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russ69coupe 09-29-2011 08:24 PM

Building a door dolly?
I have seen them for sale, but right now out of my budget.

Was thinking about making something with some 2X4's and some casters I have laying around.

Was just curious if anyone has done this or has any ideas/things to watch out for?

this is for a 1970 Pontiac Lemans. I need to remove the doors but at this point in life I know I can't do it safely by myself, and getting help isn't going to happen.


Shelby1 09-30-2011 06:45 AM

russ to pull them do what we did we used a engine host, you know the roll around kind that Harbor Fright sell for like a 100 bucks and a nylon tow strap tied around the upper part of the window frame. We then set them on a simple A frame made from some scrap 2x4 and plywood. You could borrow or rent a hoist if you don't need one on a permanent basis.........

russ69coupe 09-30-2011 02:34 PM

Thanks, Kenny.

I never thought of that. I already have a hoist. Just need to get a decent strap.


Pantaz 09-30-2011 10:40 PM

The engine hoist idea is good. Building a unit from 2x4s for removing/installing the doors would be trickier, since you need to be able to raise and lower the doors a bit while aligning the hinges.

If the doors are going to be off the car for very long, then a dolly with casters would be nice for keeping them off the floor and -- if your workspace is anything like mine -- moving them when they're blocking something.

Shelby1 10-01-2011 10:08 PM

Pantaz ,the a-frame that we .....errr my buddy built used just that ,casters,he used a 4x4 sheet of 3/4 plywood that the 2x4 a-frame was screwed to and some casters on the bottom side so it could be wheeled out side and then back in to the shop when we finished for the day.

hp246 10-02-2011 08:45 AM

I use the engine hoist too. Works great. First saw an guy who ran a one man shop using one to hang doors. He used old seat belts out of wrecks for the straps.

MARTINSR 10-02-2011 10:21 AM

I have used the stands before and can't say enough about just getting a friend over to help you and forget about all the hoists and belts. If you MUST use some tool, of course that is different. But getting a friend is so much easier.

If this car is going to be painted anyway, you don't need any hoists OR friends, just pull the door off yourself. I have done it for years by myself and it isn't that hard. I will try to get a photo today of doing it, but basically what you do is get on your knees inside the door with it open. Let's say you are removing the left door. You get all the bolts out of the hinges but two, one in each hinge. For that matter, you can have them ALL out but one, one in the upper hinge. You scoot your left knee forward under the door in just about the center pushing up on the door with the ball of your foot on the ground. Your left hand is holding the top of the door from falling in, out, or forward or back, the door will be balancing on the top of your knee. You remove that last bolt with your right hand and pull the door back from the car by leaning your leg back. When it's away you grab it with both hands and roll your leg back all the way allowing it to come back onto the ground.

Now, removing the latch and window and everything first makes this much easier. And also running the last bolt in and out of the hinge before you remove the other bolts to loosen it up is also a big help.

But honestly, I have been removing and installing doors in this manor by myself for years, including newly painted doors without a hitch.


gow589 10-03-2011 06:55 AM

Here is the door hanger I made. Very Very handy.

poncho62 10-03-2011 08:16 AM

I used to install doors in a car plant....The jig was suspended from an overhead crane,,,,,The engine hoist idea would be your best bet

russ69coupe 10-03-2011 05:07 PM

Thanks, all.

Only problem with getting a friend over to help is I literally have none in this area. I commute over 40 miles each way to work, and pretty much am the only one living in that area of the people I work with.

As far as doing it without a tool, I used to be able to do that. Can't anymore. Working alone in the garage I have to be extra careful not to do something to hurt or trap myself. Have a detached garage, and my wife would never hear me screaming for help. :(

That door hanger looks interesting. I might be able to do that. But I definitely need something to keep the doors on and movable. 2 car garage, one side taken up with our good vehicle. Can't leave it outside once it starts snowing.

Using old seatbelts could be a possibility. I think I have some laying around somewhere.


gow589 10-03-2011 05:34 PM

I tell ya, the door dolly has been invaluable. I had each door on and off a dozen times getting the jam right. I have been able to move the doors all around with ease and now are stored in the basement till I am ready for them.

The wonderful thing about adjustments it, they go back on the correct height.

It took me about 2 hours to cut up the parts and weld them together. The time and difficulty they saved was invaluable.

e-tek 10-04-2011 09:45 PM

I made this one - works well and is easy to adjust the door while you're working (video attached below photo):


Check out my website: *******************************************

dinger 10-05-2011 12:03 AM

I've used a floor jack with carpeted 2x4's, u shaped. Find a close to balance point, jack the frame up into the door just enough to be holding it, pull the bolts. It's always easier to do this though with the front fender off. ;)

MARTINSR 10-05-2011 08:00 AM

The biggest problem with any of these lifts is that the door has to be PERFECTLY placed to install it, we are talking it's tilt, its height, it's in and out movement at top and bottom, all of these have to be near flawless to put the bolts in. If the stand changes or the body is moved at all from when the door was removed, if this relationship changes in any way you will need to make VERY precise changes to be able to put the door back on the car.

I have hung more doors than there are characters in the posts of this thread and that is the one thing that pops into my head when I think of these stands, I have tried them. I have tried a number of different ones because I used to work by myself, a one man bodyshop. I then worked with a guy who was an Einstein like character who would make and design tools everyday. He made a few different versions of these tools, they all failed.

If you were working on ONE car like that beautiful Pantera (STUNNING work you are doing there) with a body on a rack that doesn't change and a perfectly flat floor and such yeah as long as the door rack adjustments don't get changed you can put the door on the rack and wham, roll it up to the car and bolt it on.

But if that adjustment gets changed, the entire plan is down the tubes. To roll the door on the rack up to the car and then adjust the thing and all the angles needed to bring that door up to the precise spot to bolt it on is going to a HUGE undertaking with you sure to end up chipping the paint.

Can it be done, sure, but getting help in some way is going to be so much better.

I am not arguing that it can't be done. All I am wanting to express is that the time spent making up something like this for most of us would be better spent on other things that would move the project forward. The bolting and the unbolting of the doors in place are a MICROSCOPIC amount of time in the grand scheme of things. When you think about the hundreds or thousands of hours spent on one of these projects the three and a half minutes it takes to bolt the door on the car is pretty small.


MARTINSR 10-05-2011 08:03 AM


Originally Posted by dinger
I've used a floor jack with carpeted 2x4's, u shaped. Find a close to balance point, jack the frame up into the door just enough to be holding it, pull the bolts. It's always easier to do this though with the front fender off. ;)

Most sixties and seventies cars you are GOING to have the fender off anyway because of the order of assembly and alignment.


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