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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 53 chevy 4 door with a 4" chop. Both rear doors seem to be out at the bottoms. I've done some searching but am still unsure as to the best method to attack this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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First off, the bad news.:(

If this top was chopped with the doors fitting like this there is a very good possibility you are going to need to align the doors then redo the top frames to fit. I can not make this clear enough, don't be looking at how the top fits, fit the bottom of the doors and THEN look up there, you simply can't worry about the top until the bottom is done.
When after the bottom is done you want to do a little dance and make the top better by making the bottom worse or you want to bend the window frame a little or something, sure that may be done too. But not until you have fit the bottom and you KNOW the bottom fits, they you worry about the top. This actually goes for fit the top wasn't chopped too, if you want the doors to fit nice you would adjust them to fit and then "massage" the upper to fit if needed.

But if it has been chopped with those doors looking like that, you WILL need to do some work on those window frames to make it all work once the doors are aligned properly.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, is the door out at the front at the bottom too? If so, you are going to want to adjust it at the hinges and I would need a photo of the hinges to see how they are mounted, I don't remember from the very few times I have ever seen them in person.

Are the front doors aligned properly? They could be too far out at the bottom making it look like the rear doors fit at the front when in reality they don't. You need to remember fitting panels is a dance, a choreographed dance. You are pushing and pulling and moving panels all over to make them ALL work, you don't align one, then go to the next, you can do this by starting with the rear door, then moving to the front door then moving to the fenders, yes you can do this. That method is simply moving from the weld on non adjustable panels, the quarters, and making the rear doors fit them, then moving forward. However, often it takes this choreographed dance to make it all work, where you have the "bestest" fit everywhere instead of a perfect fit which without serious work may be simply impossible. It wasn't even close from the factory, these cars weren't like todays cars with perfect gaps and fit.

So, like I said, you need to look this thing over good before you start twisting doors. But this is how you could do it. This first picture is using a block of wood that stops the upper part of the door from closing and you apply pressure to the lower part of the door. Some cars twist very easy, others DO NOT twist at all, funny thing, you never know which will or won't.



You will notice my leg is pushing in on the bottom. You could get down lower and push with your hands too, but this is one way. Oh and by the way if you should try this, DO NOT wrap your fingers around the edge of the door, go ahead ask me how I know. :pain: I was doing this on a 69 Shelby GT500 years ago and the wood fell out and my finger was shut in the gap of the door with it completely latched! Oh yes my finger still shows damage from when the fingernail grew back a little different. :pain:

The other way is to pull out on the top and push in on the bottom, this is the way I would recommend as it usually works well. But again, pushing in the bottom with your leg and pulling out on the top will often twist that baby RIGHT NOW.



But look it over well before you do it, remember this is a dance.



Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey, thanks for the reply! The front doors are pretty much aligned and close well with decent gaps. Working my way back from the front fenders the fitting seems to be pretty good. Both rear doors fit 3/4 of the way around. The gaps are not consistent but definitely tolerable. Like you said, It's an old car! It seems to be the lower bottom rear door panels on both sides. Right about where the fender/skirts match to the rear door. So if I understand you correctly, work from the bottom up, adjust the hinges and strike plates and get it as close to possible before doing any bending? Thanks for the pics! Definitely helpful!
 

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Slow but willing learner
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Hey, thanks for the reply! The front doors are pretty much aligned and close well with decent gaps. Working my way back from the front fenders the fitting seems to be pretty good. Both rear doors fit 3/4 of the way around. The gaps are not consistent but definitely tolerable. Like you said, It's an old car! It seems to be the lower bottom rear door panels on both sides. Right about where the fender/skirts match to the rear door. So if I understand you correctly, work from the bottom up, adjust the hinges and strike plates and get it as close to possible before doing any bending? Thanks for the pics! Definitely helpful!
MartinSR
You need to remember fitting panels is a dance, a choreographed dance. You are pushing and pulling and moving panels all over to make them ALL work, you don't align one, then go to the next, you can do this by starting with the rear door, then moving to the front door then moving to the fenders, yes you can do this.

I hope you are clear about what Brian is telling you. When aligning doors on a 4 door car start with the rear door, then the front door and finally the front fender.
You can't assume because the front door looks good it is right. If the front door and fender are adjusted together they can look good and still be way off. The rear quarter panel can not be adjusted to fit the door. Make the rear door fit the QP, then allign the front door to match the rear door and finally allign the fender to fit match the front door. Since the top has been chopped, it is likely the upper door frames are not perfect and will have to be addressed again after the doors are fitted to the body.

I reallize I am repeating most of what Brian already said but trying to make sure you understood why he advised you to work from the rear forward.

John L
 

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All you can hope for that no one has messed with the 1/4 panel and that its straight and where it belongs or now your really lost. As Brain said most times you will end up with a 2x4 and BFH.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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My the way just to make things perfectly clear I would NOT want to twist the door on my Rambler like this! It has a bolt on aluminum upper window frame and THAT is what would bend all to hell long before the door twisted.
The photo is for example only, you still have to use your head when doing this stuff as to your particular car and needs.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So rear door to rear panel and work my way forward. Massage only as needed! What was throwing me was that almost 3/4 of the rear door had a pretty decent fit. It gives the appearance that the bottom back corner was bent out. The advice that was given makes perfect sense and I'm very greatful that I got it before twisting pulling and pushing on the door! Thanks fellas!
 

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Some cars twist very easy, others DO NOT twist at all, funny thing, you never know which will or won't.
Brian
I spent a lot of time on my project and ended up twisting both doors to get them aligned, and some time later found that they were almost back to the original position. My 1/4s were loosely fitted on with screws, so I thought that was the problem and ended up twisting a little more to get it right, only to find later that they needed it again.

Well this time I checked into it further and found that several of the spot welds on the door skin were not touching the door frame and allowing the door skin to move, or in this case twist.

Its hard to tell by just looking at the flange, because it is bent over and looks to be covering the the edge of the door frame, but I put my finger on it while someone else twisted and I could feel the door skin moving on the frame.
 

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put up or shut up
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I'd say try your tilts first on your hinges going to the door shell.(if you have the right type of hinges for that- a pic of them would be nice). With the lower tilt hinge bring the bottom of the door in and tighten and with your upper one bring it out and tighten. Bringing it out at the upper front area will suck it in diagnally across on the bottom rear. See if this works and how out of whack it leaves everything else. After you figure out the right medium for that then you twist your door as a last resort, with your windows down if you have a frame around them.
 
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