Jump to content

Fix a sagging door?


JavierB
 Share

Recommended Posts

As with about half of my Avanti projects, I'm here again with a question.

My 81 has a passenger door that when closed is spot on.  But it sags about a quarter inch when it leaves the striker, making it a slammer door instead of the gentle close i have on the drivers door.  I have already loosened and re-tightened the door-side hinge bolts several times and I'm either doing it wrong or I need to do something else.  I know that one solution might be to get the striker side of the door a quarter inch higher than the strike plate and then tighten it, but I can figure out how to do that - i've tried, and messed up every other gap in the process and had to redo it all again.   any advice?  any go-to diagrams or videos that are relevant to these doors?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, Bill Hanlon said:

I gave up and took it to a respected body shop. Not perfect but much better than I could do. 

A fair solution.  at some point I'm doing a full paint job and the door situation may wait til then if there is no relatively simple thing i can try.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the door drops 1/4" when opened then there's probably some wear or movement in the hinges. Remember these are long doors and to get 1/4" drop on the striker end only requires a small movement on the hinge end. I'd be sure the bolts mounting the hinge to the body are tight and there is no wear in the hinge pins before I'd readjust the door again.

I like to shim the door into alignment with the door hinge bolts out and the door taped into the position I want. I then add the spacer shims between the hinge and door and then bolt the door hinges into position. 

Using the striker assembly for alignment will only cause excessive wear and early replacement. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Avanti83 said:

If the door drops 1/4" when opened then there's probably some wear or movement in the hinges. Remember these are long doors and to get 1/4" drop on the striker end only requires a small movement on the hinge end. I'd be sure the bolts mounting the hinge to the body are tight and there is no wear in the hinge pins before I'd readjust the door again.

I like to shim the door into alignment with the door hinge bolts out and the door taped into the position I want. I then add the spacer shims between the hinge and door and then bolt the door hinges into position. 

Using the striker assembly for alignment will only cause excessive wear and early replacement. 

So how do I check/replace the hinge pin?  I mean, unlike most car doors I've seen, the actual hinge is inside the fender, do i have to disassemble the front end to get at it?  Sorry if this sounds stupid, but the workshop manual doesnt show anything about the pins and I've found nothing so far in my online search of these hinges.

While you may be correct that using the striker for alignment may cause extra wear, it does give me perfect alignment, so that part isn't the problem, its that the alignment doesnt hold no matter how tight the bolts, so maybe worn bushings or pins is the problem?  Are there any illustrations of how replacing these pins is achieved?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Open your door about half way.  How much can you move the door up and down (play in the hinge/pin)?

Perhaps I am simplifying this too much.  Have you adjusted where the door bolts to the hinge to give you proper alignment without the use of the striker?    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, studegary said:

Open your door about half way.  How much can you move the door up and down (play in the hinge/pin)?

Perhaps I am simplifying this too much.  Have you adjusted where the door bolts to the hinge to give you proper alignment without the use of the striker?    

Very little play, but enough to get it level with the striker and close nicely if I'm pulling up on it.  I mean, it there is at least a quarter inch upward play, which is the amount of the sag. 

I'm not sure I understand the striker question.  Does it matter if adjust the hinge with only wood shims rather than shims plus striker?  The door is perfectly positioned with loose hinge bolts when its on the striker.  I have a bitch of a time getting it to stay in position without it (I'm doing this largely on my own, so I dont have anyone to push against the door and keep it stable), so is there a reason that it is in in any way different?  My problem isnt getting it set squarely, but rather that it doesnt stay that way.

Related question:  with the door bolts loose, the set of three on the top hinge will move fore and aft a little bit, maybe a quarter of an inch, and they move as a set.  So does it matter if I tighten them at any particular point in that travel?  I dont really understand why there is that degree of play there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By shimming the door, I mean use any combination of wood and cardboard between the door edge and the door opening. Easier to do with the seat out. Just keep adding shim material along the bottom and both sides until the door is positioned centered in the door opening. Then tape it in place to hold it both centered in the opening and aligned with the outside of the car. Then shim and tighten the door hinges.

