quarter Panel. There's a nice patch there, and I reckon if I grind that off, it will reveal the solution, -- and the cause.

I'm thinking, if that is sepearated from the top of the sill, and the b-post is freed from the outer and inner sill, then when I put the jack back in again, the gap will stay spread this time. Must have been patched for a reason. Doesn't look like rust, but could be under that patch. And if it is, "Bingo". That allowed the b-post to fold in towards the a-post.

So the solution I proposed back on the 12 June 2013 in the first "spinny.org" picture is bang on the money, except instead of making a cut, I'm likely to be repairing one.

Lawrence Slater

Looks like they have added that 1" wide strip, probably to replace some lacework where the inner panel should have been joined to the top of the sill. Quite a neat method. Just a pity the alignment of the B post wasn't properly checked at the time. I would lay money that they were doing that repair without having first re-hung the door!
- only because it couldn't be proved otherwise of course! LOL!

Still, it makes for an easy repair job!

When I did my first one, I had welded in bracing bars at the top and bottom of the door openings so assumed it couldn't move. I welded in the new sills and then when I hung the door it wouldn't fit! That is when I realised that the way to do it accurately is to build the car around the door.
Guy W

£10 it is rusty underneath. :-D My shell is shot in this location on both sides and has had equally dubious patches!

Malcolm.
Malcolm Le Chevalier

Very revealing. Looks like you've just about got this puppy licked now.

Charley
C R Huff

Id say that patch is the bees knees

Now what am I going to do with the rest of my friday afternoon...hahaha

Im just hoping tiger wont make the cut for the weekend of the 113th US open

Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Without that patch, id bet a wooden nickel that the jack would move the post back into postion...once there another new patch might keep the gap into place

Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I still cannot believe you can bend a Midget just by jumping up and down on it, unless it's very rusty.

If I thought that I wouldn't have bothered spending about £2k on suspension upgrades to tighten up the handling!

I still struggle to believe you'll be able to bend it much, if at all, using a couple of car jacks.

Interested to find out though!
L McInally

Big L!
Please thank the car for saving me from becoming the Butch of the BBS! Im glad you are getting some results, nice job! Me and Prop will have to figuire out some other way to get our bunkbeds now!
Lol!
Steven Devine

Yeah...with steven being the chocolate cookie between me an lawerance as the vanilla "i scream" of a delicious dessert sandwich I was not looking forward to...lol

Prop


Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Prop, I was thinking of locking you both in the garage, whilst I was locked safely in the house. :). Steven, maybe Prop will invite you to his place? Prop?

Yup quite a satisfying outcome, and with a bit of grinding, cutting, and further bending, it'll get better.

Hi Lloyd, did you read the whole lot below? I donít blame you if you didn't. :) It's another version of front wheel bearings. Ha ha.

It did indeed bend though, and has sprung back, --- almost, but crucially not 'all' the way. There is enough residual bending to make a difference. I re-hung the door, and it now closes with a gentle click.

Having the re-hung the door, I put the car back on it's suspension, and removed the jacks I had in place. I got in the passenger side (no seat) and stood astride the rear spring bolts, and the other foot on the front cross member by the a-post.

I closed the door. I jumped up and down vigorously to make the springs work over time. The front axle stand is under the chassis rails so at the front I'm dead weight. I thought the gap might close again, but with the door in the hole, I guessed the door would resist that, and it did. The door still opened easily and closed with the same clearance and a gentle click.

Then I opened the door. Leaving it open this time, I jumped up and down again just as hard as before. I expected the gap to close this time, but guess what? It didn't, and the door still opens and closes easily. Something has been bent permanently. Not much, but enough to clear the a and b-post, all the way down.

There's a whisker of clearance, maybe a few or more thou" between the rear edge of the door and the b-post, most of the way down, increasing from the bottom to the top.

I've been able to lift the rear of the door, so that it's now almost level with the top of the rear wing. The crease is in line though, and that's the bit that shows most.

The under door gap is even and about 4mm all the way along.

The front edge of the door, at the apex where the vertical edge then angles back, has about 1mm of clearance to the z-post skin. Above the apex it opens up to about 2.5mm. Below the apex and down the vertical edge of the door, the gap from the a-post skin goes from 1mm, to about 4mm at the bottom of the door. The a-post is definitely leaning towards the rear of the car. My feeling is that rust at the bottom of the foot well wall allowed the wall with the a-post attached to drop, and hinge so that it took on a lean towards the b-post, when the sills were replaced. But as long as the door doesn't catch, I don't mind so much.

The lower section of the a-post skin is only resting there. But it's back in exactly the same place that it came from as marked on the sill before I cut it out

Here's some pics.


Lawrence Slater

Lawrence

Well done - I'm amazed, and pleased for you!

I also feel vindicated in the amount of strengthening I did to my shell over standard bearing in mind the power the car is going to have.

Case closed then!

L McInally

Yup, as soon as i cut and weld. :)


Lawrence Slater

Still looks a bit close to me at the B post, but if it opens and shuts ok, then well done. A new technique! Congratulations!

Given the uncertainty and because the results are bound to be somewhat uncontrolled, I think I would still prefer the slitting down the rear wing method. At least with that, you know exactly how you are influencing the integrity of the structure. But each to his own I suppose.
Guy W

Great job... and a big congratz

Prop
Prop and the Blackhole Midget

New technique? I reckon there's a lot of room for improvement though. Who's going to do it next then? lol.

Also, I've learnt a lot about door alignment, relative to sill and door post location, and fitting/repair. I now realise that if you have a lot of rust in the foot well wall, it can drop and carry the a-post with it. Even if you aren't changing the sills, you still need to check alignment if there's a decent bit of rust repair to do.

Anyway I agree Guy, it's much too close to the b-post. I want a bigger gap than that. But I haven't finished yet. With the jack in the door gap, I opened it up by a 1/4". When the jack was removed it sprang back, and I only gained a very small gap. Better than it was, but not good enough at all.

When I grind that patch off behind the b-post, and release the b-post from the sills, I'll be able to jack it open again and make that 1/4" gap permanent, because the b-post won't spring back again. Then I'll weld it in at the new wider postion, realign the door again, fix the lower hinge bracket properly, and put the a-post skin on properly too.

The other thing I might do now, is to grind the apex in the a-post skin a little deeper, so that I can move the door further away from the b-post. I only need to grind a little here, and as it's not so close the windscreen at that point, I can weld it up again.

Quite good fun really. :)

Lawrence Slater

Where you propose to grind into the angle of the A post is a folded skin, doubled back on itself. I would be inclined to leave that, but to grind the corresponding bit on the door, and if necessary blob a bit of weld to re-secure it.

