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Thread: t top door

  1. #1

    Default t top door

    the bottom 4 inches of my door has basicly rusted away. going to the junk yard looking for a donor. they do not have a 85 t top mustang in the yard. (areo only, no t tops) so the question is cut four inches off the bottom off the donor? or replace the door with areo and have to weld up the holes cut the window frame , etc. and at this moment i do not know if the door is good or not.

    i have used the search and i did not see anyone try to weld a new bottom on. just move the parts over. but not finding a correct year t top door means i would need to rework the door anyway.

    just wondering if anyone has tried this, or it is a bad idea and keep looking for another door.

  2. #2

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    Just get a non-t top door from 1980 (i think) through 86 and modify it to match your door. They were not special doors, just modified original doors (frames cut off, plate installed, different front trim different windows, end caps). Just don't get an early door with the low internal door handle (still works, just more work).

    Remember, T-Tops were installed after the car was built, thus everything had to be done to the existing car (for paint to match, $$$, etc.).

    Kenny

  3. #3
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    As stated the late 80-86 doors are essentially a direct swap. The 82-86 doors should be identical IIRC, differences would be door panel clip hole locations.

    The 87-93 doors can be made to work too, but they are different due to the added speaker internally. They also have the added trim on the top of the door exterior for the moldings.

    I personally have cut down several hardtop doors to convert into T-top doors. Use your door as a template and obviously keep all the internals, trim, etc. and you will be just fine. Good Luck!
    ​Trey

    "I Don't build it hoping for your approval! I built it because it meets mine!"

    "I've spent most of my money on Mustangs, racing, and women... the rest I just wasted."

    Mustangs Past: Too many to remember!
    Current Mustangs:
    1969 Mach 1
    1979 Pace Car now 5.0/5 speed
    1982 GT Ongoing RestoModification
    1984 SVO Awaiting Restoration
    1986 GT Wrecked by PO, but still want to save!

    Current Capris:
    1981 Capri Roller
    1981 Capri Black Magic Roller Basket Case
    1982 Capri RS 5.0/4spd T-top Full Restoration Underway
    1984 Capri RS T-top Roller
    1983-84 Gloy Racing Trans Am/IMSA Body Parts

  4. #4
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Vert doors will work too. You'll just need to change the glass, I believe. I actually have a nice set in storage. Not sure if they're aero or 4-eye, though. My point is the verts seem to be a little quicker to get parted out. I think when the top goes, things either rust out or people just don't want to mess with the top replacement.
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    86 coupe - rotbox roller
    86 coupe - working on 408w, c4
    88gt - 302 efi, t5

  5. #5

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    ok, thank you. will continue to look for a correct door.

  6. #6
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    Correct the vert doors work too. The best option is the 83-86 doors as they would be a direct swap other than needing to exchange the window glass. The 87 to early 88 vert doors can be made to work too, with the caveat of the aero door differences mentioned above. The mid 88-93 doors with the paddle style mirror mounted on the door shell itself use glass that goes all the way to the front edge of the door shell and will not be an easy swap to the earlier cars due to that. You would have to fabricate a mount for the mirror and or a plate to block off and seal that area with the door closed. Good luck!
    ​Trey

    "I Don't build it hoping for your approval! I built it because it meets mine!"

    "I've spent most of my money on Mustangs, racing, and women... the rest I just wasted."

    Mustangs Past: Too many to remember!
    Current Mustangs:
    1969 Mach 1
    1979 Pace Car now 5.0/5 speed
    1982 GT Ongoing RestoModification
    1984 SVO Awaiting Restoration
    1986 GT Wrecked by PO, but still want to save!

    Current Capris:
    1981 Capri Roller
    1981 Capri Black Magic Roller Basket Case
    1982 Capri RS 5.0/4spd T-top Full Restoration Underway
    1984 Capri RS T-top Roller
    1983-84 Gloy Racing Trans Am/IMSA Body Parts

  7. #7

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    pics of the rustName:  IMG-8912.jpg
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Size:  378.1 KBName:  IMG-8912.jpg
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Size:  378.1 KB

  8. #8

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    moreName:  IMG-8907.jpg
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  9. #9
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    That's Fixable!

    At least it makes it easier to remove the door glass that way.
    ​Trey

    "I Don't build it hoping for your approval! I built it because it meets mine!"

    "I've spent most of my money on Mustangs, racing, and women... the rest I just wasted."

    Mustangs Past: Too many to remember!
    Current Mustangs:
    1969 Mach 1
    1979 Pace Car now 5.0/5 speed
    1982 GT Ongoing RestoModification
    1984 SVO Awaiting Restoration
    1986 GT Wrecked by PO, but still want to save!

    Current Capris:
    1981 Capri Roller
    1981 Capri Black Magic Roller Basket Case
    1982 Capri RS 5.0/4spd T-top Full Restoration Underway
    1984 Capri RS T-top Roller
    1983-84 Gloy Racing Trans Am/IMSA Body Parts

  10. #10

  11. #11

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    thats why i was interested if someone has just replaced the bottom.

  12. #12
    FEP Super Member JTurbo's Avatar
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    Yikes, what does the rest of the car look like?

