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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
16,459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is one of those "I can't believe this is so simple and I never thought of it" tips.

I learned it after a very difficult lesson many years ago at a restoration shop I worked at. I had just shut the "bonnet" on a 57 Porsche Speedster and it wouldn't open!

The Speedster was a really stupid mistake because as I remember I think you CAN see where the striker hits the latch. Be it you can or can't this trick was shown to me that day and I have been using it over 30 years, it is a very valuable one.

On that Porsche latch it is a perfect little "volcano" looking hole that the striker which is shaped like a bolt with a pointed head on it. So the striker goes right straight into the middle of the latch to work properly. What I was shown was to take a hunk of "dum dum" (3M "Strip caulk") and roll it into a ball. Set that ball into the latch, then gently bring the hood down until the striker hits the dum dum. You now can see exactly where the striker is hitting the latch and can adjust it properly BEFORE you shut the bonnet!

This trick can be used on any latch as I have shown here.

This is a door latch on a Corvair van. I simply smashed some dum dum on the striker. I did find when I swung the door closed that the dum dum was too thick and the latch was hitting it on the side so I thinned it a little.

And when I gently pushed the door into it, it left these impressions on the dum dum.

The rear door really worked well to show you how it can help you. I put a little wad on the striker and gently closed the door in to it. As you can see the latch is hitting the striker very low, almost too low.

If it was hitting a little lower the door could get jambed shut if you were to slam it. Or you could damage the striker or latch. But whether this happened or not, this dum dum is showing us exactly what needs to be done to align it properly. In this case I didn't look as I didn't care I was only doing this so you could see it. But this could be telling me the door needs to come up, or it could be the striker needs to go down. If the door fit perfectly as far as gaps, then I would know the striker is too low. But if the door was sagging a little as it came to the latch then of course I would know to raise the door.

You can thank Nick Cassero for this tip, man he taught me a lot. :D

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