When you cut out that earlier repair on the B post, I would position a bottle jack under the sill, about 1" forward of the front bottom corner of the B post. Micro adjustment of this jack will give you very precise control of the forward face angle of the B post, before you then weld in the new patch between the inner panel and inner sill. Well that's how I did mine, although I also had adjustable braces across the top and bottom of the door opening.
Guy W

Isn't the door a folded sking too though? I also think the door is the correct shape and a-post skin looks a little out to me. But I'll see. If the b-post opens up enough I won't interfere with the a-post skin there.

Yup I saw your pics of the adjustable door brace Guy. Do you think when I seperate the inner panel under the patch, and b-post from the sill, that I'll be able to move that whole section back along the sill?

I was also thinking about what you said about how awkward it is to weld in the lower rear wing. How about if the lower section of the quater panel was cut out? I have to grind off the patch anyway, and in all probabability the quater panel will have a gap under that patch. So another cut horizontally higher up, down the wheel arch, and down the b-post, and I can remove the lower section and weld the wing to the sill more easily. How does that sound?
Lawrence Slater

Yes the door edge is also folded. Probably much the same., whether you do the door or the A post. You may find it is sufficient just to run your grinder disk up the panel gap.

And yes, that is pretty well what I meant for the rear wheel arch to sill joint. That is what I was getting at in saying "I have the rear wing removed but commonly one would be fitting a patch panel to that part of the wing anyway" Make a new upward pointing flange. Weld that to the top of the sill, reaching down through the hole you have created. Then weld the wing patch back on.
Guy W

Lawrence

What you've ended up with is gaps a bit like my fussy younger self wanted, and delivered, when I first restored my car. Light years away from a standard car where they are really quite large - as I'm sure you know!

Will really tight gaps like that look odd next to the front wing-to-A-post gap which will be standard (ie. Large) sized?

I think I even added material to the rear of my wings to make that smaller - I was young and had lots of time on my hands...

Or you could do what Al did on his K-series car if you've ever seen it, which was to de-seam the whole lot - wing to sill and A-post, and rear wing to B-post. I think he lead-loaded everything and it's all one smooth panel. Very impressive but a huge amount of work.

I must say this forum is invigorating - there are actually discussions unlike the K-series forum where most of them (apart from a dedicated few) have buggered off and created a Facebook page. I might put an A-series back in so I can move home to here!
L McInally

Or just weld the door shut. Easy enough to hop in over the top anyway. I often do. ;-)
Guy W

And your prize for all this work is...... Ta da!
Awe and admiration for us who are amazed at this cinderella story! Congrads!
Steven Devine

Come on Steve, don't overdo the Rse-licking! Yum, Yum!

It isn't exactly an unmitigated success story! And it isn't finished yet. So far Lawrence has tried a bit of BFI and learnt that a Midget shell is stronger than it looks! He has managed to do some damage,- splitting a seam - and this has just eased the rear panel back so that the door now latches better than it did. He has also done a worthwhile practical test on his bodyshell and found that it is structurally pretty solid. If not it would have bent (as he hoped it would!) and not sprung back as it did. He has found a weak spot in the outer wing seam, but that looks like it needed repairing anyway (rust bubbles under the paint)

Not a waste of time in my book by any means. Certainly interesting. I now know not to try that method on mine. :-)
Guy W

Hi Lloyd. If I've given the impression that aesthetics are any kind of driving factor in my trying to get decent door gaps, then I withdraw anything I said that implies, or directly states it. lol. I admitted to getting too fussy, and look where it's got me. People now think I care. lol. Not good at all that. This car like many other Spridgets, including my 1966 Sprite, is essentially a scrapper. These cars are kept on the road by odd people like me, who for some reason think they are the bee's knees. Yesterday I saw a spitfire that someone has stuck a straight six in, and that's actually the car I intended to buy when I bought my Sprite 35 years ago. But I'm addicted to the Sprite now. Just like cocaine or heroine, it won't let me go. lol. But unlike those two drugs, fortunately, the Sprite doesn't damage your health, not even financially in my case. The reason being that I long since stopped caring how it looks. Function over form anyday. I bought this Midget to scrap for spares and profit. Driving it home persuaded me to change my mind, and get it Mot'd again. But in getting it back on the road, if I make any concessions to how it looks, it will only be so that I can get the most money out of who I eventually sell it to. :).

Having taken the doors off to weld patches in the floors, footwell, fix the lower a-post hinge bracket etc, I found the door way too tight for my liking when I re-hung it. I hate having to slam car doors. I like it gentle and no effort on my part, or at least minimum effort. The gaps make a big difference, esp if the door hits the rear wing before it hits the striker plate. The gaps are still way too close for comfort. Not for looks per-se, but because although clear now, (just) there is no room for any future "settling" back. A decent gap will make sure that even if it does fold again a little, it won't matter as far as closing the door goes.

Actually Guy, I reckon it is a success. You have to break eggs to make a cake, and all that jazz. I've saved myself having to cut the sill nigh on in half, to correct the sag(or misalignment?). Most of the time has been spent experimenting. If the other side is like this( it doesn't seem to be) I know the weak point(s) to attack first, making it a very quick fix for closed up door gaps. I still reckon the a-post wall is leaning forward, and I could horizontally slit along the panel, above the sill, right to the back of the footwell, and lift(hinge) the thing back into place. But as long as I can get the door to close by moving the top of the b-post back, I'll probably save myself the bother. Grinding the a-post skin will give me a little extra clearance if need be. On the other hand. :). I have an addiction to making things as they should be. Hence fix the gap as opposed to making the door fit it. My therapist said I'm too fussy, so I sacked her. lol.

And your right Guy, I've proved to some extent how strong these cars are. Which is useful to counter some who may argue, how safety critical the sill area is, and that you muck around with it at your peril. These cars weren't designed to have an expanding brace stuck in the door gap, and jacks under them, whilst someone jumps up and down on them and tries to break their backs in reverse. Quite impressive that they can take it, and only break a bit of seam sealer. lol. But, I wasn't straining when winding the jack up. I do still reckon if I do what Dave Smith suggested, the whole car could be bent.

So if anyone else has closed door gaps, and reasonable sills, I fully reccomend this kind of remedy, adapted to your own needs. :). Convention is too limiting, ignore it.

