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Correct measurement for door gaps [BJ7]


Jedi Trainee
Country flag
Just trying to align my door gaps better before the car goes back to the paint shop for finishing, is there a standard used (perhaps the concours) for the gap that should be all round the doors, or is this just what ever looks right and preference.


Dave Russell

Yoda - R.I.P
The "Concours Guide" on panel fit calls for panel gaps to be 1/8" to 3/16" & EVEN all around.

Because the lower door contour is inboard from the upper section (beveled), if the front of the door to back of the front fender gap is much less than 3/16", there will not be "swing room" for the door to clear the fender when the door is being opened. The door will catch on the fender, bend the metal, or at least chip the paint. Paint build up on these edges can inadvertently decrease this gap to the disaster level. Better more gap at the front than at the back of the door.

Tapered (non-uniform) door gaps will be one of the first things noticed if it is not right. It's not uncommon to see vertical door gaps that are wider at the bottom than at the top due to frame sag.

Obviously, panel edges must be in alignment inboard to outboard.

Folks sometimes spend hours adding to or removing metal from door edges & other places to achieve "correct" panel gaps. Also shimming, or grinding hinge surfaces to get things lined up.


Jedi Trainee
Country flag

You are right in what you say "The door will catch on the fender, bend the metal, or at least chip the paint" if the gap is to small at the front edge, this has happened on mine.
When it first came back from the paint shop it shut/opened ok, now most of the bits are on and the engine in it perhaps may have closed up a bit, could this be right ?
We have shimmed the door gaps previously so will play about until i get them right, can anything be done to help prevent the frame sag ?


Dave Russell

Yoda - R.I.P
chicken said:
--- now most of the bits are on and the engine in it perhaps may have closed up a bit, could this be right ?
---- can anything be done to help prevent the frame sag ?
Yes - You could be right.
A quick test on an assembled car is to jack up any single corner & observe the panel gaps which should NOT change. Jacking one side of the frame under the door will quickly show panel gap changes caused by rust weakened frame sections.

The only way to remove frame sag is to replace all rust weakened structural metal in the chassis/sub-frame assembly. Body off. All of the necessary new chassis parts are available from Kilmartin, AU or a couple of others. It requires a lot of precision cutting & welding.

A "work around" would be to do all panel fitting with the chassis preloaded with engine, transmision & other parts in place to "pre-sag" the chassis & then trim/fit the panels as needed to correct the gaps with the existing sag. Not the best way!!
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