Sunday, February 15, 2015

Stripping Doors

As you may have surmised from my last post about paint prep, I couldn't just stop at the nose. We'll see how far this goes.  For today, I'm focusing on getting the front doors ready. I do feel compelled to explain why I'm going for the paint this winter. Most of the recent years, I've spent my wintertime spare time on Mt. Hood, playing in the snow. El Nino or some other weather condition has hit the Pacific NorthWest with spring-like weather for most of January and, so far, all of February. Tulips and Daffodils are sprouting while our beloved SkiBowl looks more ready for mountain biking than downhill skiing. Sadness. So, I'm taking the opportunity to focus on getting the bus cleaned up and shiny for music-festival season. Onward!

Insides First
inside stripped,
sanded and taped
This seems obvious, but first, the inner door controls and door card need to be removed. The door latch and door pull are simple Phillips head bolts. Pop them into a ziplock bag marked for their respective door. The window should be lowered all the way and then the winder removed, but keep it handy. Then, carefully pull the door card with a tongue depressor (or something similarly harmless) popping the clips out of their rubber homes. Your door should have a plastic sheet behind the card. Peel this sheet off and stow it with the rest of the door bits, preferably labeling the heap in a way that's meaningful to you. As you can see in the picture to the right, here, I put everything into a plastic bag for the door, and put that bag into the hole in the door. Won't get lost that way :) Now you can get after the window trim.

The Bentley does a fine job of explaining how to remove the window, vent wing and trim in section 5.9 of the first chapter. I wouldn't want to misdirect, but there are some opportunities for clarity in their process. The book describes removing 2 window-track bolts, and the picture shows where the front one is. The "back" one is in the middle of the window track, but below the lowest point where the window might travel. There's a picture a few pages back (figure 5-14), though the narrative in section 5.9 doesn't reference it. They are both 10mm bolts.
The book also says to remove the Phillips head bolt from the vent wing housing after removing the felt from the top of the roll-up window channel. What it doesn't say is that you need to bent the little tang on the vent wing housing downward so you can tilt the housing back to the rear on removal. But, don't do that yet. There is a missing, but helpful, step right here after the removal of the felt strips and inner scraper: removing the window glass. Remove the 2 10mm bolts which hold the bottom of the window pane to the window winder assembly. The roll-up window will now float freely in the door. With one hand, lift the window up and catch it with your other hand above the door sill, leaning the window towards the inside. It should lift right out. Once the window pane is out and you've bent the little tang downward, the vent-wing housing easily tilts back and can be removed. These steps augment steps 6 & 7 of section 5.9. Last, remove the outer scraper and chrome-y surround trim.

Outsides Last
outside stripped and sanded
The outer door handle is held on with 2 Allen head bolts (Bentley section 5.5). These can be reached much more easily now that the window is gone. If you left your window pane in, roll it all the way up so you can get to the Allen-head bolts. Once removed, pull the handle off the door and thread the bolts right back in again. Set the handle with the door-specific heap you had from the "Insides First" steps above. The strike plate could be removed at this point, or it may be taped off. User's choice. I removed one, but the other was so tightly attached, I chose to tape it rather than strip the Allen head bolts. The same decision could be made for the latch assembly. I left mine in-place and taped them for the same reason I left the strike-plates: strip fear. I also removed the pin from the door-check (Bentley 5.4), but left the unit in place. For getting at some areas with sandpaper, it proved useful to have the door able to open more widely. I looked at removing the doors, but, like the strike plates, the Allen head bolts seem paint-sealed, and I didn't want to strip them. I still might attack them with an EZ-out so I can make sure I've gotten all of the rust traces dealt with. We'll see.

The front reflector comes off with a Phillips head screwdriver. Beneath mine, I found surface rust, but that easily dusted off. You can see the rust scar in the picture. I've thought about replacing the reflectors with operable lights that key off the turn signals on the front. More thought needed there. I'm not sure it would do much for improving visibility, but its not a new idea. Scroll down to post #12 here.

Last, we have the mirrors. I closed the passenger door hard once a few years ago and the mirror glass popped out. I have had a devil of a time finding replacement glass. All that the online vendors want to sell you are the crappy Chinese-tin full mirror replacements. Boo. So, I've been driving without a passenger-side mirror for a while. I may just break down and buy the more spendy (Brazil or German made) pair of complete replacements. Anyway, the mirrors are threaded into a nut that is welded to the door on the inside. So, it just screws in and out. You may need to break the seal with PB Blaster or a pair of pliers.

Like the prior post, everything that you intend to reuse needs to be tagged and bagged. Anything you intend to replace needs to be collected together and documented. This is a great opportunity to replace ancient fasteners, and one you should definitely take, but be careful how many fasteners you put in a "replace" baggy without any labeling. You could find yourself with a vehicular jigsaw puzzle trying to figure out which fastener was for which assembly. Ask me how I know :) Keep general assemblies together. A ziplock baggy costs a few cents. Hours of trial and error later can cost you a hairline, or just some sanity. Either way, the few cents is cheaper.

That's it for today. Thanks for following along. The tear-down continues next time-

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