HOW TO - 'Vert door pillar removal

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AZhitman
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HOW TO - 'Vert door pillar removal

Postby AZhitman » Sun Nov 14, 2004 6:45 pm

EDIT: Before you start reading through this discussion thread, you may want to check out the COMPLETE ARTICLE on this modification here:

240sx Convertible Door Pillar Modification - Complete Article With Pictures

Then, if you have questions or comments, you can come back to this thread. Thanks all!

p.s. Keep in mind, this article was completed in 2004. I've slept a few times since then, so I may not remember everything I did (thank goodness for the article and pics, right?) :)
__________________________________________________________________________

Well, here goes. Here's the first set of pics of this project.

Pic of the trunk, I'm building a false wall to mount the amps on, the Bazooka is stuffed in the back. Note the CD changer relocated to the left to make room for amps.
Image

Interior all stripped out, waiting for new goodies....
Image

More "nekkid" interior.
Image

The "operating room"...
Image
Image

Floor insulation installed - Dynamat, plus a layer of foil-backed "bubble wrap" for heat rejection.
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New molded carpet - SWEET!
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New wiring for the audio!!!
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OK, here's where we get to the good parts. We'll be using the REAR seatbelts for this project. Unbolt the rear seat belt retactors (make sure you have your keys, you'll want to run the top up to get to the back bolt. The seatbelts are easy to remove. Here's a pic of the seatbelt retractor, close to its new home.
Image

Place the seatbelt retractor mechanism in the lowermost hole in the panel behind the door, FACING INWARD (opposite of how it looked in its stock location. It should fit, you MAY have to whack the side of the opening with a hammer to "persuade" the hole to grow a tiny bit.

NOT PICTURED: Use the BOTTOM mounting tab, and drill a hole into the underlying metal, and run a bolt in there. This will keep the seatbelt mechanism square and solid.

Also (not pictured), for the TOP mounting tab, you obviously can't put a bolt through there, as the seatbelt runs between the tab and the body. Therefore, I took a piece of metal strip, placed a bolt through the top mounting hole and screwed it into the body metal on either side (this will brace the TOP of the seatbelt retractor while allowing space for the belt to retract and spool out.

You'll be using the FACTORY seatbelt mounting hole (from the coupe) which is also seen in this pic.
Image

Drill a hole (as shown) near the topmost hole in the panel, and mount your seatbelt loop there. Make sure the mounting tab is INSIDE the metal panel. This is ALSO a rear seatbelt part. Waste not, want not. :)
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Here's the seatbelt loop properly installed (properly if you're ghetto-rigging new seatbelts for a convertible). :)
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Next, cut a slot in your rear side panel (somewhat of a slight angle) as shown here. A dremel with a reinforced cutoff wheel works great.
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BEFORE you cut the slot, you'll need to lop off the big chunk of plastic on the back. A hacksaw blade (held by hand) works great here, as you can lay it flush and cut it off smooth.
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There's a great little seatbelt grommet in the FRONT door panels (at the bottom). Remove this (waste not, want not!) and use it in the rear panel as shown. It helps if you grind down the little nubs on the back side, as the rear panels are not as flexible as the fronts).
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Infinity Reference seperates and crossovers are a nice fit behind these panels (while we're at it). :)
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Here's how it looks (roughly fitted, not finished).
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More pics to come!


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silkk
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Postby silkk » Sun Nov 14, 2004 7:06 pm

Looks better like that instead of having it on the door.

Good write up Greg

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Re: HOW TO - 'Vert door pillar removal (AZhitman)

Postby base9se » Sun Nov 14, 2004 7:10 pm

Very detailed pics...Looks like you've been busy. Infinity components?

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Re: HOW TO - 'Vert door pillar removal (base9se)

Postby TrunkMonkey » Sun Nov 14, 2004 7:47 pm

base9se wrote:Infinity components?
stereo stuff.

very clean install greg. a lot less work than what i did too.

