February 1 2009
Today it was time to reassemble the right front door. I started by making the spline that connects the door top wood to the front wood section. Originally this part was made from plywood I recreated it in fiberglass for more strength. I installed the rest of the wood and nailed it to the metal door edge. The center wood cross part originally had a strip of felt between it and the door skin. The felt absorbed water and caused the metal under it to rust. I replaced it with closed cell foam and hope it will work better. I took the door out to the garage and test fit it on the car. The door fit ok except for the striker plate this was now about 3/4 of an inch to high. I tried to loosen the screws that hold it and managed to strip one of the heads. Out came the drill and the striker plate was off. Now I have to drill out the screw body and retap the plate.
I removed some spacers from the C post body mount and the doors fit better. I replaced the door inside parts. The top was 1/4 inch plywood and had become week and brittle. The window winder plywood had totally delaminated and I replaced it with some 1/2 I had on hand. I moved to the rear door expecting the worst but finding the wood was in remarkably good shape. The door middle stringer seemed to be in backwards leaving a large gap between it and the door skin. The felt was still there crammed into this gap and causing rust. I don't know if I should flip the middle stringer or just leave well enough alone.
I finish fit the front door hardware. Everything now lines up and is bolted in place. Ill have to remove it to prime the outer skin after all the doors are done. It was a simple matter to remove the rear door from the car, undo the screws and drill out the 1/4 inch bold. (they rust in place and can never be unscrewed ) I took the door outside in the snow for a good sandblasting. As the old paint and rust were removed it became apparent the door had been repaired in the past. ( braze line on the door seam and body filler on the leading edge) The inside cleaned up well and I primed it and filled the nail holes in the wood with epoxy.
Lots of cleaning today more work more mess. I ground out all the body filler on the rear door to reveal numerous dents and even a small welding repair. Using a body hammer and a dolly I tried to smooth out the damaged area. I used my angle grinder with the disc on upside down to make a crude shrinking disc. The smooth disc rubs on the high spots heating them and causing them to shrink when you quench them with water. It worked well and in the end the damaged area will require less filler than before. I took the door to the nice warm basement and applied a skim coat of filler to the offending area. I spent the rest of the day powder coating the door check parts and the window channel clips. Sooner or later I will have to start buying new parts window channel and felt etc. The Riley RM club seems to have all the stuff. I joined up about the beginning of the year. A great bunch of people with a terrific forum. I wish I had joined years ago a lot of questions could have been answered and trouble saved. Oh well I never do things the easy way.
Cold Cold Cold...
I removed the left rear door after stripping it of all its hardware. Looks good wood wise. I started to sandblast the door but I ran out of sand. I used the random orbital sander and 80 grit to remove the paint from the outside. I put a second coat of primer on the right rear door and sanded the filler. Decided the door still needed work filler wise so I applied some more. I hope that will do it.
I drove out to New England Silica and picked up some sandblasting sand. $50 for 4 bags. You would thing the stuff was gold dust. Sandblasted the front left door and discovered holes under the center cross wood. That darn felt!! I also blasted the door stops and window channel clips and then the rear floor boards again. The problem with stopping for three years is that everything you didn't prime rusts. I primed the inside of the left rear door and removed the cross piece on the left front door to get to the rust holes.
I primed the top of the floor boards.
I turned the floor boards over and primed the bottom. Then I moved on to the left front door for what I thought would be an easy fix filling the rust holes with lead. I used lead on the inside of the door to fill the holes and flipped the door over to discover a gigantic high spot where the lead was. It is true what they say... if you sandblast one area long enough the metal will stretch. I blasted the back side of the door a good long time to remove the rust. To shrink the area I used my shrinking disc and a wet rag to quench the area. I was able to improve the area greatly but it still needed some filler. A bit disgusted with this door, I took a break and powder coated the left side door stops and clips. I spent the rest of the day faring the right rear and left front. Lots of hard work and dust.
Some more body work on the doors and paint for the inside door parts. Upon cleaning the rear door inside handle actuator I discovered a broken spring. A quick perusal of the Riley forum confirmed my suspicion that the spring was important. It prevents the handle from jiggling on a bumpy road and locking the door unintentionally. After many tries I managed to make two springs from and electrical fish tape. I installed them and they seem to work. We'll see if I lock myself out of the car. I wanted to paint the toe board and glove shelf area. It seemed a good idea to remove the pedals first, pretty straight forward except the bracket that holds the pedal shaft is attached with the same bolts that hold the rear end of the torsion bar. I pondered that awhile with the vision of a wildly springing torsion bar dancing in my head. I jacked that side of the car off the ground and loosened the torsion bar adjusting bolt. That seemed to take all the tension out of the suspension. No problems after that except the bolt have Whitworth heads. I have four Whitworth wrenches. Good thing two fit.
I finished painting the inner door parts, window winders and door handle actuators. These parts were reattached to the plywood cross supports. Now it was time for my favorite activity... sanding the doors. I sanded and filled, sanded and filled and when I couldn't take it any more I bolted them back on the car and checked the door gaps. I had to move the b post forward 1/4 inch to make everything line up. I checked the doors for fareness more filler, more sanding... Oh Joy.
I removed the doors from the car, AGAIN. I moved the Riley outside sanded the doors, AGAIN. I hung them from the rafters and primed them with epoxy primer. I hope I don't blow up with all the fumes. After they were dry I moved them into the basement and with the help of my family (my wife and 10yr old son - the cat refused to help) we were able to push the Riley through the mud and back into the garage before the rain.