Land Rover Se­ries IIA

Theo’s door was al­ways open… but not in a good way

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK - THEO FORD-SAGERS CON­TRIB­U­TOR

1968 LAND ROVER SE­RIES IIA

It was when I no­ticed hail­stones bounc­ing off the pas­sen­ger seat as I was sit­ting be­hind the wheel dur­ing a storm that I ac­cepted that this was a job that I could put off no longer. The gap around the pas­sen­ger door was so woe­ful that bits of ice de­scend­ing from the sky – not to men­tion rain – could land straight in your lap. You get used to this with old Land Rovers to a cer­tain ex­tent, but there are lim­its…

The prob­lem wasn’t the seals – it was the mid­dle of the door where the bot­tom and top sec­tions join, which was so rusty and flimsy that the top half could flex. To make mat­ters worse, the threads on the two me­tal studs joining the sec­tions was knack­ered, so I couldn’t even bolt them tightly to­gether (I tried to re-cut the old threads, but they were past it). The so­lu­tion had been sit­ting the shed for some time – a shiny new door top, al­ready glazed, that just needed paint­ing the cor­rect shade of Marine Blue, so I or­dered a new bot­tom sec­tion to go with it.

Job num­ber one was clean­ing, sand­ing and etch prim­ing, fol­lowed by two coats of paint ap­plied with a roller for the flat sec­tions and a rat­tle can for the cor­ners. The re­sult wasn’t per­fect (damn those lit­tle bub­bles) but good enough for me. Then, af­ter ap­ply­ing sound dead­en­ing pan­els and after­mar­ket can­vas door pock­ets, and trans­fer­ring the lock across, the new door was bolted in place… but there was one miss­ing el­e­ment – the check rod that stops it smack­ing back in the wind. Se­ries II rods are rare, so there was a de­lay of a cou­ple of weeks be­fore I found one at a palat­able price.

In the mean­time, the wind whipped up and made a mock­ery of the bungee cord that I’d used as an in­terim mea­sure. The door slammed back, buck­ling a cor­ner of new me­tal and al­most rip­ping the top hinge out of the bulk­head. I was mor­ti­fied!

To get the door to close again I had to re­move it and at­tack the bulk­head with a steel ham­mer to flat­ten the bent me­tal. It also needed an ex­tra plas­tic shim to get ev­ery­thing to align prop­erly, and the door took some wallops with a rub­ber mal­let to undo the dam­age. Thank­fully it all went back to­gether in the end and the door now closes prop­erly.

As I write this the new check rod has just ar­rived and I’m go­ing to fit it right flip­ping now. So, if you’ll ex­cuse me…

Per­fect weather – and lo­ca­tion – for paint­ing new doors.

New door fi­nally comes to­gether again – this time un­der cover.

Un­bolt­ing old Land Rover locks is a dod­dle. Just don’t tell crooks…

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