-demetrius

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Postby Dano » Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:07 am

looks real good

-Dan

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Postby 98s14inaz » Mon Nov 15, 2004 9:19 am

Good job. Looks good Greg.

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Postby Hijacker » Mon Nov 15, 2004 12:02 pm

i'll be right back -=looks at wallet. looks at tool box for tools needed. looks for lack of coupe doors. weeps=-

EDIT: Does that bass tube interfere with the top?

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Postby AZhitman » Mon Nov 15, 2004 12:15 pm

Bart - I used NO specialty tools. Matter of fact, I didn't buy ANYTHING, really.

This job cost me next to nada.

Coupe door panels are everywhere, and the selection is even better if you don't mind redoing the upholstery yourself (which I will be doing on mine).

Bass tube doesn't interfere with the top folding at all. Plenty of room.

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Postby Hijacker » Mon Nov 15, 2004 12:25 pm

after the deer accident, going to DC, and World of Warcraft's release next week, my resources are tapped. Maybe in the future when I have a bit more income to toss around.

I'm also curious to see how removing the doors affects the structural integrity of the car. I have a feeling that the doors themselves play a part in the car's rigidity.

EDIT: Where'd you get the carpet kit? I'm looking to do mine soon

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Re: (AZhitman)

Postby TrunkMonkey » Mon Nov 15, 2004 12:35 pm

greg, did you fiddle with the seatbelt wires in the door? i didn't have time to mess with them, so i left mine unplugged. now the seatbelt light stays on all the time.

make sure you put up pics of the finished product...doors and everything.

-demetrius

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Postby AZhitman » Mon Nov 15, 2004 12:36 pm

Bart, I'm not removing the doors. I'm replacing the door panels.

The "tower" is simply welded onto a coupe door, and from what I (and Demetrius) can tell, it's nothing but a stanchion for the belt.

In other words, nothing lost by removing it.

Carpet kit was $100, email me for the info (it's at home).

Seriously, this has cost me next to nothing to do (I'm cheap).

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Postby Hijacker » Mon Nov 15, 2004 12:59 pm

Hmm

while it sounds cool, and you get rid of the craptastic interior door panels, without some serious performance gains (read weight savings), all the work sounds like it's for nothing.

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Postby Anand » Mon Nov 15, 2004 12:59 pm

Looks really good!!!

I'm sure it's going to be Bad Arse when you are done with it!

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Postby Hellion240sx » Mon Nov 15, 2004 1:07 pm

Floor insulation installed - Dynamat, plus a layer of foil-backed "bubble wrap" for heat rejection.

so will you be able to hear the popping when you hit a bump????

and where did you say you got the carpet again???

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Re: (tenkawa_akito)

Postby AZhitman » Mon Nov 15, 2004 2:13 pm

tenkawa_akito wrote:without some serious performance gains (read weight savings), all the work sounds like it's for nothing.
This from a guy who laid 10 coats of paint on his brake calipers?

So far, approximately 80 lbs in weight savings, believe it or not.

Meech - I haven't messed with the seatbelt wires in the doors yet (aside from removing the spools). I'm not quite sure why they are wired, when the seatbelt sensor and wiring is IN the seatbelt latch.

Either way, I'll disable the seatbelt light.


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Re: (tenkawa_akito)

Postby TrunkMonkey » Mon Nov 15, 2004 2:34 pm

tenkawa_akito wrote:Hmm

while it sounds cool, and you get rid of the craptastic interior door panels, without some serious performance gains (read weight savings), all the work sounds like it's for nothing.
i did it because i hated the whole setup. the way the seatbelt came across my shoulder just felt uncomfortable and to top it off, that tower is just an additional unecessary blind spot. there really isn't that much work involved. greg's setup is much simpler than mine (maybe i should've had my wife helping me).

the reinforcements on the doors along with the two (yes two) seatbelt spools inside the door add up to some serious additional weight.

-demetrius

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Re: (AZhitman)

Postby TrunkMonkey » Mon Nov 15, 2004 2:42 pm

AZhitman wrote:Either way, I'll disable the seatbelt light.
that's what i was thinking .

