Door Latch

March 10, 2010

Bridget’s former owner did yeoman’s work putting her together, accomplishing the task in a matter of a few months. When I took delivery, the build was 27 years old (the chassis 40, the engine 43), and the car ran fine. But no old car is perfect. One of the things I noticed right off is Bridget’s driver’s side door had a tendancy to rattle. I figured she needed some rubber bits but then I looked at the door striker.

Turns out she was put together wrong. The latching mechanism catches only on the outer hook–it never reaches the more solid socket, about a quarter inch inboard, that it was designed to mate with.

This is a common error in BCW cars, other owners inform me. I believe it’s also unnecessarily dangerous, and it is not hard to fix. I unbolted the striker and snapped it in the latch to make sure. Here’s how it should look when closed:

Before I removed it, the striker plate was mounted to a “box” (photo below, right) with about one-inch of access behind it, over two eighth-inch aluminum shims.
To relocate the striker properly I decided to use the shims as inside reinforcement for the fiberglass “box” that secures the striker. I drilled new holes in them

…and tapped them for the existing bolts.

This way the aluminum will add strength and maybe make it easier to reassemble this mess. I have no idea how anyone had the patience and ability to put individual washers, lock washers and nuts on all these bolts inside that box, given that I can barely reach in there even with my little girly hands. A real mechanic could never do it.

This assembly, by the way, is similar to what normal cars have (or had, last I checked). You could move almost any hinge or latch just by loosening the screws; it would  move as far as the oversized holes it was in would allow, then you tighten it up and the plate on the inside would clamp it back down.

Anyway, I ground away the fiberglass “lip” that seemed to be holding the striker plate back.
Cut a half inch off the bolts, ‘cause I’m cheap.

Then put everything back together.
Didn’t work. Beveled the receiver hole just a bit, to no avail. Took the striker assembly apart, elongated the holes, reassembled.

It was still no good, until I added one more washer to the shaft on which that arrow-shaped receiver thing rides. Didn’t think the acorn nut on the other side would catch, but somehow it did.

I heard that satisfying “snik” as the bolt caught the hole.

One side down.
One to go.


About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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One Response to Door Latch

  1. Pingback: Muffler change | bridgetmgtd

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