To skin or not to skin the door
Below is a photo of a door off my TR6. It has be sanded down and smoothed to the metal. As you will note there is a lot of highs and lows as evidenced by the remaining paint.
The original primer was red, the a white sanding primer, the color. The car was repaint many years ago and they put down a gray filler primer, some of which can be seen in the low spots.
So the question is, do I use a door skin I have, or use body filler? I have skinned a door, and it is not all that difficult, so although I do not really want to do that again, I will if necessary.
The real issue I guess I have, is which is more work? The new skin does not guarantee an even panel, that is I can skin the door and sill have to fill to get it smooth.
The inside of the door is not materially rusted, and where it is I can media blast (which I would have to do anyway)
What are the thoughts of the esteemed panel?
Ray from Santa Cruz
It looks like a fairly easy door to skin and, if you can do it without bending the edges, you'll have an almost new door with a new skin. However if the damage isn't that bad around the door lock and handle or body lines it may pay to use filler. Also look in the jamb and see if it will benefit or harm the repair if you put a new skin on it.
There are some tricks and tools that work well for replacing door skins....
Most new skins have a 90 degree bend around the edge. Take some 80 grit on your DA and sand on the bend to weaken it slightly, this will make it easier to push flat without damaging the face of the panel.
Don't try to flatten the edge of the new skin too quickly, do a little at a time while moving back and forth around the panel.
Len, thanks for your response. The door is sound, and where the rust is I can easily get to it, well, most of it. The outer surface of the door, especially around the handle is a bit bunged, but it will not be hard to pound out.
The real reason I ask is that my heart is not really into the additional effort, if indeed putting on the skin I have is less work then smoothing what I have. It may be a toss up, in which case, I will open the door up, do a good clean up inside, the put on the skin. As I stated, I did this on the driver's side and I came out great.
The other issue is that this door is already aligned to the body lines, which after skinning it, will need some adjustment. Not a bidgdeal, but a pain in the butt.
Here is a picture of the driver's side:
Darn, that was two years ago, in another life time. Where does the time go?
It would be a shame not to do it right after all that I have done, and given I have the skin, perhaps I will do it.
I will look at the mess tomorrow and reassess.
thanks again and for the trick.
Ray from Santa Cruz
Tr, normally I would say to repair the door skin you have but something you mentioned caught my attention. If there is ANY rust at all at the bottom of the door where the outer skin overlaps then there is no doubt in my mind that re-skinning the door is the right way to go. What I would do is remove the old skin then sandblast ANY rust in the lower part of the door where the new outer skin will overlap. The ONLY way to make sure that rust will not come back is to remove ALL the rust and the only way you can do that is by removing the outer skin (and replacing it with a new door skin). I am all for repairing panels as long as there is no rust involved. Rust is a deal breaker for me, it WILL come back to haunt you later if it is not completely removed. It is a form of cancer to where if it is not completely removed then it will be back.
How about just buying another door? I had a crease in my TR6's door and was able to pick up a perfect replacement for $100. It actually made for better door gaps than the original. Just make sure you ask the breaker for a year door correct for your car, as the later model sixes have metal brace built inside the door skin. Even if your door gaps are not as good as you'd like, I've seen doors that were welded along the back edge and ground to the correct contour. If you need sources for replacement parts, just let me know. John
When putting on a new skin be careful that it lines up the same as the old skin. There is usually a 1/4" or more of play between the jamb and the skin and if it's not aligned properly before welding it could be a real challenge to get the gaps right.
Originally Posted by tr6oldtimer
The body panel alignment on a TR6 was never that great. On first glance, the door gaps may look large when compared to other vehicles. On the six, the rear frame flexes, which will close the gap at the top rear of the door. There are situations when the flexing can be enough to prevent the door from opening, or even pinch your arm when laid across the gap.
The skins actually fit rather tightly to the door frame. So there is little forward and back, or up and down adjustment to be made. The only issue is in dealing with the lower rear of the door sticking out from the body, and the opening for the window glass. Actually, the critical point in installing the skin is getting the top of the skin properly aligned to the frame before it is brazed in place.
Rust is an issue, and I am sure there is stuff growing in the bottom of a 39 year old door, although, not blistered, I am sure there is stuff eating away where I cannot see.
This morning I took another look at the door. Other then two parking lot dings, the ups and downs were there from the beginning. Of particular note is a bulge at the bottom that is above the fold. There is no other reason for it being there other then that is the way it was installed. Similarly, the recessed area around the key and door handle cannot be attributed to damage, nor can other areas. When I reflect back to the time I had it painted, one of my wants was to straighten this door.
I have concluded that the door skin was applied right after the worker had a liquid lunch.
So, while I could apply body filler and smooth things out, the prudent thing to do is put on the new skin. While apart, I can then address the areas that are rusted.
Thanks all for your input and allowing me to talk my way through this. While time is of the essence, doing it right is more important.
Hey John, you will appreciate this. There is a difference between the early and late doors with the brace. My car did not have the brace. However, after a car backed into the driver's side door in 1978, crushing it, the body shop replaced the door with a later one that had the brace. There was a problem, in that to put in the brace, Triumph had to lower the door check strap bracket. The jackass who did such a fine job painting my car, did this:
Fabricating and properly locating a new bracket was a fun challenge.
Ray from Santa Cruz
We are talking a reproduction skin right? You don't have access to an original OEM skin do you? If they are available I would be blown away. So if we are talking reproduction skin, OH HECK YES fix what you have. A repro skin is NOT going to fit as well as that door. I use repro parts as a VERY LAST restort personally.
Brian, thanks for the concern. It is an OEM skin, or at least fromoriginall stampings, just like the one I put on in the photo. They are well made and fit like a champ.
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
There are other parts for TR's that are stamped on original equipment, but they use thinner gage steel. I found out the hard way on rockers, that were so bad, they did not look like rockers. One I beat out, the other, I cut out the bad sections and welded in new steel.
But I will take a look at it before I cut the old one off.
Ray from Santa Cruz