How to repair door hinges - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 4th, 99, 7:48 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Port Murray,NJ,USA
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I have just acquired a 71 Malibu convertible
that has a sagging drivers door which does not close properly. Before laying out the big bucks for new hinges I ordered a hinge repair kit which consisted of 4 pins, 2 large bushings and 8 smaller bushings. I know that by removing the hinge to door bolts I can remove the door and gain access to the hinge to body pillar bolts and remove the hinge. My question is how to repair the hinge. How do you remove and install the bushings and pin. Has anyone done this and can provide helpful tips?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 4th, 99, 11:27 AM
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What ever you do don't undo the bolts from the body, because I hear it's a bitch to line up.
I did it this way:
-using a hydralic jack and a block of wood jack up to the bottom of the door unless you have someone to help you lift the door aside.
-make marks of the original location of the hinges on the door side.
-Remove the bolts from the door.
-grind the pin down where the original pin is dimpled so you can hammer the pin out.
-cut the pin shorter if you lock the pin as I did, read on first.
-the last thing is to keep the pin locked somehow. What I did here was before I installed the pin, I cut it shorter then hammered the pin into the bushings, then to lock it I had just enough material on the pin so I could hammer it to create a mushroom effect to make it lock and stay in place. You could drill a hole and use a cotter pin and not cut it shorter. Then you could install it from top to bottom.
If you hammer it to flatten then the pin needs to be installed upwards. Then with something under the hinge as support so you don't bend the hinge, then hammer down the end of the pin to flatten it.


[This message has been edited by COPO (edited 03-04-99).]
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 5th, 99, 5:01 AM
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I had my hinges off the the car since the car is disassembled. I ground off the "stakes" to remove the pins. After reassembling with new pins and bushings (use some lithium grease to lube), I used a cold chisel to restake the pins so they won't come out. Lay the hinge on a bench next to a vise. Put the pin head against the vise. Put the chisel on the pin about 1/8" from the hinge at a 45 deg angle and give it a few hits with a heavy hammer. Do this on opposite sides of the pin. This will somewhat duplicate the factory staking. Be sure to mark the hinge halves with a marking pen before disassembling to assemble them in the proper position. To remove and reassemble the springs, I ran a heavy wire through the spring and around the pin to keep it from flying. Used a screw driver to pry it out and a large C clamp, hammer, and a lot of cussing to get it back in. von ACES 1575
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 5th, 99, 8:07 AM
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When I rebuilt my hinges I compressed the springs in a vise and then ran a piece of wire through it and twisted the ends tight to hold the spring compressed. Did this on opposite sides of the spring to keep it evenly compressed. Put the spring in the hinge and cut the wires. Pull the wires out. Worked great.

Aces 209
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 5th, 99, 1:38 PM
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Steve, Why didn't you tell me this a month ago? Good idea! von ACES 1575
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 99, 9:46 AM Thread Starter
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This is a summary of how to repair door hinges with new bushings and pins. Thanks to Mark, Steve and Von whose tips were very helpful. The steps I am outlining include their instructions. These are steps for repairing the drivers door hinges on a '71 Malibu convertible, but the steps should be applicable to many makes and years.

You need to determine if the hinges need replacement because the bushing holes are enlarged from wear or if you can get away with new bushings and pins. New hinges cost about $100 per door or $15 for new pins and bushings for both doors. It was an easy decision to try to rebuild the hinges due to cost. You can't really determine your particular situation until you remove the door and disassemble the hinge. This would also be a good time to determine if you need different or larger bushings. For example the rebuild kit I ordered included 8 smaller bushings and 2 larger serrated bushings. According to the blurb in the catalog only 1 serrated large bushing is needed for the lower hinge in the top hole. For my particular application I also needed additional large serrated bushings for both holes in the top hinge. They're .53 so order 6 more and the rebuild kit and you'll be ready for whatever your chevelle will require. Here are the steps I used which included the instructions from Mark, Steve and Von (Thanks again gentlemen).

1) Roll down the window, open the door fully and use a hydraulic jack and a 2X4 about the length of the door to support the bottom of the door. Do not put pressure on the door - you only need to support the door with the jack placed in the middle.

2)Mark the outline of the hinges with a marker. If you don't mind a little paint I found it easier to spray some primer on the hinge area since it's difficult to get a mark you can see on the curved upper portion. Once you remove the door the outilne of the hinge will be readily apparent with the paint. I wouldn't get to worried since the hinge area will have rust on the door hinge area and you can mark it better when the door is removed.