You're very welcome to be in Awe Steven. Bow down and pay hommage. LOL. Just follow Guys advise and keep your toungue to yourself LOL.
Lawrence Slater

<< useful to counter some who may argue, how safety critical the sill area is>>

Quite the opposite - I think what your "test" showed was that your sills, although repaired and with a slightly misaligned A post, are pretty sound. The sill area is critical and it is essential that they are sound. Had the car bent significantly with your method, I would have concluded that the sills were shot. Do that with a car where the sills have rusted from the inside (they do, and sometimes the outer surface still appears to be flat and solid) and the metal would have torn, stretched and weakened. The posts would move apart and not sprung back which would have been a warning sign.

Guy W

lol. Selective quoting there Guy. :). You left off the end bit. ------ "Which is useful to counter some who may argue, how safety critical the sill area is, and that you muck around with it at your peril."

These cars are stronger than they look, and even if you treat them badly they won't roll over and die. Even when the sills "are" rusty, as mine were on my Sprite, and trust me, they were VERY rusty, the cars don't collapse. There's some leeway in there, such that even if they are weakened, there's no need to panic at that bit of weakness in the sills. You can cut them about or strain them, and you won't die.

You expressed the overly stated safety case, by referring to it as an OMG attitude. --- "The job of replacing sills is done so frequently it is fully accepted, but because you call it cutting the sills everyone defaults into their OMG panic mode!"

I said my Sills are solid and strong. I didn't say they were perfect. :).
Lawrence Slater

I knew you wouldn't lie down and die!
The "OMG panic mode" I referred to was about cutting the sills - which I don't see as a problem. It wasn't to say that the sills are not critical. So long as they are solid and are properly welded up again, I see this as little different in principle to cutting out a sill and welding in a new one, which is accepted practice.

And leaving the last phrase off: "..and that you muck around with it at your peril." doesn't change the object of the comment at all which is that the sill IS a safety critical area. Yours are sound, so survived your test and safety isn't compromised. But the "test" confirms them as a safety critical area.
Guy W

Yikes! The only critical areas Im worrying about now are my tongue and my ar*e! May the two never meet!
Yes I will congradulate myself as it hasnt happened yet! Lol! Just when I thought you guys were getting along, youve turned in to Prop and me! Ha Ha Ha!
Steven Devine

Two men go for a walk to the local park and sit down on a bench. One man has a dog which runs around, fetching sticks and doing other dog activities. Not much to talk about the men watch the dog in silence.

The dog sits down and begins to wash its bollocks; lick, lick, slaver slaver, lick.
Conversation breaks out:
"I wish I could do that"
Silence
"You leave my dog alone"


Guy W

I skimmed the last few posts, but just wanted to mention that when I was tail-ended a few years ago, the rear door gap on my car's LH side closed up with the impact - to the point that paint was chipped off both edges. I had the damge repaired by a guy who specializes in British car repair, and he opened the gap back up using a chassis puller. Actually, he used that technique partially because the wheel arch had buckled silghtly as well. The door gap at the rear is now wider than it was originally, but has not closed up at all since the fix.

Anyway, that was a case where stretching the shell to restore the gap seemed to be a good solution.

Cheers,

-:G:-
Gryf Ketcherside

alternative ending to Guy's joke -

The dog sits down and begins to wash its bollocks; lick, lick, slaver slaver, lick.
Conversation breaks out:
"I wish I could do that"

"Go on then, he might let you"
Nigel Atkins

"but just wanted to mention that when I was tail-ended a few years ago,"

My goodness Gryf, I dont think this is the right bbs to confess stuf like that...
LOL!!!
Arie de Best

Arie, l thought my joke must have reminded him !


A good alternative punch line, Nigel.

Now what has this to do with door gaps ?
Guy W

er, slightly less than you dog joke(?)
Nigel Atkins

Glad to hear it is working out, Lawrence.

Charley
C R Huff

I have gotton my ar*e cought in the door gaps before!
Man that hurts! Just trying to stay relevent to the thread! Lol. I keep dreaming of bunkbeds, what does that mean Mr Freud?
Steven Devine

" I keep dreaming of bunkbeds, what does that mean Mr Freud? "

Your facinated by laying on top? LOL!!
Arie de Best

"what has this got to do with door gaps ? - Nigel, I was questioning myself as I couldn't recall how I got there. Happens a lot these days! Oh yes, licking dog's bollocks - Steven 'Rse licking Lawrence. I knew there would be a connection. Still difficult to establish a link to door gaps, 'though maybe bent B posts might just connect.
Guy W

Arie's here too! Arie - put an A-series back in and we could be on this forum all the time mate.
L McInally

Loyd, I was missing Neil on the K chapter to take the piss on so I was looking at other threads to ad my useless contributions and aperntly so are you! :)

Cursed are these facebook-wh*res!! :)

Arie de Best

My god. I don't post for half a day, and all hell breaks lose. Dogs having their balls licked, Nigel deeming to post on "my" thread, (I know you read my every word Nigel -- lol. btw, have you got a dog? :) ), people being rear ended. Must be all this talk of gaps. Some people see or hear about a gap, and the old subconscious goes into overdrive. Freud indeed. Did he ever have a Midget I wonder? And did the Midget enjoy it, - I wonder even more. :).

Thanks Gryf. That's more evidence for the bend the car back to shape camp then.

So back to critical. Of course I wouldn't lie down and die Guy. I'm not mortally wounded yet. :P. We're probably in agreement, but you have to take the whole of what I said, and not just one line to see it.

"And your right Guy, I've proved to some extent how strong these cars are. Which is useful to counter some who may argue, how safety critical the sill area is, and that you muck around with it at your peril. These cars weren't designed to have an expanding brace stuck in the door gap, and jacks under them, whilst someone jumps up and down on them and tries to break their backs in reverse."

There's more to these cars than just the sills stopping them bending in half. I reckon even if the sills are weakened, you would still have trouble bending the car. Yes mine appear strong, but as I said, they aren't perfect. I'm not suggesting the sills aren't important. Indeed, without them the car would be kind of floppy. In that sense the sills are critical, or to use other words, essential or indispensable. So I'm not suggesting, -- "cut them off and go for drive" --, either. But imagine you were driving along and the sills separated in the middle. Critical? What would actually happen? The seat you were sitting on would sag outwards as the floor sunk a little at the outside edge, and the middle of the sills tried to sink, but the door, now jammed between the door posts would stop the car folding. Obviously if they're completely knackered there's a risk of collapse, which could then be seen as dangerous. But I don't see the sills as more "critical" than some other parts of the car, and so critical that the slightest bit of weakness through rust or bad welds is a cause for that much concern. As I will repeat again, just because I like the sound of it :), Isopon, ally sheet, and newspaper were a large part of my sills for a very long time. Yup the drivers door in particular, didn't shut very well, but nothing untoward ever happened. So I donít think, "rusty weak sills, -- my life's in danger". But then as I've admitted here before, I drive on tyres well over 6 years old too, and those too are safety critical. More so than the sills I would say. Hey ho, that should cue some objections. Lol.

