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Well, I was diving into some repairs on the 89 LeBaron Convertible I just purchased. I know this puts me into a world of hurt and adjustments, but I replaced the entire convertible top assembly, as the old one had a badly bent rib and a trashed top, and a new assembly was $75 at the junkyard. Anyway, I was working on the top and one of the quarter window regulators, while my dad decided to torque down the oil pan bolts, as there is some seepage from the oil pan.

This is my first convertible, and I hadn't been thinking of this at all, but I had both doors open, as well as the top down, when my dad decided to jack up the front end of the car. My first clue that this was bad occured when I tried to shut the driver's door to check alignment between the two driver's side windows - the door was hitting on the bottom :frusty:

After letting the car down, the door closes again, but is somewhat harder to close than before. I don't think it is hitting on the bottom, but may be contacting the striker bolt in a different manner than before.

Could I have seriously bent the body by jacking up in this manner? If so, what is my best option to remedy the situation? Hinge pins were replaced on the door earlier in the day, so the door shouldn't be sagging for that reason, but there does seem to be some up-and-down between the hinge and body when the door is almost closed, despite tightening the hinge-to-body bolts earlier in the day to try to fix this same issue.

I haven't tried to close the passenger door since then, as my rear seatback / quarter trim assembly is sticking out that side at the moment.
 

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What did your dad use for jacking points? The owner's manual calls out using either the jacking pins on the rocker panels with the car's jack; or using the front subframe rails with a lift or floor jack. Or, you drive the tires up onto ramps. Any other jacking location could damage the vehicle.
 

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What did your dad use for jacking points? The owner's manual calls out using either the jacking pins on the rocker panels with the car's jack; or using the front subframe rails with a lift or floor jack. Or, you drive the tires up onto ramps. Any other jacking location could damage the vehicle.
Front subframe was used with a floor jack, to the best of my knowledge. Just wondering if there are additional complications due to it being a convertible.
 

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Shet happens, what can you do now... That was definitely not a clever thing to be done but I can imagine this sort of thing can easily happen, especially with multiple "mechanics". Also, closing the hood when the other side is jacked up is not a good idea either.
I recommend you just finish the job, make the roof align, close the doors and drive around with a big smile and check if there are any permanent damage. Adjust door strikers if necessary.
 

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It has to be your frame that was weak. The doors are not a brace , the top sure the heck isnt. I have jacked mine up with the top down and doors open tons of times. I notice the door gap grow larger, i have also noticed the door gap when it is up on a lift.

I have had the whole rear end off the ground and the front end with a jack.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, after searching around regarding my loose door, I am suspecting that the area where the top hinge mounts has cracked loose. The top hinge is definitely loose, even after replacing the pins. The half of the hinge which attaches to the body is visibly loose when lifting the door, especially when it is nearly closed.

Perhaps I didn't damage anything after all, but after seeing how the doors won't close when the front is jacked up, I certainly won't lift it that way again!
 

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That is the trouble with having a convertible or T-Top car. I had my T-top Daytona on jackstands and I opened the driver door, guess what couldn't close it until I got it back on 4 wheels. Even with the braceing the car has, its still going to flex when jacked up or at wierd angles because there is no roof. You want to see bad, you should see my 91 Mustang convertible jacked up. I can't even open the doors on that. I don't think there is anything wrong structurally with the car, just don't open the door again when it's jacked up.
 

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Or take it somewhere and have braces fabricated to connect front and rear subframes, to stiffen the car.
 

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Or take it somewhere and have braces fabricated to connect front and rear subframes, to stiffen the car.
I've been thinking about this for long but have not found the time & money to make it happen. There are kind of subframe connectors already from the factory, but they end somewhere in the halfway. You can see this easily when just take a look at there from the side. Welding some extra from there towards rear + installing strut tower brace bar should make some difference.
Chrysler also made some additional braces to the body boxes from '92 or something on, some other know this better... But anyway later LeBaron Converts are somehow stiffer than these 89 models.
 

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I would not be surprised if the door is simply cracking where the lower hing is mounted and you didn't notice it before. The hinges on the door mount to nothing but the sheetmetal and the doors are fairly heavy. I had to take the door off my 94 Lebaron convertible and have a friend weld the cracks back up and brace it.

