Below is a new tech tip for review from Achipmunk. Please take a look and comment as you feel may be needed.
----------------------------------------------------Modifying a1947-1951 Front door handle for use as a rear barn door handle.
Before we get started: The rear door handles for AD Panels are not being repoduced and are more rare than the proverbial hens teeth. Often they are rusted with pits and blistering chrome. Because the handles are made of pot metal, they are difficult and expensive to rechrome.
Some folks think the pull down style front door handles will work as a rear pull down handle for the rear doors on their panels. This is not the case as the front door handles have longer shafts and a "tapered" bezel between the handle and the door. Note: the 1952 front door handles became push buttons. (Its a shame they didn't do the same thing on the rear
) See comparison in Picture
However, with a little patience these front door handles can be modified to to work as a rear barn door handle without any problems. First take a good look at the handle your modifying and note how the little spring and spring "seat" are on the shaft.
Using a 3/32 inch pin punch, remove the little pin that is keeping the spring assembly and bezel on the shaft. The pin may be difficult to remove and it is very possible you may damage it and will need to replaced. A roll pin can be substituted for later reassembly. You will not need the front bezel, but you will need the little spring assembly. (the rear bezel will be "square" and not have a taper top to bottom. photo
You will notice the end of the shaft has 4 flat sides on it that fit into the door latch. These four flat sides will need to be ground back 3/8" more.... a little more will not hurt. I found that by making me a mark on the shaft with a hacksaw works well as a guide. At first I tried a big bastard hand file but it just doesn't cut it. So I used a bench grinder, and suggest you do too. I used the existing flat sides as a guide to keep them flat. photoNOTE: if the square hole in your latch is worn or wallered out some, now is a good time to tighten things up by leaving the flat sides your grinding a little bigger/fatter than normal to help take up some of the looseness.
Grind, test fit, grind, test fit.
Once you have the 4 flat sides ground, it's time to cut off the end of the shaft.
First measure back 3/8" from the tip of the shaft and mark the place you are going to cut. Because the shaft is hardened, a hack saw will take forever, if it will cut at all. So to do this, I used a die grinder with a cut off wheel on it. Makes sure grinder is level and make a good straight cut. photo
Once it cools off you will need to drill the hole for the roll pin to hold the bezel and little spring assembly on.
To do this simply measure back from the end of the shaft you just cut off 1 1/4". Center punch it, or mark on a piece of tape and drill a 3/32" hole in the shaft. I strongly recomend you center punch it, as it will stop your drill from wandering as you start and drill slow so it will drill straight through the shaft.Note: You can use your rear old handle as a reference. I've modified several and all of the ones I modified, and all of the old ones I've measured, were the same.
Still, we know how things were "back in the day" so just double check, in the end a 1/16:" is not going to make a difference!
Now install the correct bezel, the one that's NOT tapered, then the little spring with its two "seat" washers on each side....... drive in a 3/32 dia X 5/8" long roll pin, available at Ace Hardware, and you are now ready to install it on your rear door. photo
Now, go get yourself a hot dog & cold Pepsi while patting yourself on the back for a good job.