Notes on the Refitting of the Wood Frame and Doors
by Alan Alderwick

These notes are gleaned from response to a question received by the Webmaster and passed onto the eMog Morgan discussion group. The question received was as follows;
 

I am in the process of renovating a Morgan. I had to replace the firewall and then found the wooden frame at the firewall crossmember was  completely rotten from hinge posts right up to the firewall.

I copied the frame pieces and thought I did a good solid job but now doors do not fit properly. Is there anything that I could have I done wrong? What do I do to get these doors to fit like they should?"

Some of this advice may appear to be "closing the door after the horse has bolted",  but it may be useful to anyone who is about to embark on dash/scuttle replacement.

1. Before I remove any tired and rotten timber I always diagonally brace the frame from as many points as I can. Obviously brace from places where you know that you are definitely going to leave good timber behind and place the braces carefully so that you do not denying yourself access to the trouble spots. This gives you a far better chance of all new pieces going back in the correct place.

2.     It is very important that you make accurate card or thin ply templates of the existing door aperture. Take heed that you only have to be a millimeter or so out when you start replacing parts for the problems to compound themselves as you continue to add new parts.

These basics dealt with, let's try to deal with the problem your poorly fitting doors. I would suspect that the bottom rail of the door is either jamming against the rocker, or the door is flying high leaving you with a massive gap up the lock pillar ( or elbow rail as the factory call it).  If my suspicion is correct I would suggest the following :-

3.     Leave the hinges firmly bolted to the door.

4.     Remove all bolts and screws from the new hinge pillar.

5.     Cut two 8 mm. thick plywood spacers (about 50mm. x 50mm ).

6.     Peel back the trim to allow access to the wooden rocker.

7.    Place or temporarily pin the plywood spacers in place on top of the rockers.

8.    Now close the hinges, get inside the car and offer the door up to the aperture. As far as you can, slide the hinges into their rebates on the hinge pillar. Look carefully to see whether the top or bottom hinge closes onto the bottom of the rebate first. If there is a gap at the top or bottom between the hinge and the hinge pillar then this is where you have to pack / shim to get the door to sit right.

I usually use brass or stainless shims but you can use pretty well anything that will not compress on tightening of the hinges. If you have a problem with the doors fitting in a vertical plane then this a"whole new ball game!" as you say across the ocean and will require different solutions.

REPLACING OLD DOOR HINGES WITH NEW

1. by Steve Stierman (eMog US)
2. by Bill Beddows (eMog UK)
3. by Paul Helman (eMog US)
4. by Lorne Goldman (eMog-Canada)

Steve Stierman

I will share with you how I do it. Take hinge twixt thumb and forefinger and set it on hard surface, vice, anvil, or whatever. With a suitable hammer "shrink" the brass hinge body against the pin, tapping it around from all sides thus tightening up the fit between the pin and the worn hole in the hinge. The brass material is soft and will easily compress up against the steel pin.  Get it good and snug and it will outlast most of us. This is best done under a large shade tree.

Bill Beddows
At some point in time the factory changed the hinges to a "thicker" version. The causes doors of a car originally fitted with the old hinges to foul on the latch plate when the new hinges are fitted. Sadly, the Factory has confirmed that only the new hinges are available.

The difference is in the bend round the pin which gives a larger gap between the plates in the closed position. With the doors closed if the gap between the plates is about 1 mm you have old hinges, about 3 mm is new hinges. I had 1mm machined off the back of the plates on both sides 35mm back from the outside edge. In hindsight 33mm would have been enough but you have to peer very closely to see the step.This solved the problem in my case but if neccessary the latch plate position can be adjusted by removing the lining behind the door. The latch plate usually has washers behind it which can be removed as required.

Paul Helman
Over several years I had noted increasing sag to both B900's doors. When I had rebuilt my car I drilled and tapped metal plates for both doors and door posts so the hinges themselves had remained firmly in place. Clearly the hinge pins had worn and this was apparent when manipulating the doors up and down.  It takes but a little play through hinge wear to create a good deal of movement at the end of the doors!  Removal was easy and the only access needed was at the outside of the hinges since they were screwed into the metal plate I had mades. (No wood screws at all.)

Driving out the old pins took some effort despite their worn state.  I found the easiest technique was to place the hinge over a bench vice opened enough and a bit more to admit the head of the hinge with the top edge of the hinge blades resting on the top of the vice. Then, carefully using a small drift pin or center punch, hammer the pin out. N.B. Hammering the bottom of the pin directly will distort and spread it, rendering removal problematic.

