My suspicions that the bulkhead had warped during galvanising process have been borne out. After priming the door tops, I fitted them to the door bottoms and the drivers side door would no longer close. Passenger side was a perfect fit though.

The door top fouled the rear hard top panel to such an extent that they wouldn’t even fit with the trim panel (at the seatbelt mount) removed.

So, I needed to find about 10mm in the door opening.

First I tried moving the the hard top panel back as far as it would go. This sort of worked but then I would have (more) issues aligning the rear door.

Some searches on various Land Rover forums suggested applying some load to the top of the bulkhead (drivers side only) and pull / bend it forwards. There was plenty of room in the 3 slotted holes in the bulkhead support to allow some forward movement (see first image below). With hindsight, I should have dry fitted all the body panels when I fitted the naked bulkhead earlier in the year…. next time 😉



The frame of the door is tapered so no chance in closing even without the trim


These 3 bolts on the bulkhead support were slackened right off…


… along with all the fixings on the front wing


That’s a 2.5 tonne ratchet strap used for holding vehicles onto trailers. We won’t need 2.5 tonnes of load though.


The hook on the yellow ratchet strap was far too big to fit in gap between the bulkhead and windscreen frame, so a smaller ratchet strap was used. The Defender was used as an anchor point for the other end of the strap.


Viewed from the Defender end of the equation. Normally LGL lives in the garage, bonnet first but after an “n” point turn on the drive, I got him the right way round. So the steering works fine then 🙂

With load applied, I was able to “knock” the bulkhead supports to the end of their slotted holes, giving me the required 10mm. Once tightened, I put a few more “clicks” into the strap and with the whole top end of the bulkhead under tension, I left it for a few hours to be bed in. Should be noted that the suspension was also slightly compressed.

I have at least demonstrated the hand brake on LGL works 🙂

After a few cups of tea, the tension was released and the gap at the rear of the door top is much larger


Now with the trim panel back in and the door closes nicely. I’d call that a result. 

Next job in this department, will be to spray the door tops the correct colour, reglaze them, fit the new door seals, align the windscreen frame and fit the roof. The latter being open to debate as I will longer be able to get the vehicle in the garage until I replace the door.