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Altman Easy latches for chevy 1951 truck

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by roll of the dices, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. I am in need of some advice. After buying all new latches, handles, strickers and even screws...I can't get the doors on my truck to close the right way...not even half decent and I already tried every adjustment I can think of. They have a play of about 1/2" in and out. All the gaps around the door and cab are nice and even but if I pull out on the handle after closing it will move about 1/2"...sucks!

    Long story short, I am going to try using the Altman easy latches.
    My question, has anyone here try them on a chevy truck? Pros and cons?
    I heard that the doors can't be lock from the inside...how is the locking of the driver side handle if one can't lock from the inside?
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated....any installation pictures highly welcome.

    Thx
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  2. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223

    F&J
    Member

    On your new repro stuff you have now...

    Is there a chance you have the striker adjusted way in too far??

    Sometimes that is an easy mistake. If it's in too far, the door latch will only catch on the "saftey" catch. It makes you think it needs to go in more, but the real problem is that the latch can't "reach" to the final catch....so it really needs to be adjusted outwards.

    Just a thought..
     
  3. Frist State Hillbilly
    Joined: Apr 4, 2007
    Posts: 65

    Frist State Hillbilly
    Member
    from dover de.

    I had the same problem. Mine was a crappy after market stricker plate. The first thing to check is if the door lock is ok. Open the door and trip the lock. if it locks and don't move. that part is ok. What happern on mine was the stricker plate did not trip the lock all the way. I driled a small hole in the striker plate where it trips the lock. I put a scred in it so when the door closed the lock hits the screw. I will order another set of stricker plates but for the time it will stay closed Befor I did this the only thing keeping the door from opening was the safty catch, Also be sure and spray all the locks with lub to be sure they are operating.
     
  4. ol'chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,283

    ol'chevy
    Member

    ALtmans are awesome! I have installed 2 sets and they are easy, the first aftermarket kit that goes in like it should and works! Well worth the money. I have done a 51 and a 53.
     

  5. ol'chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,283

    ol'chevy
    Member

    Here is a tech article I did on classic parts talk...http://talk.classicparts.com/showthread.php?t=12010

    This is what comes in the kit. Very complete, nice parts, US made.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Cut out the template from the instruction book. Place over half round hole where door striker used to live. Trace the outline on the door.
    [​IMG]
    Cut out hole, I used an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel. Now fit the latch plate and mark holes on door face.
    [​IMG]
    Drill holes with 1/4" bit, lower hole to 1", I used a unibit. Also cut hole for linkage to go through...
    [​IMG]
    Grind off the little nub right here...
    [​IMG]
    Mount up latch and plate using hardware provided. I found that I needed a little more clearance(than specified on the template) for the latch to fit easily.
    [​IMG]
    Grind out the rivet that holds the linkage to the actuator.....
    [​IMG]
    Then bolt linkage to latch through the hole you drilled. Don't over tighten, as this is a pivot point.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. ol'chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,283

    ol'chevy
    Member

    Then line up the hole with the "v" cut above, test and cut off excess if all fits (it did). Note: you cannot install the top bolt in the actuator, the nut will hit it.
    [​IMG]
    Install outside handle, takes a little finagling. I couldn't get the front mounting screw in, because there is not a lot of movement in the handle before latch triggers.
    This is what it all looks like....
    [​IMG]
    I will paint it later.
    Here is the striker plate, installed in factory mounts..
    [​IMG]
    How does it work????
    [​IMG]
    Now remove the lock linkage by removing this clip..
    [​IMG]
    Cut the linkage down to next to nothing, as specified in the instructions...I used the grinder.
    [​IMG]
    Re install linkage in the lock, then install in door like origional.
    [​IMG]
    This is a beautiful kit, well worth the money. It is apparent that time was spent getting it right. It is a VERY easy install, probably the easiest aftermarket install I have ever done. Works like a charm the first time out. Everything fits like it should. You could probably weld this kit in and no one would really notice it.
    My observations:
    I used a body hammer to correct a few warps around the edges that come from forming the dimples for the countersunk screws....very minimal warpage, not a big deal.
    I had to cut my holes a little larger than the template specified, again, not a big deal and no where near coming out from under the coverage of the latch plate.
    Time: about 2 hours for the first one, driver's door took longer due to lining up the door. I see rebuilt hinges in my immediate future. I could probably do the whole job in about 2 1/2 hours total next time.