    Also - the T-Top doors have extra reinforcements installed (2 vertical + 1 horizontal, welded at the top). These should be re-used on your new donor door frame.

    Good luck!
    1979 Indy Pace Car Mustang 302 / 5spd
    1982 Mustang GT T-Top 302 / 4spd
    1986 SVO Mustang - 1C

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wraithracing View Post
    That's Fixable!
    Trey you must be a patient fella ... or a good comic...

    in some very rare cases I’ve fixed things like that but only when working on such rare cars that it wasn’t possible to get anything else. And this was in the early 90s before search engine’s and the Internet... back then search engines in my house meant walking through a junkyards engine core pile looking for 428 and 427 FEs

  14. #14
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foot2floor View Post
    Trey you must be a patient fella ... or a good comic...

    in some very rare cases I’ve fixed things like that but only when working on such rare cars that it wasn’t possible to get anything else. And this was in the early 90s before search engine’s and the Internet... back then search engines in my house meant walking through a junkyards engine core pile looking for 428 and 427 FEs
    Definitely not patient, just sarcastic as heck! I thought my driver door on my 82 RS was bad, but that one has definitely gotten mine beat! I am truly impressed that you are tackling a project such as this. Good luck and keep the pictures of your progress coming.
    ​Trey

    "I Don't build it hoping for your approval! I built it because it meets mine!"

    "I've spent most of my money on Mustangs, racing, and women... the rest I just wasted."

    Mustangs Past: Too many to remember!
    Current Mustangs:
    1969 Mach 1
    1979 Pace Car now 5.0/5 speed
    1982 GT Ongoing RestoModification
    1984 SVO Awaiting Restoration
    1986 GT Wrecked by PO, but still want to save!

    Current Capris:
    1981 Capri Roller
    1981 Capri Black Magic Roller Basket Case
    1982 Capri RS 5.0/4spd T-top Full Restoration Underway
    1984 Capri RS T-top Roller
    1983-84 Gloy Racing Trans Am/IMSA Body Parts

  15. #15

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    got the new less rusty door on. needs a real painting, which may get done when i finish the hatch. surprise it has rust also. in hind sit i wish i would have cut the bottom of the door off and transfered just the bottom. the clips i watched show how easy the window center rod and the window came out. mine did not. i was using so much force i thought i would shatter the glass. ended up cutting of the rivits and the bolt at the top off the center rod. to put the parts in the new door frame. took the old parts out from the bottom , that was easy.Name:  IMG_9072.jpg
Views: 94
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  16. #16

  17. #17

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    I believe the is the rustiest door I have ever seen that was on an operating car! Amazing...and horrifying at the same time. Glad you are on the mend.

    Kenny

  18. #18
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Trey,
    I know you're the guy with the answer on this! What's the method for repairing rusty lower door areas? That's above my pay grade, but I've seen several doors scrapped just because it had some rust at the bottom seam. I have a couple sets I'd love to save, if it's feasible.
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    86 coupe - rotbox roller
    86 coupe - working on 408w, c4
    88gt - 302 efi, t5

  19. #19
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broncojunkie View Post
    Trey,
    I know you're the guy with the answer on this! What's the method for repairing rusty lower door areas? That's above my pay grade, but I've seen several doors scrapped just because it had some rust at the bottom seam. I have a couple sets I'd love to save, if it's feasible.
    That's going to depend on the severity of rust. If we are talking crusty, but completely rusted through, then I would recommend removing all the seam sealer and cleaning the area up with a sandpaper, wire brush etc. Then coat as per instructions with POR15 or other quality Rust Encapsulator. After that has cured as per directions then I would seal the seams again with a quality 2 part urethane sealer and or adhesive. You can use the sealer/adhesive to help smooth out any rust pitting for improved appearance before paint.

    If the rust is bad and metal is missing, then the process is similar to above, but very likely you will need to cut out the rusted out metal and patch back as needed, then continue with the repair the same as above.

    For doors as bad as above, I would just replace the entire door rather than try and make a repair to the rusted out areas. In my experience the first door you have to convert to a T-top door is a bit of a PITA, but thereafter, pretty simple and straight forward. Hope that helps!
    ​Trey

    "I Don't build it hoping for your approval! I built it because it meets mine!"

    "I've spent most of my money on Mustangs, racing, and women... the rest I just wasted."

    Mustangs Past: Too many to remember!
    Current Mustangs:
    1969 Mach 1
    1979 Pace Car now 5.0/5 speed
    1982 GT Ongoing RestoModification
    1984 SVO Awaiting Restoration
    1986 GT Wrecked by PO, but still want to save!

