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Old 12-11-2006, 02:26 PM
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installing bear claw latches

Thinking strongly about bear claw latches for our 28 ford.
Has anyone done them in their project journal, so i can see the setup?
there is a post in the knowledge base for doing it on a 35, but I don't know if that is the same, and they don't look like the type of claw I see for sale.
I have some fabrication/welding skills, but no sophisticated tools. I would like to keep the original door handles, not electric poppers, and it must clear the window mechanism. any help is appreciated.
As an alternative, how bad are the original latches? Mine are complete and working, but it's not driveable yet, so i can't tell. I don't want to finish the car and then go back and cut weld in new latches. It's now or never. don

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Old 12-12-2006, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldguy829
Thinking strongly about bear claw latches for our 28 ford.
Has anyone done them in their project journal, so i can see the setup?
there is a post in the knowledge base for doing it on a 35, but I don't know if that is the same, and they don't look like the type of claw I see for sale.
I have some fabrication/welding skills, but no sophisticated tools. I would like to keep the original door handles, not electric poppers, and it must clear the window mechanism. any help is appreciated.
As an alternative, how bad are the original latches? Mine are complete and working, but it's not driveable yet, so i can't tell. I don't want to finish the car and then go back and cut
weld in new latches. It's now or never. don
This is NOT the easiest project that you can do on your car as the doors are very slim. With that said, I did my '31 Brookville roadster. First of all, the large double cam units will not fit. The smaller singles will - just barely. You need to get a pair with the installation kit along with a handle or some type of release and start cutting and fitting. Without digging thru a 3" stack of receipts so I can't recall where mine came from but believe Yogi's. I did have to modify the bell crank on the latch. It looks like Rocky Hinge have the correctly modified latches now, p/n BCS06. You also need a release kit - Watson's Street Works supplied mine.
You also need a lot of time and patience - and a small hand is nice as well.
I'd supply photos if I could find a missing box of pictures, but I think they are gone forever and since the car is currently blown apart for paint can't even put much together for a while.

If you have any specific questions, let me know and I'll try to answer.
Dave
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Old 12-12-2006, 10:47 AM
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Bear claw latches.

Dave, thanks for the help. I am looking at these on ebay - autoloc mini bear claw, latch and striker plate - quite cheap. Also appear to be very small. I need to take some measurements for clearance, but I think making them fit is the easy part. I'm worried about converting the current inside and outside handles to operate the bear claw, without encroaching into the window channel. Do you think I will regret not putting them in, if I stay with the original latches? Don
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Old 12-12-2006, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldguy829
Dave, thanks for the help. I am looking at these on ebay - autoloc mini bear claw, latch and striker plate - quite cheap. Also appear to be very small. I need to take some measurements for clearance, but I think making them fit is the easy part. I'm worried about converting the current inside and outside handles to operate the bear claw, without encroaching into the window channel. Do you think I will regret not putting them in, if I stay with the original latches? Don
Don,
You had best measure well - they are only about .75 thick, but your original latch handles, as originally installed, will not work without some sort of bell crank and operating rod assembly. Usually it's a combination of rods, springs, cables, maybe a pulley. It's a lot of picky time consuming work on anything but a roadster - and there is a bunch there as well

I don't know where you are as far as this car construction but I think what I would do, IMHO, is rebuild or replace the existing latches so the handles don't droop, and install a safety latch, manual or electric, either in the door or quarter behind the door. The original latch strikes (replace 'em) leave a lot to be desired for safety and can release even on a bumpy road if worn at all. I even put manuals in with my rotaries, JIC.

Dave
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Old 12-12-2006, 12:26 PM
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I like to put the latch in the body and the striker pin in the door. It's much easier to install a release cable down through the body for those times when the battery is low.
Bob
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Old 12-12-2006, 01:04 PM
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I like to put the latch in the body and the striker pin in the door. It's much easier to install a release cable down through the body for those times when the battery is low.
Bob
That method really doesn't work well with an A - overlapping doors to body rear quarters in some models and minimal clearance between the door and rear door frame/post - I tried that way first by just mounting the strike bolt and it wouldn't clear.
Later models after the 'A' close flush and have a bit more clearances to play with.

Dave
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Old 12-12-2006, 02:14 PM
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I make a recessed pocket for the pin and haven't had any clearance problems.
Bob
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Old 12-12-2006, 03:59 PM
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I think Dave has it nailed. I particularly have to agree with his points on the safety issues of the original latches.