Anyway, I'm now re-thinking jacking the top of the b-post back alone. I'm pondering a vertical cut again. Just aft of the jacking point. Just enough to clear cross member on the floor.

The trouble with pushing the b-post back at the top, is that it will cause the top of the b-post to lift, and I don't want that. If I cut that patch off and slit back as far as I can the remainder of that section will still be attached to the sill. So the whole post can't move rearwards, it can only hinge by bending where it is still attached. This will raise the top of the b-post, and effectively kick the bottom of the b-post towards the door. Opening the gap at the top, but closing it at the bottom. What I really need to do it move the whole b-post rearwards. I could do that with the cut down the wing that Guy described. But I don't want to cut the wing. I'd rather make the a-post vertical.

I am going to cut off that patch tomorrow and see what's under there. I've had a probe -- not Freudian :) --, and find that the only thing keeping the rear wing fixed to the sill is seam sealer, and a bit of weld at the end of the sill -- at the wheel arch. So I might as well slit the inside as far as I can, and whack the jack back in again. Just to confirm what I think about lifting the b-post. If I'm wrong, well and good. If not, nothing lost except a bit of wire, gas and time.

Then the vertical slit down through the sills with a hacksaw to a depth of about 4" to begin with, should allow me to straighten up the a-post by bending the remainder of the sills. Again if I'm wrong, I just weld it up again. I think really, in my subconscious, this is really what I've wanted to do all along, and with my first post was hoping someone would say " yup, did that years ago" But as Guy said, most people replace the sills and don't go cutting them in half to make minor adjustments.

Maybe I should re-employ that shrink. lol.
Lawrence Slater

Can anybody recognise what this label is, through the paint? Does anybody know the logo or company?

It's a sticker on the outer footwell wall of the Midget. It looks like a replacement panel part label. So now I'm pretty sure that as well as the sills, this panel was cut in as well; -- leaving the a-post intact.

Lawrence Slater

Was the door reskinned?
Trevor Jessie

No, but the people posting may have been! Lol!
Steven Devine

Don't know for certain Trevor, although it looks completely original. There's original paint under the underseal on the insides, and the spot welding looks exactly the same as on my Sprite doors, that definitely haven't been re-skinned. It's not the door, it's the gap.

Nobody recognise that label on the quater panel then? Doesn't really matter. It would just confirm what I know. Now I've had a closer look at it, I can see that it's sprayed in that black primer you get on new panels, with a bit of fresh maroon from when the previous repairs were done, and the car resprayed.

So my guess is that when the original panel was cut out, and the sills off, the whole lot went out of square a little, and that pushed the top of the a-post rearwards towards the b-post.
Lawrence Slater

I don't think this topic is dead!

Lawrence, what bothered me - though bothered is too strong a word as I have no reason to care about your car - But my thoughts about bending the sill is that it is designed to be straight. Its a lightweight box section and although I am not an engineer I believe that box beams are very rigid structures for their weight, but when they fail they collapse quite suddenly. A crease or kink develops in one or both vertical walls and once this has happened they collapse by folding. Box section bridges have collapsed catastrophically in just this way.
To me, trying to precisely adjust the A or B posts by bending the sill just seems all wrong.

For much the same reason the idea of vertical cuts through this box section also seem dubious. It would induce a stress point that could then start a fail. I wouldn't argue this point so much though as in theory with good welding it shouldn't matter that much.

The way I would approach it is to work out where the original (PO repair) construction fault was, undo that, correct the angles and re-weld. Correcting the angles might well involve using jacks as you have done, but only after making a few cuts to control where the adjustment takes place and to allow the parts to move without inducing uncontrolled stresses.

On yours, you believe that the A post is leaning back a bit, and that this happened when the footwell side panel was replaced. No doubt whoever did that also noticed the error but thought it was acceptable and not worth re-doing. If it was done commercially cost and time would have been a consideration and maybe they just thought they could get away with it.

I would either:
1: Do an L shaped cut through the footwell side panel, across the bottom of the A post just along the connection to the inner sill and then straight up in front of the A post, right to the top of the footwell side. You might leave an inch or two at the angle of the "L" to act as a pivot. Then apply your horizontal jack off the B post to pivot the whole of the A post forward.

Or:
2: accept the A post hinge pillar position and just alter the A post cover plate. Cut the old one off up to the top seam by the windscreen fixings, or just below. drill out the spotwelds along the front edge. Get or make a new cover piece and refold the forward edge to give a very slight taper so that when fitted it gives the required increase in the A to B post dimension. Reweld. The advantage of this is that it gives the desired result and does not compromise the structure in any way.

Rehang the door, using the slotted hinge bolts inside the door to bring the top forward which will re-align the door swage line where it meets the B post.


There are other cheaper and quicker variations which also don't involve the BFI technique! Run a grinding disk up the A post-to-door gap to reshape the A post, allowing he door to be moved forward. This may cut through the folded over metal, but it would be easy to run a weld bead up the edge and reshape it with a grinder. Or leave the door where it is and do the slitting down the edge of the B post that I described earlier.

So, there's 4 alternatives to your stressful body deforming method!

Guy W

Just my thoughts on this.

1. If the front wing to A post gap is even then the A post is OK - I very much doubt it would have moved at the top since it is attached to the scuttle.

2. If the door to A post and the door to sill gaps are even as well then the issue is not at the front of the sill/ door.

3. The B post is part of the rear wing - has this been replaced and misaligned? - unlikely.

4. Far more likely that the rear sill to body alignment is out after previous sill replacement - which means unpicking the inner / centre / outer sill joints, jacking under the front rear spring hanger to align and rewelding the sill panels.

Chris at Octarine Services

I'm in 100% agreement Guy. :). The topic is still live, because my gap is still too small/the wrong shape, and yet to be corrected.

And I'm pretty much in agreement with the rest too, though with small but significant divergence about cuttuing the sill to correct the problem.

First though, I know that the very best way to correct this is to remove the outer and inner sills, and free the outer footwell panel. This would allow me to re-position the correct bit of the car in the direction of the arrow. ( Not sure of the name, so I've marked it in this picture). Having not stripped a car to this extent, I honestly don't know the exact mechanics of how the mis-alignment occured. That is, what other bits of the car must have bent, however little, to allow the top of the a-post to move rearwards? But something has. That much I know.

