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Old 06-16-2004, 01:15 PM
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making suicide doors. what problems can i expect

my friend has chevy 1970 4door impala and we were gonna make suicide doors on it. since school is out now, how long should it take?

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Old 06-16-2004, 05:39 PM
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Biggest problem with 70's cars is getting the door to swing correctly and finding a door post area that is strong enuff without the hinge intruding into the interior. Lots of work! Try these guys www.rockyhinge.com. They are mostly old rods but you can get some ideas from their stuff.
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Old 06-16-2004, 07:52 PM
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You also need to install a safety device to prevent the doors from opening accidently at highway speeds. They make suicide door safety locks. I have a set from Rocky Hinge that are electrically operated.

Vince
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Old 06-16-2004, 09:08 PM
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I have to tell you, I have done them and it is a VERY complex project. I have chopped tops, sectioned bodies and the like, suicide doors are by far the most challenging.

Honestly, I think the time spent would be much better used on detailing on the car. Detailing is MUCH more bang for your buck and makes more sense than making your doors open "wrong".
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Old 06-16-2004, 10:29 PM
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If you have some body experience, like welding and faibing parts and custom panels, then go for it. It is quiet a task, but when finished you can back up and say, I did it. If you let the fear of to hard of a project scare you off, then you'll never know if you could have done it or not.

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Old 06-17-2004, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by MARTINSR
I
Honestly, I think the time spent would be much better used on detailing on the car. Detailing is MUCH more bang for your buck and makes more sense than making your doors open "wrong".
hahaha nice. thats what we thought too. but you know how the old impalas kind of have that small tear drop shape in the fenders. well his whole side got killed by an old lady, and we have to put a whole new body to the side of it. we couldnt even figure out how to bang it out. its just that bad and the lines are so subtle to the tear. so we figured we could just for fun do the suicide doors at the same time.

and i'd never heard of the safety locks, thinking about that now kind of scars me hahaha. i'll have to grab some. thanks a bunch guys

i love how i can get on here and get so much help really fast
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Old 06-17-2004, 08:19 AM
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Since you are getting some encouragment I thought I better leave you some real info.

How long? The last one I did where I kept time was 60 hours, that is a week and a half of full time work by a pro in a shop with all the tools at my disposal. It was a very easy project being a VW bug, a four door Impala, I'd say would be more like two hundred hours, minimum.
I don't know your skill level, but to an average home hobbyest that means about 500 to 600 hours. That may not sound too encuraging, but that is the facts as I see it.

The biggest problem with the project will be the center post. If it were a two door, the job would be a lot easier, and not just because you have two more doors. Which of course doesn't mean you would have to do all four, in fact just doing the fronts or the backs would be cooler in my opinion. A 34 Four Phaeton had just the fronts suicide for instance, or the 65 Lincoln had only the rears. That is the style I HIGHLY recommend for you. Doing the rears, as hard as that will be is a like grabbing a taco off the roach coach compared to the front doors.

The problem with the front doors is that center post. It just isn't big enough and the rear door gets in the way of where you would have to mount the hinges. Or more importantly, where your hinge pin placement would have to be. It would take MAJOR fabrication to pull that off.

The rears have a whole different problem, one that is almost as difficult to overcome, but more doable. The problem there is the narrow area you have to mount the hinges up over the dog leg. On that 65 Lincoln for instance it has no "dog leg". The quarter comes right over the wheel well down to the rocker. This leaves the whole height of the body to mount the hinges that will support that heavy door. Instead of having almost two feet to mount your two hinges, your Impala has about one foot, that is a BIG difference when you talk about multiplying leverage from the weight of that door!

The hinges and hinge post on the body as well as in the door will have to be MUCH, MUCH stronger than if it were like the Lincoln. You will have to make some SERIOUS tubing supports from the top of that hinge mounting pillar to the rear of the roof area, or triagulate it down to the wheel house, SOMETHING has to be seriously done to make it strong enough. If you don't have some good fabrication skills with a good understanding of how forces interact, forget it.

