Land Rover Series IIA
Theo’s door was always open… but not in a good way
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…