Monday, December 12, 2011

Groundhog Day

After a productive Saturday of painting the interior surfaces of Ringo’s doors and safely bolting exterior parts onto him, I want a re-do of the car-related activities that occurred from about 8 PM that day until 5 o’clock yesterday. As Bill Murray eventually made the most of his consecutive Groundhog Day’s, I would only need 1 day before I’d be satisfied to move on with life.

With doors painted, bumpers installed, and wheel-well trim screwed on (all without scratching any of the new paint), I was prepping for the next day’s door installation. I staged the bolts on the floor near each door, and then proceeded to chase the threads in the hinges to clean out any paint that may have gotten on them. Here is the EXACT point at which I’d love a do-over. The driver’s side door (pictured at the top of this post) was sitting on a 2x6 on top of a concrete block leaning against the side wall. After tapping the final hole on the door, I noticed a smudge on the door’s surface. With tap and wrench in one hand, I bent over and wiped the smudge with the cuff of my sweatshirt. I swear I didn’t press hard, but I must have pressed hard enough to move the door since if slid off the 2x6 and fell to the floor. I just stood there in shock and near tears since I just knew I’d now be repainting the outside of the door. I set down the tap and lifted the door. Sure enough, the block had put ugly scrapes through the paint and into the primer. My heart fell even further. Moments earlier I was actually feeling the heat being put off by the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, and all that was now shattered.

Now a new plan (I must be up to Plan Z by now) had to be implemented. Press on Sunday with installing the passenger door and then sand and shoot primer on the damaged driver door. The lovely Loriann joined me in the heated garage early the next afternoon, and, after discussing what approach to take, we forged ahead. What seemed like two hours later (and it probably was), all we’d accomplished was giving me some touch-up painting opportunities. We just couldn’t get enough clearance at the upper rear corner. We’d filed open the mounting holes in the body and adjusted the upper hinge mounting locating all for naught. My willing wife could get the door centered in the opening with the hinge bolts loose, but as soon as I’d tighten one up the door would shift. She had some errands to run, so I released her from helping me, and I continued on alone. I moved the upper hinge back where it had been, and moved the lower hinge closer to the outside (which would end up installing the lower front corner more inboard). After filing the front side of the body's mounting holes so that the bolts could be further forward, I carefully engaged the door into the opening, jamming a thin piece of wood in the rear gap, before climbing back into the car and installing one upper and one lower hinge bolt, alternating turns until both were torqued tight. This actually got me closer than we’d been all day. One slight adjustment to the lower hinge bolt, moving it rearward, and the door was centered, aligned, and fairly flush. All that’s left there is to properly locate the latch on the body. All that took so long I couldn’t get to the sanding and priming of the driver door.

Oh well, life goes on.

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