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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-04-2004, 10:31 AM
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There must be a cheaper way

I've been working on my '34 Plymouth sedan for about a year now. So far I haven't spent a dime on the car, just on tools to setup my first shop. I'm almost finished chopping the top 2 inches. The next step is putting in hidden hinges and bear claw latches. I've been looking at all the kits from Rocky Hinge, Hagan's, and anything else I can find. What is the deal with these prices for hinge kits? The best price I found was at Rocky Hinge, for $225 per set. A four door car will need $450 just for hinges, plus another $270 for bear claws, solenoids, and remote control, plus $180 for power door locks. That adds up to at least $900, and I haven't even looked at power windows or the glass, door panels, inside handles, etc. Does $900 seem kinda high just for a door kit? Hagan was even higher - $325 per set of hinges. I know that everyone has to put food on the table, and that you get what you pay for, but the little pieces of metal in the pictures don't look like $325. Plus my wife freaked out when I said I need to spend $900 just to mount the doors. Is is possible to build hinges from scratch? I really wanted to go see the vendors at the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville this weekend, but plans changed at the last minute.
This car needs new everything. Is it impossible to build a car on a budget of 20 grand? It seems like every little part is $50 - $100. Add up the cost for a 400 HP motor, mustang II air ride suspension, 4 link rear, brakes, wheels, custom interior and paint, and all the little pieces that go into it, from all the specialty vendors like Fat Man's, Lokar, Billet Specialties, or even the multi-vendor dealers like Yogi's, and the price gets out of control. There must be a cheaper way.

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Old 08-04-2004, 03:19 PM
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you want the best you gotta pay.

seriously though, i haven't really scrutinized those hinge kits so i don't know what they look like exactly, but if it's like anything else you can probably build it yourself. if you could get some detailed pics and went to a shop you could probably get something made or figure out how to make it using existing cheaper materials.

as far as all those other parts, you might just have to hit all the swap meets and keep an eye out for what you want. not everything has to be new.

JB

p.s. and yes you can build a car for under $20K
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:52 PM
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I recall reading an article in Street Rodder where the owner / builder put together a nice '39 Chevy sedan for @ $10,000. He did go with a MII unit but kept the rear simple with parallel leafs, didn't hide the hinges and I think used manual windows. Looked like a fairly nice car and I am sure the fun level to dollar ratio was very high.

When determining the plan for your rod build be sure to establish a realistic budget, a realistic plan (there is the chance of burning out before getting done) and have the wife involved in the planning process. Understanding what needs to be done lessens the concerns a spouse might raise.

Works for me when there is an expensive "something" the coupe needs. We (spouse and I) work together determining budgets and timing of the expensive item purchases.

As far as the door hinges, can you use the original ones (will they match the theme of the car?) and save that money toward another part of the project?
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:54 PM
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You could buy some hinges from a junkyard and make them fit your car.

"mustang II air ride suspension, custom interior and paint"
This stuff may make it hard to build a car on $20,000. I guess it depends on what you mean by custom, and who's going to do the work. You could probably do it pretty cheap yourself.
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Old 08-04-2004, 09:58 PM
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Yeah, the huge hinges sticking out from the car have to go. My overall goal is to get this thing as smooth and sleek as possible. I don't want it to look like I skimped together whatever junkyard parts I could find. It's just that there's so many cars at the shows that look great from 20 feet, but then a closer look makes you think they should have spent another $1k to make it awesome. Anyone looked at the plans on ebay to build your own hinges? Some guy sells the design drawings for $10. I've tried to explain to my wife that we're saving a ton of money because I'm doing all the labor myself. She likes to see custom cars going down the road, but she's not interested in what I'm doing in the shop. Oh well, just needed to rant.
-Shane
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:17 PM
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I would have to say unless you are a darn good fabricator, just buy the hinges. You could get some out of a doner car but VERY few would work. The door has to swing OUTSIDE of the adjacent panel unlike 99.9% of modern cars where the door swings INSIDE the adjacent panel.
The few that I can think of off the top of my head that you may be able to find are some british sports cars and fifties and some sixties pickups. I have installed 55 Ford F-100 hinges on a VW bug that worked out well. But honestly, just buy the hinges. As far as quality, there are some real junk out there with no bushings in the pins, pick them out wisely.

The "bear claw" latchs are found cheaper (I think) at motor home supply houses. I remember the first time I bought some bear claws from a street rod place only to find that they had removed a sticker off them and ground the part number off to disguise it's origin! If they had left the darn thing there I wouldn't even have thought about it but because they didn't want me to know I looked around until I found the source, motor homes.

I also found the Jeep hardtop doors have a bear claw that is almost identical to the ones sold for street rods, with one exception, they have a lock!

The bearclaws sold for street rods bolt to a handle/latch assy on the motor home. They don't have a lock because the lock in in the handle.
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Old 08-05-2004, 09:14 AM
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I'd look at replacement hinges for another rig...new, remanufactured type thing.

Buy them, mock them up, see if they'll work...if they don't...return them.

I started to go down the same road as you on and decided that approach is too much money for me. I want a cruiser, something I can enjoy. I don't need MII suspension and all those other things to have a ride that I'll enjoy.

