1968 Satellite (4-door): Upper door hinge adjustment access, latch issues

Exterior Body, Paint, Trim, Chrome

  1. cudak888

    cudak888 Well-Known Member

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    The upper part of the door frame on my new-to-me '68 Satellite (4-door) has been grazing the B-pillar, and - from what I could tell from first observations - the lower hinge brass bushings had cracked. At any rate, you could pick up the door and feel the play.

    Hence, enter a new replacement hinge that arrived today. I hate it - not so much that it's made in China, but that all three A-pillar mounting holes drilled and tapped. The original had a large square adjustment hole for the one bolt that is fitted from the outside in. So be it, I fit it as-is to see if I could at least alleviate the door issue.

    Problem is, it didn't solve the problem - the door window frame still grazes the B-pillar, just barely. Lower hinge is as far back as it goes. However, if you pick up the door, you can get it in the right spot - what surprises me is that there's no clunk of worn bushings at the top, even though this would be the obvious culprit. Either way, I ordered a new pin and bushings for said upper hinge.

    HOWEVER, I still suspect that the upper hinge may need to be pulled forward slightly to get everything where it belongs, even after pin adjustment. I plan to pull the fender and have a friend help me on this one this weekend.

    Problem is, other than stuffing quite a few socket extensions under the dash, I can't quite figure out how Ma Mopar intended for this thing to be adjusted. Is there a trick to this? Or does the trick comprise of removing the entire dashboard?

    Am I on the right track here, or should I just rely on my fingers and the socket extenders? I know it can be made to work, but it's not necessarily the way it's supposed to be done.

    Incidentally, all of this is making the door latch fail to make it's second click without a serious shove on the door (which it has not done since I bought the car) - regardless of striker adjustment - but that's really not important until the hinge issue is resolved.

    Any advice appreciated here.

    -Kurt
     
  2. YY1

    YY1 Well-Known Member

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    My wagon has almost the same problem. The lower pin holes were wallowed out so I put in bushings and adjusted the lower so the door was level. Now its too far back and traps the rear door keeping it from opening.
     
  3. cudak888

    cudak888 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds as if the upper hinge is either worn or in need of repositioning. Honestly, even though it can take a good deal of time and effort to get the door where it belongs (not necessarily the gaps - that's another story right there), it's not rocket science. With the latch and fender off, it should be - in practice - intuitive enough to get the door fitting within reasonable tolerances from each edge.

    Getting the socket through the dash though...not sure about that.

    -Kurt
     
  4. jeepers007

    jeepers007 Well-Known Member

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    You sure your frame is straight? Just a thought...
     
  5. cudak888

    cudak888 Well-Known Member

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    I was able to disconnect the AC duct to access the bolts under the dash. One hell of a difficult place to work.

    This said, the upper door bushing appears to be fine with no slop - there goes that theory. However, despite trying multiple times (without a helper though - hell of a job) I couldn't get the door frame NOT to sit too close to the B-pillar. I can only guess that - despite my yanking - I'm not really re-positioning the upper hinge, and its binding against the A-pillar. I plan to test this theory tomorrow by pushing the hinge forward with a jack fitted between the B-pillar frame and the hinge (with ample padding to prevent damage, of course), and the lower hinge pulled backwards with a come-a-long to the rear door hinges.

    What drives me nuts is that I CAN yank the door up to a reasonable level when it's closed. I tried that this evening with hard cardboard jamming the door in place - and it still fell the moment I pulled the door away from the cardboard after bolting it down from inside. You'd think the upper pins really were shot. Maybe they're rounded out and I can't tell from the outside.

    If anyone who's done this before feels I'm off track, speak up!

    100%. Despite having some questionable Bondo work on the lower quarters and some much better-looking trunk patches, this thing has never seen an accident (surprise). Floorpans, rockers, and torque box/frame ends are untouched from the factory and are solid (double surprise). Factory sound deadening is present as well, and not flaking off from rust under the coating. The other three doors close without issue.

