Creating the Doors

In building a car, I would have to say that doing the doors has to be one of the hardest parts.  The doors were not even something I considered as being a big project when I started building the car. Its not something that one would normally think of as complicated or even hard, but car door have a lot of parts and almost all of them in motion.  Since the doors are something you will be interacting with every day, they need to be done right or they will forever be something that bothers you every time you get in or out.  To make my life harder, my kids convinced me that I needed to use “lambo” door hinges on my car.  The mechanism for these hinges is actually quite complex with a lot of complex geometry coming into play.  Because of all of these factors the doors were the hardest and most time consuming part of this build.

In this blog I am going to walk you through visually the parts of the final Fiber Fab Valkyrie GT40 door and how I worked them out.  I will also show  you how you can design and create your own custom doors in fiberglass.

What I am going to show you are the final parts.   In fact I actually put these doors together in different configurations throughout the process and then came back and redid them with new ideas or parts.  I am not going to show all of these.

This shows the issue with the short door and one peice glass

This shows the issue with the short door and one peice glass

Foam was added to be able to fill in this are to cover the glass

Foam was added to be able to fill in this are to cover the glass

This was then fiberglassed over

This was then fiberglassed over

The finished door end.  Not the striker is on the door not the latch.  This gives more room.

The finished door end. Not the striker is on the door not the latch. This gives more room.

The Valkyrie manual shows it done like this.  I didn't like this design.

The Valkyrie manual shows it done like this. I didn’t like this design.

The Valkyrie manual shows using the VW regulators and lift and attaching the whole thing to the door pannel.  I found this to be a bad design because it was too hard to align the window effectively and by being on the door pannel it was much weaker. I also wanted one peice windows with electric.

The original lamborgini door hinge

The original lamborgini door hinge

The modified shortened hinge

The modified shortened hinge

The original hinge configuration

The original hinge configuration

fiberglassing in the area to hold the new hinge

fiberglassing in the area to hold the new hinge

The area finished out and ready for the hinge

The area finished out and ready for the hinge

A slot had to be cut into the wheel well to allow the hinge to fit.

A slot had to be cut into the wheel well to allow the hinge to fit.

Calculations were made based on door weight for a proper gas lift

Calculations were made based on door weight for a proper gas lift

The gas lifts that came with the Lamborghini door lifts were way to strong.  They were designed for a steel door not these lightweight fiberglass doors.  I had to work out the amount of lift needed to assist with opening the doors and hold them open without them becoming like a catapult when they are opened .  This is were my structures classes from way back in college came into use.  With the assistance of my father in law who is a civil engineer we were able to work out the needed lift.  It was then a mater of going to NAPA autoparts and ordering a gas strut lift with the required lift, size, and extension.

The lift must be paralel with the back edge of the glass.

The lift must be paralel with the back edge of the glass.

The back edge of the glass needs to go up and down straight, so the window lift needs to be paralell with the back edge of the glass.  I went to the junk yard to find a couple of lifts that were small enough to fit into the door.   There are a number of ones you can use.

Here the lift is attached to the window and lined up properly

Here the lift is attached to the window and lined up properly

The door lift is bolted to an aluminum bar that is bolted into the door

The door lift is bolted to an aluminum bar that is bolted into the door

The lift was welded to a peice of steel bracket that could be bolted to the bar

The lift was welded to a peice of steel bracket that could be bolted to the bar

A piece of steel bracket was welded to the lift.  There had been a bracket there but it was in the wrong place so I just cut it off.   To make minor adjustments to the window position washers could be added under this bracket on either the front or back to get the position exact.

The electric lift motor.  These can easily be found on eBay.

The electric lift motor. These can easily be found on eBay.

The lifts that I found weren’t electric so I found a conversion product to convert them to electric.  These are easily found on eBay.

Here you can see the entire assembly in place

Here you can see the entire assembly in place

The Valkyrie door pannels were smoothed with filler and finished.

The Valkyrie door pannels were smoothed with filler and finished.

the arm rest and a pocket for the door was roughed out in foam

the arm rest and a pocket for the door was roughed out in foam

The foam sanded and ready for fiberglass

The foam sanded and ready for fiberglass

Fiberglass cloth cut to the right size

Fiberglass cloth cut to the right size

The foam is painted with fiberglass resin and the cloth is laid over the top.

The foam is painted with fiberglass resin and the cloth is laid over the top.

Using the end of a brush the fiberglass is pressed against the foam and resin allowed to soak up into the glass

Using the end of a brush the fiberglass is pressed against the foam and resin allowed to soak up into the glass

Once dried, the excess is trimed around the part. Two layers were used in this part.

Once dried, the excess is trimed around the part. Two layers were used in this part.

Bolts were fiberglassed into the back

Bolts were fiberglassed into the back

ready to mount

ready to mount

Bolted into place

Bolted into place

a wood peice was fiberglassed into the top edge and rubber widow gasket attached

a wood peice was fiberglassed into the top edge and rubber widow gasket attached

smoothing the arm rest with a skim coat

smoothing the arm rest with a skim coat

Sound proofing material installed
Painted with additional handle and speaker installed
Door painted with additional handle and speaker installed

Door painted with additional handle and speaker installed

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