Door gap adjustment for MKIV saloon

Hello gentlemen, a fellow was kind enough to inform me today, there is an effective way to adjust the inconsistent door closing gaps on a MKIV saloon, by loosening the body to chassis bolts and making adjustments from there. Time constraints prevented me from absorbing the procedure, so I wondered if anybody out there in Jaguar land would be able to expand on the basics for me please.

You can only really make adjustments to the door gaps by loosening the body to chassis bolts if you have detached the cills (body rockers).

You can of course move the doors within their existing frames by inserting packing strips behind the hinges or by crushing the hinges in a vice.


It seems to me that this is suggesting a body with collapsing or otherwise distorted sills. The body would be moving like a trapezoid.

I can see on mine where at the joint between the left B pillar and the sill it is rusted and weak. I will have to do some strengthening there before I lift the body off the frame.
These bodies were built on some sort of welding fixture or jig that aligned the mounting points very accurately, so they would all fit on the chassis correctly. This also fixed the door apertures.
We don’t have that fixture, so we have to use the chassis as our fixture.
This of course assumes the chassis is reasonably close to straight.
What is the state of your car? Restored, beginning the restoration, undergoing body straightening, ready for door hanging?

1 Like

Whilst in theory it should be possible to adjust the door gaps by moving the body panels, in practice I found this to be a none starter to attempt without a factory jig which the original production line would have had. Unless the chassis or body panels have been subject to accident damage (and changed shape) or doors from a different car are being fitted then I think working with each door at a time to get them aligned is the easiest solution.

I think it would be virtually impossible to “flex” the main body shell without all parts being stripped off first, and even then (when I had done this) I concluded that to move the body would probably need a hydraulic ram.

With the doors put back on after I stripped it down (and left on the body shell whilst the body was prepared for the respray) I found it relatively easy to adjust each hinge to get them aligned one at a time. I first used some temporary washers behind each hinge plate, then made up some shim strips to plate behind the hinges when the paint job was complete.

You can see on the above photo that the bottom hinge (without any packing pieces in place) was allowing the trailing edge of the door to catch the door pillar.

With packing pieces the gaps could be reasonably well created all around, but it was a very long job as each variation of each part works 3 dimensionally on the door position !!

Also the hinge fixing screws on the body itself are located into plates within the door pillars and if slackened off (and you can free the plates up - mine initially were rusted somewhat to the pillars) there is some movement up/down and in/out. Be careful NOT to drop these plates within the door pillars as they are a pain to get back into position - I took one screw out at a time and inserted some wooden dowel pegs through the holes to hold the plates in position when needed).

The bodies willl flex a little witha jack under variousbody mounting oints, of which there are 8. Of course better if the car had good gaps before starting to drill a 1/8"though each f the mounting points so as to get it back to the original and obviously replace th e sills, if that is needed, BEFORE taking the body off the chassis
And doors don’t generally interchange between different cars. We had a NOS unused door a few years ago, which wouldn’t fit the car we had in to restore
And on cars like these , the door gaps were bigger than modern cars.

I found matching numbers of the Body shell to others stamped inside each door, so I suspect the factory perhaps identified the door sets to mate each body.

Hello Ed, thanks for that information. All the gaps on 511438 are acceptable, with the exception of the Lhf door, which is relatively snug against the A pillar. Geoff, the now owner is preparing another of the spare doors to replace the RHR, I’ve passed on
the information of the poor interchangeability between doors, we’ll see how the “new” door fits. Would you recommend any particular plan of attack that may assist in widening that particular LHF gap, no point in fiddling around with any more mounting points
than necessary. If you require images of the door and it’s gap, please let me know and I’ll take some additional snaps. Just a couple to show progress, keeping in mind this is Geoff’s first Jaguar resto.

With best regards,


Thanks David, that’s interesting to know. Makes sense , I suppose .

With best regards,


Hello Rob, thank you for the informative reply to my enquiry. The car belonged to my late Father and has been off the road since 1972. The current owner is performing his first Jaguar restoration and given the state of some of the parts of the car, is doing
a wonderful job, in my opinion. My father had removed both passenger side doors, the LHF is the one with the tightest fit, being quite snug against the “A” pillar. The sills , at least the outer portion, were eaten away by rust, the inner portion was still
solid, so was left as it was. The body will be left on the chassis, this will be a driven not a concours car. I am pleased though, to see how nice the toolkit looks in the trunk, I took this picture last weekend. Roger’s guidance has been exceptional. The
3 long tube spanners aren’t in the kit at this point as I am seeking to have them “blued” and I am currently trying to locate a source of the sound deadening material that is found in the lid.

With best regards,


Hello David, many thanks for the information and pictures. The car has 8 spare doors, maybe we could try another on the LHF to see if it improves the gap before anything else is changed? Lavender Grey is the original colour of this car, a late September 1948
build, 2 1/2 litre.

With best regards,


If the edges of a replacement door from another donor car is a snug fit then I have on a previous restoration job slightly ground off a small amount on the leading edges, as the metal thickness on these older cars is greater than you will find on modern vehicles. You just need to do this carefully and keep inspecting to make sure you are ok - and I found it best to keep the door on the hinges and continually try it on each pass of the grinding wheel. You can always take a bit more off, but it is difficult to put some back!!

The front door front gap will increase if you [can] drop the door slightly but this is abalancingact with clearance at top for rain gutter and bottom for running board strips. People have ground the edge past the fold and welded the 2 layers back together. I personally think a #6 oxy is better for that than a MIG. You can just fuse the 2 parts back together
You could try loosening the LH fr body mount and lift a little with a jack
Make sure to have big drain holes in the sills and the door bottoms. The orignal ideawas flawed in that the drain holes for the doors weren’t at the bottom. Guess what that mean?
We put 1/4" drain holes in the inner skin at the bottom before the outer skin goes on