Scissor Door Conversion
How to Install
What are Scissor Doors?
Scissor doors are doors that
open vertically instead of horizontally. They are also
referred to as "jack knife doors" or "lambo doors", which
refers to the doors on a Lamborghini, an Italian sports
car. Below is a picture of a modern Lamborghini Diablo SE.
First and Foremost:
|- Will electrical
wires need to be extended? Depending on the type of
vehicle and the position of the hinge, you may be
required to extend electrical wires running into your
door. Wires for door controls, power mirrors, and
speakers may need to be extended if they are not long
enough to allow the door to raise vertically.
- Will you void the warranty on your vehicle if you rip
the doors off and apply this modification? You should
check first if this is a concern for you.
- Will your vehicle pass inspection in your state or
local area with extremely modified doors?
- Also, is it feasible for your vehicle? Scissor doors
can probably be engineered for any vehicle, but will it
be difficult for you and your passengers to get in and
out of the vehicle?
Installing Scissor Doors on
Despite what you may
believe, scissor doors are not that difficult to install.
There are plenty of body shops out there that will charge
you $2,000 - $10,000 for this modification, but that is a
ridiculous price to pay for what you are really getting.
Yes, it looks like an extreme mod, but in reality, all
that you need is a pair of custom hinges, and a pair of
pressurized gas struts, and a little welding experience!
The toughest part of this project is to find a hinge for
your needs and to get it welded in the proper position so
that everything aligns properly.
An overview of the process:
1. Remove the door from the vehicle.
2. Remove the factory hinges.
3. Remove the door latch.
4. Inspect the electrical wires and make sure they
are long enough for the door to swing vertically 90
degrees. If not, extend the wires so they will reach.
5. With the help of a couple friends, hold the
detached door in place and mimic the desired motion of
the door. This will let you know how the hinge needs
to work and where it needs to be mounted so that the
door will function properly.
6. Purchase or manufacture a sturdy hinge that will
allow the door to swing in the motion determined
previously in step 5.
7. Temporarily attach the door to the vehicle with
the new hinge and, with the help of your friends, lift
the door up and down making sure that everthing aligns
properly and that nothing is in the way.
8. Purchase a pressurized gas strut and mount one end
to the vehicle chassis and the other to the door.
This will raise the door and keep it from falling when
you are climbing in and out of your vehicle.
9. Redesign the latching mechanism for the door.
Since the door doesnt open horizontally anymore, the
system will need to be rotated so that it can latch
vertically. This may require that the end of the door
be shaved in an inch or two. No big deal for anyone
with a little welding experience.
10. Test the operation of the door. Make sure that
the gas strut is strong enough to hold the weight of
the door, and test the redesigned latching mechanism.
Make sure that everything is permanently welded in
11. Repeat for the other door. This will be easier
and go much quicker now that you know what needs to be
12. Refinish the paint on the inner door surfaces.
Installation of scissor
doors on a kit car
Below is a picture of the
passenger side door of a kit car being built with scissor
doors. As you can see, they placed the hinge at the top
corner of the door. Also note the mounting of the strut.
Passenger Side Door
A: Door Hinge
B: Chassis Frame
C: Gas Strut (Shock)
Obtaining the Hinges
If you know someone that
works at a machine shop, have them look at your door and
they should be able to manufacture a pair of custom hinges
for your vehicle. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a
pair of hinges.
Belove, we have included a list of companies that
manufacture hinges for scissor door applications:
Street Dreams offers 5 different packages of scissor door
conversions. You can purchase a pair of hinges for just
over $400, or you can buy the entire installation kit for
$685. The installation kit includes everything you will
need such as hinges, mounting plates, gas struts, and
They offer a VDC (Vertical Door Conversion) package for
1994-01 Acura Integra's, 1992-00 Honda Civics, and 1994-97
Honda Accords. These packages bolt directly onto the
vehicle and do not require welding, drilling, cutting, or
painting! Install time is less than 2 hours! However, the
price for the package is $1599.00. Thats alot of money, but
still a lot cheaper than taking your car to a customizing
shop. They are currently working on developing packages for
other vehicles, so check with thier website to see if they
have released a package for your vehicles. Also, Decah has
confirmed that these kits can be converted to fit almost any
vehicles with slight modifications.
Obtaining a pair of gas
purchase the entire installation kit from Street Dreams you
will receive a pair of gas struts. If you are trying to do
this installation practically free, you can find a cheap
pair of struts at a salvage yard. Look for strong hood
struts at a salvage yard. They will need to be very strong
in order to hold up the weight of your door. This is
especially true if you intend to mount the strut to the door
very close to the hinge. Less force will be required to
lift the door if you mount the strut as far away from the
hinge as possible. However, the farther you mount the strut
down the door, the longer the strut will need to extend.
