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Dakota Suicide Door Install!

Part 1
  Stylin' Trucks 2006 Sweepstakes Chevrolet Colorado  

You've seen Stylin' Joe Wagner's badass Dodge Dakota before. We did a bio article on Joe a few years back, and an update article last summer. Plus, you've seen him and his truck in the Herculiner Bed Liner product video. Now get ready to see some actual work being performed on this pavement dragging ride.

Joe wanted to have some suicide door hinges installed, so we took his 2000 Dodge Dakota down to our friends at Ohio Technical College, an automotive trade school in Cleveland, Ohio. They beat out every major automotive school to become the 2009 National Automotive Trade School of the year. Very nice guys!

In part one of this article, the instructor and his students get most of the fabrication and installation work completed on the passenger side. Check back soon for part two, where you'll see them smoothing and finishing the welds, painting all the exposed metal surfaces, and putting the doors back together.

The Installation:
Follow along as Auto-Body Instructor Matt O'Konowitz and his Ohio Technical College students get going on the passenger side.
(Click the pictures to expand.)

LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
1. OTC Instructor Matt O'Konowitz and his students check out the kit.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
2. The Dodge Dakota before installation.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
3. The students begin work on the truck.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
4. First order of business is removing the door panels and window glass. Here, the instructor supervises removal of the power window system.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
5. Removing the window glass.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
6. The Auto-Body program students focus on collision-repair and body work. They also learn skills related to body work like the removal and installation of molding and interior trim pieces.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
7. Once the glass and door panel are removed the door can be unbolted from the truck.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
8. Remove that pesky door pin. It'll be moved to the front of the door.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
9. With the passenger door off, the students start brainstorming the installation. Here, they hold up the hinge mounting plate to the Dakota's rear door jamb.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
10. A student discusses the install with the instructor..
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
11. The driver-side door is removed.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
12. There she sits, sad and lonely.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
13. Here's the factory hinges, and wiring for the door's power windows and speakers.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
14. The students begin fabrication by creating a clean surface to mark on.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
15. Here, they check for clearance by holding up the Suicide Hinge, and the hinge mounting plate.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
16. The instructor begins laying out cut lines. The Dakota has a tapered and molded door jamb, so the hinge mounting plate will have to be cut in half, and the hinge will be recessed slightly.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
17. The marked area is cut away.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
18. The instructor checks for clearance and shows the students where the hinge should mount.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
19. Another student gets time on the cutting wheel. He slices an opening for the lower hinge.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
20. Here's the upper hinge. The students have cut the door jamb, attached the hinge mounting plate, and boxed the whole thing in.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
21. The instructor adds a few more spot welds. The whole box will be welded in and smoothed soon. Notice the welding blanket to protect the interior, the team at OTC is all about professionalism.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
22. The upper hinge is perfectly aligned and level, and the lower hinge box is right behind it.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
23. With the door aligned, a student grinds away paint in preparation for welding.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
24. Reinforcements are added and the hinge mounts are welded to the door.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
25. Here a student welds more support to the inner door.
LSD Doors Lambo Door Kit
26. Here's the Dakota at the end of day 2.
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