-demetrius

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Re: (AZhitman)

Postby Hijacker » Mon Nov 15, 2004 2:56 pm

AZhitman wrote:This from a guy who laid 10 coats of paint on his brake calipers?

So far, approximately 80 lbs in weight savings, believe it or not.

Meech - I haven't messed with the seatbelt wires in the doors yet (aside from removing the spools). I'm not quite sure why they are wired, when the seatbelt sensor and wiring is IN the seatbelt latch.

Either way, I'll disable the seatbelt light.
that's low Besides, after weighing in the calipers with the paint, they were the same weight as my stock iron ones. So nyah

80 lbs?? That can't all be in the spool and tower. I'm very interested in doing this, I'm just analyzing it from every aspect before commiting myself to it..

The seat belts are wired in for tension reducers so when you open the door, you can leave the seat belt buckled, and not have it prevent the door from opening (nissan recomends that the belts stay buckled at all times and you just slip into the seat. It's why the belt light comes on when they're unbuckled)

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Postby AZhitman » Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:19 pm

Yep.

There's a top spool, a bottom spool, brackets, wiring, and whatnot, plus the pillar, AND the difference in weight between the vert and coupe door panel (one vert panel weighs the same as 2 coupe panels AND THE BOXES they were shipped in).

Thought you'd forgotten about the calipers.

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Re: (AZhitman)

Postby Eikon » Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:42 am

I want my car to be just like your car when it grows up. Can you help me out.. one good parent to another..?

I would love to do what you've done. I am looking forward to seeing pics of the finished project.

Can I get any door panels? Do they have to be from a coupe, or do the fastback panels work? Does it matter if they are power windows?

Can you take a pic of the front doors being put back together? How are you planning to get rid of the pillar? Are you just hacking it off with a cutter of some kind? Will the door panels from a coupe or FB cover up the place like it never was there? How are you going to deal with the seatbelt light?

OOH so many questions... Hope you don't mind. Thanks bud!Seth

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Postby gabossie » Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:28 pm

Very nice. How do you like the Reference components? I've had mine for about a year and I still love them, paired w/ a 12: Kicker in the trunk in a box that is easily removable for autox, I get the best of both worlds.

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Postby AZhitman » Wed Nov 17, 2004 7:57 am

Coupe or fastback door panels work fine once you're done, you will never know it was there.

Seatbelt light will still work if you want it to, I just shorted it out as I don't particularly care for it.

I lopped off the pillar and bracing on the driver door last night, will post pics tonight.

Weight reduction is amazing, I will weigh the total and report back when conpleted.

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Re: (AZhitman)

Postby spinout180 » Wed Nov 17, 2004 12:55 pm

I definitely want to see your doors once the new panels are on and the top is chopped off. I am getting ready to convert to harnesses so I won't need the seat belts in the doors anymore.

Where did you get the carpet kit and what is your opinion on the quality? It looks crumpled in the above photo so it is hard to tell.

Darren

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Re: (AZhitman)

Postby dcdcdc » Wed Nov 17, 2004 3:56 pm

you are a genius! this may seem like a dumb question, but why would nissan/asc even bother moving the seatbelts to the doors, especially if the stock mounting position is still there?

I can't wait to try this out on my own car. I also have a set of hatchback doors that I hope to swap. I suppose I'll need the vert windows so they seal. we'll see how it goes.

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Re: (dcdcdc)

Postby toptechracing » Wed Nov 17, 2004 4:40 pm

dcdcdc wrote:why would nissan/asc even bother moving the seatbelts to the doors.
to keep the doors closed in a bad wreck.......

Doesn't make a bunch of sense and now that I have seen it sone I will be doing the same thing when I start the interior.

Spinout: be carefull with those harnesses. Since they are not DOT approved the cops can write you a ticket for not wearing belts........Really stupid but it has been done.

