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Help! Thicker Door Panels Make My Shaft(s) Too Short!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by taxirod, May 10, 2007.

  1. taxirod
    Joined: Feb 14, 2007
    Posts: 12

    from Georgia

    I am mildly rodding a '63 Checker Marathon that was never a taxi. You know, the NYC taxi cars that look like a cross between a '55, DeSoto, Stude, Buick, HumVee, Sherman tank and God knows what else. Bob DeNiro drove one in the movie "Taxi Driver." You either hate them or love them. I've had three so far. It currently is mostly stock, with a Continental OHV 226 straight-six and 3-speed manual with overdrive. Sometime way, way into the future it will have a Chevy 350 and a 700R4, but for now, I'm using what I got.

    Here's my problem: I created new door panels that look more rod because the old panels had rotted into nothing. I used 1/8 " Masonite board overlaid with a nice pebbly plastic sheet painted with silver fabric spray and other touches. Looks bitchin'! Fits perfectly! I'm swooning with self-congratulation and "I'm the man" 'tude. Until I go to putting on the door handle and window crank.

    The panels are thicker and much stiffer than the nearly cardboard originals. They follow the curve of the door okay, but just won't allow enough meat of the shafts to install the hardware. If I push in the panels really hard, I might be able to get the handles to go on, but I would never be able to get them back off again. The handles are standard GM with the clips. Is there any way to extend the shafts, or is there anyone who makes extensions? I surely can't be the only one who has run into this problem. I am desperate enough to consider drilling the center of the shafts and the handles and putting in screws. Anyone have a better idea?

    It's hard to admit that your shaft is too short and the job can't get done. Sigh.
  2. I see a trip to the junkyard in your future...

    Or go to the window hardware aisle in a REAL hardware store and see if there's something there you can use.
  3. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    Once upon a time handle shaft extensions were available for GM cars and trucks...the era of the custom vans and shaggy interiors and waterbeds and puffy shirted doors.
    Black_Sheep likes this.
  4. taxirod
    Joined: Feb 14, 2007
    Posts: 12

    from Georgia

    Thanks for the ideas. We have an Ace Hardware here that puts Home Depot and Lowe's to shame when it comes to oddball hardware. One of the guys there happens to have a hot Mustang, and he knows cars.

    Right now, if I get in the car and latch the door shut, I'll be stuck in there, screaming in the 90 degree heat until my wife gets off work. I try to remember to leave the passenger side door ajar while I'm working.

    Yeah, those were the days with Shaggy and Scooby Doo vans. I had a buddy who did his all black with UV lights and glo posters. The fur was so thick his girlfriend got furballs.
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  5. Goztrider
    Joined: Feb 17, 2007
    Posts: 3,067

    from Tulsa, OK

    I wonder if you could use a holesaw drillbit to open an area behind where the door handle escucheon (SP?) mounts? Say, if they escucheon is 2", then put a hole about 2 1/2" behind it for the escucheon to recess slightly, then mount the handle and go on from there.

    I'd only remove the masonite material so that there is still plenty of padding and stuff behind it, but it'll allow the material to be pushed back far enough to get the door handle on and off. I'd be afraid the extensions would be harder'n hell to come by now, and with my luck, they'd all be too long and not look right.

    This is what I'd try it if were me.
  6. One possibility is to check with some of the classic Chevy truck vendors for the extensions. Thicker aftermarket panels are pretty common, & extenders are available for Fords.

    Beyond that, I'd go along with what Greg said. You can get plastic flanged (self-centering) trim washers to fit behind the handles/cranks, just like GM used (dunno about Checker). They will keep the handle from chewing up the panel covering. :)
  7. MilesM
    Joined: May 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,200


    I just had to replace mine that were worn out in my custom 57 chevy. They had extensions on them that looked like they were cut and a little sleeve was welded in to extend it a little bit. Not sure what the aftermarket extensions looked like but I geuss that could be what these are then tac welded together or they are just home made (Bill Hines?)