When these cars were new, one of the new car magazines did similar tests by running one front wheel up on a curb and seeing how the convertibles (LeBaron., Mustang, Riviera, etc.) did. They couldn't even open the Mustang doors with a wheel on the curb. They also did several other tests like water jets. The LeBaron always did well.
 

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The one good thing about a Lebaron convertible 87-95 they where designed to be a convertible from the begining. The center tunnel on the Lebaron Convertible is different from the Coupe and thats where they got alot to the strength at. My Mustang has an X brace in the center of the car, subframe connectors and a small brace under the front end. It still sucks and talk about cowl shake, it will rattle your teeth.

I have seen the cracking hinges or hinges seperating from the body on alot of cars, more common on Shadows maybe when you jacked it up it just became worse.
 

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one of the 95 lebaron parts cars i bought had cracked door hinges. I oil mine. not sure if that helps but it cant hurt.
 

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Flex in the body is normal for these cars. Chrysler did beef up the body in strategic points in the later years. The first and only thing I've ever read about it is in the 1994 and 1995 LeBaron brochures, though the 1994 brochures referred to a "flapper" reinforcement that had to be a typo, as the description was deleted in the 95 brochure. I've had 88, 89, 90 and 94 models and I can attest that the 94 has noticeably less wiggle and cowl shake than the earlier cars. You can also notice a difference with the top up or the top down.
Another point to check is the door striker bolts. These have a nylon bushing that gets worn out allowing excessive movement of the doors. You should check these and replace them if they're worn. I've bought some from the Dorman "HELP" section at the local parts stores. Rock Auto sells them too. HELP #38441

Keep in mind that the floor pan ( and the top when up to a small degree) is the only thing connecting the front and the back of the car together. You have all the mass at both ends with just the flat floorpan connecting them. I'm sure the closed doors also play a part and take some stress, but the torsional twisting takes place in the floor pan and that produces the cowl shake. I will agree though that the LeBaron, as modest a car that it is, it lot's better in the rigidity department than many other of it's contempories in convertible form.
 

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The rocker panels, inner and outer, are connecting the front and rear. It's not just a stamped floorpan that connects them.
 

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I agree with Bob regarding the rocker panels, but they're part of the floor pan structure, It's the floorpan/rocker structure that's twisting and flexing that creates the cowl shake. The added structural reinforcements in the later models did help, but the convertibles aren't anywhere near as rigid as the coupes. There are plastic "wedges" on the back edges of the both doors that mate with a corresponding wedge on the door jamb. Normally these don't quite touch each other when the doors are closed and all 4 wheels are on the ground, but if the top's down and you jack up the front end of the car these wedges help keep the doors from jamming shut as the gap between the back edge of the door and the quarter panel closes up.

I think this also partially explains why the door hinges tend to break away on the convertibles and why the nylon on the striker bolts wears away. I feel that the closed doors play a part in tying the front and back ends of the car together. I keep my hinge pins lubed regularly and my striker bolts get replaced as they wear and I've not yet had a hinge failure, but I do keep an eye on the hinge area of the doors and watch for cracking of the sheetmetal. So far so good.
 

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is there a way to replace the striker nylon ?

If one were to make the car more solid where would be a good place to add more braces? And what negative effect would that have. I corner like a mad man but i also dont like dashboard noises.
 

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The whole striker bolt is replaced. It simply unscrews. HELP p/n 38441. It's under $ 10. Couldn't tell you where to beef up the car but I can tell you that a strut tower brace is about the only part that you can buy that's already made and can be bolted on. Having said that I'm not sure that the tower brace would be of any real help without beefing up the floor pan and adding cross bracing. All the major flex/twist is in the floor pan. Beefing up the springs and running higher than normal tire pressures may improve cornering but it will only worsen the body flex and put more stress into the body.
If you want solid handling, the convertible isn't the car to do it in. Look for a coupe, a Daytona or even a sedan.
 

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thanks for the striker bolt part number
i already have a strut brace, and stronger springs in back and a rear sway bar.
Maybe the garage at the end of my street knows were to weld supports. He builds stock cars for the local track.
I think i will stick to the convertible
 
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