I do have some photos posted in my journal where I am installing the big Bear Claws on my 41 Chevy. The doors are a lot "thicker" than the A's. If nothing else, you can see what had to be done to get them in. Basically, I just started by figuring out what had to be moved to get the job done.

I went with the latch in the door and the striker on the body. The emergency dead battery release would be a lot easier, but I never could figure out how to use a handle to release the door from the inside. Didn't want to rely on the solenoid to get out. I have a plan. Not sure if I am going to document it on my journal if it works. Don't want everybody and their brother able to get into my car.
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Old 12-13-2006, 06:54 AM
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I put a set of small bear claws from rocky hinge in my 26 T. I got the install kit from them also. They fit and have clearance for the window track. I installed electric soleniods to open not sure about keeping your original handles. The guy at Rocky Hinge was very helpful. I have a couple of pictures in my project journal.
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:36 AM
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bear claw latches

Talked to Rocky, he recommends the mini's. they should fit. It's the handles that are giving me gas. So, lets think outside the box.
How about rebuilding the stock latch and handle to the best I can, then installing somekind of post lock. I'm picturing something like a popper, but with a longer throw. mount it in the body and have the plunger mate to a reinforced hole in the door. Could hook it to the key, so it automatically locks the doors (like a PITA ford), with a kill switch to get the doors open if you need to. Use the stock handle/key to lock the car, this would just be safety feature. Dead battery would be in the unlocked position.
Someone must have thought of this already? The solenoid would have to stay out with current, retract without it, be pretty solid and have maybe a 1/2 inch throw. Any thing out there like that?

Or has someone come up with a better safety catch to use with stock handles? don
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Old 12-13-2006, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldguy829
Talked to Rocky, he recommends the mini's. they should fit. It's the handles that are giving me gas. So, lets think outside the box.
don
Don,
First of all, solenoids are either NO or NC depending on power which brings up more confusion. Modern batteries don't die unexpectedly and any solenoid that you would use would operate at a given voltage, i.e. 12 volts. It would not stay latched at, say 10 volts, but would start to release.

Next, you have a 2 door according to your journal which gives you room to install electric safety pins in the quarter which can be operated via a key or magnetic switch(Watson's have them). Using that as your starting point, a safety pull cable (Yearwood's) can then be hidden under the car somewhere to allow you to get into at least one side of the car if the battery were to die. The PITA switch that Fords (as well as GM) have, to me, is no option - mine, in my F150 is usually turned off (my '97 T-Bird locked me out in a very busy gas station - and the engine was off, but the key was in the ignition).

This with new original style latches and strikes should work well (Macs@21.50/$3.00 ea) (or latch rebuild kits @$4.25ea)

Dave
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Old 12-13-2006, 04:09 PM
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bear claw latches

Dave, thanks for the tip. Watson's is a new source for me.
The manual safety pins they show are kind of what I had in mind. I didn't see electric ones. I'm beginning to think this makes more sense to me than bear claws.
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Old 12-13-2006, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by oldguy829
Dave, thanks for the tip. Watson's is a new source for me.
The manual safety pins they show are kind of what I had in mind. I didn't see electric ones. I'm beginning to think this makes more sense to me than bear claws.
Watson's have all kinds of interesting electrical stuff - they travel to some of the NSRA shows - and I need to place an order with them after the holiday's for an electrical system isolating switch that maintains my radio memory. Not cheap, but then street rodding isn't any more.

Dave
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:56 PM
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Dave, why not just run a 16 awg wire to from the battery to the radio memory circuit. Fuse that wire with a .5 amp fuse. If anyone messes with your car as it sits after the battery has been disconnected the .5 amp fuse will pop.

FWIW I bought the Dakota Digital suicide door lock controller, it a very cool device. It will engage the suicide locks either when the trans comes out of park or at a selectable speed and disengage them on speed or when the trans goes into park.. Also has a warning if the locks do not trip the micro switches indicating completely engaged. I had drawn up several diagrams on how to control them with relays and a toggle switch and prevent them from being extended when the doors are open. It got fairly complicated and the Dakota Digital controller is perfect for this.

Vince

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Old 12-13-2006, 08:15 PM
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Vince, curious as to how much that door lock controller ran you, and did you need a VSS to run it speed actuated?
Thanks - Karl.
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