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Homebrew Tube Doors (Another Low Dough Build)

Bofa-Deez

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
111
Location
Thibodaux, LA
After completing my clone of the Dropkick slyders a few weeks ago (link here), I have decided to build some tube doors for the jeep. I will document the build here as my way of giving back, as this forum has saved me on quite a few occasions.

First off, I call these "low dough" builds because they are generally built from scrap, repurposed or left over materials from other projects. My material budget is usually $0, and I use pretty simple tools. The builds usually take longer than a normal project where I would build a material list and borrow or barter for complex equipment use, but I do these builds strictly for fun and the challenge of spending as little dough as possible, yet having a quality, well engineered end product.

This project: Tube Doors similar on shape to Jeep half doors

Budget: $40 (I'm running low on consumables like grinding discs and spray paint)

Material: Old trailer that I pulled out the swamp in exchange for some work I did on an old man's shop door

For this to be considered a low dough build, buying hinges at $70 per pair is out of the question. I have heard of some using inexpensive gate latches, but thats just as wrong as making the doors out of wood, so today as a proof of concept, I had to make sure my diy hinge idea would work so I made a template of the door I had in mind and made a few doodles of how I thought the hinges would go. The criteria are that the hinges had to latch without assistance when the door is swung shut and have to be easily reached to unlatch and open the door from outside the jeep

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Then I grabbed the band saw and went to work on some 1/8" plate. I drilled a hole where I planned for the striker to catch the door pin.

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Then I went to cutting

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I tacked a few thin pieces of plates to guide the hook as it moves up and down in the assembly.

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Trimmed the excess plate and tested the latch out before tacking the cover plate on to close the assembly up.

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With my concept proved, I needed to acquire some springs to keep the latch tight so they won't rattle. I found this in the corner where I keep crap piled up that I just can't let go

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Then the South Louisiana mosquitoes came out. For those of you that don't know, those bastards are so big, they will drag you off into the swamp and beat your ass for fun. I think I proved my concept enough to start on the doors, so I called it a night. I'll hit a little bit in the morning before
 

lindsey97

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Feb 23, 2018
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Wynnewood, OK, USA
If you are interested, I have a set of hinges. They have the wrong diameter pins. What happened was smittybilt shipped me a set of xrc tube tj doors, and they sent JK hinges. TJ door pins are 0.365"-0.370" diameter. Jk are 0.430"

So I took the Tj bushings out and drove like that for a minute until the replacements arrived. So if you think that you can devise a way of turning down the hinges to the correct diameter, they would work.

PM me your address and I will ship the 4 hinges and some hardware for free.
 

K0LCB

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Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2019
Messages
408
Location
Los Fresnos, Texas
If you are interested, I have a set of hinges. They have the wrong diameter pins. What happened was smittybilt shipped me a set of xrc tube tj doors, and they sent JK hinges. TJ door pins are 0.365"-0.370" diameter. Jk are 0.430"

So I took the Tj bushings out and drove like that for a minute until the replacements arrived. So if you think that you can devise a way of turning down the hinges to the correct diameter, they would work.

PM me your address and I will ship the 4 hinges and some hardware for free.
Free is nice, but if he ain’t happy he can’t get his money back
 
OP
Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Jul 19, 2019
Messages
111
Location
Thibodaux, LA
I didn't get much accomplished this weekend, but I did make a decision about the shape. I was contemplating using all miter joints because I don't have a tubing bender, but I have needed a bender for a while now, so in typical low dough fashion, off to the scrap pile I went. I found a 5 and 10 pound weight from a barbell set and figured I could make a die out of them to avoid kinking the pipe while bending.

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Cut them up with a metal blade in my miter saw because cast iron is so hard, that's the only tool I had that would cut them.

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Then I tacked them together. I found a hole saw bit that slipped perfectly over the ram to my bottle jack. I tacked it to the bottom of the home brew die and cut some plate from the salvaged trailer to make a base.

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I have a few other pieces I have to figure out for the bender, but I should be able to finish it tomorrow and attempt my first bend on the pipe I will use for the door.
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Jul 19, 2019
Messages
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Thibodaux, LA
I finished up my pipe bender version 1 and it was a miserable failure. It linked the first bend, then the die broke. I wasn't brushed up on my cast iron welding and weights probably weren't the best choice for weldable metal.

However, in the corner I found an old pulley from a treadmill that was thrown out years ago (after stripping all the parts that would possibly be useful.) I cut it in half, wrapped the edges with 1/4" round bar and added a couple of weld beads for contour and some plates to support the pipe wall.

IMG_20190909_162527.jpg


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This die worked much better and was a hell of a lot lighter. It produced acceptable bends. They weren't perfect, but they are good enough for this project.