    No more multiple slams of the door, and now the kids can open it with ease.....not shure if that is good..... I can open it with one finger....people used to think it was locked until I told them to manhandle it.
    I HIGHLY reccommend this one.
     
    southerncad likes this.
  7. When I did my dad's 51 I went 'round and 'round with that problem. I messed with the repop latches and still couldn't get 'em to work right. Went to order a new pair of repops and was told they wouldn't stock 'em anymore 'cuz, well, they've never worked right (all imported junk). For the record, I seem to remember the door latches didn't work very well even when new. Bad design for the "Advanced Design"? Sounds like Ol' Chevy is right; those Altman's sound awesome. Those are gonna be next on my list of things to do to big Daddy's truck.
     
  8. Wow, Thank you everyone for the input so far...ol' chevy has me sold on these latches.
    I had it with repops...I tried everything and nothing works...it won't even get better or worst.
     
  9. Ol'Chevy when you did yours...are you able to lock your doors from the inside?
     
  10. ol'chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,283

    ol'chevy
    Member

    No, no inside locks, but mine doesn't lock from the outside either. They do have a provision to install locks on the outside driver's door. When I do mine I am going to make a template for them. I have talked to the guys over there many times, I ordered mine before they were released. They are all really nice and knowledgeable. The only issue is you may have to tweak the square rod for the door handle to make them sit level. I have new aftermarket handles with no wear on them, so that may be part of the problem. Just mark where they need to be, then clamp in a vise and give them a gentle twist.
     
  11. aerocolor
    Joined: Oct 7, 2009
    Posts: 1,198

    aerocolor
    Member
    from dayton

    I`ve done several `47-`53 trucks and the factory latches are a terrible design. Aftermarket latches aren`t impressive either. I came up with a fix for the OEM. They don`t trip the ratchet in far enough to hold the door in line so I tigged a bead on the striker plate to ratchet the latch in deeper. Has worked every time. My doors shut tight and don`t come open.
    Bear in mind the stock setup still leaves a lot to be desired and doesn`t "snick shut" like bearclaws do but it`s acceptable.

    I looked at the Altman stuff at Louisville but it seems costly (almost $400)and I had already painted my truck and didn`t want to cut on the new finish.
    Maybe I`ll try them on the next one.

    Bill
     
  12. Bill,

    Do you have a picture of your striker set up that I could see?
    I rather to keep the stock parts over the bear claws, if I get the stock parts to work half decent, that is.

    The fact that I can't close my door from the inside is making me rethink the altman latches, since I don't want to run power for solenoids or have to run around with remote control in my pocket....I am planning on daily driving my truck so locking the doors is a must, especially here in LA. I am thinking I might be able to rework a sucide door lock to make the lock at least funtional somehow.

    Price is another big set back (these things are pricy) but if I don't have another choice then it is what is...

    Thx,
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  13. aerocolor
    Joined: Oct 7, 2009
    Posts: 1,198

    aerocolor
    Member
    from dayton

    I have a `48 shop truck I think I ran a bead on to fix the drivers door. If so, I`ll take a pic tonight to show location. It still has the original worn out latches and strikers but works great after the fix.

    If buying new repop latches they have to be lubed and worked before installing to free up the ratchet and release mechanism. I locked them in a vise and worked them numerous cycles with PB Blaster penetrating oil.
     
