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Current Restoration

40: Door and Window Installation

Door and Window Installation

Last month’s article discussed installation of the exhaust system. This nearly completes work on the underside of the car. The next job was fitment of the windshield. I had purchased a new Triplex windshield from XKs Unlimited during my business trip to California last winter. I already had a new gasket from Terrys. First I trial fit the gasket on the cockpit opening to see how it fit. The gasket has some defined corners and the one I had formed a continuous loop. After many attempts, the gasket seemed to be too long. I also tried fitting it to the glass and it still seemed to long. I ultimately cut the gasket and wound up taking out about 3 inches of length. I don’t know if I had a bad gasket or if this is the way they all work. Also, at some point I realized I had the gasket on backwards, which was definitely inhibiting progress. This is definitely a 2 person job. My wife Kelli was invaluable in helping make the final installation. In fact I mainly supplied the muscle while she supplied the finesse. We ground down some wooden paint sticks to use as tools to coax the gasket into place. Lubrication with

Chief Installer with rounded off paint sticks to help lift the gasket over the edge of th e glass

dish soap also helps. It put up quite a fight but we finally got the windshield installed.

I have been putting off installation of the doors because once they are installed, access to the interior will be more restricted. That said, I have decided to get the car operational and give it some road testing prior to installing the upholstery. When I install the upholstery, I will probably take the doors back off to improve access. I have hung the doors previously, without the glass, to check for fitment. Now it is time to install the glass in the doors. This turned out to be tricky.

I took all the window crank mechanisms over to the bead blast cabinet for a good scrubbing. I then painted them with some of the cadmium look paint that I have been using, obtained from Eastwood. I checked the various mechanisms and they all seemed reasonably sound. That is good as I cannot see any good way to refurbish the moving parts short of a major redesign with modern components. Then I took the chrome door handle parts over the buffing machine. The interior ones shined up nicely. The chrome on the exterior ones has some pits. Based on the high cost of replacements I am going to stick with the ones I have for now. Next I took the large window frame over to the buffing machine. Fortunately it also shined up pretty well.

There are a series of gaskets in the door frame. They are hard to describe and hard to identify. Fortunately I have my operational 2+2 to go to for comparison. There is a gasket around the outside perimeter of the window frame and a “wiper” type gasket in the door sill that squeegees water off the outside of the glass as it is rolled down. There is also a “fuzzy channel” that goes inside the window frame which the glass slides into.

Insertion of window crank mechanism into door frame

Insertion of the crank mechanism into the door frame is the first “ship in a bottle” moment. At first I swore it wouldn’t go. Here is a picture of how I got it in.

Once I got the interior mechanism into the door the rest went better. The door latch mechanism and the link to the interior handle went pretty well. Then I slid the window glass into the top of the door, followed with the frame. It is all very tightly organized and you have to experiment a lot to see how it can go, as there is just one way as far as I can tell.

Door frame with most mechanisms installed

Once the door is fully assembled, it can be installed onto the hinges and hung in the door opening of the cockpit. The door is quite heavy at this point and the help of an assistant is advised. Just like when I was fitting the door without glass, the hinges are bolted down semi-tight and the fit of the door in the opening is checked, tweeked, and checked again. There is a lot of trial and error. When the fit is right, the hinge bolts can be cranked down good and tight.

The effect of new stiff rubber gaskets is a little depressing. They tend to be too stiff and hold the door open a little more than I would like. Hopefully they will compress over time. The operation of the window up and down is very stiff too and needs help from my hand. A coating of Rain-X on the glass helped it to slide better over the squeegee gasket. I sprayed silicon lubricant in other sliding locations. Seeing the windshield and doors hung in place certainly gives the car a more complete look.

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