I've got a poor quality polaroid pic of the car taken when the car had just been "restored". Probably back around 1983, when the last owner bought it. So I'd be surprised if the door had to be slammed all that time and esp when it was bought. So maybe subsequent rust repair neccessated the new outer panel and maybe sills at the same time. I would never have lived with slamming the door for that long, but you maybe right, maybe it was just accepted. That's not me though. Well not when the fix is realtively easy anyway -- once you know how lol.

Of course your solutions would work. Of the 2 you numbered, I prefer the L shaped cut. I've been trying to imagine in my mind exactly where to create a pivot point, and I reckon your cut might well do it.

However, and here's the disagreement, the sills are easier to cut, and won't be weaker as a result. In fact they will be stronger. The reson being that as I understand it theroetically and from experience, an arch is stronger than a flat rigid beam. When I make a vertical slice down thorugh the sills, I will then jack the sills up from underneath. In jacking the sills underneath, I am creating a small local arch. This will be stronger to some unknown degree than before I cut the sills. As the cut won't go all the way through the sills, as long as the sill cut ends remain in line, even if my welds aren't perfect, The sills won't be weakened from the point of view of downwards force. Although they could(will?) be weaker by some very small amount in the reverse direction. But how often, and how much force is applied upwards? This is limited to when the car is jacked up using the jacking point. So I'd better ensure a decent weld. But in any event, I think I'll add an extra top plate over my inner sill butt weld, just to be sure.

This method only involves the minimum of cutting and welding, and is much quicker with less cosmetic work to follow. It will cause the top of the a-post to move away from the top of the b-post. The bottoms of the posts will also move away from eachother a little, but that's not important.

Does that pass muster?

Bugger forgot picture. Picture follows.

Lawrence Slater

Picture.

This will carry the top of the a-post back to the correct vertical alignment.

Lawrence Slater

I have refrained many times! However I agree with the succinct answer Chris from Essex made a couple of entries earlier here. Whichever parts look aligned correctly to one another keep as they are and move the rest - properly - to where they need to be. When the structural bits (which include the sills) are all lined up and welded up properly then look at the rest of it. (Its a hard job but well worth it). Everything else depends on this so get it done right, not bodged.

I sincerely hope I don't find I bought a car with the sills cut and bent after I paid for it. My displeasure would be heard to seller and MoT tester and whoever else I could get some leverage from. Fancy trying a shunt claim when the assessor sees it.
Dave Squire (1500)

Just about to ask for the picture, which I thought you had forgotten! The scuttle is the bit across the top of the car, behind he bonnet. Your arrow is at the top of the A post cover, where it meets the scuttle. Its the bit that I was suggesting might be moved forward by making the L shaped cut.

If the fault was more than the 3 mm or so that I think you originally quoted, then the sills would need removing and refitting, or some equally drastic action, to correct it. In this "equally drastic action" I include cutting the sills. As I said I am dubious about this as a correction technique, though not prepared to argue against it if done properly. I do think it is a lesser evil when compared to the sill bending proposition. But the main concern is it is attempting to fix a problem by adding a compensating error somewhere else - not generally a good approach. Two wrongs don't make a right , comes to mind!

As to the original fault, if the sills were replaced, but nothing much above the line of the top of the inner sill was altered, other than local patching, then I can only see two ways that the error could have been introduced.
When the sill was offered up into position it wasn't at the correct angle, the rear end (right hand end in your case) was too high relative to the rest of the car. Welding into position started at the front and progressed to the A post and then the B post was raised into position. This would induce a rearward slant to the A post, or alternatively you could consider the A post as correct but the sill line rises towards the rear. The angle of A post to sill would be just slightly less than the angle of the front corner of the door.Maybe as little as one degree of error would give the 3mm reduction in the door opening gap at the rear.

The other thing could be that the sill was re-attached just slightly too far forwards. This would again move the bottom of the A post to the left, giving the slant. It would be interesting to check closely if the curve of the wheel arch in the wing follows neatly around into the curve at the front of the sill, and matches the o/side one in the same way. I just wonder if there may be a slight step forwards in the n/s sill at that point. Its a curve so can be masked and certainly not easy to measure.
Guy W

The other way to check if the sill is too far forwards is to remove the rubber bung in the jacking point and check that the jack tube is central in the outer sill hole.
Guy W

Guy, the first thing I looked at was if the sill was too far back on the car.( If it was though, the problem would be the reverse. The bottom of the a-post would be too far back). The jacking point hole in the sill is exactly over the jacking point tube in the floor member. The front wing wheel arch is a dubious check as the front wing can more easily be moved to compensate. The rear arch is more likely to show the error, but it doesn't. That's one of the things that made me realise the fault isn't likely with the b-post. If the whole rear wing was moved back to move the b-post, the rear w/arch wouldn't meet the sill end, and I can confirm there is no masking filler there, only metal to metal. Unless the arch has been cut to disguis it, but with the jakcing hole in line, I ruled that out.

In my picture I wasn't indicating the a-post skin per-se, rather the structure that the skin and a-post are welded to. The scuttle? Ok then, the scuttle has somehow moved rearwards, carrying with it the top of a-post. I think you're right that the bottom of the a-post is correctly placed along the sill. The gap at the bottom of the door to a-post is circa 4mm, but at the b-post, top and bottom virtually nothing. As i keep saying the door/b-post angles are the same, but the door to a-post angle is wrong.

The underdoor gap to sill is circa 4mm. If I correct the door to a-post angle by adjustment of the hinges, the under door gap at the a-post will remain about circa 4mm also, but close to nothing or overlap the sill at the b-post end of the sill. If the a-post sat more vertical.

If as I tried, I lean the b-post back to the rear of the car, I will create a gap at the top, but not much at the bottom. This will also raise the top of the b-post and neccessitate my increasing the gap at the bottom of the a-post in order to bring the rear of the door level with the top of the b-post again. It will create a shape more like a parallelogram. Not whats needed. I think you called this a lozenge shape somewhere.

Whilst the solution could be to slit the wing behind b-post top to bottom, and move it all rearwards, that's not the cause, and not the method I prefer.

Dave,, feel free to comment. No need for restraint. :) The term bodging has been discussed a number of times, and used with accuracy, means to fix something by alternate, but legitimate means. This is NOT a botch, which is different, and not what I'm contemplating.

Sorry Chris, just read your post. However points 1 and 2 aren't correct, as I've tried to explain all through the thread. The a-post slants back towards the b-post. Why is really irrelevant unless I'm going to take the car apart to fix it.