  14. ol'chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,283

    ol'chevy
    Member

    With a little creativity you can hook up inside locks, it just doesn't use the stock pushing of the handle. They are looking to make a stainless plate for those who have already painted their doors. Of course, if you still have some paint left over, paint the plates and no one knows the difference.

    Here is the second truck I did, a53, with already painted doors.

    Start by removing all stock latches and strikers, inside and outside handles. Cut out templates and transfer to door..
    [​IMG]
    Cut the holes, I used a grinder with a cut off wheel and a jigsaw for the smaller parts. Drill the holes in the door faces, marked with the doorplates..
    [​IMG]
    Cut the nub from the window track through the hole...
    [​IMG]
    Bolt on plate....
    [​IMG]
    Install latch and door handle, test a few times.....I found that I needed to bend the arm to the handle out a slight bit to make contact a little better..
    [​IMG]
    Grind off the rivet for the inside actuator...
    [​IMG]
    Trim the new linkage after the second notch, shown beside untrimmed piece..
    [​IMG]
    Connect linkage to latch through this hole...
    [​IMG]
    And to the door handle here...
    [​IMG]
    Done....
    [​IMG]
    Assemble striker plate, adjust, enjoy easily closing door!
    [​IMG]
    Now go do the other side.
     
  15. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,826

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That is a slick kit and a nice installation plus a nice tech article Ol Chevy. It looks a lot simpler than a lot of the setups I have seen.
    I have Kenworth truck bear claws in my 48 and have run them for 29 years since I suicided the doors in 1981. They were inexpensive new and always work well but I had to make all of the hardware for them and still have never fully finished building linkage to inside handles.
    On the stock AD truck door latches. I won't run them on any of my trucks. Sooner or later the door will fly open at an inopportune time and the results may not be nice. Almost 32 years ago my wife fell out of the 48 on a left hand turn when she was leaning on the door and we went around a turn on the way to take her to work. She still packs scars on her cheek and knee from that fall. That latch was in relatively good shape and I had replaced it and the striker when I bought the truck in 1973 with new factory pieces.
     
  16. aerocolor
    Joined: Oct 7, 2009
    Posts: 1,198

    aerocolor
    Member
    from dayton

    Wow. Everyone leans on the door riding around in an old truck. I went around a corner a couple of years ago and had the door open on my `49. I barely hung on to the steering wheel to keep me in the seat.
    Latches were marginal at best and I thought how ironic to sit in the street on my ass and watch my truck crash. I went home and replaced the worn out strikers that day. The hinges were loose and let the doors move so always repair the hinges too. Granted the Altman latches are nice but too costly compared to Bearclaws. I know they have to get paid for design and prototype costs but I`m sure they will come down eventually.

    Here`s a pic of a cheap fix on one of my shop trucks. I just took my mig and ran a bead to force the ratchet up further. On a nice truck take the striker off and Tig a line at this location. It doesn`t take a large bead to make a big difference. The door shuts tight and you can`t force it open. Not pretty but better than riding around with a loose door.
     

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  17. That fix on the latches looks good. I got a spare set that I can try that on...I am willing to try anything before forking out the $400 for the trique set. Thx
     
  18. CTurner1978
    Joined: Oct 8, 2008
    Posts: 5

    CTurner1978
    Member
    from Arkansas

    Ol'Chevy - Thank you so much for the awesome review of our products. With your permission, I would like to use your video and images on our website.

    It is true, you can not lock the latches from the inside using our kit. We do realize that this is a sore spot for those that drive their vehicles on a daily basis. We are currently working on a solution to the problem and will keep everyone updated as things develop.

    Each one of our Altman Easy Latch Kits come with locking provisions on both latches so that a lock cylinder can be used on both doors. We also have developed a "kit specific" power lock kit for the 47-51 Chevy Altman Easy Latch Kit.

    While at first glance the price may seem high (349.95), but when you consider what this kit saves you in time, and or body shop pricing to accomplish the same thing it is hands down the less expensive alternative.

