Precision Street Rods & Machines - Building Quality Cars Since 1982
Precision Street Rods & Machines
 "How We Shave, Suicide & Latch '56 F100 Doors"  
 
 
Since the smoothie look is still going strong today, most street rods, muscle cars, trucks and customs being built seem to have shaved door handles. This look really cleans up the lines of any vehicle. Doing this does create a problem, how do you get into your pride-n-joy? The answer is simple, use an actuator, solenoid or mechanical cable.  
 
An actuator is an electrical devise that works on polarity. When current is applied it either retracts (pulls) or extends (pushes). When the polarity is reversed (switching the ground and power signals via. a reversing switch) it does the opposite function. An actuator is gear driven and works extremely smooth. If the actuator is in the “in” or “out” position, it will retain that position until the current is reversed.
 
A solenoid has a magnetic coil that pulls a plunger inward and returns to a neutral position (like the ones you would find on a starter motor). It doesn’t react smoothly; it’s more of a quick snap and has three times more pulling power than an actuator.
 
 A mechanical pull cable is self explanatory. These are a great addition to any electrical entry system in case of a loss of power or accidentally locking your keys in the car with the windows up.
 
People have been using solenoids for years. They’ve been used to open shaved doors, trunks or anything else that’s latched with no means of entry. Typically when you use a solenoid to open doors or trunks, you don’t need the solenoid to change polarity as you spring load the latch. All you need is an easy to access momentary push button switch. For a more modern twist, a remote operated key fob to send a signal to the actuators or solenoids, like the 94120 16-function keyless remote kit from Electric-Life. The 94120 kit includes (1) 99920 control module, (1) plug in wiring harness with built-in relay packs, (2) actuators or optional solenoids, (2) single rotary bear-claw latches, (1) 1/16-inch stainless steel pre-stretched emergency pull cable, (2) door thrusters or optional door jammers to pop the doors open, (1) billet & braided stainless steel hose door jam through fittings and (2) 5-button remote transmitters.  
 
We decided to use the contact switch pins for our project as our door slides when it pivots. Pinched wires are no longer a problem. The Magnum Shooters have been around for a long time and have proven themselves to be dependable and durable. The installation is straight forward with a clean looking outcome.
 
The last thing that we’re throwing at this project is suicide doors. This creates a few problems, namely hinging and latching. To get over this hurdle we’ll be using Electric-Life’s single rotary Bear-Claw latches and the original but highly modified F100 hinges (at the other end of the door).
 
 
 
INSTRUCTIONS: Roll your mouse over the the photo, left side click to view it in a larger format. Use the manual arrow buttons to proceed in either direction. Use the (X) button to return to the original format. 
 
OPTION: Click on the bottom left arrow to start the automatic slide show in the larger format, Click it again to pause the show.
 
 
 