    Honestly, I'd be more willing to believe that the actual window frame might be tweaked rearward (doesn't look it at all though) than believe that the car is sagging. The rest of the door lines match up pretty surprisingly well for a '60s Mopar, and to get the window frame lined up correctly results in the back of the driver's door sitting rather high up in comparison to the passenger's door behind it - not to mention the big gap at the rocker panel.

    Then again, my '69 Valiant with 22k miles on it (and one side completely original; the other obviously has a so-so repair done on it from back in the day) has factory door-to-rocker height variations exceeding 1/8". The doors look like a pair of elevators in the process of meeting each other mid-shaft. However, the jambs, locks, and seals mate flawlessly. As far as I'm concerned, I won't mess with the ugly - but effective - factory adjustment. Chances are the skins are offset on their frames, but the frames are probably in the best spot they could possibly be mounted.

    -Kurt
     
  6. cudak888

    cudak888 Well-Known Member

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    Success.

    Last night, I tried adjusting the door to no avail, so I left it loose and set it lightly in its frame to look at it this afternoon. This is where I left it, which is not much different than the way it looked with the old hinge. Please excuse the tree shadows:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Since I missed drilling out the extra threaded boss in the repop lower door hinge, I took this as an opportunity to remove it entirely and drill it out. All went smoothly, along with the re-installation of the lower hinge.

    Back to the problem at hand though - I triple-checked the upper hinge pivot, and after convincing myself that it is 100% tight, I went ahead and loosened the upper door mounts...and fought with them for a good hour. Placing a piece of wood between the doors and lightly pressing the hinge with a jack against the B-pillar did NOT work at all.

    It became apparent that no amount of pulling the door from the back works - instead of moving forward, the loose hinge cants sideways with the weight of the door and binds against the A-pillar. The tar compound used by the factory in the adjustment gaps do NOT help either.

    Ultimately, I realized that the best way to adjust the upper hinge (as-is, in the car, without fender removal) was to open the door as far as possible, support the open edge with a jack (thus allowing the weight of the door to be supported or eased off), and loosen the upper hinge as much as I could without losing any thread engagement. With the door wide open, I could use it's weight in my favor to pull the hinge away from the A-pillar, thus allowing me to slide it forward without the weight of the door working against me. I positioned it, tightened one of the three bolts, and did a test fit:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not only did I get the door away from the B-pillar, it's even higher than it should be in these first shots of the repositioned door - but there's no question that the upper hinge had slid backwards from years of use, and was the source of the problem all along (the worn out lower bushings couldn't have helped, of course).

    I did re-adjust the hinge after taking these photos - and got the door sitting EXACTLY where it should be by easing the upper hinge backwards just a hair. The body lines match up surprisingly well (even with that Bondo zit on the bottom rear corner of the driver's door).

    EDIT - I snapped two photos this morning of the final door position. Pretty nifty:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the meantime, I also ascertained that the driver's door latch mechanism is past it. It'll click once, but getting it to click twice is impossible without shoving the door - and I've already checked, adjusted, and verified that the latch position cannot be adjusted anywhere to match - the latch is simply failing to click the second time due to something either worn or binding in the latch mechanism. I've never had one of these gear-type latches apart, and I'll probably want to get a good used piece for it instead - any pointers to finding a good one?

    -Kurt

    P.S.: After the door is done, look for my nagging in the interior forum for help on how to disassemble this clapped-out dashboard (not to mention an engine swap thread - the 318 mill is worn to a nub):

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
  7. YY1

    YY1 Well-Known Member

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    Glad you got it.

    I've adjusted a dozen two door hinges using just a trolley jack and a 1x4.
    Usually after drilling out the holes and replacing the worn ins with bolts.

    First time on a four door, and I've never had an upper hinge out of adjustment.
     
  8. cudak888

    cudak888 Well-Known Member

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    It was easy enough soon as I figured out how to leverage the door and upper hinge using just the jack.

    As for the upper hinge being worn - well, there's a first time for everything. This car has so many things wrong with it, it's ridiculous. When was the last time you saw an LA block with the alternator mounting thread stripped in the head? Kooky, nagging little "wouldn't-have-guessed-that-in-a-million-years" stuff such as that is all over this car.

    -Kurt
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
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