    Current Capris:
    1981 Capri Roller
    1981 Capri Black Magic Roller Basket Case
    1982 Capri RS 5.0/4spd T-top Full Restoration Underway
    1984 Capri RS T-top Roller
    1983-84 Gloy Racing Trans Am/IMSA Body Parts

  20. #20
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    I might try to save a set on my 86 coupe. They have some rust-through, but nothing like the one seen here. Would I need to separate the skin from the rest of the door? It seems like they rust right down in the pinch weld.
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    86 coupe - rotbox roller
    86 coupe - working on 408w, c4
    88gt - 302 efi, t5

  21. #21
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broncojunkie View Post
    I might try to save a set on my 86 coupe. They have some rust-through, but nothing like the one seen here. Would I need to separate the skin from the rest of the door? It seems like they rust right down in the pinch weld.
    It's not an actual pinch weld. The skin is folded over the inner shell and crimped in place. Sometimes there is a spot weld or a braze near the end or an edge to prevent it from peeling up. If you separate the skin from the shell, often you will tear or shear the folded over edge since it work hardens when folded over. I would only cut/remove the areas that HAVE to be to prevent any extra work. I did just the same procedure on my 86 Bronco tailgate for the exact same reason. The center of the outer skin had rusted as many of them do over time. I cut out the rusty metal until I found solid steel. Then I made a patch plate that I welded into the outer tailgate skin. Once that was solid, I folded over the lip just like the outer skin was originally. trimmed off any excess and then put a couple of small tack welds to hold it in place. Then I seam sealed everything and painted it once the final body work was done. Bit of a PITA, but cheaper than a replacement tailgate.
    ​Trey

    "I Don't build it hoping for your approval! I built it because it meets mine!"

    "I've spent most of my money on Mustangs, racing, and women... the rest I just wasted."

    Mustangs Past: Too many to remember!
    Current Mustangs:
    1969 Mach 1
    1979 Pace Car now 5.0/5 speed
    1982 GT Ongoing RestoModification
    1984 SVO Awaiting Restoration
    1986 GT Wrecked by PO, but still want to save!

    Current Capris:
    1981 Capri Roller
    1981 Capri Black Magic Roller Basket Case
    1982 Capri RS 5.0/4spd T-top Full Restoration Underway
    1984 Capri RS T-top Roller
    1983-84 Gloy Racing Trans Am/IMSA Body Parts

  22. #22
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Trey,
    Did you butt-weld where you cut the section out on the tailgate?

    I mistakenly said pinch-weld, but I do know the difference. Sorry for the confusion. I found this video on YouTube where there's guy removes an entire lower door skin section, cuts and fabs/welds new metal in the inner door, then replaces a patch for the lower door skin area. Not sure if you have time to watch it, but I was curious if this method would work the same on our cars. (Note: in the video, he lap-welds the door skin, but it seems like that would promote rust and require more filler. Bit it also might help keep the panel straight. )
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    86 coupe - rotbox roller
    86 coupe - working on 408w, c4
    88gt - 302 efi, t5

  23. #23
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    No problem and I didn't mean to come across as condescending, was just making sure that you and others know. I have done both at different times on the same project and even same door or tailgate. I just use the type of weld joint that works best for the situation. Yes, lap joints can be an area that rust can start if not sealed and painted properly. Butt joints can be difficult to weld properly on thin gauge metal such as door skins, quarters, etc. so another reason sometimes that a lap joint can be helpful.

    As for my tailgate, I butt welded one side of the patch that will be hidden under the tailgate panel trim and that made the repair easier for me since I wasn't quite as concerned with making that area pretty and perfect. Another section was a lap joint weld, because I could seal the lap joint easily on the backside and I was a bit concerned with burn through since my patch panel was slightly thicker than my tailgate skin and I didn't want to have to wait and order thinner gauge metal. I used my 2 part urethane seam sealer on the lap joint, the seam, and even on the backside of the butt weld to make sure water can't penetrate. The entire inside of the tailgate shell was also sprayed with Upol Raptor bedliner material to provide an additional layer of protection against future rust.
    ​Trey

    "I Don't build it hoping for your approval! I built it because it meets mine!"

    "I've spent most of my money on Mustangs, racing, and women... the rest I just wasted."

    Mustangs Past: Too many to remember!
    Current Mustangs:
    1969 Mach 1
    1979 Pace Car now 5.0/5 speed
    1982 GT Ongoing RestoModification
    1984 SVO Awaiting Restoration
    1986 GT Wrecked by PO, but still want to save!

    Current Capris:
    1981 Capri Roller
    1981 Capri Black Magic Roller Basket Case
    1982 Capri RS 5.0/4spd T-top Full Restoration Underway
    1984 Capri RS T-top Roller
    1983-84 Gloy Racing Trans Am/IMSA Body Parts

  24. #24
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
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    Ok that's what I needed to know! And no, you weren't being condescending at all! My screw up.

    But I now have a renewed outlook on saving my coupe. The doors were just one item on a long list of hurdles to bring it back from the dead. Floor pans gone, doors rusted, but shock towers and torque boxes clean. I also have everything needed for a t-top conversion though. Who knows what I'll do lol
    79 Pace Car - 331, t5
    79 Cobra - working on 351w, t5
    86 coupe - rotbox roller
    86 coupe - working on 408w, c4
    88gt - 302 efi, t5

  25. #25

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    so as i was removing and installing this door, i noticed how heavy it felt. i do not remember my 76 dart door this heavy. when transfering the parts over you can see the side collision protection. but from the picture attached, i did not no there was so much metal.Name:  thumbnail_IMG_9371.jpg
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