Joe

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Postby Hellion240sx » Wed Nov 17, 2004 5:49 pm

sir where did you get the carpet. can't wait to see the finish product. that fourth pic makes me want a convertible

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Postby AZhitman » Thu Nov 18, 2004 7:45 am

A couple clarifications:

First of all, i have so far failed to give credit where credit is due. Demetius (demcj) did this project first and gave me the idea and the encouragement to tackle it. We have taken different paths to completing it, but I'd hazard a guess we have the only 2 convertibles in the US without door pillars (and with fully functional seat belts).

dcdcdc - The seatbelts were moved to the doors for one reason: Recall that at the time, motorized seatbelts were standard on the 240.

These were designed to NEVER be unbuckled, but rather to be fastened and allow entry to / egress from the car without unbuckling.

This is evident upon reading the 'vert owners manual, which recommends against unbuckling (the belts have TONS of length) and will extend as the door opens fully). Also, there is a decal on the seat belt button that says "Emergency Release".

These belt assemblies weigh a ton.

So by saying "stock mounting position", I only meant to the lower anchorpoint (near the floor. on the door sill). This is where the coupe and hatch have theirs mounted.

Lastly, upon disassembly of the doors, it is VERY interesting how they were done. They are thicker, but it appears ASC made an exact copy of the coupe door sheetmental and bumped it inboard approx 1.5" (to clear all the seatbelt crap). Once you cut that off, there is an identical panel underneath, and you can transfer the door handle, the door lock rod guides, and the door release and locking mechanism to the "original" location (just as it would have been had it remained a coupe.

Pics later, I was too tired after working on it last night to post them.

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Re: (AZhitman)

Postby guyaverage » Thu Nov 18, 2004 9:52 am

Can I be the lone dissenter here and say I'm not so sure this is a good idea?

Arent you going to be eliminating a passive door latch by chopping off the door pillar? Seems to me, in a convertible, the door is a major structural piece (not that it isnt in a coupe or hatch, but moreso in a vert). In a crash, the only thing you have supporting the sides of the car are the doors, and by eliminating that stout upper latch, I think you are giving up a lot of structural strength, relying on the 'regular' latch to provide all the strength keeping the door attached to the aft body. If you are unfortunate enough to get into a T-bone accident, I would think you would really want that upper latch to be there. If the door comes unlatched from the aft body, that door isnt going to protect you at all, as a matter of fact its going to come at you with a vengeance.

Can someone talk me out of this? I have never liked that pillar, but in looking into it myself I chickened out because I didnt want to make this chassis any less strong than it already is (or should I say, isnt).

There were other non-ASC Nissan verts (Silvias?) werent there? How did they handle this? Or did they?

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Postby AZhitman » Thu Nov 18, 2004 10:19 am

Good points GA.

The only thing I can offer in defense is that the coupe and hatch do NOT have the upper latch, and that's the only thing that seperates the 'vert door from a coupe / hatch door.

They all have the same internal bracing, and aside from the added welded-on plate and pillar, they are identical doors.

From the looks of it, the latch is more to ensure that the seatbelt attachment point is sufficiently braced to the rest of the body. The coupe and hatch have their upper belt mount on the B-pillar (which the vert doesn't have).

The "latch" floats freely, and appears to be a "catch" in the event the upper seatbelt stanchion experiences sufficient force to bend the "pillar" - force is then transmitted into the remainder of the unibody (once the "latch" moves sufficiently).

Vert doors start out as coupe doors, and remain coupe doors underneath.

Either way, if you get whacked that hard in a 'vert, it's all bad news anyway.

The JDM Silvia verts have no door pillar, but they may not even have shoulder harnesses. Lots less governmental babysitting in Japan.

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Re: (AZhitman)

Postby guyaverage » Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:13 pm

I hope you are correct that the upper latch is for reinforcement for the seatbelt and not for the chassis. I would hate to see a bunch of us do this mod and then have someone find out the hard way.

Like you said, if you get hit that hard in a vert, its probably going to be bad news any way you look at it, so this may be all a moot point.

Carry on.......

(More pictures!)...........


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