The driver's door on my drug sags pretty bad, not to mention the big dent in it. I'm thinking that I have two options - new hinges with a new skin, or a whole new door. Anyone have experience with doing either of these? Or advice on which is better?
Changing the door won't fix the sag. There are a few things that can cause sag. The most common, is hinge pin bushings. They wear out, and you can replace them. Even if you swap the door, you'll need the bushings. You have to remove the hinges from the door and truck, and drive out the old bushings. Then drive in new ones, with new pins.
I got a kit for a variety of car makes years ago, and did them on my 77 Chevy. I was at Auto Zone(I HATE auto zone) the other day to pick up wiper blades, and saw the hinge pins and bushings on the HELP! rack.
Most auto parts stores have the HELP!(brand) rack. Look for them there.
On a side note, a friend works for Norton (makers of grinding wheels, sandpaper, and a ton more) and they have been making door hinge bushings for GM cars for a few years now. They use a stainless steel sleeve, and a layer of teflon mesh, that goes inside another stainless steel bushing. No squeaks, and no excessive wear.
If you plan on keeping your truck i would go to your GM dealer and order the whole hinge assy.. It is about a 50 dollar investment, and is worth every penny. I would also recommend a new striker in the door jamb for about 5 bucks also. Your door will open and close like a new one!
Looking more closely at the door, I'm quite certain that a new door would be the best route.
However, I'm refiguring the cost of rebuilding this truck versus finding a better one, or a newer one. Being a full time student, with a family, I don't have all that much time, or money, to keep working on this thing all the time. Right now I'm getting to the expensive stuff, too! Most of the easy stuff is done now. We'll see how the numbers add up on the old calculator!
I agree with getting a new striker anytime you replace a hinge or hinge bushings. I put all new hinge assemblies on one of my past Chevy trucks and the striker was worn so bad the door wouldn't stay shut. Changing the striker solved the problem.
by "new door" do you mean complete ready to bolt on, with glass, windows mechanism, locks, etc?? Ive never seen those for sale.. Have seen door skins though and they are always cheap, thin peices of junk..
Chuck: where can one get more info on these "norton" door hinge bushings (or whatever it is) it sounds interesting
I have had lots of door problems, so let me share what I have learned.
The hinges are pretty easy to change. Count how many years your hinges have been on your truck, and you'll appreciate how much wear they can have. The bushing is pretty easy to change - it simply drives out with a punch and hammer, and drives in the same way. The hinge itself can break! I recently picked up a 79 that the driver's side didn't close right, and it was actually broken and catching on itself.
Word of caution - if you do change the hinges, the top hinge has 3 bolts - two are easy to get out, but the middle one's is in there backwards - you have to take the dash cover off and remove the vent that is right beside your headlight switch. Then, you remove a rubber bushing that is in the side of the cab and get an extention on socket to get to the head of the bolt. I promise it's really easy, it's just strange that GM did it this way.
About the doors themselves. I had a 76 with rusted-away doors. I bought two 80'ish doors that had perfect sheetmetal, but rusty internals. I took all the internal out of my 76 and put them in the 80's doors. It is kind of a PITA, especially the first time you do it because of all the lingages, and how hard it is to get tools inside the door, etc. So, if you buy new shells, be prepared to swap out all the internals.
About the striker bolt - there is a plastic thing on the striker bolt that the door hinges on - it wears out with use - replacing it will give the door a much tighter feel when it is closed.
Any questions, lemme know...
Mike - glad to hear from you! Hope you saw my official apology on the other post about not getting back to you on those brake drums. I had some "issues" here, not the least of which was a computer crash.
Anyway, I've been looking more closely at this thing and I definitely need a new door. When I get the time I'm going to visit a few yards to see what they local guys have for doors. If nothing else I can get a bare door shell through work - haven't checked the prices, though.
In any event, when I do get going on the body on this thing I'll be checking in with Chuck about that stainless steel bushing!
btw - Mike - what part of Texas are you in? When I get done with school next July, my other half and I are looking seriously at the Houton area. Email me if you want - I promise I'll get back to you this time!!
I just "rebuilt" the driver's side hinge on my '76 Suburban last night. It was a pretty easy job. I ordered new bushings and pins from one of the catalogs for about $3 or so. I removed the door for access to the pins, but left the hinge on the truck. The original pins are staked at the bottom to keep them from sliding out, so I had to trim the upset material with a die grinder, and it came right out with a hammer and punch. On the other one, I just cut it out with my air powered cut-off wheel, and it came out in two pieces. The old bushings are nylon, and were pretty worn, as were the old pins. The new bushings are brass and should hold up a lot better. Anyway, I installed the new bushings and pins, and put the door back on (not easy with only one person!). The door was nice and tight but the striker was still screwed up, so I drove to Auto Zone and bought two new strikers. Put one on the driver's side, one on the passenger side, and they both close like brand new trucks! One note, you have to remove the plastic trim behind the door (if you have it on your truck) to access the plate that holds the striker inside the door jam if you remove the old striker. About an hour to 1-1/2 hours for the job if you have all the tools and are a pretty experienced "shade tree" mechanic.
You can post specific questions here on the forum or email me direct...firstname.lastname@example.org
Talked to a guy I know here whose dad has a body shop. They have a Chevy truck there that they put new fenders and doors on for some lady here in town. That was 2 years ago and the truck has been sitting there ever since. Can anyone say PARTS TRUCK??
Jeff: you story has inspired me to go ahead and do the same thing on my '77... Ive replaced the strikers and it made a huge difference but you can tell the door still sags.. Can you give me a name/number of where you bought the hinges? I have a few resto catalogs where Im sure i can find em but Id like the widest selection of providers..that thing about it being like a NEW DOOR really got me excited thanks again
I don't have my catalogs handy here at work, but I think all the major truck catalogs carry the stuff. You can also get it in the HELP! section at most auto parts stores, although I don't know if their stuff is as good. Your local Chevy dealer should have all the stuff too. I didn't need a whole new hinge, just strikers, and bushings and pins on the driver's side.