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Thread: Drilling keyhole in door skin

  1. #1
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    Default Drilling keyhole in door skin

    Hi folk,
    New to the forum. I just purchased a 1973 Series 3, 109 (LWB). I'm trying to replace all locks and latches to the "non burst" style. It seems the latch kits our hosts sell may require the kind of doors with an extra keyhole. Hard to tell from looking at them, but the product description mentions this. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with drilling out their door skins to accept the lock cylinder poking through. Trying to avoid having to buy new doors. Is there a template available? How to center it right? What bit to use? Is there such a thing as a metal cutting forstner bit? How to protect paint from flaking while drilling? Any advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2

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    I have a 1973 Ser 3 with the original door locks. See photo. If yours is also a '73 shouldn't it be the same?
    I suppose one could use a hole saw and cut through the aluminum skin easily enough if the lock holes were not there. The black plastic trim ring would cover any minor errors.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by erik88lr View Post
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    I have a 1973 Ser 3 with the original door locks. See photo. If yours is also a '73 shouldn't it be the same?
    I suppose one could use a hole saw and cut through the aluminum skin easily enough if the lock holes were not there. The black plastic trim ring would cover any minor errors.
    Mine has the 2/2A door locks. The parts book also shows the classic door latches.(What's the opposite of "anti-burst"? Is bursting open a feature? Burst doors?)

    I can drill a hole, but worried about getting it lined up. If I get it wrong, I'm out $300 for a new door and a paint job. Oof!

  4. #4

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    I did this procedure on mine many years ago. If I remember correctly I held the new latch in place and marked its position on the inside, measured a half dozen times, then drilled a tiny pilot hole. Once confirming it was centered, I placed masking tape over the soon to be hole then lubricated a brand new hole saw with oil and slowly poked a hole in the skin. It worked well on all three doors.

  5. #5
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    polish that hole around the diameter to lessen any chances of it starting a crack.

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys. I will give this a shot.

    Turns out my rear door has the hole in it. So, I have both types on my Rover?! Nice thing is, the right hand front door and the rear door take the same latch. So, there's potential there to check the fit against the rear door. I was also thinking of making a template based on the rear door keyhole and the handle recess hole - then trying to match that up with the front right door (and flipping it for the front left).

    I'll post pictures when I work the nerve up to cut my door(within the next two weeks). Still waiting on a parts order for lock cylinders that's been delayed. Fun.

  7. #7
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    Default Update.

    Okay! I had a chance to work this weekend on my doors. I'll post what I did, in case it helps anyone. I started with the rear door of my 109 series 3. It's a Station Wagon style door, and happened to have been already drilled out for anti-burst door hardware (though still had the 2a style door latches). A good test for the front doors I'm about to do next.

    "Genuine" part VS "Proline"
    As most of us do, I took a look at the "Genuine" door latch hardware and the "Proline" versions. I'm not usually cheap, but the genuine parts were something like $200 more expensive. So I went with the "Proline". I figured that the mark up for genuine Land Rover was exorbitant, and - surely, the manufacturing process was good enough these days that they could make a good aftermarket part. Holy moly was I wrong, and I spent 2 days basically fabricating and shaping-to-fit to make this turd work.

    The latch was pretty good. I don't have a grievance there. But the striker was just about 1/8th of an inch too long/wide. I've seen videos and looked in the parts catalog where there is a shim fitted to bring the striker "out" more. This was NOT my problem! The striker I got was TOO thick! I think, maybe, the manufacturer was trying to do away with the shim, and added the 1/8th of an inch difference to the striker itself! There is NO adjustment possible here, it's a cast part. The striker has slotted holes to adjust the fit "inside and outside the vehicle" axis. But nothing to adjust the axis "towards and away from the hinge". Check out this photo:
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    ...as you can see, it's about 1/8" too proud of the attachment. There's nothing I could do but to grind it down. All kinds of interference at first. I couldn't shave it down the full 1/8" because the flange casting was only 3/16" or so. So. my only option was to shave 1/16" from each side, to combine the 1/8" I needed. So, I shaved 1/16" off the flange fitting and 1/16" at the end of the striker. Here is a comparison of the un-molested RH Door Latch (which is the same latch) I have going in next:
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    ...you'll notice a huge amount of metal removed. I don't have a milling machine. So I had to use my 6" vise, and a belt sander clamped into it with 120 grit sandpaper. I think I burned out the motor, but I got it done. After a bunch of fittings and removing and grinding more, I got it to work(lock) nicely.

