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Driver Door doesn't close properly
#1
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Jay Faubion
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The lower hinge on my driver-side door has developed enough play in it that the door no longer closes "square". As a result, the strike plate (I guess that's what you call it) is getting worn from the door hitting it too low. You can hold the door with two hands and move it up and down when it is open.

I'm thinking that I need to pull the door off and put a bushing in there or something. Has anyone done this? Any pointers on doing it right?

Posted on: 2009/6/24 9:12
Jay Faubion
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Re: Driver Door doesn't close properly
#2
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Eric Boyle
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Sounds like your hinges might just be loose. I just fixed this problem on my '48, and all I did was open the door as far as it would go, put a jack under the door at the furthest point out with a little pressure on it, then loosened the bolts. I jacked the door up what I thought should be good, then tightened the bolts up. Now it shuts perfectly. (Other than the fact that there's no rubber seal on the door anymore, so it doesn't fit just quite right) I think the main problem with these cars is that they rust down there a lot, so you might want to make sure that the area is rust free. If it's not, you'll have to pull the door off and make patch panels to repair it.

Posted on: 2009/6/24 10:19
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Re: Driver Door doesn't close properly
#3
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Owen_Dyneto
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Your diagnosis is probably correct, door hinges usually get little to no lubrication and the lower one gets some abuse from the environment. I don't recall how these were constructed postwar, many prewar models used replaceable bushings with an oiling provision. I'd suspect you're either going to rebush, or if not originally bushed, perhaps drill, fit with bushings and ream, and/or ream and make a new hinge pin. All pretty simple and basic stuff for the handy guy, hardest part will be removing the hinge.

Posted on: 2009/6/24 10:32
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Re: Driver Door doesn't close properly
#4
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JD in KC
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Looking at the Parts List, the only items listed for the front door hinges are the group number 30.310 Hinge Assembly and 30.312 Pin-Hinge. So it would appear that there is no replaceable bushing. I have the same problem with the front passenger side door on my '50. After I check out the re-adjustment possibilities, I guess I'll then check for a worn hinge pin(s) and follow Owen's advice.

Posted on: 2009/6/24 11:18
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Re: Driver Door doesn't close properly
#5
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Paul E. Gallagher
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I have a similar problem on my 49 Deluxe Eight - 23 Series, but the door lock assembly is worn on the driver's door. (it sticks quite regularly so the door won't open from the inside or outside.) Max Merritt may be able to find one ($295 minus $100 for returned core) or rebuild mine. Any other sources, or is their a supplier who re-builds them? Could a good locksmith fix this? Any suggestions appreciated.

Posted on: 2009/6/24 21:44
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Re: Driver Door doesn't close properly
#6
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Eric Boyle
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Try spraying some WD40 or PB Blaster before you spend $300 on something you may not need. If it doesn't work, let me know, I have a line on some parts for those years of cars and may be able to get one a heck of a lot cheaper.

Posted on: 2009/6/25 0:53
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Re: Driver Door doesn't close properly
#7
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Chuckltd
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To determine if it's the hinge itself that's worn, you need to have someone lift the door up and down while it's open. While they're moving the door, look inside at the hinge joints and see where the play is.

Posted on: 2009/6/25 1:17
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Re: Driver Door doesn't close properly
#8
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Paul E. Gallagher
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Turbo: I have taken the door handle off, and lubricated everything inside. When the latch sticks, the star wheel on the outside will not spin freely. When this happens ( with the door handle off) I can see a spring popping out where it should not be. Is this a good explanation? If you know what I need and a source for the part, I would appreciate the info.

Posted on: 2009/6/25 20:54
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Re: Driver Door doesn't close properly
#9
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Rusty O\'Toole
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Yes this is a very common job around the body shop.

This lesson will be generic since I have not done a Packard door. It is typical of American cars from the 40s through the 80s.

To test a door have it barely open and try to lift it up and down. If you feel any movement the hinges need to be rebushed and new pins put in.

(You have already done this)

To replace the pins and bushings you need to take the hinges off. This usually involves taking off the door. In the case of a door with lots of wiring for power windows etc. it is possible to take off the hinges one at a time but you have to be careful to support the door.

Mark the position of the hinge by scratching around it with an awl.

With the hinges off you can assess the damage. Usually all that is necessary is to take out the pins and bushings and replace them.

GM pins and bushings will fit most cars. They make a special bushing with serrations on the outside. It will fit tight in holes that are worn oval. You can get the pins and bushings at any parts store.

Lube the pins with white grease. In the case of oilite bushings soak them in oil overnight.

Put the hinges back on and line them up according to the marks you made. This will make an approximate fit.

To do the final fitting remove the latch pin. The door must be able to close with no latch if you are to see how to adjust it properly.

First, get the door fitting in the hole with an even gap all the way around. This means, loosen the bolts that hold the hinge to the body so you can lift the door up or down and move it around. If you want to lift up and forward, loosen the top hinge. To lift up and back, the bottom hinge. You will need to eyeball the door and think about it for a minute to get it to go where you want. It can take several attempts to get it perfect.

Remember the fender can be moved if necessary so if it is impossible to get a good fit all the way around, fit the door to the body and adjust the fender later.

With the door fitting nicely in the hole look to see if it is in or out at the top or bottom. This can be adjusted by loosening the bolts on the door and moving the door in or out.

Now you should have the door fitting perfectly but no latch. So take the latch pin and fit it in barely tight. Shut the door almost closed and peek in the crack. Can you see how the latch is hitting the pin? Move the pin up or down so it hits perfect and tighten it down. Now try closing the door. It should latch perfect but with the door sticking out from the body a little. Because you put the pin towards the outside.

Now how much does the door need to go in? Adjust the pin inwards that much.

The door should now fit perfect and latch with a gentle push.

I know this sounds like a lot of work but it is the only way to get a perfect fit. There are hit and miss methods but they never seem to result in a good fit. Unless you fool around all day and take longer than if you did it right.

Posted on: 2009/6/25 21:47
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Re: Driver Door doesn't close properly
#10
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Jay Faubion
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What an extremely helpful reply. I think you've told me exactly what I need to do.

Great information about GM bushings and pins, too.

Thanks (to everyone) for all the help.

Posted on: 2009/6/25 23:26
Jay Faubion
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