I recently disassembled the right door of my '63 convertible to do a bunch of maintenance and restoration on several of its components. The door panel had not been particularity tight to the door, and I was not sure of the best way to re-assemble it with the nails/pins that hold the two sides of the panel to the door. I knew I could just use small nails, but it seemed these were not a great option. I did some searching, and the only alternative I found were the door clips show below, listed on eBay. I gave them a shot and they worked great. (Plus it is only $14,19 for a set of 10 clips which does one door). I've ordered another set for my other door.
I have no connection to the seller, I'm just passing along the info in case others are facing a similar re-assembly challenge.
I think they were actually intended to clip over the thicker fiber/cardboard panel of the door panel, but that would have required me to make more adjustments to the vinyl covering than I wanted to make. Instead, I clipped them to the steel frame that runs around the panel. Everything lined up fine this way, so maybe that is how it is intended to be done. Here is how I did it:
1. I could find all the old nail holes (where the welds broke) or welds in the steel edging from the original nails and I marked their location in pencil on the inside of the door panel
2. I bent the clip part of the faster (just with my fingers) to create a narrower slot with about a 1/16" to 1/8" gap
3. I slid the faster over the steel edging at the pencil marks. The solid side of the clip faces the center of the door panel and the open side of the clip faces the edges of the panel. The pencil marks give you the up/down alignment on the door panel, and you have about 1/2" of up and down tolerance because the slots the nails go into on the door are about that length. For a few fasteners, I needed to make small cuts in the clips or in the door panel vinyl to get them to fit onto the steel frame well. These adjustments were easy to figure out and simple to do. I just cut the clips or vinyl with diagonal pliers.
4. Most mounted clips were plenty tight on the steel of the door panel, but I squeezed a few tighter just using a pair of pliers.
5. I slipped the top of the panel over the top of the door and then just pushed the panel in top to bottom. I had two slide a few clips up or down a small amount, but this was also easy. The nail part is a ring-shank type nail, so they hold securely.
Before re-assembly, I took this picture of the inside of the door panel with the clips mounted. You can see the clips and pencil marks along the side edges of the door (click on the picture to go to full size). - Now I wish I had snapped a close up! The two clips near the top of the picture (which is the bottom of the door) and those on the right side of the picture are reasonably visible in the full size pict.
Karl, this is great info. the original nails were ring shank type nails as seen in the male end part of your fasterners. I would how they look from the front and back and basically how they attach since the original nails just pushed straight thru the metal ridge and into the plastic insert in the door. These look like they would just press back into the blastic inserts but am having a har time picturing how the U shaped "head" attached to the door panel without being exposed?
The correct size sheet metal screw into the plastic female bushing will work with just the screw head showing
Screw head is just not that noticeable and secures the door panel nicely
A very good time to install a 4mil plastic liner ( Home Depot ) into the door skins to replace the wax paper stock liner that is most likely shot if still there to keep any water coming into the outside of the door were it belongs
Clean out any debris and open ( clear ) the drain holes at the bottom of the door so water does not accumulate at the bottom of the door and cause rust
Grease the door hinges
You should be very pleasantly surprised by how much better the doors feel to use when the hinges are greased as they SB from time to time
For some silly reason I find the door working very smoothly very enjoyable
Thanks for the tips - Fortunately I did all of this except the hinge grease, which I can do without taking things apart. Any suggested grease - If not I'll likely just use a lithium grease
I use the high heat wheel bearing grease myself on the door hinges
Those large heavy doors working so very smoothly gives me a warm fuzzy feeling
A Classic Antique Cadillac— a smooth and powerful ride with killer style — Priceless experience
Karl, this is really fantastic & helpful info and the way you just clip on the steel frame makes perfect sense! I hope you don't mind but I moved your details into the main post at top so it doesn't scroll out of site if we get a lot of replies. I also added a link and gave you credit on our Help Page under Door Panel Clips. I would also like to include in our next newsletter in the Tech Tips section.
I'm always happy when I can contribute anything back to this group as I've learned a ton from other members here - letting me enjoy making basic fixes to my car and saving me some $ too!
ps. I just ordered 2 sets!