How I fix it is more the point, and putting bits of metal into, or cutting the sills and joing another but to them, or altering then slightly is perfectly safe, and I can't see any reason at all why it would fail an mot.
Lawrence Slater

This should read ---
The underdoor gap to sill is circa 4mm. If I correct the door to a-post angle by adjustment of the hinges, the under door gap at the a-post will remain about circa 4mm also, but close to nothing or overlap the sill at the b-post end of the sill. """If the a-post sat more vertical, it would fix the problem"""

PS. Go back to my first post and title. I wasn't proposing bending the sills. My idea is to cut and re-shape a small section of the sill.
Lawrence Slater

Regarding cutting and rewelding the sill, and as a bi-product producing a local arch, will be stronger as I described earlier.

Beam strength vs Arch strength.

http://science.discovery.com/video-topics/engineering-construction/engineering-the-impossible-rome.htm

Try and ignore the bloody mother and baby ad at the start.
Lawrence Slater

Yes, I know that bending the sill was not your original proposal, but you still went ahead and tried it. I simply don't like the idea! If it worked, it would suggest to me that something hidden had given way - either that the sill was rusted from the inside, or that a weld had weakened or a seam split. You did indeed learn by trying that your sills are not weakened and that seams do split. I just don't think that with a sill in good condition, it would obligingly bend. Something else would give first, which might, or might not have given the desired effect.

Cutting the sill remains, to me, the wrong approach. Not that it is necessarily a weak thing to do, but it is fixing the wrong thing. The line of the sill is also very obvious to view. A change, even a slight one, would catch the eye and be apparent.
If Sill, A post, B post, jacking point etc all confirm that the attachment positions between the parts are all correct then it only leaves the angles, which were always the most suspect things. So having identified that the A post angle is the thing at fault, why not just deal with that.

When you remove a sill the rest of the structure has a tendency to sag in the middle. The scuttle and A post drops, and so does the floor. Before welding in new work the floor has to be supported and a brace needs to be positioned under the outer end of the scuttle. If this isn't done the A post drops and the thin footwell outer panel will buckle and loose its fore-aft tension. i.e. the A post pivots forwards. Its a simple step to put a jack between the floor and the underside of the scuttle and add a bit of tension so that the footwell side wall is pulled taught before welding in the sill. Omit this step and you get exactly the condition you have described earlier.

Guy W

Guy, my thoughts evolved as the discussion unfolded. My intention in the first post was to facilitate the "bending" if you call it that, of the sills (which it is partially), by cutting partially through the sill. Then it was mentioned that cars can sag(bend) in the middle over time, and that Spridgets in particular can also sag(bend). Not unreasonable in an old car. Dave Smith confirmed he bent his back into shape by bracing underneath, and used weight at each end to bend it back to shape. Presumably Dave "bent" his tunnel and the sills to correct the sag. And much more importantly, it worked with no ill effects. So yes indeed I tried that, but locally, only at the passenger side sill. It didn't work because I clearly didn't have enough force to bend the sill, and as Prop said, the weaker of the two door posts would give way. Something in the inner rear wing/sill/b-post connection flexed, and the outer seam-sealer came unstuck. Then when the jack was removed, the whole lot flexed back again. The a-post area must be the stronger, because there's no sign that it moved at all. And I can now add, that the door close is back to where it was, and has to be slammed hard to close it. No more gentle click/close. It closes Jim, but not as we want it to be. lol.

If I had the full weights at hand, I would try Dave's method, but I think it will take a bit more weight than I can garner. So a bit of cutting and welding is definitely needed, and I prefer to do it minimally. Sufficient to make the a-post vertical, which is dealing with the correct effective fault area, but not, I agree, with the root cause. I don't want that much work when I can achieve the same thing with less.

--- "When you remove a sill the rest of the structure has a tendency to sag in the middle. The scuttle and A post drops, ---- "

Guy that is exactly what I've concluded, but haven't been able to describe, because I wasn't quite sure what word to use for the "scuttle". I was already convinced the scuttle is slightly too low, and too far rearwards as a result of the something happening with the outer panel and or sill, that allowed it to pivot rearwards. And you've now described that process too. That explains exactly how I have an increasing door gap as I go down the a-post, and have trouble bringing the rear of the door level with the b-post top, whilst managing to have a uniform under door gap, and a correct door/b-post angle, but no gap at the b-post.

"The line of the sill is also very obvious to view".

Yup, I already considered this, and that's partly why the cut down through the sills will be just aft of the jacking point and not in the middle of the door opening. Without a straight edge, it will be hard, to impossible, to tell. And consider how little the flatness will change anyway. A very small gap(exaggerated) at "G", in my very crude sketch, will cause a much greater increase in distance at "d", as the angle "x" changes slightly. You'd be very hard pressed to see the "arch" this will create. It will appear flat. It's the easiest way I think, and just as strong, even if not technically the correct way to fix it. But then so much on so many, if not most old cars, long since stopped being technically correct. So why does it matter?

And btw. Just in case anybody wonders if I would reveal at the point of sale my modification? The answer is maybe, and maybe not. Does everybody reveal every bit of change from standard, every wrong threaded screw, every bit of filler, every work around? But bear in mind, given how much of my plans I've posted in advance here on this bbs, I'd be quite surprised if any buyer wasn't informed well in advance. And as the mot doesn't involve 20 questions, I don't consider that I'll be misleading the mot examiner, or infringing regulations either, by not saying "oh, I've cut my sills almost in half, and welded them up again."



Lawrence Slater

Lawrence,
I have recently posted on another thread that you don't change peoples' opinions on internet forums, and I am not trying or expecting to change yours! I was just going through the logic of how the fault probably arose and setting out some of the other alternative fixes. I personally wouldn't choose the sill cutting option that you are going for, but no matter to that.

Why not cut just forward of the jacking point, nearer to the base of the A post where the angle that needs correcting is wrong?

I was also forgetting that this is a Midget, not a Sprite. The chrome sill rail will go some way to concealing any slight change in angle in the line of the sill.
Guy W

Guy, although you may not think so, I always change my mind if the evidence is compelling enough to me.

John Maynard Keynes - "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" A sensible approach, even if you're not a Keynesian.

I hadn't even given the trim any thought. It's off and I don't like it anyway. Wouldn't it, if it were straight, have the opposite effect, and show up the irregularity? Perhaps not though. In the same way that a dado rail and ceiling can be at a different angle, but the distance between them fools the eye. With the trim and sill though both fall into line of sight together. I'll experiment. Maybe the trim could be slightly bent too, to better fool the eye?