    I spaced my reproduction ones out with washers behind on the three bolts and had enough space to move out before it hit the back of the panel. You might or might not be able to do this if there is space.
  8. nailheadroadster
    Joined: Jun 7, 2006
    Posts: 1,523


    Get a holesaw that is just slightly bigger than the base of the window crank. Make sure the current hole for the shaft is centered on the masonite, if not, get it really close to center... That is very important for the finished product to fit and look correct! Using the holesaw, cut from the back of the panel being extremely carful not to cut into the new door panel covering. DO NOT make the hole for the shaft any bigger! If you do, it could rip bigger than the base of the window crank the first time you use it and then you'll be covering the panel again. Install the panel. When you go to put the crank on, it will push the covering in creating a "frenched" look. Viola! Then go show all yer friends and take credit for the new trend sweeping the nation.
  9. Lobucrod
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 4,089

    Alliance Vendor
    from Texas

    I keep getting e-mails for stuff to make my shaft longer. Want me to start forwarding them all to ya?
    jimmy six, 325w and kidcampbell71 like this.
  10. taxirod
    Joined: Feb 14, 2007
    Posts: 12

    from Georgia

    Lot of good tips. I'm glad others remember the extensions because some of my buds around here are looking at me like I'm some kind of dink. I'm already on their "suspicious list" for owning Checkers. A fellow rodder today came up with a possible fix that I'll try soon (rains are coming) and get back. Involves no cutting, just putting several unlikely things together. I'll post some pics if it works.

    This '63 Checker is a Frankenstein of different car parts! From the factory it came with Stude, Ford, Continental, and GM stuff, and I've added DeSoto, Harley-Davidson, International Harvester, Moon, and homemade bits and pieces. It's gonna be flat black with silver, gray, and blue trim and accents. I'm probably going to add some checkerboard somewhere as a tribute to it's taxi genes.

    "Exercise is bunk. Healthy people don't need it. Sick people shouldn't take it." Henry Ford Sr.
  11. taxirod
    Joined: Feb 14, 2007
    Posts: 12

    from Georgia

    After several failed experiments with making extenders, some discrete screws fixed the problem, but the aftermarket "Made In China" crap is out the door. The supposed repop "GM OEM" junky handles were loose, and the holes are way too big for the shafts.:mad: The handles had less "width" to them, which created the whole problem to begin with. With the extra screws on the panel, I was able to use the original handles. They weigh twice as much as the foreign junk! They are pretty pitted, which is why I bought the new handles in the first place, but they shined up okay. This isn't a restoration or a show car, it's a daily driver rod that will be enjoyed. For a car that came from the factory as a Frankenstein (Continental engine - essentially Kaiser-Frazer, B/W trans., Studebaker brakes, Ford suspension, S/W gauge set, and dozens of bits and pieces from GM, Ford and Chrysler), it's appropriate. There will be no other like it at any show or cruise I go to!
  12. your building a rod right? get rid of the stock handle mechanism all together and mount some later model ones flush in the panels. if you carefully cut out the area where the handles mounted save the pieces and weld in pieces from newer car or truck. like the one's in newer gm cars or any car you find, they are easy to hook up just grab all of the hardware. plenty of crashed or rusted doors laying around. good luck and post some pic's when your handles are done.
  13. Mark Vaughan
    Joined: Jan 20, 2016
    Posts: 1

    Mark Vaughan

    image.jpeg image.jpeg
    I feel your pain, but now there is a solution for this. My company manufactures a high quality all steel extension that can add 1/2" to 13/16" to your existing shaft depending on how you attach it to the original shaft.
    It is a steel bushing with a window/door crank shaft welded to it that slides over the existing shaft and is firmly secured with a Stainless Steel set screw.The extensions are conveniently sold on eBay by Resto-Mod of Connecticut or you can contact Mark Vaughan at (860)208-3924 to place an order. image.jpeg

    Attached Files:

  14. Inked Monkey
    Joined: Apr 19, 2011
    Posts: 1,611

    Inked Monkey

    Good information for somebody but this thread is 9 years old.
  15. 12 years now ,,,,
    Figured out last week that we need some.

    And these look good but wondering how it works without the internal splines.
  16. evintho
    Joined: May 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,218


    Should be easy enough to make. No internal splines? Drill the existing shaft and pin the bushing to it.
  17. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 1,120


    Glad someone brought this back. Got me motivated to go to the garage to finish my window crank issues.

    Sent from my SM-T350 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    31Dodger likes this.
  18. I need to do this for an old Ford with the square shaft. Somebody cut mine short for some unknown reason and I had to drill and tap a hole in the center to mount Model A door handles, but I want to mount 37 handles to match my 37 window cranks.
    I may just weld on extensions of square stock instead of a sleeve.

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