This is why you need to analyze your door and determine
where you will need to mount the gas strut on the door and
on the chassis of the vehicle.
Before choosing a pair of struts, you will need to make sure
that they are long enough to reach from the mounting
position on the chassis to the mounting position on the door
when the door is fully extended. Also, they must be very
strong. The stronger the better. The last thing you want
is a door that wont stay up on its own.
If you install the strut and find that the door wont stay up
on its own, you will have to mount the strut further down
the door away from the hinge. This will require less force
to lift the door. If this still doesnt help, or if you cant
position the strut any lower, you will have to find a
stronger set of struts or you could add another strut to the
door. To order a stronger pair of struts go to an auto
parts store and ask for thier assistance. They will then
order a pair of struts that will work for your particular
Possible gas strut mounting
Converting the door latch
|At this stage,
you should have the door mounted and the gas strut installed
and working. The door should go up easily and smoothly (on
its own or with a little help). When the door is shut
everything should be aligned properly, and you should make
sure that the door will be snuggly against the rubber seals
around the top of the door. Now that the door looks great
on your vehicle, you'll need to convert the latch so that
you can keep your door shut and locked.
Previously, your door latch probably consisted of a stiker
pin mounted to the vehicle and a latch in the door with a
horizontal opening to accept this striker pin. Now that the
door will be closing vertically, the latching system will
have to be redesigned.
Option 1: Try to save some money by using your existing
should still be take apart from the hinge and strut
installation. So take a look at how your latch works.
Would it be possible to use the existing latch with a little
cutting, welding and engineering? A possible solution would
be to cut the latch out of the door and engineer a way for
it to mount vertically within the door. Keep in mind that
you'll also have to reposition the stiker pin on the
vehicle. Below is a picture of an Eclipse striker pin
|It appears to
be some kind of pneumatic striker. It probably pulls the
door in against the car, and or pushes it away from the car
when being opened.)
|If you have
T-Tops or a vehicles that requires the door to be pushed
away from the door frame before swinging up, you can look
into installing such a system. However, you can accomplish
the same thing by simply mounting the hinge at an angle.
Instead of mounting it straight up and down, you can mount
it angled so that the top of the hinge is angles up and away
from the vehicle. This way the door will swing away from
the vehicle and not straight up and down. This will allow
the top of the door to clear the top of the car, and it will
also keep the lower bottom corner from wedging in the
Also, since the door will be swinging down onto the striker
pin, you will probably have to modify the end of the door to
allow the stiker pin to pass through. For example, you can
cut a small groove up the middle of the end of the door up
to the opening of the latch. This will allow the striker
pin to pass through. (Note that this solution will
work with the way the striker pin is position above. For
the striker position pictured above, the door latch will
need to protrude from the door, or a couple inches will need
to be shaved from the end of the door.)
Option 2: Try to save time
and aggravation by purchasing new latches..........
If you dont want
to use your existing latches, you can simply purchase a new
set specifically designed for scissor door applications.
Usually, these latches are designed like the ones pictured
For $85, you can obtain a
set of scissor door latches and striker pins from:
To install them, you'll have to cut out the existing
latch, taking note of exactly how it functions. Then
you'll have to weld in the new latch, and you'll have to
cut and weld to install the new striker pin as well.
You'll probably have to modify the end of the door to
allow the striker pin to pass by without hitting the door,
but if you've made it this far it should be a piece of
(Note how the circled area
above has been shaved in to allow the striker pin to
|To allow the
striker pin to pass by, you will probably have to modify the
end of the door like in the picture above. Shaving most of
the end of the door, like in the picture aboce, will produce
the best results. If you just try to cut a groove up the
middle of the end of the door, then the door must swing
perfectly along that axis. For example, if you cut a groove
straight down the middle of the end of the door, then the
door must swing perfectly up and down in order for the
striker pin to pass through. If there is any flex at all in
the door, the pin will scrape the door, chip the paint and
maybe even get stuck from time to time. So it is definitely
best to shave the entire area on the end of the door like in
the picture above.
mounting the door to the hinge, wrap a flexible plastic hose
over the electrical wires running to the door and secure the
hose alongside the door hinge. This will prevent the wires
from being stretched when the door is being raised.
2. If the bottom corner of the door hits the door frame
when being opened, the hinge needs to be mounted with the
top edge angled up and away from the vehicle. (Instead of
just mounting it straight up and down.) This will cause the
door to open out and up instead of coming straight up.
3. You should only angle the hinge enough to allow the door
to open properly. If you have it swinging out too far, your
door wont have enough room to open in tight parking spaces.