The reason for the cut aft of the jacking point, is the simplicity of the cut and weld. It's more easily accessible. If cut in front of the square floor member, the cut would also fall inside the a-post, have to be cut at an angle to avoid that, and more awkward to re-weld. If cut in the middle of the floor member it couldn't be deep enough, to allow the remainder of the sill to be deformed. The sill would have to be cut around the box section too, and thus more awkward to re-weld. Aft seems to me to be the best place for effect and ease.
Lawrence Slater

sure, if facts change you may change your opinion, but all I have expressed is opinions. You have the car. You have the facts.

I see what you mean about cutting in front of the jacking point. I was deceived by your sketch which makes it look as if there is more of a space between the jacking point and the A post. I should have checked on my car before as in reality there is virtually no space there at all.
Guy W

Well I did admit my sketch was very crude. No intention to deceive lol.
Lawrence Slater

Does anyone else find it ironic that the man who wrote a thread titled "Don't skip, read thread fully, then reply" is himself responsible for a 164-post long epic discussion about door gaps?

I'd read it all, but by the time I'd finished it would probably be about wheel bearings or something.
Growler

You have to admit! He really can debate an issue! I truly believe Lawrence could convince Satan to ask the almighty for another chance and get it for him!
Ha ha ha!
Steven Devine

I don't claim full responsibility for this Growler. It takes two and a band, to tango. :). Not sure I understand the connection to the other thread you quote. I'm probably being dense, so could you please explain in the simple terms I can follow? :) btw , as far as I'm aware, and I have dilligently tried to follow all of this, you are the first to mention fwbs. How about ww2? That's about due too isn't it, according to theory? LOL.

Satan's my best friend Steven. I've always favoured the underdog. It's a brit trait I'm told. lol.
Lawrence Slater

I was always told it was an Irish trait! But I think you could give them a definative lesson! Ha ha ha!
Steven Devine

Hmmm!

OK, who wants and to see me lying flat on my face with this then?
Lawrence Slater

Nobody? I'm surprised lol. But just as well. I wouldn't like to disappoint anyone :P.

Lift and separate. Who remembers that then?







Lawrence Slater

The kindest cut of all. 3 inches down, gave me a 2.5mm gap, including the .9mm hacksaw blade I used.

The gave me a circa 5mm increase at the top of the door gap.



Lawrence Slater

A perfect result. I didn't think it would be difficult, but this took less than 10, mins to do. This has to be the easiest way to increase a door gap if your a-post is leaning towards the b-post.

I've now got 2.5 mm at the rear of the door/b-post. A decent gap all the way down the front/a-post. And an even under door gap too.

The "arch" is completely invisible. It's hard enough to detect with a straight edge. Nobody will ever know, if I don't tell them.

so, don't tell a soul.

Schhh you know who. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7-bE-fvixg



Lawrence Slater

Btw.
The only support on the passenger side of the car, is the jack directly under the 3" deep cut. The axle stands at the front and rear are completely clear of the chassis and axle by over an inch.

The remaining uncut 3" inches of sill, is still strong enough to prevent the gap opening up anymore. The metal I've hammered in the gap is wedged in very tight. I used the jack in the door gap again to spread the sill gap, then wedged in the bits of metal and removed the jack.
Lawrence Slater

I've got to admit, that's looking good.
Are you going to leave a vertical plate wedged in there? It makes an extra stiffening baffle to the sill, even if it only goes part way down.
Guy W

Nicely done! It looks good as well as surprisingly easy.

Growler

And your prize for all this work is...... Ta da!

Guy is now licking Lawrences Ar*e!

Sorry to be so petty, I couldnt help myself!

LoL!
Steven Devine

Lawrence you crazy bastard! Ha ha ha! Youve done it again! Im glad I was here to see what youve done!

Another Victory from no where!

Reminds me of this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IACjOvyx5hs

Ra Ra Ra! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Alright Mr Dorfman! Start pullin!
Steven Devine

LOL Steven, no brown nosing from me. I leave the OTT and extreme personal admiration of Lawrence up to you. I just commented that the results of his sill cutting solution were looking good.

Clearly a simple enough technique. I never questioned the logic of sill cutting, but I do think it is only applicable to very specific circumstances. This won't bother Lawrence as he was only ever concerned with devising a simple fix for his own car. But it is certainly not a universal solution for cars where the B post gap has closed up. The majority of these will be down to rusted and weakened sills and the last thing you want to be doing to those is cutting through them! But for sound cars where the narrowed B-post gap is due to misalignment it is looking like an easy solution.
Guy W

Bit puzzled by your photos to illustrate the work. The front A post one appears to show the bottom of the cover panel still intact, although damaged and with remnants of filler. But earlier shots show the cover removed for repair of the lower hinge, exposing the footwell side wall behind. So the sequence seems wrong.

Ah!, is the lower bit of the cover panel that was cut and removed now just balanced back in position for the photo?
Guy W

Growler.
Always a little nervous when trying something untested. But intuition, logic, reason, calculation, some of or all of this thread, the earlier experiment, and a full scale stiff cardboard test, told me this would definitely work. Then, my left hand cut the sill, whilst the fingers on my right hand were crossed. lol. I thought it would be relatively simple, but I am surprised at just how easy it is to do this. As long as you can weld and cut reasonably straight, anyone could do this. It might even be cheap enough to get a garage to do it, if you have a slanting door post due to misalignment.

I might go a tad more, just to compensate for "settling" later.

Guy.
Yup I'm thinking of using a bit of 3mm plate and grinding it, as best I can, to the shape of the inverted triangle I've opened up. I'll insert it, weld it, and grind off the excess after welding. I'm completely confident that it doesn't need any additional strength, but I also need to fill the gap. Doing it this way adds strength as well as assisting the welding. a bonus really.

And yes again. The lower a-post skin is resting there to show the alignment. Now I've got the top of the bulkhead back in the right place, and the a-post vertical, I can complete the bottom hinge bracket, and replace the skin properly.

As regard the b-post. The b-post leans back at an angle of 20 degrees from the vertical. I've checked my Sprite b-post posts and doors, the midget b-posts and doors, and an almost new condition, original spare passenger door. All are 20 degrees back from the vertical. If the b-post was to sag forwards out of alignment when replacing the sills, and you didn't notice, then rather than cut the wing, or remove the sill again, I would do this at the b-post end of the sill. It's better and easier than doing what it did in my earlier test. But as Guy said, no point if it's sagged due to rust or weakness causing the sill to collapse. It would just eventually sag again afterwards.

And I made two discoveries. One I suspected, and one that surprised me.