    The next unpleasant issue was the little plastic trim that covers the key-hole. The original one on the car was painted over. So I wanted to replace with the new one, for a nice clean look. Well, again, the "Proline' part was made in China an terrible fitment. As you can see here, it was all wrong. It's wider, and doesn't taper. So I had to enlarge my keyhole for this. See photos:
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    ...luckily, the overlap on these trim pieces is so large that - well, it covers any sloppy hole adjustment. Also, the door being soft aluminum, my dremel tool with a grinder bit on the end made short work of the hole enlargement.

    Which leads me back to the original post. I guess drilling the hole in the front doors won't be too hard, since the trim is forgiving in the generous overlap. I think you said this already, erik88lr. Thanks again.

    To help myself - and others - I traced out a template. I'm going to scan this into my computer and trace out a nice vector drawing with a inch-scale to help with printing it out the right size for future readers of this post to print out. Here's the process, for anyone interested:
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    Does any of this stuff fit?
    What I'm slowly realizing is that the Proline stuff is junk. I've now spent about $2500 on various things over the last 2 months from our hosts. I am happy to have them as a resource, but my own inclinations to save money has ruined my weekends, because nearly 80% of the "Proline" parts I bought HAVE NOT FIT or REQUIRED FABRICATION. Counting down: ExMoor floor mats - don't fit, ExMoor LoadSpace Mat - required 3" trimming, Seat Belts - took two different models to fit, battery hold down bracket - doesn't fit my battery, door latch strikers - heavy grinding to fit, Door seal kit - none of the rivet holes aligned, had to cut some of the seals(too long) and they are so hard that they don't let my door close. So, I ask the LandRover community : does ANY of this stuff fit? Sure, there are 3 places to assign blame - 1) My truck could be wonky, 2) Manufacturing in the 1970's could have been crap at LR or 3) Parts manufacturers are making bad parts. I just never had this problem with AC Delco parts for my Chevy, or parts for my Mazda. Soo...what's the deal?! Is the "genuine" stuff better? Is it worth 300% markup?

    ...more to follow next week.

  8. #8

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    Yikes, what a pain to make it all fit. I think I'd been tempted to leave the old striker and remove the paint from the trim ring and reuse it, but then what's the use of paying for the new parts? They should have fit.

    Luckily I haven't had to replace too many landy parts lately, the most recent being fuel pump and carb. The fuel pumps were all terrible - not delivering enough fuel at speed. Must have gone through four of the things. Finally gave up and installed an electric pump.

    The reproduction Zenith carb worked fine except for the accelerator pump function. Tried to fix it but finally resorted to transplanting the accelerator pump piston out of my original carb into the new one to stop the truck from bogging down off idle. Come to think of it, replacing the leaky carb was required when the Proline rebuild kit had too many ill fitting parts....

    Yeah, I guess you get what you pay for with these Proline parts.

    Nice sequence of photos describing your work, though. Glad it all came out alright.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by erik88lr View Post
    ...[sic] I think I'd been tempted to leave the old striker and remove the paint from the trim ring and reuse it
    ... The fuel pumps were all terrible - not delivering enough fuel at speed. Must have gone through four of the things. Finally gave up and installed an electric pump....
    I couldn't...the old striker was the 2a style (it doesn't work with the new "anti-burst" latch).

    That's disappointing to hear about the carburetors and fuel pump. Another project I was thinking of taking on. But it sounds like I should leave it unless there's a problem. I remember doing an Edlebrock carb on one of my classic GM cars...it just turned the thing around. Really felt like a new(ish) car. I was hoping a new carb would give it that snappy feel. Now it sounds like just opening up more problems to solve.

    Case in point - after I fixed my door latch, the wife texts me that my headlights are on. Looks like an old electrical problem reared it's ugly head. Come on Landy!! I just fixed something and you're angry with me? Door latches have nothing to do with electrical!!!

  10. #10
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    For anyone reading this later, I added a template you can print out and use to mark/tape up to your door for drilling alignment: (updated dimensions)
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    1) Do right-click > Save Image...
    2) When printing out, make sure your printing preview doesn't try to stretch the image to fit on the page. Use the printout scale against a ruler to confirm it's to scale before drilling your door.
    3) As always, this is a "good faith" effort to share with the community. Don't blame me if you ruin your door. In using this template I'm not liable, etc, etc...
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by vlad_d; 05-17-2021 at 02:38 AM.

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