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Door Hinge Pin replacement

7158 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Pbody
This past weekend, I decided to tackle replacing the hinge pins & bushings on my Lebaron Coupe to fix the slightly sagging driver's door issue. I wished I'd thought to bring my camera and take pictures of the whole process. The '89 FSM doesn't even have intructions for this process.

I decided it would be easier to do by unbolting the hinge plates where they attatch to the body, and then drive out the pins and the bushings with the door lying on the gound, with no load on the hinges. Here is a rundown of what I did:

Remove door trim panel (unplugging the courtesy lamp and speaker connector)
Remove the sound deadener/foam pad
Unplug everything inside the door: mirror, window motor, lock motor, door handle switch, illuminated keyhole light, etc.
Remove wiring from inside door, fishing it out through opening in the front of door.
At this point, I did 2 things to help me out later on: Remove the outboard mirror from the door, and temporarily re-connect window motor and lower the glass into the door.
Support door from below at the front and the rear. I used a jackstand at the rear and the car's jack at the front, protecting the finish with shop rags.
Remove from driver's side front fender: splash shield, 2 lower bolts (the ones between the wheel and the door), and the one inner bolt that'shalfway up the door jamb area (accessible from the wheel side). You can now pull out slightly on the fender, giving you easier access to the hinge bolts.
Remove 2 bolts from each hinge (the rearmost bolt and one of the forward bolts).
Ask a helper to steady the door as you remove the last 2 bolts. I had to steady the door as well with my other hand as I removed the very last bolt.
With 2 people, lift door and lay down flat on the ground with the exterior side down.

At this point, a few observations: The door was not as heavy as I expected. Lebaron coupe doors are probably the heaviest EEK doors out there. ('92 and '93 coupes would probably be even heavier than mine b/c they have side-impact beams), but with 2 people it was no difficulty. Having the window down gave us the convenience of using the upper frame as a handle, and I felt protected the glass for the remainder of the operation. Also, I had removed the mirror to prevent it from bearing the weight of the door as it lay flat.

I laid the door down on the grass where I was sure it was free of rocks. I didn't mind if it got a few grass stains. If you don't have a grassy area to lay it down, put down a few blankets or some padding.

Moving on:

Drive out the hinge pins. This was easier than I thought. The retaining tabs just sheared off the old pins, so I didn't have to worry about keeping them compressed.
Tap the old bushings out of the hinge brackets. These came out fairly easily too, despite having to use a few weird angles with the punch.
Insert the new bushings. I applied a light coating of chassis grease. These went in easily as well.
(I took the brackets and mounted them to a vise for stability when replacing the bushings, but probably could've been done just as easily resting on a block of wood out where you are working.)
Reassemble the hinges with the new pins. Again, I applied a light coating of grease. These went in easily with just a few taps.

Now the tough part: using jackstands and 2 helpers, hold the door in place while you get 2 bolts started in each hinge. this was tricky.
Once you get the 2 bolts started, tighten them down just enough to hold the door, but not too tight.
Adjust the position of the door. This was the hardest part, it took me about 20 tries to get it right. Feed the wiring back into the door so you can close it all the way. Practice opening and closing the door. Most likely it will need to be raised at the front or the rear or both. Keep loosening the bolts, lifting it, tightening the bolts, and then opening and closing until you get the right fit and smooth action. This can be difficult, because not only is the vertical position of the door adjustable, it also slides forward and back a bit.
When you achieve the proper position, give the bolts their final tightening and install the third bolt for each hinge.
Move the fender back into position and start all the bolts back in. adjust the position of the fender so that it matches the contour and does not contact the door. You can use peices of cardboard as shims to ensure an even gap. Once you have the right fit, tighten up the bolts.
Reinstall all the components onto the door that you removed.

A few final thoughts:

If I had to do it again, I think I would have tried to do it without unbolting the hinges. The whole part about adjusting the door was a real pain. You would still have to remove everything and completely take the door off, but by leaving the hinge bolts untouched, you start out with the hinges in their factory positions. Those hinge plates leave a lot of room for adjustment. It might be harder to get the pins in and out while trying to hold the door in place, but I think it's still easier overall. You may have to do some adjusting anyways, but at least you'll be starting off a lot closer.

My old hinge pins were only slightly worn. I probably could've acheived the same improved fit by just adjusting the door. That would've saved a lot of work now, but I would've had to do this in a few years anyway. Hopefully I'll get many more years of service out of this car.
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I did my Aries the down-&-dirty way. Knocked the hinge pins out (without unbolting the hinges from anything), drilled the holes to 5/16", installed gr.8 hardened bolts for hinge pins. That was 3yrs ago on a daily driver. They're still sag-free.
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