View Full Version : I straitened my driver's door.

12-21-2014, 03:06 PM
My driver's door was hard to close and I had to slam it hard to get it to close all the way. I think that it was Roger who gave me these instructions (see below) probably a year ago about how to fix it. I kept meaning to get around to it but other more critical things kept distracting me. Well, I finally got around to it today and followed Roger's procedure:
1) I lifted on the door and it did not seem like there was much loose movement.
2) I looked at the body lines on the door and the trailing edge of the door was maybe 1/4" low when compared to the lines on the rear quarter.

The bushings seemed OK but the door was misaligned. I proceeded to Instruction Item 1a and propped the door up with a scissor jack. I removed the kick panel to find the "hinge to body bolts" that Roger had described. The lower bolts are easy to get at:

Access to the top bolts was awkward. I had to lie on my back under the steering wheel to get at them:

Roger described loosening three bolts (not six) and in Note 1a he further said "I generally try one hinge (90% of the time the hinge that wears the most is the upper) and if that doesn't give me the reveal gap the way I like, I go and split the difference between the upper and lower hinges."

I interpreted that as saying don't loosen both sets of bolts unless you have to. I loosened the top bolts and jacked the door up until it looked aligned and then tightened the bolts.

The door looked aligned but was still difficult to close so I proceeded to 1): "If it doesn't move up or down then the latch may be too far in and that is why you need to slam it to catch. Adjust it outward a millimeter or so. The latch (catch) is on the body jamb and this is what you adjust."

When the latch was too far in it was difficult to close the door. If I moved the latch too far out, the door closed easily but the back edge of the door stuck out away from the body. I moved the latch as far out as I could while still keeping the door even with the rear quarter of the body.

The body lines matched, and the door closed and latched a lot easier, but the bottom edge of the door stuck out and did not line up with the body. I think that a previous owner backed up with the door open and caught the bottom edge of the door on something and bent it outwards.

I placed my scissor jack against a tree and used it to press the bottom edge of the door back into place. This was after I had straightened the door. The aluminum side strip does not exactly match, but notice how the body lines line up.

I was afraid of making a dent or a crease so I didn't go too crazy. I went through a number of repetitions where I would press the door in and then back off with jack to see if anything had moved, and then press it in in further to try to get things to line up.

The end result was that there is still some gap at the bottom edge of the door, but maybe only half as much as there was before. Most people would not notice it unless it was pointed out to them.


The door is not perfect, but it closes easier now. I have to close it firmly but I don't have to slam it to get it to latch like I did before, and everything looks reasonably straight. I'm happy. :banana:

Thanks for the help, Roger!

Door repair instructions from Roger:
Dennis, Do these things - they are free to do, and easy too!

1) Grab the door in the almost closed, but open/unlatched position, and lift/relax/lift/relax. How much movement is there?
2) Almost close the door (don't enter the latch portion of the door) and look at body lines of the door relative to the body - straight on. Are they low or high relative to the body?

With this knowledge you can decide how much "WIAI" to apply. Some not so easy to do, but still free.

1) If the bushings are relatively OK and the door seems to be aligned to the body, then push it into the latch. Does the door want to raise or lower as you do this? If so, the latch needs adjustment to keep it from moving the door up or down. If it doesn't move up or down then the latch may be too far in and that is why you need to slam it to catch. Adjust it outward a millimeter or so. The latch (catch) is on the body jamb and this is what you adjust.

1a) If the bushings are relatively OK, but the door is not aligned, then with the car on a nice flat surface place a bottle jack (with protection) under the latch-side of the door, in its almost closed position, and then locate the three upper hinge bolts just parallel to the bottom edge of the dash where it meets the door frame. With the door held in a neutral position with the bottle jack, loosen the three hinge to body bolts. Then raise the jack while gauging the movement of the bolts to where they were before. When you've raised the door/hinges a small amount - tighten the bolts, remove the jack, and check the door alignment (not the latch catch yet). Rinse and repeat until you get the door to body reveal the same. Then adjust the latch to match the door.