    While fixes to the old stock latches may help them close or open better, there is still the problem that some have with doors popping open. The most common statement I have heard from people concerning our latches revolved around the fear (or past experience) of the doors coming open. No matter how nicely your stock or repop latches may operate they have one flaw that will always work against them. During cornering, body twist can occur in the cab of your truck which can allow your door and cab to pull away from one another. Stock latches have nothing to stop this from happening. What results is the door popping open. Our latch kit utilizes a striker pin with a hex head that prevents horizontal separation during body twist.
     
  19. ol'chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,283

    ol'chevy
    Member

    This is Russ from Charlotte. I spoke to you and Troy(?) Aultman several times.
    Feel free to use the pic.s and videos. I've been talking these things up to everyone I know. They are WELL worth the $ in fit and finish and simplicity alone. You guys need to do Charlotte Autofair in the Spring.

    Send me a set of those locks and I'll review them also.
     
  20.  
  21. MilesM
    Joined: May 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,205

    MilesM
    Member

    Any alliance vendors have these?
     
  22. whid
    Joined: Jun 20, 2008
    Posts: 452

    whid
    Member

    This is something that i'm gonna do with my 49...I saw them in Louisville last year and they impressed the hell out of me..They had a F-1 cab there with one of these kits installed. one door was a stock latch and the other door one of their latches, damnnnnnn...talk about a difference....whid
     
  23. Bein55
    Joined: Jan 4, 2007
    Posts: 8

    Bein55
    Member
    from Geneseo,IL

    thanks for the common sence fix. I appreciate it....and I'll use that $400 somehere else on my truck
     
  24. MilesM
    Joined: May 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,205

    MilesM
    Member

    One more time. Any Alliance vendors with these?

    Also if you order the 53 and up, I think it is, latch plates they have another peice to them and work better and they fit on earlier trucks.

     
  25. fleet-master
    Joined: Sep 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,774

    fleet-master
    Member

    I fitted some Altman Easy latches to a 40 Ford here recently. They were ok...after I got the striker pins machined to fit into the latch mech ...and made and fitted new threaded blocks into the door posts as the original Ford screws were larger diameter than the supplied striker block slots/screws...etc
    They were essentially bearclaws with all the extra bits needed to lock them(inside door only-we chose to go with locking solenoids) and the arms to join to inside door handle.Certainly that would have taken quite a bit of working out to be fair.
    The car hasn't hit the road yet and I'm waiting with trepidation to see how they hold up over time with use. I may have got a dud kit of course...but I'd think twice before recommending them to another client at this stage.
    just my .02, PB
     
  26. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,174

    Truckedup
    Member

    That Altman latch kit looks nice.My own experience on the repop latch parts is they are junk.The stock 47-51 Chevy AD truck latches can usually be repaired for zero dollars.I have done it several times with good results. Remove the latch from the door and play with it so you see how it works.There's a "latch" that catches on a curved arm with teeth. Notice the teeth are worn down in the area of most use.Remove the curved arm by grinding off the rivet it pivots on,save as much of the rivet as possible because you will weld it back on later.The arm is hardened so you need to use something like a Dremel tool to re-profile the worn teeth.Not sharp but like the slightly rounded like the unworn teeth.Then dress the latch piece catching on the teeth,again not sharp.Put the latch back to together by tack welding the rivet in place.The bracket around the rotating part on the latch exterior may also need a few spot welds.When the latch is apart do check for broken springs...............Some grease on the moving parts,should work pretty damn good....
     
  27. ol'chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,283

    ol'chevy
    Member

    I've done 2 more of these kits on ADs and they just get easier. The money saves SOOO much time. I have a few more kits sold after the Run to the Sun show this weekend.
     
  28. Heading out to the garage to install mine right now!
     
  29. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,280

    Cosmo49
    Member

    I think mine took a couple days, sooooooo worth it, LOVE them!!! 1949 Chevy 1/2 ton.
     

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