Sunday, April 22, 2012

Door skins, part 4 - patch fabrication

Having used my Nikon 1 for a few weeks now I came to the conclusion that I needed a flash. Found it at the same place I bought the camera, Ritz at Ala Moana. Nicely integrated with the camera, and powered by the camera battery.

Looking over today's pics I am not happy with how some turned out. They are not sharp. My experience tells me that even a hand-held shot should be sharp, because the exposure comes from the flash, which is faster than a shutter speed of 1/1000. What I think is happening is that the V-1 computer sees that ambient light can furnish most of what is required, and reduces the intensity of the flash. Meaning that camera motion is still an issue. I will need to hold the camera better in the future, especially when ambient light is rather bright.

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On my way home after last week's session I realized I hadn't taken a picture of the door as it sat at the end of the day. So, my first order of business today was to take that picture. Four, actually. The first is with the top on the near side, the second is the other way around, followed by a couple views of the ends.

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The patch I need to make will run along the top outside edge of the window opening. This is where the frame and the skin have a flange, or tab, facing upwards. A heavy chromed trim piece presses down onto this tab. The same piece holds the window glass cushion, made of felt glued to thin aluminum. I need to be sure my patch down not interfere with this trim piece, so I spent some time reviewing how it all fits together.

This short video is a hand-held scan along the trim piece in the photos above. Sometimes seeing something like this as a video reveals details that do not come across as easily in a still shot.

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When I had my plan, all I had to do was lay out the patch, cut it, and flange it. The frame will be cut down by roughly 0.5 in. and the patch will overlap the remaining tab. The patch is flanged (used my pneumatic flanger) so that the new portion will be in-line with the old. The flange will go on the side away from the window.

Next step is to cut out sections of the patch to clear some bumps in the frame. I suspect a little more work will be required in the neighborhood of the outside door handle.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Door skins, part 3

My goal for today was to figure out how to repair the top edge of the door. In the process I ended up removing all of what remained inside the door. Probably a good idea anyway, because of the welding that needs to be done.

I notice that with my new camera (Nikon 1) I take more pictures. I consider that a good thing. Why so many more? I'd say it is because of the larger monitor. I react to what I see, instead of hoping the one shot got what I wanted. Plus, it's fast. So, here are a lot of pics.

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My first challenge was to do something about the reinforcing doubler behind the door skin around the door handle. I used a cutoff wheel on a die grinder to cut away the door skin, trying to leave the doubler intact so that I can reuse it. You can see some wounds where I hit it while working blind. There is some rust in the area, including behind the doubler, but I think it can be treated.

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Had to remove some rubbery coating BMW put along the bottom edge of the door frame. It worked very well, except for where moisture got under the paint and rust formed under the coating. Removed with scraper and wiping with rag soaked with acetone.

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Removed the few remaining plastic plugs that are used to hold the interior panel. Not sure how many the factory implemented, most of mine were broken.

Found this channel on the bottom of the door. Probably held a rubber seal; no sign of that.

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This interior trim piece was attached by a single tiny Philips head screw.

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Decided the door release mechanism had to come out. Note the one almost hidden bolt accessed through a hole in the door frame.

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Removed the rear window lift guide. Two extra thin nuts at the top, two bolts at the bottom bracket.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Door skins, part 2

Good news! The shop is back to Sunday hours. That means I will be working on Sundays and can stay longer. Of course, the 8th is Easter, but after that the schedule should smooth out.

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I began where I left off, peeling back the door skin. Originally I used a standard pliers, but I discovered that medium sized slip joint pliers provide better leverage.

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Found two places where the door skin was brazed to the frame. Both are near the top, between where the edge wraps around and where it is spot welded to the window opening. One at the front, on at the rear.

Rather than grind away all the spot welds along the top edge I decided to cut through the skin with a cutting wheel.
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Even then the skin would not come free. Problem was the door handle mechanism. Hard to see, but it appeared to be attached to the door skin. Removed some the the mechanism, but ended up cutting around it.

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After the door skin was off I decided to split the piece over the door handle to see what was underneath. Still not sure how the doubler is attached, appears that one end is attached to the frame and the other end to the door skin. Looks like I will need to remove from old skin and attach to new skin.