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(before)
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(after)
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Photo 03: Here’s a good look at the 94120 kit with the optional door jammers we received from Electric-Life. As you can see, their kit is very complete, right down to the “easy-to–understand” instructions.
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Photo 04: This is how the stock Ford F100 doors looked at the beginning of our project. The hinges are mounted far apart and in the front of the door on the “A”-Pillar.
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Photo 05: To start things off, we removed the outside door handles.
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Photos 06 & 07: First we filled in the door handle holes with either weld or plugs. Then ground the welds smooth.
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Photo 08: Here’s a look at the finished door. The process of removing any bolt-on obstruction or trim, in this case the door handles is called “Shaving”.
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Photos 09 & 10: Here’s the last look at the stock F100 door latches and strikers. The Ford F100 door latches and strikers will be exchanged for rotary bear-claws and moved to the front of the doors. The doors will open remotely with a 94120 entry system from Electric-Life. We’re going to modify and re-mount the F100 hinges on the “B”-Pillar/back cab as far apart as possible (stability).
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Photos 11 & 12: We removed the top and bottom door hinges next. Don’t forget to remove the bolt hiding deep inside of the hinge pocket
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Photos 13 & 14: There are spot welds securing the hinge pockets to the jams. We drilled through the spot welds to break the bond.
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Photo 15: If you look closely you’ll see an indent in the door jam that’s 8 ½-inches tall. So that we don’t do a lot of patching later-on, we will make our vertical cuts at least 8 ½-inches apart when we remove the bottom hinge from the A-pillar.
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Photos 16 & 17: This is where we intend to remove the hinge pockets from the A-pillar. Notice how the bottom hinge was marked. The top hinge pocket will become the bottom hinge pocket and the bottom hinge pocket will become the top hinge pocket when re-installed on the B-pillar. They will be the same distance apart as they were on the A-pillar. Notice the bottom cuts are 8 ½-inches apart.
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Photos 18, 19 & 20: We used a 3-inch cut-off wheel in a pneumatic die-grinder to make our cuts.
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Photo 21: Because the bottom floor is double layered, you can’t see where to drill out the spot welds securing the hinge pocket (like step # 14). Therefore, we used a pneumatic hack-saw to cut through them.
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Photo 22: Here’s a look at the A-pillar with the hinge pockets removed.
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Photo 23: We sandblasted the hinge pockets next. This way we’ve got a clean surface to weld to.
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Photos 24, 25 & 26: Just as we did on the A-pillars, we cut out the 8 ½-inch indent surrounding the latch striker
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Photos 27 & 28: There is a cross-brace running behind the cab connecting the two B-pillars. On this brace there is a lip that needs minor trimming to allow the hinge pocket to go back far enough. We used the same pneumatic hack-saw for this.
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Photo 29: This is how our B-pillar looked with the latch striker removed. We cut just inside the indent for now. We will make the final trim after we place the hinge pocket over this hole and mark its new shape.
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Photo 30: As we have been doing through out this project, we removed the paint and rust until we saw clean metal.
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Photo 31: The next thing we did was straighten and flatten the B-pillar indents at the top and outside edge. The bottom one will be removed later on.
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Photos 32 & 33: We placed the hinge pocket over the latch striker hole and transferred its shape onto the B-pillar. Once marked, we re-trimmed the opening to the new shape.
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Photo 34: Next we tack welded the hinge pocket in place.
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Photo 35: We added a tiny lip to the bottom hinge so that it will blend to the B-pillar perfectly.
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Photos 36 & 37: As we did before, we placed the new hinge pocket over the B-pillar. We marked and cut an opening for it to fit in.
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Photo 38: The new lower hinge pocket was installed next. As before, we tack welded it in place making sure that is was aligned with the top hinge.
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Photos 39 & 40: The only thing left is to final weld the hinge pockets to the B-pillar. If done correctly, you should be parallel and inline with each other.
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Photo 41: Now that the hinges are aligned and parallel with each other, we can go ahead and weld the backside of the hinge pocket to the cab cross-brace.
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Photos 42 & 43: Since the B-pillar is finished, we can proceed with filling in the holes where the stock hinge pockets were in the A-pillar. We used 16-gauge sheet metal for this.
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Photo 44: Here is how our progress looks so far.
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Photo 45: There are triangular threaded plates housed in a sheet metal box that needs to be removed from the doors. They’re spot welded to the door and will need to be removed. We will be using them in the rear of the door later.
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Photo 46: This is what the threaded plates looked like after they were removed and sandblasted.
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Photo 47: We made (2) new hinge pockets for the doors from 14ga. sheet metal. The bottom one has not had the mounting holes drill yet. The triangular threaded plate housing will affix to them as seen in the photo # 48.
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Photo 48: As you can see, the threaded nut plate has plenty of adjustment because of the over sized holes in the hinge pockets and nut plate housings. We’ll be installing these shortly.
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Photo 49: The next step was to figure out and modify the hinges. Since the stock door had wind-wing windows above the hinges and didn’t have glass passing by them, they mounted the hinges in the middle of the door. We need to mount our hinges to the inside edge of the door for the door glass to function correctly. The stock hinges used to mount in the middle of the door edge. The top hinge in this photo was modified slightly when compared to the stock one on the bottom.
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Photos 50 & 51: As you can see, the kick-out in the hinges runs parallel with the door opening moving the mounting point to the inside of the door.