The hinges can be removed with the door off then take out the bolts holding them to the body.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Avanti83 said:

By shimming the door, I mean use any combination of wood and cardboard between the door edge and the door opening. Easier to do with the seat out. Just keep adding shim material along the bottom and both sides until the door is positioned centered in the door opening. Then tape it in place to hold it both centered in the opening and aligned with the outside of the car. Then shim and tighten the door hinges.

The hinges can be removed with the door off then take out the bolts holding them to the body.

I understand how the shimming works, I just don't understand how using the striker to help isn't a valid method?  does it matter how it gets into the right position so long as it does?  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, JavierB said:

I understand how the shimming works, I just don't understand how using the striker to help isn't a valid method?  does it matter how it gets into the right position so long as it does?  

 

Yes, it matters.  The striker/latch should only hold the door shut, not cause alignment.  The door alignment should be correct without a striker/latch being there.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, studegary said:

Yes, it matters.  The striker/latch should only hold the door shut, not cause alignment.  The door alignment should be correct without a striker/latch being there.  

That's why you see so many beat up non-functioning strikers on old cars. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, studegary said:

Yes, it matters.  The striker/latch should only hold the door shut, not cause alignment.  The door alignment should be correct without a striker/latch being there.  

I dont think you get my meaning, or I dont get yours.  I know that the door has to *ultimately* align without the striker, but I dont understand why some of you are saying I can't use the striker to correctly SET the alignment?  I mean, yes, shims and all that, but the striker helps me get it in perfect position to tighten the bolts, so why is that a bad method?  I've tried tape and maybe its just my door or my weatherstrip, but it keeps popping out slightly and falling out of alignment without using the striker.  Yes, if i had a helper pushing on the outside it would work, but I don't and the striker seems to fill that need perfectly.  I dont mean to be argumentative, I just want to understand why this method isnt valid or doesnt work?

I can get perfect alignment.  I can tighten the bolts on this alignment.  My issue is that once i open the door, it sags a quarter inch at the latch end.  So if that means its hinge pins/bushings, how do I get at those?  Or alternately, is it a bad idea to align the door tilting a quarter inch too high so that it sags into the the correct height?  (that seems to be just delaying a future repair, but just wondering).

Does anyone anywhere have a diagram or images of what the hinges actually look like and how they are attached and how to get to the pins?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I've said previously, The hinges can be removed after removing the door by unbolting them from the body. Four bolts IIRC.

Secondly, there is publication called the Avant Workshop Manual available at our vendors for a modest cost. The first two items under door alignment are 

-remove door panel

-remover striker. They may know something about their cars and are a wealth of info on the in's and out's them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

An update on the door:

What I did was mark where the door was and where the striker plate was, and then also mark a point a quarter inch higher.  I removed the striker and loosened the door bolts, and used ratchet straps wrapped around the whole car, 2x4 pieces and some bits of old carpet to keep the door snug into the frame and then raised it a quarter inch out of alignment on the striker side.  Tightened it all down, and now its perfect.

**I know this may not last** if there are other problems that are causing the sag, those may resurface.  But it works for now, and I probably need to remove doors and all the weatherstrip when I paint, so we will see what happens then.

Highly recommend the ratchet strap method of keeping the doors snug, although it means you have to climb through the windows to get in and out of the car to tighten the bolts, it was the best solution for me.

Now on to the next thing.  🙂

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/26/2021 at 6:44 PM, JavierB said:

An update on the door:

What I did was mark where the door was and where the striker plate was, and then also mark a point a quarter inch higher.  I removed the striker and loosened the door bolts, and used ratchet straps wrapped around the whole car, 2x4 pieces and some bits of old carpet to keep the door snug into the frame and then raised it a quarter inch out of alignment on the striker side.  Tightened it all down, and now its perfect.

**I know this may not last** if there are other problems that are causing the sag, those may resurface.  But it works for now, and I probably need to remove doors and all the weatherstrip when I paint, so we will see what happens then.

Highly recommend the ratchet strap method of keeping the doors snug, although it means you have to climb through the windows to get in and out of the car to tighten the bolts, it was the best solution for me.

Now on to the next thing.  🙂

 

Well done, whatever works is a great way to do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...