Below is the reason why center post poses such a problem. The hinge pin MUST be out right at the skin to allow the door to move out in the arc BEFORE it starts moving back. You can see at the red line in the front how the "B" figure is moving back before the door starts to actually go out. If you look at suicide doors on cars the next show you are at, you will see a LOT of guys failed to get this point. The rear door gap is either HUGE, or the rear of the door can't be lined up nice with the quarter, if it was the door would hit the quarter as it is opened. On the front doors of your car, this would be EXTREMELY difficult to pull off.

Well there you go, some problems your will come up against. If you really want to do it, post here with your questions. We will be glad to help.

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Old 06-17-2004, 10:19 AM
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i knew it was going to be hard but wow. basically i dont have a welder i dont know how to weld at all. (the real way i guess) i can do it. and it looks nice and they are really strong, i do alot of fabrication but not on that scale and im really good with this kind of thing, its funny in my mind becuase i've never really done any alterations on a cars body or anytinhg and i had to try this first.

the gaps., *Sigh* ive seen too many cruddy jobs like that, for some reason the preps at our school, the ones with those little asain imports, a couple of those redid the doors to suicide doors and it just looks awful, i've seen 2 inche gaps and nothing aligns.

me and my friend were just going to make the back doors into suicide doors. im wondering if i could just fabricate a whole new section into it. make it look a little different, as soon as i can docotor up an image i'll post it to show you what i mean. becuase i can texplain anything *sigh* and for some reason i cant find any pictures of 1970 4 door impala's. strange

thanks for the diagram though. that will be useful, as his brother is redoing his duster.
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Old 06-17-2004, 10:47 AM
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MartinSR....Your theory is correct about the doorskin hitting the 1/4 because of the arc of the swing...BUT....in your drawing the hinges are drawn backwards. The flat part of the hinge should be installed closest to the doorskin NOT the door panel.That way when the door does swing open...it swings out and open. Its kinda hard to explain without a picture, so give me a few minutes, and I'll show you.
Later,
WEIMER
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Old 06-17-2004, 11:09 AM
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The hinges that you are showing him to use have the similarities of a cabinet hinge... This is what I am trying to explain.
Just for future reference I am NOT a graphic artist

There is a "pocket" that the hinge actually sits in on the door...kind of a C-Channel pocket.
Later,
WEIMER
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Old 06-17-2004, 08:32 PM
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Weimer, we are both right, the shape of the hinge as I have it or you have it would make no difference. As long as the arch in the hinge allowed for clearance to the jamb, and the pin was placed in the right place, they would both work.

My drawing is almost exactly like an "AD" Chevy pick up (47- first series 55) or a 53-56 Ford F-100.
Now, with the hinge pin on yours so far from the quarter skin, that would still create the problem (though to a lesser degree) as my "B" graffic. Where the hinge mounts to the door, or the shape of the hinge really doesn't make that big of a difference. As long as it clears the jamb as the door swings out. You have the start of the arc way out where the hinge mounts to the door, that is not where it begins. It begins at the hinge pin.

The hinge it's self could be a big loop two feet into the car with a speaker mounted to it.
That would not change the way the door opens, the pin placement does.

Last edited by MARTINSR; 06-17-2004 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 06-17-2004, 11:40 PM
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Hey Brian , Welcome to Hotrodders. Nice to see your input here

Take Care
Earl
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Old 06-18-2004, 04:19 PM
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hey i heard about a site on Trucks the other day for suicide door hinges. dont know if its any help but its at www.autoloc.com
they also have some pretty cool stuff.
Tim
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Old 06-18-2004, 10:57 PM
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Try this....
Suicide Doors
I have dealt with Jason for sometime now. He knows his stuff, is reasonably priced and has very very good quality products.
Later,
WEIMER
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Old 06-19-2004, 04:27 AM
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What MartinSr. is talking about though is suiciding a 4 door not a two door. and by the time everything is changes around the center post is the problem. Take a look at the old Continentals (61-65) AND THE '70 OR '71 T-Bird. For the average person it would be a major undertaking. Even for an experience person it would be a major undertaking. Your best bet would be to put on new sides, shave everything, and have a cool ride that way.

Kevin
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