Moving to the top of the door. The gap was basically 1/4" except at the front immediately behind the curve where the front edge "rolls" into the top edge. For about 3 inches just past the curve connecting the front edge to the top edge, the gap was about 9/32".
Since the door only needed 1/16" added to it, I decided to apply weld to the unground edge rather than weld a rod to the top. In hindsight, it might have been better to weld the rod to it. In the end, the gap looks fantastic.
I was originally going to lead the opening at the point where the front window post meets the body line and the rest of the door. After cleaning the opening and trying to figure out how to work and file the lead, I am contemplating welding the door edge instead.
The bottom of the door was marked and taped in preparation for gapping the bottom. I had originally assumed the door would have to be removed. However, since seeing that the front only needs a short section ground and welded while the back requires an even shorter length, I am going to try to perform all the remaining mods while the door is still on the car.
The back edge of the door was gapped today. The top 4 inches had too big a gap. The "post" behind the window had a gap that was basically perfect. At the bodyline below the windows, the gap started getting smaller until it was almost zero at the very bottom.
Tick marks were made 7/32" from the door opening edge. The weld proud will assure the finished gap is 3/16" with a minimum of grinding. The tick marks were connected with a piece of masking tape.
The edge of the door was ground to the tape over short sections so the door would not "come apart." Tack welds were put in every two inches after the edge was ground to the tape just past the two inch tick mark. A pair of Vise Grips were clamped on the door and the tack weld was put in.
The tacks were slowly connected with more tacks, jumping around and blowing with compressed air to keep the heat down and well distributed. The same technique was applied to the top 4 inches except the welds were placed directly on the unground edge.
After all the welds were put in, the outer face of the weld was ground flush with the plane of the door. Then the gap was marked on the door for a 3/16" gap. The marks were connected with masking tape and the door edge was ground back to the masking tape. Just like the front edge, the back edge needs some clean up but otherwise looks great.
I thought back to the start of this car. I had never done anything like rebuilding rusted out window boxes. At that time I knew that if I couldn't do it, the project was dead in the water. Out a little bit of money and time. Not that big a deal.
Flash forward to today. I had never gapped doors. I really wasn't sure that I could. Failure at this point would have put years, hours, and money out the window. I have to admit I was concerned.
I had decided the gaps need to be 3/16". I put tick marks about every inch measuring 7/32". This allowed for the weld proud to make the gap about 5/32" with plenty of material to remove when grinding out to 3/16".
The tick marks were connected with tape. The edge was ground to the tape in two inch intervals. At each two inch mark the door edge was clamped with Vice Grips to assure the now three separate sheet metal sections were squeezed together and a tack weld was made. Once all the tacks were in the welds were put in slowly, skipping around to even out the heat.
After some preliminary grinding the door was rehung. There needs to be some final grinding and clean up. However, I am very pleased with the results. I will get this door done, move on to the passenger door, and then the trunk lid.
While I had the door off I decided to remove the metal strip from the bottom. I believe it was used to "catch" the bottom of the interior panel. I will be using modern spring clips with holes so off it came. It was a moisture trap.
The door had a crack in it at the front bottom. I tried to weld it but the material was too thin from rusting. A replacement panel was made and welded into the door.
While the body lines were being adjusted, the gaps were also roughed in. The front of the door at the top hinge was set to 3/16". Going down the door, the gap tightened up until there was no gap at the bottom. The door edge also caught on the cowl when the door was closed and opened.
At the back of the front door about at the striker location, the gap was 1/4". Going down to the bottom, the gap also closed up until there was little or no gap at the very bottom.
Four 1/8" holes were drilled, two in each hinge to assure the alignment would be consistent. The photo shows 3 holes on this hinge. On one of the holes, the drill bit ran into something very hard. I ruined two 1/8" bits on that hole.