1a-note: You can adjust the upper hinge some and then the lower hinge some. Depending on how much droop there is, taking it all out on only one hinge may tighten or loosen the door gap and possibly cause the door to rub the fender or somewhere else. I generally try one hinge (90% of the time the hinge that wears the most is the upper) and if that doesn't give me the reveal gap the way I like, I go and split the difference between the upper and lower hinges.

2) If the bushings are sloppy and the door seems to be aligned - do the same as #1. Essentially the slop has been adjusted out to align the door to the body, but the latch was not adjusted.

2a) If the bushings are sloppy and the door is out of alignment, then barring the bushing replacement you can take the mindset that the bushings are worn in the direction of the weighted side of the door. Yes, they are worn, but the door weight will not show that unless you lift on the door. Eventually it may just be ugly sloppy, but a worn bushing is generally only noticed when it begins causing the door to drop creating interference with the latch. In this case you can follow step 1A and adjust the hinges until the weighted door on the sloppy hinges are at least aligned. Assuming the latch was in the right spot and the door was what dropped, then you may not need to adjust the latch.

General door alignment

For what it is worth, the doors are always adjusted first without the [jamb] latch installed so you can adjust and push the door towards the body with zero interference with a latch. You adjust first to get a nice reveal of the door to the body at the latch-side jamb, and upper and lower reveals. With a hardtop the upper reveal would be the top edge of the door and the wing window interference. Then you adjust the fender to match the front of the door.

Many people try to adjust a door to a misaligned fender, which causes grief untold. You can usually tell just with a reading of the door gaps, but you need to take into account the hinge slop, if any. Marking the jamb latch and pulling it temporarily will help you along this line.

Also, if you have new weather stripping, this can really fight the closing of a perfectly adjusted door, as well, until the weather stripping has relaxed a bit. This can take a couple months.

Have fun!

12-23-2014, 10:16 AM
It's good to know I'm good for something...


I saw once a video clip - somewhere - showing a guy building cars on an assembly line and using about a 3" thick rubber pillow and holding it in various locations along the door jamb, opening the door wide, and slamming it against the rubber! Checked, moved the pillow, slam! Two or three tries and he was clearly happy and off the car continued. The force was clearly twisting the door until the door reveal was to his satisfaction.

I think most people take this approach:


12-23-2014, 08:38 PM
IMHO Roger you are definitely good for something. I am amazed at how much you know, but what really amazes me more, is what a great person you are. I can testify along with almost everyone in the Rainier Falcon Club that you have personally given of your time to come to each of our homes to help us get our Falcons on the road.

I thank you for all your help and for the knowledge you impart everyday on this site.

I hope you have the merriest Christmas, and God Bless us all.

12-24-2014, 09:35 AM
Thanks Larry- I appreciate that more than you know.

I've always felt the need to offer to others what I've been blessed with... sometimes at my own expense (both physically, mentally, and financially). I know I'm not always right, or PC, or sensitive, but I do know my heart is always in the right place regardless of how it's taken.

I will continue on, doing as I'm doing, for better or for worse, because I really don't know any other way.

I also know I learn a lot from all the rest of you too. We're a great group and I'm honored to know you all.

Cheers to all you Falcon fanatics and families this holiday season.

12-24-2014, 10:12 AM
I have to echo Larry's comments Roger...my sentiments exactly. [BOW][AGREE]
I don't know how I'd possibly get all this done without you and the rest of the club too. After my car is "done" it will very much a product of the club. Right now I feel like I'm more on the take side rather than on the give side of things, but I'm enjoying the process and I look forward to the day I have more time to give back to the club and help others, but that said, I will never have the lifetime of experience you have with this kind of stuff. A huge thank you to all the Rainier falcons...[thumb]