I'm focusing most of my attention on the body work for now, because after that is done, I can easily swap out other components when I have the monies.
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Old 08-05-2004, 11:15 AM
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I've looked at those hinges real close and sketched up, on paper, my version. All they are is some 2" sq. tubing, a piece of 1/4" x 1 1/2" plate and some 1/2" round x 1/8" wall tubing. I will try to get them drawn up in the computer so I can make some drawings...
The hardest part in making them would be bending up the plate to make the door straps.... That's one of the reasons I bought this dude at a swap meet earlier this year...

I will try to get these things drawn up tonight.
Mark
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Old 08-05-2004, 01:41 PM
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Thanks astroracer, that would be great. Here's a link to installation instructions from Rocky Hinge.
http://www.rockyhinge.com/instructions.htm

I called Hagan's a few weeks ago. They were very helpful, even sent me a full color catalog and a 30 minute installation video for free. Both companies look like they make great products, but does this really look like $325? Worse yet, $650 for a 4 door car?



I would have no problem ordering 2 sets of hinges if the total price was $325. If these guys cut their prices in half, they couldn't build enough of them!

I've been doing body work, saving up for parts too, but it's hard to let go of the money for something that seems minor. Every vendor wants to get rich from selling every little part, which just makes guys like me want to find an alternative way to get things done. If the prices were more reasonable, they would probably sell 3 times as many, and more people could afford to get into this hobby.
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Old 08-05-2004, 04:08 PM
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rustorod,

i just realized that on my '47 plymouth it has higgen hinges on the front doors. the hinges sit inside pockets in the front post and the hinge bolts onto the door. might be kind of tricky making the pockets for the hinges but just thought i'd pass that along.

later,

JB
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Old 08-05-2004, 04:16 PM
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At the top of the photo are two posts. It looks like they may have bushings in them... What are they for.
I got my version of the hinges drawn up today. The computers are down tomorrow for upgrading so I won't get the drawings done till next week. Let me know about those post and if there are any design considerations you need for your application.
Mark
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Old 08-05-2004, 07:57 PM
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Shane..... It looks like you have 2 issues. The cost of the parts for the project and the Budget for the project.

As for the hinges, I'd just look around and see if you can find a set from something that will work. Sometimes, the imagination is the best tool that you can have.

As for the Budget (under $20,000) issue. The way that I handle that is a little different than alot of people. My wife is the one that handles the money at home. She knows how to save, I know how to spend. LOL I have several projects going at any one time. I currently am working on a 67 Mustang, 31 Ford Tudor, and a 26 Ford Touring. I buy parts and materials, a little at a time, all of the time. I don't keep track of how much I spend on any one project, unless I am working on something for someone else. By having more than one project going, I can buy the parts that I find for which ever project they will fit. That way I am not pushed to find specific parts, and end up paying more than necessary.

A few months ago, I went to Carlisle Pa to the show/swap meet. I took my wife with me, and made it a week end away for both of us. We shopped all day at the fair grounds. We saw quite a few parts that would work on one of my projects. Some I bought, and many I didn't buy because the price wasn't what I wanted to pay at that time. Since I always have something to work on, I am not pushed to over spend.

WARNING.... This is not for everyone. Many people will start projects and never finish them. If you are one of those, this process will not work for you.
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Old 08-11-2004, 12:20 PM
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Hey astroracer,
My only guess about those posts comes from what I remember about reading the installation instructions. It may be there to run a round rod between the upper and lower hinges to make sure they line up perfectly straight. I know that Rocky Hinge makes theirs with that round vertical rod already attached to the upper and lower hinges, which should make it easier to keep them lined up during installation. Sounds like a good idea, so I'm not sure why Hagan does not include that spacer rod.
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Old 08-11-2004, 03:47 PM
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I've used the following hinges for suicide doors....please dont shoot me for inaccuracies on the years. Once I knew what the hinge looked like I just went around to any older vehicle & opened the doors to see if they were a donor or not...didn't pay too close attention to the donor...

70's - 80's Jeep Wagoneer (used these the most)
60-70's Ford trucks
55-57 Chevy's & Trucks
IH Scouts


At the minimum most of these need sand blasted & "rebuilt" w/ new pins & bushings, but that's pretty inexpensive to do.

Also, note that some of these had a spring which aided in holding the door open, so this might be a feature worth looking for if you consider that really important. Most door stay open on their own though....

Once you get the hinges, there is a process to hang these which would require a few pages....someone used to have an entire how to, but I can't see to find it & was basically how we do it.
You def. need to heep the hinge center line the same on the top hinge & the bottom hinge or else it will bind when opening.
Most doors will need sign. reinforcement to allow them to hold the weight of the door. We use 14ga/ 12 ga or similar to do this.

Look at most late model latches w/ the striker bolt...these are what we use.

Last, if you'd rather have some new parts entirely call Jason @ http://suicidedoors.com/products/suicidehinges.htm

He's very helpful.

Hope this helps!!
Eric Bailey
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Old 08-12-2004, 07:55 AM
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HEY RUST: When you get into street rods, you won't have to worry about spare time or spare money because you won't have either one ....DAVE
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