1). Suspected this. Moving the top of the bulkhead back, has carried with it the base of the windscreen frame. You can only move the base of the screen frame so far via the bolts, and mine was too close to the door frame. Rubber too compressed. Even if the a-post skin had been cut back to increase the a-post post to door gap, the frames would still have been too close to each other at the base. To compensate, the frame was raked more upright, but this didn't help much at the base, where the rubber was still too compressed. Also as a consequence, the rubber frame/bulkhead gasket, wasn't a good tight seal, because of the angle the base of the frame sat on car. I've now been able to set the frame angle correctly. The door shuts more easily against the frame rubber, and the base gasket makes a better seal.

2). Surprised by this. There are no shims at all behind the striker plate. When I tried to close the door, -- bang. Huh, what's hitting? The door lock against the front face of the striker keep. Why? because now the door is further away, the striker plate needs to be moved forward. Where's the shims? Somebody took them all out. Why? because they cocked up and made the a-post lean towards the b-post, so they took the shims out to move the striker plate away from the lock, so it wouldn't foul when closing. So now I have to make or order some shims.

Steven. Great film that too. I saw that first by bunking in to the cinema(Odeon, Streatham) to see it. I didn't have any money to buy a ticket. Still looks good today.
Lawrence Slater

Guy
I think you may be in denial ( just a little?)
on your Lawrence worship! Lol!
Some cookies have been stolen from the jar and the crumbs have left a path to you! Lol!

Whats OTT?

I just get a kick out of his style. Who else could get 500 posts on FWBS! Then cut his car for a Fix making it more valuable, Pull it all off and laugh while hes doing it!

Totally outragous! Im laughing now even thinking of it!

I know there a lot of talent that posts here like you in your own right, I just think its funny how he stirs the pot and then pulls it off!

I like to see things fixed also!

Lawrence, I got a kick out of posting FLIGHT OF THE PHEONIX... It seemed to fit. Glad you saw, and liked it!

Thanks for the laughs!
Steven Devine

Steven
OTT = Over The Top. As in excessive or extreme. Not in the military sense, oft quoted in relation to the brave Tommys in the trenches of the Great War.
Guy W

I'm waiting to see some serious work on your frog Steven.

As for making this midget worth more, it's depressing how little they seem to be worth these days. A really nice rwa went the other day for £1500. If the description was accurate, that makes mine worth 500 quid lol. But actually it's quite liberating knowing how little it's worth. I literally have very little to lose lol. I can always revert to scrapping it, and make 2 grand, because the engine box and diff are as sweet as honey. -- It's got nice front wheel bearings too. LOL.

And the crazy thing is your right. One of the things I see constantly, and ignored myself because I was going to scrap it for spares, is the advice to always check the gaps. So now I will have good gaps and it'll at least sell more easily if not for more. Quids in lol.

I don't look for controversy, but it's so easy to find in the motoring classes. Ever since I was a kid I realised that a man and his car can be a touchy subject. Never tell him how to drive it, or how to fix it, and generally, never go against the right way to do things. Well a combination of, won't listen, haven't got much money, and being just plain stubborn and argumentative, has made me ignore mostly everything I'm told, until I'm good and satisfied it's either right or wrong. It'll kill me one day. lol. But it taught me to always question everything, because there's always another way. Move the mountain? Or move Mohammed?
Lawrence Slater

<<One of the things I see constantly, and ignored myself because I was going to scrap it for spares, is the advice to always check the gaps>>

So, had you at the outset been intending it as a "keeper" rather than a "scrapper" would you have been deterred by the narrowed door gaps and maybe missed an opportunity?
Guy W

Nope,I don't think so. I drove it before I bought it and It handled well. So I knew it was basically strong. It's probably, subconciously, why I didn't bother to look as closely as I should. At 750 quid, I just felt it was a bargain. I did actually strip off the inner sill trims/covers and look, so I knew there wasn't anything visible I couldn't fix.

If I'd specifically bought it to keep, I wouldn't have been phased by the sills, I'm arrogant enough to think I could fix it myself for not much money. lol. But if I had to pay for them to be done, that might have been a different matter. You and many others know what happens when the paint is scraped off, and what you find when the outer sills come off. It could end up costing more in money and time than it's worth.

But now I know how easily gaps can be fixed in "solid" silled cars, I'd be even less worried.

Lawrence Slater

Speaking of always another way.

I decided it was too much effort and a bit daft, to grind a flat 3mm bit of sheet into the triangle shape. Much easier to make the gap a uniform 3mm down the length of the cut. So that's what I'll do.
Lawrence Slater

Any irregularity will soon fill with weld. Indeed if it were magnified up to thicker plate you would make a "V" groove down the join to improve the weld penetration. A 3mm gap isn't that much to fill with weld anyway.

Your getting fussy in your old age! LOL
Guy W

Might be at cross purposes Guy -- or maybe not.

In the pics, I inserted two bits of sheet. The top is 2.5mm thick, but the outer is a little lower and only 2mm thick, and then reducing to nothing. I'm going to insert a single piece all the way through from the outer to the inner. So either I have to shape the single piece, or shape the hole. Easier to shape the hole. I didn't mean shaping the faces of the sills. Is that what you mean?

I've not tried to fill a 3mm gap with .6mm wire. What's the technique? I'll practice.

Yup, one foot in already Guy, and moaning and groaning and picky about everything more and more everyday. lol.
Lawrence Slater

Yep, I think I understood your method. In fact when i first saw the photos you posted earlier I thought that you had wedged a single sheet of steel through the sill, connecting inner and outer sills with one piece. I made a comment about it creating a vertical reinforcing web inside the sill. Only later did I realise you had inserted two pieces, from either side.

And as for filling the gaps, If you had a tapering slit and tapped a uniform thick steel sheet down into it, then the maximum gap would be the thickness of that steel sheet. i.e. at its lower margin, where the filler sheet stops. And from there on down it would taper down to the bottom of the cut, presumably where it would then just be the thickness of the hacksaw blade. I think such a gap would readily fill with weld, either by "pulsing" the trigger, or probably better, by zig-zagging the nozzle slightly as you move it along the weld line. Just keep the tip moving to avoid blowing holes!
Guy W

Ah right got you. I'll have a practice on some scrap sheet.
Lawrence Slater

Not sure about this, but it might be worth tapping the inner and outer panels with a punch or cross-pein hammer to bevel the edges of the cut inwards a fraction. Then when it's welded you can grind the surface flush to the face of the sill and still retain a decent thickness of weld.
Guy W

Good idea Guy. I'll look at doing just that. :).
Lawrence Slater

This thread was discussed between 11/06/2013 and 20/06/2013

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