The MGA With An Attitude
PANEL SCREWS, Where Do They Go? -- INT-103C

On 7/18/2011, Tony Bullum" wrote:
"Where would the "correct" placement for door panel screws be"?

And the answer is, put them where they are needed to hold the panel securely in place. If they look similar to those on other cars, it's perfect. There is not a concours judge in the world who knows exactly where the screws should be located. No one will be using a tape measure or deducting points if you miss the location of any one screw by an inch. I seriously doubt that that either the panels or the car body or doors were even punch or predrilled using jigs or templates. I suspect the factory assembly workers just put the screws where it was easy and sort of similar from car to car on any given work shift. In other words, all hand installed and aligned by eye, and likely no two cars exactly the same.

There are a few screw locations that are important. For the steel reinforcement channels along the bottom edge of the door pocket opening (missing in these pictures), it is necessary to locate the bar at correct height to cover the edge of the panel. For this you can hold the panel temporarily in place with the metal channel sitting on the edge, and mark location of the bar on the door shell. Then remove the panel while you install two screws to hold the bar. The panel then slips under the edge of the channel before installing the visible panel screws. As an additional note, if you ever replace the door panels you can almost count on the pocket opening being in slightly different location on the new ones, so you may have to relocate the steel channel and those mounting screws.

The triangular nut plate to secure the side curtain must also be in the proper location. The procedure here is usually to locate and drill holes in the panel to align with original holes in the door. When the panel has been replaced a number of times it is common for the screw holes in the door to be stripped out. The proper fix for this is to weld the holes shut, grind flat, and redrill them in original location. If you can spend a few extra minutes for this process you might weld up a little extra thickness to the metal to resist stripping out in the future. If the door was welded, ground and painted during restoration, and you don't know the original hole locations, then attach the side curtain to the bracket and hold it all in proper alignment while you spot the locations for the bracket screws.

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