The pins seemed about .250 or less based on uneven wear along their length.  The hinge pin passages were worn from .256 to .260.  They are made of fairly heavy gauge brass and the pins mild steel.

New hinge pins are widely available at hardware store and are mild steel with brass plating and measure .258 along their length to a section .268  starting about an half inch below the head of the hinge. I cut the hinges to length matching the old pins and turned the  .268 segment down to .260. Then I drilled each hinge section held with a drill press vice with a "G" drill bit then pressed in the new pins using the bench vice which worked nicely and needed only some tapping with (a padded) hammer for the final quarter of a inch. This resulted in a very tight hinge not easily opened in one's hands.  Back on the car and no play in the door anymore.

One little kink encountered in reinsallation was the one of the screws into the door post plate came up a fraction of center and woudn't engage the plate hole threads.  There was insufficient play in the door post hole to wiggle it home.  What I did was lathe the screw's  end to a tapering point.  Then it simply guided itself into place quite easily into the plate hole's thread. Overall just takes a few hours and is well worth the effort.

DOOR HINGE PINS  (an easy solution to loose doors)

by Lorne Goldman

The method used most often England by professionals in the know uses the same principle as a engine rebuild. John Worrall makes slightly oversize replacement stainless steel door hinge pins. One runs the indicated bit through the old hinge hole to create a fresh bore and tap in these oversize pins. Good as new! Sadly, most people are unaware of this most simple of fixes. Instead, consider switching to polished stainless hinges, a forever solution.

DOORS (or Long Doors versus Traditional Doors or the Truth About Long Doors or Morgan 2-Seater Roadster Doors From 1959)
by Lorne Goldman & John Worrall

There is much confusion about "long door" cars..introduced by the Factory in 1998, a Charles Morgan initiative. They are agressively sold to used Morgan buyers as being more spacious. But what is the truth?  

Problem is, there are a number of doors even two major differences in long doors. 1998 to 2006 and 2006 to the present. 

Pre-Long Door

Since 1959 (GoMoG deals only with Classic 4-wheelers from 1950 to 2003/4). From 1950 to 1998, the doors and the structure of the 2-seater Roadsters remained pretty much the same..and the eliminated most of the GoMoG Deadly Domino Effect...(namely they had worked the sequential bugs out).  If one wanted more room, a special request to the Factory could be made to provide that. EXPERTS PANEL Cars are not put together casually...the good ones are a painstaking blend of harmoniously interacting parts and design. If one alters anything, the DDE begins. 

August 1997-2006

In 1998, Charles Morgan insisted on presenting a new door called "the long door", part of an effort to create more interior space and a greater ease of entering and exiting. Sadly, the "long door" is only bit longer at the top which will only assist those withvery large buttocks to enter. Inside the car, the steering wheel was pushed forward by recessing the dash and shortening the steering column in the area. 

1. The wooden tub had to be changed, the dash and steering wheel was recessed forward, thus leaving no room for demister vents (all Morgans from October 1975 to the Era of the Heated Windscreens. That is one of the easiest ways of determining what era your post 1975 Morgan falls in, do you have demister vents? If not, you have a long door car. That effect was to force the replacement of the earlier simple and inexpensive windscreen, that can be sourced anywhere and replaced without a fuss, with a heated windscreen that is obtainable from the Morgan Motor Company only and requires the purchase of the whole Morgan windscreen frame with it..for a cost of 1000£ in the UK and much more outside of the UK..along with a wait of many months. More here. The added length of the top of the door opening is 51mm (the bottom of the door remains the same). But useable space in the area is not dictated by siz of the top of the door. It is a function of the seat, the steering wheel and the footwell space. 

The Morgan staff used to joke that this is the reason the Aeros were created! Sadly, by pushing the windscreen and dash forward eliminated the space for demister vents and Morgan was forced to adopt an unusual heated windscreen..which is very costly, a bespoke part from Morgan only and often back ordered from 1998 to present. It replaced the previous easy-to-replicate-anywhere piece of school bus glass (aka safety glass which is a laminated to a stick clear membrane that prevents shattering.