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Now I'm working on the main frame of the door. Should get the welding done tomorrow. The bend on the bottom of the picture below is the link from bender version 1. It will be replaced

IMG_20190909_164143.jpg
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
111
Location
Thibodaux, LA
I'm digging your ingenuity in getting the project done!
Thanks man. I have worked in fabrication all my life. If I had a press brake, plasma cutter, hydraulic bender etc, it could easily whip out 3 to 5 pairs of these a day.

The fun is in designing and building with simple tools while having to look outside the box sometimes for technique.

Besides, my wife says I can't spend any more "money" on the Jeep. I'll show her...
 
OP
Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
111
Location
Thibodaux, LA
Today I got the basic frame tacked up

IMG_20190910_100041.jpg


After I cleaned off 50 years of rust and grime, I started the sheet metal work

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And now I'm kind of at an impasse. The reason I started this build was because I have half door envy. So my original thoughts were to build a tube door, skin it completely in sheet metal and have the end product resemble a half door. Now that I'm looking at it, I'm thinking maybe I should choo the bottom bar off and just leave the part that's skinned now like in the picture below

IMG_20190910_152618.jpg


Or I could cut the last piece of sheet metal like where the cardboard is in the picture below

IMG_20190910_153021.jpg


Or a third option, leave the bar there but don't skin the bottom opening. All I really wanted was a way not to run my full doors but to still have an arm rest, which I don't have running doorless...

What do you guys think?
 
OP
Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Jul 19, 2019
Messages
111
Location
Thibodaux, LA
Looks great so far! Are you going to powder coat them when you're all done?
For now, I think I'm just going to prime and paint them. My next build is going to be a rear bumper/tire carrier. Maybe after that is complete, I may powder coat them both at the same time
 
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Chris

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Salem, Oregon
I would also say full skin as well, just because the mud will get in there like crazy. Maybe make the skins easily removable?
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
111
Location
Thibodaux, LA
Not knowing you're offroad situation, I vote full skin. I hate mud getting inside and halfdoors help prevent some of that.
I would also say full skin as well, just because the mud will get in there like crazy. Maybe make the skins easily removable?
My off-road situation involves mud mostly here in the South. I think I will full skin them, then as Chris said, I'll make the skins removable. Some pieces of angle iron and sheet metal screws should handle this.

Oh, I might even put some gasket maker on the back of the skins with some plastic wrap coated in oil on the back of the skins. Then install them but only tighten them half way then remove them and let the gasket cure for an hour or so before removing the plastic wrap, then let it fully cure before installing. I have done this for homemade smoker and pit door gaskets and it works pretty good.

Thanks guys!
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Thibodaux, LA
I want to give a shout out to @lindsey97 for sending me this set of JK hinges. I was going to Fab these from scratch, but these will save me some time. The other pair is installed on the driver side door already.

IMG_20190912_180543.jpg


I was going to set up a redneck lathe to turn the pins down, but I popped out the bushings and they fit pretty snug, so I will wrap them with some Teflon tape and I think they will be fine.

After finishing the fabrication and skimming of the passenger door, it was time to turn my attention back to the latches.

Got my spring from the old RC car shock and went to town


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I cut a slot in the slider of the latch and used a Tig rod with a bolt welded to the end to act as the spring plunger. I welded the Tig rod in the slot I cut then cut the head off of the bolt so I could use a not to retain the spring.

Then I cut the final plates and added some very shallow weld beads to make sure the slider would move freely and not be too tight.

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And finally, after all this sweat and work, it's time for the money shot! Test fit

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While I was on a roll, I installed the latch and it worked flawlessly.

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I can shake the entire vehicle by grabbing the door when it is latched and there is no rattling or slop in the door.

I should be able to get them primed tomorrow.
 
OP
Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Messages
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Location
Thibodaux, LA
I got the primer and paint done this afternoon. I have to admit I did rush it a bit.

I tried to some angle iron on the panels to make them removable, but I broke 3 self tapping screws trying to secure them

IMG_20190913_102935.jpg


I drilled pilot holes but still had issues. I don't know if it was the screws or what, but I abandoned the removable panels and just chain welded them. I don't plan on running them open anyway.

Flat black will tell you everything you need to know about your welding skills. I'm not impressed.

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The good news is that they should be mounted and ready to roll this weekend, but naturally, the forecast is rain. So far, I've only spent 12 bucks on paint
 
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Bofa-Deez

Bofa-Deez

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Thibodaux, LA
Profit!

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My copilot approves, but he would rather be riding than taking pictures.
IMG_20190914_123022.jpg


The first ride proved no rattling or clunking. Overall, I'm satisfied.

And now I have a tube bender. Hmmm... What's next?
 
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