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Building door braces

How to build door braces for your Shark’s restoration

Bob Cultrona - September 23, 2011 12:00 PM

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Cut your 3/16-inch flat stock into seven-inch long strips. Line them up with the mounting holes for the door hinges and drill them. Install the bolts with washers on the inside and snug them down.

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Then, cut a four-inch piece of angle iron and mount it to the door post. The door strike might be hard to remove, so always shoot a little PB Blaster inside to loosen it up. The strike takes a Torx socket, but an Allen wrench also works just fine.

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Measure the upper bar first; something around 40 inches will do. Use C-clamps on each end, then remove the assembly and tack weld it into place; one or two tacks on each side will work. Keep it clamped while welding. Refit it to the door to make sure nothing shifted on you. I tacked the piece at the door first, then checked the length of the bar (it was OK) and clamped it in place for tack welding off the car. Cut the lower bar, clamp it in place and tack weld it in place off the car. Then bolt it back up and see how it fits. Add a vertical brace. Same procedure: cut, clamp, tack weld and re-fit.

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After everything is tacked in place and fits, finish up welding all the joints. Remember to clean the metal before welding and alternate your welds. Keep the clamps in place until everything is done. I primed and painted these braces to keep the bare metal from rusting.

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When you restore your C3 Corvette, door braces are needed to keep your body and cage in alignment when the body is pulled from the frame and the doors/windshield removed.

This article will show you how to build a simple, sturdy set of door braces out of mild steel with easily obtainable material.

If you’re working on a convertible, after the door braces are built, I would add a brace connecting each door brace to each other. You can then add two braces to the window frame. This would be needed for rotisserie restorations when the body is rotated on a cart to finish the underside. In this case, we’re working with a coupe with a good cage.

The material was purchased from a local home improvement center for about $70. You will need access to a MIG welder and have some basic welding skills along with a reciprocating saw or cut-off saw to cut the metal. In a pinch, a jigsaw will work, but heavier metal is hard to cut.

Follow along and we’ll show you how. Please note that no welding is being done on the vehicle. Parts are tightly clamped in place and then welded up away from your Corvette. Fiberglass and welding sparks do not go well together!

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