3) Get a helper to balance the door when you remove it. Note: YOU NEED A HELPER TO REMOVE THE DOOR. Don't try to unfasten the bolts and remove the door by yourself. I was surprised at how heavy the door was and that the hinges lasted even this long. With a helper ready to balance the door by the handle (the jack will hold the door up) you can start to remove the hinge to door bolts. There are 3 bolts per hinge that can be removed with a 1/2" socket and wrench. You need to remove the 2 inner bolts with the wrench since the socket and ratchet won't fit. Remove the inner bolts on both hinges with the wrench. The final bolts will still hold the door. Tell your helper to be ready and remove the lower bolt with the ratchet and then the upper. If you use this order the door won't twist and possibly fall off the jack when the bolts are removed. I removed the last bolts by supporting the door by the mirror with my left arm and removing the bolts with the ratchet with my right arm. The door should lower slightly and you can roll it away on the jack with your helper. Don't lower the jack since you can use it as a guide when reinstalling the door. Place the door a good distance away since there is a high probability you'll knock it over or dent it if it's in the immediate vicinity. If possible try to lay it on the upholstered side on a blanket.

4) With the door removed you have access to the hinges. This is decision time since you can either repair the hinge on the car or remove it and do it on the bench. The advantage of doing it on the car is that you don't need to worry about reinstalling the hinge to body bolts which must be exact since they adjust the door up and down and fore and aft. The advantge of doing it on the bench is that you can use a vise and have better access. I decided to repair the hinge on the car using a 6 inch C clamp.The steps should be the same for bench repair using a vise.

5) You need to remove the large detent spring on the bottom hinge to allow removal of the hinge pin. This is the only place I did not use a subtle approach. Be very careful with removal since this spring is the size of a valve spring and can cause injury and havoc if it lets loose. Clear the work area of loved ones and pets. Note: THIS WAS MY APPROACH - YOU ARE FREE TO DETERMINE YOUR OWN COURSE OF ACTION.

Place a towel over the lower hinge. With a pry bar or large screwdriver sit on the drivers seat and place another towel by the edge of the door pillar. Place the the pry bar under the spring and leverage against the door pillar while turning your head and cringing. The spring will pop out without poking your eye out since the towel will confine its energy. Place the spring by your bench vise since you'll have to deal with this nasty bugger again.

6) You now have access to the pins for removal. You will notice two pins on each of the hinges. The ones closet to the pillar are just door stops for the upper and detent roller for the bottom. The detent roller was OK for my application and I did not remove it.

Mark the top of the upper hinge to door part of the hinge to make sure you don't install it upside down. The bottom will be self evident with the detent lever on top.

The upper pin was placed from bottom up and the lower was inserted from the top. I started with the lower hinge by removing the stake marks from the bottom pin. The stake marks looked like they were created by chiseling the the outside of the pin on each side to make a sliver of metal protrude to prevent the pin from working losse. I laid on a creeper and chiseled straight into the sliver where it started to be formed. It came right off - your luck may vary and you might have to resort to a small grinder. The upper pin did not have stake marks. The following procedure was used on both hinges.

In order to remove and install the pins and bushings you will need a 5 or 6 inch C clamp. Try to get one with the hex head handle for sockets and not the T bar for hand use. You will get much better leverage using a socket. Note: DO NOT USE A HAMMER TO REMOVE THE PINS - YOU WILL ONLY BEND THE HINGE. If the pin does not come out with light taps then use the C clamp. The hinge will bend easily from hammer blows and cock the pin which will make extraction very difficult. Find a bolt or spacer that will fit between the upper and lower halves of the hinge right next to the pin. This will prevent the hinge from bending and give firm resistance to the C clamp pressure. Place a short 5/8" or larger socket over the pin head. Place the C clamp over the socket and bottom of the pin and tighten. After an initial resistance the pin should push out smoothly until the C clamp bottoms against the hinge. Keeping the bolt used for support in place, remove the clamp and drive the pin out the rest of the way using a hammer and drift. Remove the support bolt.

You now can inspect the bushings if they still exist. They can be removed by knocking out the shoulders with a chisel and then pushed out with a drift. Just contact the edge of the bushing with a small drift to push it out. If you use a drift that fits the hole it will only get stuck. If the bushing wasn't completely destroyed, you can determine if you need the large serrated bushing or the smaller smooth sided bushing. If the bushing was non existant then inspect the hole carefully and note if it has serrations. As I mentioned before, the '71 malibu convertible had the large serrated bushings for the top hinge and 1 for the top hole in the bottom hinge. Get your bushings and see if you can place them in the holes. If the bushings are loose in the holes then unfortunately you probably have to lay out the bucks for new hinges. The bushings should fit snugly with finger pressure or very light taps of a hammer. The bushings are placed on the hinge to pillar part of the hinge. One from the bottom and one from the top. Line up the door to hinge piece with the correct side up and insert the pin (you can lube with some lithium grease) with light taps of the hammer to get it started (the '71 malibu convertible had the top pin from bottom up and the lower pin from the top). Place the support bolt between the hinge next to where the pin will be placed to prevent the hinge from bending.
Place the C clamp over the pin head and hinge and start to tighten. You might have to guide the pin by leverging a screwdriver to guide the pin into the upper hole as you tighten the clamp. When the clamp bottoms against the pin, remove the clamp and place a socket over the tapered pin end and reclamp until the pin head bottoms againt the hinge. Stake the pin with a chisel. Remove the support bolt or spacer. This procedure is done for both hinges - be careful with the clamp on the top hinge and your fender. For clearance you need to have the adjusting handle up and the clamp screw comes very close to the fender edge, so place a rag between the screw and fender.

