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You thought getting that big hood on your old truck was difficult. Well, getting a heavy door put back on just right isn't a cake walk either. And trying to do it alone ... it's just not going to be pretty. HOWEVER, Robert has come up with a nifty device to cradle the door while you install it. We were fortunate to have Robert invite us to his shop for the 2012 Stovebolt Homecoming. We saw some magic with metal while over there. (Had a hard time getting some of the guys to come back for lunch!)
<< Click here for additional and larger images >>
"We didn't need any chipped paint!"
We were doing a "restoration" of a 1965 Ford Fairlane some time back. During re-assembly, we realized we needed a "door installation mechanism" to help with the process.
The doors were quite heavy and we didn't need any chipped paint!
I had seen some of the cradle-style door lifts that you can add to your floor jack, but I had a problem with how the cradle supports the complete weight of the door, across the lower edge of a door skin. There is too much risk of paint damage, in my view.
So I came up with another version that would support the weight across a wider area of the inner door, to reduce the risk of damage to any visible areas.
Here's the basic form
The base is made using some pipe receivers and set screws. The bottom "pin" was borrowed from a transmission jack, hence the bolt on function so it could serve that function as a jack again if needed.
The bottom "pin" can / should be fashioned to adapt to your own jack image.
Start with a length of 2 1/2 inch square steel tube. The length may vary depending on your needs and preference. This will provide the base for the cradle.
The receivers are fabricated from 3/4 inch pipe. The length may vary but it should allow full contact alongside the 2 1/2 inch tube.
After cutting the four receivers, drill a 3/8 inch hole in each and then weld a nut over the hole to accept your set screws.
Now weld the receivers to the 2 1/2 inch tube. Be sure they are square to the tube and allow easy access to your set screws.
Note, you may prefer to fabricate your support braces first, so you can custom fit the receivers to your braces.
Now for the uprights
After welding was completed, leftover roll bar padding was used on the bottom support to protect the bottom edge of the door.
The support braces are made using 1/2 inch EMT formed to a large "U" shape, whose legs spacing are a couple inches less than the length of the 2 1/2 inch tube base.
Using a tube bender will prevent kinking and give a uniform bend.
I covered the braces in pipe insulation with glue in the slit to keep the insulation in place. They also have insulation without this adhesive, but given the possibility of scratching paint, it is best to assure the "paint protector" insulation doesn't come off.
The support braces help to keep the door oriented in a vertical position and prevent the door from flopping back and forth (as you may experience with the cradle style). This will help prevent paint damage / chips from excessive door movement during the installation.
Notice nothing touches the edge of the door skin. << larger image >>
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."