Thursday, May 31, 2012

Door Striker Removal--Fire N' Ice

I has posted my door striker plate dilemma on the Yahoo Classic Mustang group I joined about 5 years ago.  I got all kinds of suggestions, a number of them I already tried.  But today, a guy named Glenn suggested getting a can of computer keyboard cleaner and using the cold spray on the screw head after heating up the surrounding striker plate.   I stopped by Wally World and picked up a can of the keyboard compressed air.  But I needed something with a fine flame.  So I got on the Lowes website and found a mini-propane hand-held torch that's refillable.  It looked familiar and then I remembered...the kitchen.   Once again I raided my kitchen and got my mini-propane torch I use for making Creme Brulee' and other culinary delights, once again reinforcing my believe that a house should be designed around two spaces--the garage and kitchen.  I had an evening meeting tonight, but I couldn't wait to try it out after I got home.  So with fire and ice in hand, I made a last-ditch attempt to free the screws before resorting to the drill.

The "fire" is on the left...the "ice" is on the right.
This nice hot thin flame should do the job....I hope.
The first attempt was to heat the face of the striker plate and then blow the cold air onto the center of the screw head.   It didn't work and wasn't as cold as I had hoped.  Then I decided to tip the can on its side so the fluid would be sprayed out with the air.  I got a frigid cold stream but the screw still didn't budge, even after a couple of tries.  OK.

Next attempt was to try it from the back side.  That attempt wasn't successful either.  I played around with different amounts of  times to heat the backing plate and then cool just the threads.  No such luck.   I was afraid that if I sprayed too much coolant on the threads I'd end up cooling down the back plate and not create enough difference in the expansion of the screw and threaded backing plate.   But after a few tries, I thought I had nothing to loose since this is all an experiment anyway.

The next attempt, I used the flame to heat the back side of the plate around the screw and did that for about 30-45 seconds to get it smoking hot--literally.

This is the shot of heating the backing plate that's threaded for the striker plate.   Pardon the picture quality as it was a challenge to hold the camera AND the hot pencil torch.

Then as quickly as I could I grabbed the "ice" canister, tipped the on its side and sprayed across the thread for a good 4-5 seconds hoping I didn't cool down the hot backer plate.

I quickly picked up my impact gun and gave it another shot.  For the first 10 seconds nothing happened and I though it was an exercise in futility.  But then... I saw the screw make a sudden 1/8 turn.  In another 3-4 seconds, it spun free!

It was finally loose!   Success once again!   It took three cycles on the bottom screw to get it to break loose, but the striker plate is now off the car.

So once again, I have a new learning experience thanks to another Mustang enthusiast.   Now I have no more excuses to get working on the metal work on the body.  Onward and upward!


  1. Congrats on the striker removal Dennis. As you said, you just never know which direction the problems will come. I was lucky as mine came out using one of those manual impact drivers.

    As a side note, can you imagine the abuse you put those screws through and still got them out intact? A testament to good ole' fashion American steel. If that had been a Chinese faster, you would have tore the center of it out on the first application of serious torque. Amazing!!!


    1. I was wondering how long it would take for me to shear off the head of the screws or even strip out the heads before I got them out. But that 44 year old metal is tough!

  2. Nice work Dennis! Hopefully you'll have smooth sailing from here on out.

    1. Thank Alex, but as much as I hope for smooth sailing, I know somewhere another challenge will rear it's ugly head. I guess that's what keeps all of us Mustang restorers going in a way. What's a restoration project without numerous "hick-ups"?

  3. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I
    provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My website is in the very same area of interest
    as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this ok with you. Thanks a lot!

    Feel free to visit my webpage play minecraft for free

    1. I don't mind as long as there is NO SPAMMING! This blog is to help others who are restoring Mustangs or any similar vehicles. Thanks for looking.