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Photos 52 & 53: We used a scribe to mark the new hinge location onto the door. This area will be removed and the new hinge pockets we just made (photo # 48) will be installed here. This way we will have flush door panels.
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Photos 54 & 55: Before we cut out the hinge pockets, we will fill in the old door latch holes
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Photos 56 & 57: Now its time to cut out the hinge pocket holes. We used the 3-inch cut-off for this task.
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Photo 58: We placed the door back into the door opening to check our hinge cut-out alignment. We were right on.
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Photo 59: The hinge pockets were bolted to the hinges and the doors temporally installed. When we were happy with the door alignment, we tack welded the hinge pockets to the door.
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Photos 60, 61 & 62: Just as we did with the door hinge pocket holes, we will fill in the old hinge holes with sheet metal. We found that removing the recessed part of the door and replacing it with a larger patch would be less work with better results in the long run.
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Photo 63: This is the latching portion of the kit. It consist of an electric solenoid mounted to a rotary bear-claw latch, a mounting plate for the latch, mounting hardware, a striker and mounting plate
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Photo 64: Because we want to use counter sunk Allen bolts instead of button head Allen bolts, we had to make a new latch mounting plate. We made it from 3/16” steel plate.
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Photos 65, 66 & 67: We placed the latch assembly as high up in the door as possible, marked its location and removed the excess metal
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Photo 68: Next we trimmed our latch mounting plate to size, and then welded it in place.
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Photo 69: We re-installed the door temporally in order to scribe the striker location through the latch onto the door jam next.
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Photos 70 & 71: We drilled through our marks and installed the striker bolt.
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Photo 72: We installed the electric latch assembly to check the striker to latch alignment. Everything worked perfectly enabling us to go on to the next step, installing the emergency pull cable.
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Photo 73: We purchased ¼-inch U-bolts from the local hardware store to house our emergency entry cable. If we used a pulley or bolt, the cable could fall off and get tangled up.
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Photos 74 & 75: We found it easier to remove the door once again for the next few steps. We drilled a ¼-inch hole in the door to mount the U-bolt just behind the latch assembly.
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Photo 76: We re-installed the electric bear-claw latch assembly next. Notice the emergency release cable passes through the U-bolt we just installed.
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Photo 77: The release cable was too short to reach where we wanted it go. Electric-Life provides extra cable and lugs in the kit for this very reason.
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Photo 78: If you look closely, you’ll see the loop we put in our emergency pull cable. The missing rubber door seal will eventually hide it. At this point we re-installed the doors for the next step
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Photo 79: This is what the Electric-Life Door Jammers look like before we installed them. They have more than enough adjustment wouldn’t you say?
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Photo 80: We drilled a ¾-inch hole in the thresholds for the Door Jammers.
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Photo 81: Here’s a peek at the installed Door Jammers. It doesn’t get much cleaner than this.
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Photo 82: These are the Dakota digital MGS-5 Magnum Shooters that we’ll be using. It takes two halves to make one switch complete, one for the door and the other for the door jam. The MGS-5’s are adjustable from ¼-inch to 11/16-inches (between the two halves) and compact in size. The left half of the photo shows the innermost adjustment you can make on your MGS-5 while the left half photo shows the outermost adjustment. They should be adjusted as short as possible with good contact when installed in the door jam.
Photo 83Photo 83: We made an aluminum fixture to accurately mark our slots and mounting holes. An extra step we took that wasn’t necessary, but worth while. We could have measured and marked each switch individually.
Photo 83Photo 83: We made an aluminum fixture to accurately mark our slots and mounting holes. An extra step we took that wasn’t necessary, but worth while. We could have measured and marked each switch individually.
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Photos 84, 85 & 86: Next we figured out where we wanted the Magnum Shooters to be in the door jam. We drew (2) horizontal and (1) vertical lines showing the (2) mounting holes and the center line of the slot.
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Photo 87: This is what our line-up marks looked like after they were drawn onto the door jam.
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Photo 88: The first step in mounting the Dakota Magnum Shooters was to drill the 1/8-inch top mounting hole.
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Photos 89 & 90: We used a 1/8-inch cleco to temporally attach our marking fixture to the door jam. We squared it up and drilled the second mounting hole. As we did with the top mounting hole, we inserted a second cleco.
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Photo 91: We ran a scribe line around the inside slot opening.
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Photo 92: This was followed by center punching both ends of the slot with a center locating punch.
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Photo 93: The fixture was removed and we drilled (2) ½-inch holes. They will be the top and bottom edges of our slot.
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Photo 94: A pneumatic saw was used to connect the (2) holes. We used a flat file to straighten our cuts and any fine tuning that was necessary.
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Photo 95: This is how our mounting holes looked when we were done.
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Photo 96: Now that we know that the Magnum Shooter fits, we can remove it and scribe a line through the door jam onto the door.
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Photo 97: We followed the same procedures as we did before and mounted the other half of the MGS-5 switch.
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Photo 98: This is how the finished Dakota Digital Magnum Shooters door looked after they were installed. All that’s left is to re-hang the door and run the wiring. As you can see, the doors look great, fit and function like a dream.
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Photos 99 & 100: Finished!
 
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