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Set Screw

October 12th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

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Set Screw

For the novice, tackling a door repair for the first time can be a frustrating and time consuming experience. While the majority of prewar automobiles have common dismantling techniques, learning these techniques can be a challenge. These techniques are not often described in manuals and period maintenance references. This is simply because it was considered common knowledge.

Tackling the repair of doors need not be frustrating. Most of it requires a bit of knowledge about what to look for and what bolt to turn. Here are some of the more common tips and techniques useful for dismantling the prewar car door for repairs.

The exterior door handle, especially the driver's side, is one of the most used parts of the automotive body. While they seldom break, it can be necessary to remove them for other repairs or servicing. Door handles are generally held in place by one of two methods.

In the case of the door handle where a small plate with two bolts around the base of the handle can be seen on the outside of the door, the removal seems straight forward. Remove the two screws or bolts and pull. This may result in a spike in blood pressure. The handle should also be held in place by a third bolt accessible only by removing the interior door panel. This third bolt is located in the end of the handle shaft and prevents the removal of the handle by vandals or pranksters and unscrupulous antique auto restorers.

The second method of removal involves handles with no obvious exterior bolts. Handles of this type require the loosening of a setscrew in the edge of the door. The small set screw will be visible through a hole in the door edge. The hole may be covered by a small cap. Loosen the set screw and the door handle can be removed for repair or replacement. When reinstalling be sure to turn the set screw tight and ensure that it is at least flush with the edge of the door.

Stiff lock action could be a sign that the lock mechanism is about to seize. A squirt or two of powdered graphite from a spray dispenser could save you from dismantling the unit. If the problem persists it may require removing the offending mechanism from the door.

Some automobiles will have a lock unit separate from the handle. This type of lock unit is held in place by a set screw. Open the door and look at the door's jam at the level of the lock . A small set screw will be visible through a hole. The hole may be covered by a small cap. Turning the set screw counterclockwise the screw will loosen and the lock barrel can be removed for repair or replacement. When reinstalling be sure to turn the setscrew tight and at least flush with the edge of the door jam.

In the case where the lock is located in the handle, the entire handle must be removed as describe above. Then the lock and handle can be sent away for repair, or replaced.

Removal of interior handles is accomplished by removing either a retaining pin or clip. These are accessed by depressing the escutcheon plate or ring to expose the pin or clip. The pin is usually easily pushed through using a suitably stiff wire or small punch. With the clip or pin removed the handle slips off the shaft.

Upholstery panels are best removed with either a specialty tool or a wide putty knife. The blade of the tool is slid up against the spring clips or nails and the panel pried away from the door. Prying as close as possible to the clips or nails lessens the possibility of tearing the panel or fabric. It is also wise to inspect the panel before dismantling to ensure you have removed any extra screws or other fasteners which may have been installed over the lifetime of the vehicle.

With the interior panel removed window and latch mechanisms can be accessed. While the door latch mechanism is a straight forward matter of removing the mounting bolts or screws, the window mechanism requires additional work.

Removal of the window mechanism can be accomplished without removing the glass, but the glass should be removed first. This is often accomplished by lowering the window, removing all window trim and possibly a section of window channel. This allows room to raise the glass up and out of the door. With the glass removed, the bolts retaining the mechanism can be removed for servicing.

When tackling any repair where manuals may not be available, it is wise to make notes as you go. You may think you can remember how it goes together, but a note, small drawing or photos of the dismantling process may assist in jogging your memory. The notes and images will also come in handy the next time you have to tackle a door repair.

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