paint worn off of the top of the doors from years
of arms leaning out the windows
door panels stained, scratched, and very worn
arm rests hard, brittle, and worn
woodgrain design entirely missing from sections of the
door panel inserts
window rubber wipers hard, brittle, and cracked
window glass very difficult to roll up or down
rubber door seals brittle and cracked
While the list is long, the problems were mainly
cosmetic. More importantly, the doors were structurally
sound. There was some surface rust on the inside of the doors
but they were not rusted through anywhere. The hinges were tight
and the doors aligned and shut securely. The glass was all in
As I did with the dash and
the cab roof, I began the door restoration
by removing items. The first items to be removed were the
door panels. In order to remove the door panels, you have to
remove the window crank and door handles. I didn't have one of
the tools that is especially made to remove these items so I first
attempted to remove them using a small screw driver. I had used
a screw driver to remove the handles on other vehicles, so I figured
it should work on these handles also. I quickly learned that the
screwdriver trick wasn't going to work. The reason it wouldn't
work on these door panels is due to the woodgrain door panel
inserts. This metal panel simple does not give enough to allow any room
for access to the spring clip with a screwdriver. I picked up a
tool from the local auto parts store and had the handles off in less
than 5 minutes.
With the panels off I had access to the window crank
mechanisms. Because the windows were so hard to roll up and down,
I thought I would have to remove the mechanisms in order to figure out
why they didn't work. I was hesitant to remove the crank
mechanisms because it is basically a pain in the butt -- the
mechanism is hard to get at and there are lots of moving parts to
juggle in such a tight spot. I thought I would first just try
lubricating the moving parts and see if that made a difference.
I spread wheel bearing grease on the gear teeth, the X hinge, the
roller bearings, and in the tracks where the
roller bearings rode. I used a spray lithium grease to lubricate
the coil spring and WD-40 to lubricate the crank handle shaft. I
did most of this blind which meant a lot of lubricant was sprayed or
spread on the inside of the door. But what the heck, there was a
lot of surface rust inside the door, so what would a little lubricant
hurt. Maybe it would even help. I tried putting a
drop-light inside the door and using a mirror to see where I was
spraying but I wasn't too successful with this technique.
Everything's backwards in the mirror so I wound up spraying in
the wrong direction half the time. Anyway, by the time I
finished the driver-side, the window would roll up and down with only
two fingers on the knob. Before, you practically had to use both
hands. Big difference. I was glad I tried this before
taking the mechanism out.
I preformed the same lubricating feat on the
passenger-side window, but it didn't make as big an improvement as it
had on the other window. It was much better, but the window
seemed to bind in a place or two when it was rolled down. I
think it may have something to do with the window rear channel but I'm
not sure. It isn't bad enough to warrant taking it apart to find
out, so I'll call it good for now.
For now, the only
other thing I took off the doors was the wing window handles.
All they needed was a good polishing and a little lubrication which
was much easier to do after taking them off.
I'm going to do to the doors for now. I will wait until I find
someone to do the body work and paint before I do anything with the
outside of the door. Same goes for the door seals and window
The only items I knew would need to be
replaced where woodgrain door panel inserts and the door and window
handle escutcheons (fancy word for the plastic washers that go between
the handles and the door panels). There is no way I know of to
restore the woodgrain pattern on the door panel inserts and the
escutcheons were simply beyond help.
After a little research I
decided it might be worth a try to re-paint the arm rests and the door
panels. I had found that several of the classic parts suppliers
sold a "vinyl upholstery dye" especially made for painting
these items. If that would work, it would same me a bundle.
checked with three internet parts suppliers that sold the vinyl dye
and all of them told me that the color I needed to match the rest of
the interior trim (parchment) was dis- continued. I thought it was
strange that this was the only color of the product that was
discontinued. I knew parchment was one of the more common
interior trim colors, so I don't think it was discontinued because of
less demand than the other factory colors. I concluded that
there must have been some problem with the color match. I've
also noticed that "parchment" is often referred to as
"off-white" in some of the supplier's catalogs.
the dye idea didn't pan out, so I bit the bullet and decided to order
new door panels and new armrests. Seems like all of the
suppliers sell these items, so I checked around for the best
price/quality combo. The armrest prices are all over the board
-- everywhere from $50.00 to $80.00 a pair. The door panels
prices are more uniform among the suppliers. Several suppliers
also sold the woodgrain panel inserts, but most were plastic
reproductions, not metal like the originals.
I wound up
ordering the door panels and the armrests
and the metal door panel inserts from C.A.R.S.
I forgot to order the door and window handle escutcheons at the same
time but I've got much more to order before I'm done, so it's not a big
This order turned out to be my first
"problem" order. Problems with orders are a pain in the
neck but it does give you a change to see how a company reacts when
you have a problem. How a company responds when I have a problem
normally dictates whether I continue to do business with them in the
future. I'm one of those types that doesn't complain a lot to a
company when I am less than satisfied with their service -- I just
quit doing business with them.
The door panels I
ordered from Classic Parts were not the correct color. I had ordered
parchment and the ones they sent were dark brown. Thinking maybe
parchment was indeed a brown color I called and asked if parchment was
an off-white color or a dark brown color. They told me parchment
was off-white and if I received dark brown then they had mailed the
wrong color. They not only apologized for the error, they sent
me a pre-paid shipping label, called UPS to pickup the item at my
house, and shipped out the correct ones the same day. That's
good service in my book.
problem with the order was my fault. I didn't know the new door
panels came with new door panel clips, so I also ordered the clips
separate. I wasn't worth the hassle to return them, so I just
kept them for spares. Maybe I'll sell them at a swap meet.
other items I ordered were all correct and I was more than satisfied
with the quality. The woodgrain metal door panel inserts from C.A.R.S.
INC. were dead-on perfect matches for the originals. I
was a little concerned they wouldn't be because the woodgrain
glove box trim plate I ordered was, although very close, not a
All of the new stuff I ordered for the
doors is sitting in my basement just begging to be installed.
But, it will just have to be patient. Also, waiting patiently in
the basement are new seat covers and new carpet. I don't want to
install these items until the paint and body work is complete, so
finishing the cab interior will have to wait until that time.
I'll chronicle how that goes in future episodes.