The driver's door that came with the bus appeared to be from an earlier model as it had the pull type door handle, so off we went in search for a suitable door. I still haven’t made up my mind whether I'm supposed to be lucky that I found this red front door as it was in so much worse condition than the one that came with the bus…
Things turned out even worse when it returned from sandblasting: there were holes everywhere! I did not have much choice though, so better try and make the best of it.
After lots of measuring and marking, I decided that it was time to get the grinder involved and start taking it apart. Unfortunately, this front door was to heavily rusted, I ended up taking out more than I aimed for and lots of pieces were just not available in body repair panels. So eventually, I ended up shaping my own pieces of sheet metal to fill up all the gaps.
As soon as I managed to refit the inner bottom of the front door (basically the framework) I could start fitting the outer door skin. Take your time and use plenty of clamps to temporarily hold the new sheet metal parts in place when welding. Start with some spot welds spread from the left to the right and carefully cool the metal with air. Keep spot welding from one side to the other, to prevent the sheet metal from deforming or warping.
Now we fitted the outer door skin to the frame, fold the edges of the door skin around the frame; use a hammer and support the places where you’re hammering with a small anvil to prevent the metal from getting damaged. You will have to make some cuts in the door skin at the corners; this will make it go around the corner much smoother.
Grind away the excessive welds using a multi-layer disk and complete the process with filler and a good primer.
I hoped that this would be it, but sandblasting exposed another potential rust threat: the mounting location of the window frame was also heavily corroded. Although it did not look so bad from the outside, I still decided to grind it away and have a look inside. My suspicion was right; rust trying to work its way out.
More welding challenges: how on earth do you recreate the tapered screw holes? I ended up cutting the old tapered screw holes out of the rusted piece of metal and welding it back onto the new bit. I used a lot of spot welds to fill up the missing bits and pieces but got there eventually.