7) Don't forget that nasty detent spring sitting by the bench vise. You need to compress it and restrain it with wire on two sides. Note: THIS SPRING CAN CAUSE SEVERE INJURY IF IT SLIPS OUT OF THE VISE - BE CAREFUL. I cut some wire from my wife's tomato cages (she'll never know) with linemans pliers. 2 pieces about 6 inches long. I made sure no loved ones or pets were in the immediate vicinity (you can leave the beer drinking brother-in-law wearing your bathrobe right next to the vise). Place one wire through the coils and bend up and just begin the twist. Place the spring in the vise and start to compress - make sure the spring is centered up and down and side to side in the vise. Have the brother-in-law carefully check the placement and finish compressing the spring. Take the linemans pliers and twist the wire until tight. Open the vise carefully and insert the other wire on the opposite side. Tighten the clamp and twist the wire tight. Open the vise slowly and gingerly remove the spring. Do not leave the spring laying around but install it immediately. A compressed spring is very dangerous. It seems that the bottom hinge can be in any of the detent postions for spring insertion. For access I placed the bottom hinge in the closed position, made sure the detent lever was aligned with the roller and placed the spring into position with one end in the bump out of the detent lever and the other wedged into the bump on the hinge. It's still a tight fit but with a light tap of the hammer (while turning my head and wincing) I pushed the spring end over the bump. Carefully check the spring placement before removing the wire. I cut the twisted end with the lineman's pliers. One end of the wire was bent out and I grabbed it with the pliers. While pulling on the wire I put a screwdriver in between the coil to allow the other end of the wire to be pulled out.

8) Before replacing the door - The hinge area of the door is probably rusty. Carefully scribe the outline of the hinge and then wire brush the area. Mask off the hinge outline, plug the screw holes and spray paint. When you remove the masking tape . you will have a good outline for door placement. I would also place some caulking around the hinge perimeter. Get the hydraulic jack and have your helper join you to retrieve your door that was placed out of harms way. Place the door on the jack which was left in the same position when you removed the door and roll it close to the hinges. Make sure the hinges are in the open position. Start with a screw in the bottom hinge since the detent will prevent it from flopping around and move the door slightly until you can start the screw and snug it down. Do not tighten the screw. If you have trouble lining up the screws, you can get some studs from the local hardware or home improvement store with the same bolt size and twice the length. Screw a couple studs into the door and this will help to get the door close enough to start some bolts. Start all the bolts but only snug the outer bolt with the ratchet to allow lining up with your marks. Once lined up, tighten the outer bolt and the inner bolts which are accesible with the wrench.

Before checking door alignment insure the window is rolled down and remove the striker. Slowly close the door and check for alignment. The door to hinge bolts control the in and out adjustment of the door. If the door isn't flush with the front fender then adjust the door accordingly. Once the door is flush, roll up the window and close the door to check the glass alignment and then install the striker.

Congratulations - you now have a door that will close properly without pulling up on the door handle. You can even get in on the drivers side and close the door from the inside. Life is good.

[This message has been edited by Yuri (edited 03-08-99).]

[This message has been edited by Yuri (edited 03-08-99).]

[This message has been edited by Yuri (edited 03-08-99).]

[This message has been edited by Yuri (edited 03-08-99).]

[This message has been edited by Yuri (edited 03-08-99).]
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 6th, 07, 3:18 PM
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Re: How to repair door hinges

This is a great step by step procedure on hinge replacement.

I'm about to undertake the same on my "68, as the striker is getting marred and the drivers side door sagging a bit.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 08, 4:43 PM
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Re: How to repair door hinges

thanks for the write up !!
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 18th, 09, 6:11 PM
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Re: How to repair door hinges

Quick follow up quesion, the rebuild kit I got has 4 of the same size bushings per door, but the hinges require two different size bushings? Anyone know where I can order just the bushings?

1969 El Camino SS 396 (in process)
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 18th, 09, 8:31 PM
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Re: How to repair door hinges

I used one of these to compress the door spring for removal and placement.worked great.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 18th, 09, 8:36 PM
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Re: How to repair door hinges

Originally Posted by jwross007 View Post
Quick follow up quesion, the rebuild kit I got has 4 of the same size bushings per door, but the hinges require two different size bushings? Anyone know where I can order just the bushings?
Hinge bushings are a pretty common part, you should be able to get them at most any auto parts house of GM dealer.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Oct 19th, 09, 6:40 PM
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Re: How to repair door hinges

Got 'em.. Thanks!

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Old Apr 1st, 10, 8:29 PM
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 1st, 10, 10:04 PM
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Re: How to repair door hinges

Download the March 07' issue

I plan to do mine this winter.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 10, 5:07 AM
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Re: How to repair door hinges

After reading all that, I ain't touching my doors. I can live with them as is.
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