How to align doors?

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How to align doors?

Post by dhw3971 on Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:50 pm

I recently installed a junkyard-new front door on my '75 wagon and it needs better alignment: doesn't line up with top of the fender and it's hard to shut. I also have a rear passenger door that needs a tweak as I have to shut it hard to make it close all the way.

What's the trick to lining up the doors? I could have a body shop do it but it's more fun myself.
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Re: How to align doors?

Post by JB2wheeler on Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:00 pm

Fun? Lifting doors that weigh as much as a small block Chevy with aluminum heads and intake? No thanks. The body shops have special tools that holds the door in position (something about the size of an engine stand) while they work on it. Sure makes it a lot easier. JB
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Re: How to align doors?

Post by BlackChevelleSS on Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:27 am

you want to work on it till the gaps around the door look nice and even, I usually go 1/4" gap, You want to get the gaps even around the back of the door to the quarter panel and the bottom with the rocker, then need to adjust the door in and out to ensure the door seal is sealing nicely, after all that is done you adjust the fender with shims to match the door. Then its on to adjusting the window on the coupes, the sedans dont need window adjusting.

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Re: How to align doors?

Post by texan01 on Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:48 pm

BlackChevelleSS wrote:you want to work on it till the gaps around the door look nice and even, I usually go 1/4" gap, You want to get the gaps even around the back of the door to the quarter panel and the bottom with the rocker, then need to adjust the door in and out to ensure the door seal is sealing nicely, after all that is done you adjust the fender with shims to match the door. Then its on to adjusting the window on the coupes, the sedans dont need window adjusting.

Oh yes the sedans/wagons need window adjustment, they are actually tougher to adjust than the two doors, you've got more variables to compensate for, fender alignment. rear door alignment, and if the rear door is off, you've got to get that right, then recheck the front door, then adjust two sets of windows. If it's a convertible it's even more fun! (been there with my buddies 71 Malibu 'vert)

For hard to close doors, they have plastic bushings that go on the strikers, to keep them from rattling (as much). these break over the years. Mine had to have all 4 of them replaced since the used car lot just adjusted them to allow the doors to close. I had to scrounge the Help! aisle at the parts store for the bushings and then swap parts around to make mine work.

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Re: How to align doors?

Post by 77mali on Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:51 am

Will be tweaking mine as well...found this online- not vehicle specific but the hinges & pins are similar looking and it's a GM vehicle. I'm sure the same principals apply and there is good info & tips. Probably a good idea to have a buddy around to help support the doors and help out in general.

http://www.bodyshopzone.com/archives/mechanical/door/hinge/pin_replace_1.html
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Re: How to align doors?

Post by texan01 on Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:53 pm

Hinge pins are easy, but do one at time so you don't have to completely remove the doors, they are real easy to do if the fenders are already off the car, as you can leave the doors closed.

Mine needs pins on the left rear door, which is odd because the other 3 doors are like new, and the back seat looks like was never sat in.

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