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rebuilding door hinges

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Category: The Garage
Forum Name: Body/Interior
Forum Description: Paint, glass, interior, rust, sheetmetal goes here.
Printed Date: Feb/28/2021 at 10:00pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.03 -

Topic: rebuilding door hinges
Posted By: billd
Subject: rebuilding door hinges
Date Posted: Jan/11/2012 at 10:14am
The car - 1982 Eagle SX/4. Door hinges worn, out of adjustment and alignment, and the hinge spring broken on the right door, worn bad on the driver door.

Parts and tools ->
I used those "Help" bubble pack hinge pin and bushing kits.
The "Help" brand part number is 38410. The "Needa" brand is 384102. They are basically the same, one has a silver finish on the pin, the other a gold color finish, but otherwise identical, probably produced by the same source for different outlets. These are listed for F-series Ford trucks.
I used 4 different bits for this project. 2 of the bits were for alignment, or setting up the hinge parts for drilling to make sure everything was lined up proper for the bit, plumb and true, the other two make the final holes.
For the outer part of the hinge, the part the pin presses into, I used a 5/16" bit to align the part, then swapped bits and used an 11/32" for drilling.
For the inner part - the part that receives the bushings, I used a 13/32" to line it up, then swapped to a 12mm bit for drilling for the bushings. (12mm was the closest)
The pins in those kits are .342" and the bushing o.d. is .480
So, using a 11/32" bit which is .3438" makes it a great fit for the pin - it slides in, then presses once it reaches the "knurled" part of the pin and is held nicely.
The 12mm bit is .47244 so it's a good interference fit for the .480" bushing o.d.

You'll appreciate an air ratchet, and other assorted hand tools such as box-end wrenches with a bit of offset, the curved wrenches such as used for manifolds, starters, and even door hinges. Finding them with 1/2" is not as simple as the larger sizes, but I had a decent selection I've gathered over the decades. Even an air ratchet is a bit large for getting some of the bolts that attach hinge to body, but it's still a big help. A long 3/8" drive works well. Impact or thick-walled sockets can have problems in the tight spaces.
You'll want a drill press with at least a 3" range on the head - otherwise it's hard to get all the way through, or even change from the "alignment bit" to the drilling bit. You won't have enough clearance on the smaller drill presses and the bit won't make it through the bottom. I appreciated the easily adjusted table on mine as well.

Removal of the hinges (or for adjustment) ->
Raise front of car and set it on stands, ideally supporting it under the lower control arms to emulate it being on the ground.
Remove front wheels.
Remove the fender liner. There are several sheet metal screws holding the "plastic" fender liner in place. Remove all screws, as well as the two screws that hold the wheel moulding in place as those go through the fender lip far enough to restrict removal of the fender liner. You need to release the liner from the lip of the fender, and push and twist a bit and then it can be removed. This gives full access to the 5/16" bolts (1/2" heads) that hold the door hinges to the frame.
(this is also necessary if doing adjustment to the hinges as you can not only get to those bolts, but also the ones that hold the hinges to the door so you can move the top or bottom of the door in or out by opening the door, loosening 4 of the bolts, the ones that are one over the other, then closing the door, then you can get in with a long extension and reach the other two so you can adjust the door in and out  - give it "tip" then tighten those two bolts, open the door, and tighten the other 4.)

This is how clean and nice this car is under the fender liner - looking up at bottom of fender and structure.

Looking to the front up under fender:

Looking up at bottom of the top of the fender:

Looking toward where you need to remove the 6 bolts that hold hinges to the car.

This shows the rigging I made to be able to use my engine hoist to hold/support the door during removal. The stands are under it to help steady it as I removed the hinges from the door itself.

I did have to unplug the door speaker wires at the connector that's just inside the car - can be reached easily when door is pulled back and bit and rubber boot removed, but I only removed the mirror remote cable from the dash and pulled it to the right enough to get the door back to access the hinge bolts.

The air ratchet was really my best friend for this (as well as the spring swap) as it got me into tight spots and sped things along.

Once the hinges were removed, I removed the pins by placing the hinges carefully in a vise and using a small hammer and punches. In this picture, you see the "stops" that prevent the door from swinging open too far. They are usually bent from the door swinging hard open........ I used my press and made them straight again after I removed the pins and bushings. The jog is there so that you can get to the outer bolts for adjusting the tilt of the door inward or outward, but you might be able to see an over-all "bow" in the pin that should not be there.

First thing I did was make sure my drill press was true. Make really sure the bit is perpendicular to the table. I also used brand new bits to ensure accuracy. A bit of a bent bit, or wear, jagged edges and you won't be accurate.

To test my measurement accuracy, I first drilled a piece of steel similar in thickness to the actual hing bodies, and checked the pins and bushings against the test holes, then I actually drilled a spare hinge as a test.

I took a flat piece of steel wide enough to span the height of the hinge body, did a mock-up running the smaller bits through to align, then marked for the holes, and drilled the piece of steel to hold the hinge while drilling. I bolted the hinge parts to the steel and set it in my drill press vise, and "adjusted" until things were perfect. (you don't want to try to hold the hinge by hand while drilling - you can't keep it accurate, and the size you are drilling means the bit could be prone to catching in the hinge and whipping out of your hand.)

Drilled the first test hinge (if I mess this one up, oh well.....)

and the pin fit beautifully.

Here we go - the real hinge - using the smaller bit to align and adjust table if needed, etc.

I swapped bits, and drilled.......... I could tell the alignment was good as the curls that came off were even and I watched the bit go down and saw it was taking the same amount of metal out all the way around, in both holes.

Good fit..........

Once drilled, be sure to smooth off any burrs, this shows where the flange of the bushing from the other part will ride, be sure it's smooth!

Another view - drilling the second hinge (I did both outer parts while it was setup for this, then moved to the middle parts that bolt to the body)

On to the other parts of the hinge. A bit of a different shape, I simply used a piece of oak to hold it in place. The oak is hard and I could clamp it really tight with no movement. Here, I am lining up the piece using the smaller bit to ensure it's straight up and down, etc.

Just another view.......

When you get the middle parts drilled, the ones that take the bushings, I found it helpful to touch them with a countersink to give a very slight bevel and remove any burrs or sharp edges - this helped the bushings start in a bit more easily.

I started the bushing using a small vise so I could maintain good control and not get things skewed. One slip and I would have probably broken them. I then used a small socket on the inner part of the hinge so that the bushing could go into and I used my larger vise to finish pushing them into place.

The assembled hinge - great fit, smooth, no looseness, etc.

Here are both hinges with new pins and bushings, and a replacement spring. In this process I noted that the hinges from my 1982 had a couple of differences from the "spare parts" I had on hand (not sure what they came off of as I bought them from a forum member)

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