Building LR 110 Front Row Door Frames (pushbutton doors) - Defender Source
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Old October 11th, 2016, 12:16 AM
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1988 Land Rover 110
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 2
Building LR 110 Front Row Door Frames (pushbutton doors)

So you decided you would like to rebuild your doors – very well, then read on the easy-to-follow “how to”. The project can be done in 3 easy steps:
Step 1 – Reconsider;
Step 2 – really, go buy new doors instead;
Step 3 – well if you feel you really must, then here’s my story. Go set a teapot, it will take a while….

Chapter 1 – How did I get there
I bought me a 1988 LR 110 off of US CBP. It spent most of its life on the coast of UK and then was left to rot for another 3 years in the bonded warehouse in North Carolina (it’s one of the hundreds of other units seized by US CBP back in 2013).
So, when I opened the doors for the first time, rust fell down and formed a neat pile on the pavement under each door I opened. That was all that was left of the bottom channels. When I closed the door I heard the shuffling sounds of more rust collapsing inside.
I took a wire wheel and tested a few areas on the doors and determined that the second row doors were beyond any rescue, but the front doors still appeared to have some life left in them. I foolishly assumed I could reuse the top parts and some of the bottom ones as well. I wish I had a time machine to go back in time and smack myself upside my head for that decision.

Front door –disassembled

Front door – skin off (NB: the original glue holding skin and frame together is surprisingly strong):

Second row door – disassembled:

Second row door – skin off:

Chapter 2 – Planning (or lack thereof)
I ordered new second row doors (galv steel on galv steel), new front skins (galv steel), and outside under-window channels as no one could do super-shallow deep bend for me here in Calgary. YRM has them and so does SP4x4, but the latter don’t advertise these parts but they would sell them if you ask. Since my skins and doors were coming from SP4x4, I got the channels from them too).

As I was waiting for my order I started chopping up the first door and realized what I just committed myself to.
In the end, the only parts I could salvage were:
· Rear section of the pillar where the lock is mounted (but the interior insert had to be fabricated as it was just rust held together by paint)
· Internal under-window piece (the one that holds the door locking latch)
· Door handle piece (although I had to Franken-build each from leftover pieces of all 4 doors)
Everything else had to be fabricated!

Chapter 3 – Fabrication
I looked at the door profiles, sold by YRM and other suppliers and all of them were offering just the “top hat” profile that’s used on side pillars but not on the bottom. Original profile has a water collection channel at the top, and I figured mine would need to have it too as I didn’t want water to just pool and find its way out.
Original profile is fabricated out of three pieces and I had the first one made for me from two. When I picked it up from the fella who bent it for me, he told me I was the reason for him to start drinking early that day and that if I ever ask him to do another piece like this one, he will shove it up my place where the sun doesn’t shine. So the profile for my second door was fabricated from three pieces, and, quite frankly, it looks better, but I had to do a lot more plug welds, naturally.

All fabrication was made from 18Ga cold-rolled steel.

Typical after-market replacement piece:

Two-piece fabrication sketch:

Three-piece sketch fabrication sketch (part “B” not shown):

Franken-built door handle piece (two pieces from old doors and all-new pieces):

I fabricated hinge bolt inserts from original reused piece of steel and brand new 1/2” pipe:

When I was deciding on how to bend the pillar to match the curvature of the door, I decided to seek collective wisdom. My plan was to cut the two sides open, and cut the insert pieces that matched the curvature, and then bend/tack it as I go. However, the collective Internet wisdom (every single Welding and restorer forum as well as more experienced Welders I talked to) told me to do relief cuts instead. I again wish for a time machine now, as the relief cut method I’ve used on the first door took me approximately 30 additional manhours and the fit was still crappier than the method I was going to use and did end up using on the second door.


Method 1 - Relief cuts (at least 6 was needed):

Method 2 - Inserts and bend/tack:

The longest part of the process was fabricating the front and back pillars, as I needed to match dimensions and geometry in all 3 dimensions. Once those two are done, fitting everything up is pretty easy.

Here’s a picture of the finished front pillar:

I used old skins as my templates and new skins as a verification to get the dimensions right. I used the actual door openings and what was left of one of the doors as a template to match the geometry.

Tacking up the new pillar (relief cut in the back to match the top door bend) using original door as a template:

Using old skin as a template to match the dimensions of the original door:

Fit-up and tacking using new skin as a guide:

Assembling other components in the old skin (to match hinges, handle, etc.):

Trial fit:

And here’s the end result (shown before I installed a door check strap piece. I then also gave them a quick polish and sent them to galvanizer):

If I don’t forget, I’ll post the finished galvanized product too.

All in, about 40 man-hours per door frame, start to finish (plus extra 30 on the first one). Raw materials and bending ran me up to 30% of a finished door. Would I do it again? Hell no!

The only reasonable repair on a door frame is replacing the bottom channel, and that’s the extent of repair I would recommend on a door frame and will ever do myself going forward. But hey, all in, good experience, and I can now build me a new set completely from scratch, if I want to.

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Old October 11th, 2016, 12:19 AM
evilfij's Avatar
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I have never seen a rover in person
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: on the internet
Posts: 14,558
Lol. And amazing work.

*not legal advice*
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Old October 11th, 2016, 01:11 AM
Landy_Andy's Avatar
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1999 D2, 1985 D90 truggy & 1951 S1
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Revelstoke, BC, Canada
Posts: 1,284
Nice job, post up the pics of the finished items !
D100 5.3 LS powered truggy under construction....
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Old October 11th, 2016, 04:04 AM
Rocky's Avatar
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72 + D1 drivetrain
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Colonies
Posts: 7,532
So CBP allowed seized trucks to seek asylum in Canada.

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Old October 11th, 2016, 12:46 PM
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1988 Land Rover 110
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
So CBP allowed seized trucks to seek asylum in Canada.

They most certainly do. They even provide it with a "clean title" via form SF-97.

I'll post the entire story of how I bought it and got it cleared in Canada, when I get some spare time on my hands.
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