WATCHPOINT: Flat glass is very fragile, cracking easily and pitting after a bit of driving. Smart owners with the early glass spend the $100 to regularly replace it. But this is too onerous a cost with heated glass wndscreens. I have had to replace five windcreens in a space of 12 months between two Morgans! If I had heated glass, that would cut short 4 long mogging vacations and cost an extra $5500 and/or forced 5 insurance claims.

2. Cantilevered Weight.The longer doors add extra weight at the top end of the door. This puts added pressure on the hinge post, a weak point on the car, which soon had to be buttressed with added metal pieces on the wood to unknown effect over time. Between the weakened area and some ill-chosen (but cheaper) pot metal windcreen posts (that quickly rotted horribly, the ill-fated 4/4 Sports between 2009 and 2012, suffered a plague of cracked heated windscreen. 

3. Gearbox Cover  At the same time, the production department of the day (under Steve Morris) decided to make the gearbox cover easier to make. Rather than continuing to hand fashion the traditiona shaped cover for a significant space saving in the foot well, the squared off the cover..thereby losing approximately 3cm in each of the occupants' foot spaces and leg area. This is very problematic for the driver's throttle. 

4. The New Sidescreens  The longer doors needed longer windscreens. And, in 2006, the Factory made the parcel shelf space where they were stored when unused for generations smaller and they could no longer fit discretely in the parcel compartment behind the seats. That left Morgans most sublime feature of all, its lovely silouette, prejudiced. If you want to take windscreens with you and travel with your top down, they must be placed in the passenger's seat (ugh) of dragged about handing on rear off a luggage rack (whether the luggage rack is needed or not!). Most of the cogniescenti remove the luggage rack when not in use..takes seconds if you leave the lower brackets on and the car looks much better unless you wish to hang you wash on the empty rack and let it dry in the wind. (we have actually done that in an emergency once..a flash torrent on the Ohio River!!) 

2006 on

Around this time, the Factory added the measures they took (upon request) in the pre-1998 times. They removed the obstructive crossmember at the back of the seats, flipped it over, and replaced it UNDER the car. This eliminated one of the barriers to moving the seat backwards. They also reduced the parcel shelf space...leaving even less room to store side screens. They also found new seats that would clear the rear leaf springs posts. Frankly, this was long overdue. Non-invasive, no DDE and can be reversed in the sense that the seats can still be moved forward if wanted. However, the prejudice caused by the unnecessary and critical modification described in the first section, remain. 

5. Additionally, in the same year, 2006, the Factory made the parcel shelf space smaller, leaving insufficient space for the sidescreens, where they had been were discretely place, when not in use, for happy generations. That forces owners to leave the sidescreen at home, leave them permanent ly up, or place these important weather components hanging off a luggage rack in the back..a permanet prejudice to a Morgans finest feature, its incredibly lovely silouette (along with the bulky bundle of the Easy-Up hood).  Most cogniescenti remove the luggage rack when not in use..takes seconds if you leave the lower brackets on.
WATCHPOINT: To give owners some perspective to what this all means, my wife and I are known as long distance moggers. Between our three Morgans, we spend 4-5 months traveling North America, Britain and the Euopean Continent every year for the last 25 years. We would take the clothing needed, key parts and a full set of tools. We could pack all that, plus top, tonneau and sidescreens and two Gladstone overnight bags in the parcel shelf and a period looking hard case on the rear luggage rack. We could not have done that with a Long Door Morgan. Can you imagine the difference for only our lives?!!

SUMMARY  

The long doors of the first era sacrificed simplicity and created, (for most models) LESS SPACE RATHER THAN MORE  also at a cost of wood tub strength and the sacrifice of an easy-to-replace-anywhere-anytime windscreen. I recommend these cars only to those of us with a large bum and breasts. Sadly, the last cars shipped to North America were primarily those made in the first long door era. 1998-2006. Yet dealers and owners alike there recommend the long doors as they believe the tales that they have more space....which simply isn't true..quite the opposite unless you are speaking to models that have not seen North America in decades. And one has to be very tall to require more space than what was there and there are smart ways of creating it without throwing the baby out with the bath water. Peter Morgan was very tall and never saw a need for them. 

Ergo, are the first long doors (1998-2006) worth the hype? I am afraid not. Even the second generation are a HIGH price to pay for the domino effects described above. I refused them when the Factory re-created my car in 2002 and saved 1000s in my use of the car since along with countless vacations.

"Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to bang our heads against the wall."
 
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