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Door Check Retainer Replacement for Pilot-House Cabs

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I've been stewing on a fix for the door check retainer that I have found busted / missing on every driver door on every Pilot-House cab that I have ever laid eyes on, after splainin its function awhile back.  I'd look at modern alternatives when I've been at the salvage yards while working on other projects, and had narrowed down a close alternative to the last few model years of the Isuzu Rodeo, but those are like 40 bucks a pop new for something that sorta worked...not exactly what I was looking for, so I took a step back to think outside of the box for awhile.  Then a few weeks ago, I spotted something in the LMC Truck catalog while researching other makes of similar vintage to see what they were using for a door check...the '60-'66 Chevrolet truck doors used a door check that looked verrrry similar to the Pilot-House door check, but no dimensions were available.  I did some more searching, and found a very similar part available from several other vendors as well as on eBay.  Since I already have an account with LMC, I ordered their door check for less than 20 bucks, and a few days later it showed up, made in Taiwan with dimensions that looked to be a good candidate for a direct replacement.


First was to remove the original door check arm, which requires removing a riveted headed pin.  I used a dremel cutting disc to eat away at the underside, then popped out with a 1/8" punch...gotta be careful here, as I bent that bracket a tad before I realized it, had to knock it back into place a few times before that old pin finally popped out.



Next, removing the original door check spring rivets...easier said than done.  Kinda hard to get the dremel inside the door and see what I was doing simultaneously, so I had to grind away at the back of the rivets by feel...took my time, just nibbled away at it, checked my work frequently to make sure I was only grinding on the rivets.  Once the rivets were flush with the door frame, I took the 1/8" punch to pop the rivets down and out from the outside of the door, which was no cake walk either.  I then took a 1/2" punch to flatten out the metal where the check arm had tried to pull through the door.



Now it was on to the bench vise to disassemble the new door check.  But first, I straightened out my original door check arm, as it was a bit twisted.  After taking the new door check apart, I swapped out parts.  The original door check arm is riveted together, and I'll eventually replace that rivet after swapping out the old circular washer with the new rectangular washer...in the long run, that rectangular washer will make the rectangular rubber last longer, but for now, I'm just doing a proof of concept.

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A wooden clothespin turns out to be an almost perfect alignment tool to center the backing plate to the door cavity.  I marked the centers of the threaded holes, then did a quick pencil layout to see how much room I would need for a 7/16" socket to clear the sheet metal.  Drilled some 1/8" holes to give some relief for the dremel cuts, then for pilot holes for the 9/32" holes for mounting the backing plate.  I had some 1/2" x 1/4-20NC hex head bolts and flatwashers in my hardware collection, and those fit just right...I'd probably put blue thread locker on them bolts, or go to a longer bolt with helical lock washers, either way will work.  Replacing the riveted headed pin shouldn't be that big of a challenge, probably could make another one out of another bolt...

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Total time to rough this new part in was about 2 hrs, but I'll spend more time to clean up the opening with a rotary rasp, flat file, touch-up paint, etc.  I thought about making a nice clean template for cutting into the sheet metal, but working with the door on the truck is quite a challenge, especially with my back acting up again, and as long as the finished cuts look decent, then only the nitpickers will have a problem with this butchery :rolleyes:  The finished product works out OK, as the driver door opens 8° less than the unchanged passenger door.  But the door check does its job and holds the door open when the truck is on an incline, which is reeeeal nice...and sophisticated :cool:

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13 hours ago, JBNeal said:

......But the door check does its job and holds the door open when the truck is on an incline, which is reeeeal nice...and sophisticated :cool:


Everything you wrote makes sense except for this last sentence.  I didn't realize there were inclines in Texas?! 😁


Hopefully I won't have to go down this path, yet.  My passenger side was still intact and back in the 90s I managed to find a truck with a good check strap retainer and I liberated it.  





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Although not a truck I had a similar issue with my '51 Dodge D39 business coupe. The retainer in the passenger door had been ripped out at some point. I had an old door from a '54 Plymouth kicking around and cut out the needed part and then riveted (one bolt due to access) where needed. This system is different than say a P15 but it looks like the door stop thingy was used widely in the very late 40's and early 50's Mopars. If you have access to any similar vintage Mopar parts vehicle, this could work also. It worked perfectly for me.



Edited by RobertKB
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On 1/13/2021 at 11:55 AM, bkahler said:


Everything you wrote makes sense except for this last sentence.  I didn't realize there were inclines in Texas?! 😁


as the saying goes, the whole state would slide off into the Gulf of Mexico after a heavy rain if not for how bad Oklahoma sucks...I don't think there's much basis for this from a geological standpoint tho...


Today there were gusty 15-25 mph winds all afternoon, so I pointed the truck into the wind and opened up both doors for a few hours...both door checks were able to latch the doors open for the duration...yet another benefit of a functional door check retainer 🏆

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