View Full Version : TR2/3/3A door gaps on a TR3 prior to paint

12-01-2012, 11:56 AM
Does anyone have an opinion on door gap for a TR3A prior to any paint? IE: 3/16 or smaller? I have one door at 3/16 and the other at 1/8 right now. The 1/8 almost rubs now without paint so I think it is too tight.


12-01-2012, 12:08 PM
After 3 coats of primer, and 4 coats of paint I have an all around door gap of 1/8". I would open it up some by moving the front fender forward, and adjusting the hinges. The hinges can be bent some to help with adjustment. I even had to shave some material off the back side of one.

12-01-2012, 01:05 PM
I would think 3 to 4mm as ideal finished, Got bear in mind body flex whilst driving.


12-01-2012, 01:59 PM
Ah, the old door gap question. I remember it well. Be sure to get this part right. Spend more time and more money here, because the quality of your build all goes from there. I went to the 2010 TRA to check finished cars as I was at exactly your point in my build. I took probably a thousand pictures of every gap on the cars. Some of these were best in show, some were drivers, and some were in between. As you asked specifically about door gaps, here is a sampler.

Let's just say when I got back I knew what I was not going to settle for and what the target to shoot for was. Good luck with the build.

PS - still learning the new board software - some of these click and enlarge, others don't.





12-01-2012, 02:03 PM
A few more....





12-01-2012, 05:36 PM
thanks guys, do any of you remember what you started with with bare metal prior to paint? IE: did you add 1/16 of paint or more?


12-01-2012, 08:26 PM
Those are some great pictures, and worth more than a thousand words. I think the gaps consistency is more important than the actual width of the gap. -That is, the door should be centered, and the gaps on each side should be the same as the gap on the bottom, and about the same as the gap at the hood, rocker, etc.

It's easy to add/subtract shims under the hinges to move the door forward or rearward until the latch works properly. It's harder to move the fender, and even harder to move the rocker -especially the slight bend under the front of the door.

I think my gaps are ok, but I'm still lacking body work and paint.


12-01-2012, 08:55 PM
thanks guys, do any of you remember what you started with with bare metal prior to paint? IE: did you add 1/16 of paint or more?Jerry

I wouldn't get too hung up about that. The paint isn't really much thicker than 2 sheets of paper. Typically 4-8 mils when measured with DFT (dry film thickness )gauge like a Defalko. A 1/16th is closer to 60 mils. Just get the gaps even as noted. The TR3 doors gaps are notoriously tight. You'll know if they are too tight as they will bind. Even and consistent is more important. It isn't easy and can be time consuming. I definitely paid more (more hours) for the fitting of my panels than the prepping and painting.

12-01-2012, 10:53 PM
Well, I have spent a day apiece on each door so far. I got the passenger door even but probably too tight. I may wait till later to trim. The drivers side is pretty good. I think a little more work on the fender fit and I will be happy. Then back to the front apron and bonnet. I seem to go back to spots I already worked on after I decide they are not good enough. Maybe if I take off my reading glasses, it will be fine.


12-01-2012, 11:14 PM
You can also get a car guy ( one who appreciates and knows about such things ) to be an offside help. Sometimes the eye wants to be more perfect than it needs and another visionary will help. Seems you are on the right track. Sometimes a file or grinder works too! These were all handbuilt so they will not be perfect.

12-02-2012, 01:21 AM
Oh, I have gone through lots of grinder wheels and sander wheels. Pat (on the forum) came by with some advice. He has given me some ideas on the finish quality. It was very useful, I hope to have it ready for stripping and first coat of epoxy primer soon. I say soon but real life gets in the way.

thanks for all the advice.


12-02-2012, 11:07 AM
Oh, quick tips with gaps...

Be sure to install the door latches at the rear of the door while you are setting gaps. It is possible to set the gap at the rear, and then find that the latch assembly will not fit. Always a bummer!

The frame and body will sag very slightly once everything is installed, so the gap at the upper rear will close just slightly after the restoration. We are talking 1/32" or so.

Test your lower door seal before painting. The new seals are thicker than the originals and are a problem. If your lower edge gap is decent, the seal will not fit. I left mine off. Others trimmed their seals to fit the gap. In any event, best to know how you will deal with it before the paint goes on!

I would think 1/16" is the absolute minimum. More than 3/16" starts to look excessive. But the main thing is that the gap is the same along the length of the gap. In otherwords, 1/16" at the top and 1/8" at the bottom will look like the door is sprung.

Good luck...don't feel bad when you get frustrated with gaps...they are a bear, but well worth it for the life of the car after the resto!


12-02-2012, 08:32 PM
I am surprised to hear you say the frame will sag. The frame is much stronger than on my Healey. But I will take your advice. I have been fitting the doors with the latch still on the door , mainly because it holds up the rear of the door in place, and also because all the screws are stripped and I have to drill them out. What fun!

12-03-2012, 03:43 AM
Maybe "sag" is a bad word. "flex" in the downward direction under gravity is a better description!

Its a settling of everything from the weight of the engine, tranny, and body fittings...as well as the rubber body cushions. Not a lot...but noticeable, just the same. If your engine and tranny are already in place, it may be negligible.