Door hinge adjustment hell


The driver side door has excessive clearance at the front edge, (8mm+) and minimal (2mm) on the rear edge. I loosened the bolts on the hinge-to-door junction and tried to slide the door forward, but the bolts come to full-stop within their holes, and can be moved no further. Fiddling with the hinge-to-body bolts does not help. Could this be how it came from the factory?

The passenger door front edge was snagging on the body when opening, due to inadequate clearance, and chipping the (over)-paint. The hinge-to-body bolts were at full stop against the holes, and could not be moved any further. I resolved that problem by enlarging the holes in the hinge enough to allow extra movement in the right direction. Am I going to have to do the same on the driver side? Or is there a better trick.

And what are the phillips screws that go into the holes for? They seem be threaded into the hinge only, and nothing else. Or do I need better glasses?

(Terry Sturgeon) #2

The Phillip screws go into the sheet metal of the door behind the hinge. I don’t really know what they do but suspect they were used at the factory to maintain alignment of the door during some assembly process. That is they aligned the door, fixed the hinge to it with the screws and took it apart again before final assembly. It’s pure speculation but I can’t see why they bothered with the screws otherwise.

Is there paint behind the hinge where it joins the body?

(Paul Wigton) #3

That is correct, and they help.


So what is the best way to realign the whole thing? Where do I begin? Which end of the hinge? Any suggestions will be appreciated.

(Paul Wigton) #5

It’s freedom in 18 directions!!

Assuming the door shell is “matched” to the opening (and make sure sure you slather door/opening edges with painter’s tape!) you just work back and forth, between getting the height correct, them the “skew” of the door, wrt to the opening.

I did mine sans the window frame and lift mechanism (remember way back then, @Craig_Balzer1?) to facilitate ease of adjustment.

Took me about an hour or so, per door. When tightly bolted onto the chassis, and fully fitted, is when you drill and/or replace the locating screws, on the chassis flange of the hinge, and the door part of the hinge.

Be EXTREMELY careful, whikst the door has no retaining strap on it: they can swing forward, and put a nasty dent in the scuttle closing panel, leading to VERY bad, VERY colorful, and likely completely-new curse words.

DON’t ask.

(67 OTS mailed check Patron) #6

i started by fitting the door in place and adding shims under the door to get it roughly in position. once well positioned i started to tighten the bolts that were exposed on the door and on the hinge at the a post.

(Erica Moss) #7

For the door that was too close to the A post, you could have shimmed under the hinge connection to the body to move everything back, but it sounds like you already ovalled the holes. For the door that is too far back, I don’t see that you have much choice but to oval the holes, unless by some miracle there are already shims under the hinge which you can remove.

I use a piece of paper money to test the front edge closure. Slowly close it while jiggling the bill and if it pinches the bill, open it and adjust it backward before trying again.

(Les Halls 1968 S1.5 2+2 Atlanta) #8

Like this you mean Wigs…


(Les Halls 1968 S1.5 2+2 Atlanta) #9

I’m about to do mine and thought that cutting some wood shims, all the same required thickness, and then installing them with tape while the door is loose, then tightening hinge bolts while holding closed?

(Paul Wigton) #10

Yes…&@$%#¥!!! :exploding_head:

(Gary Brinker) #11

One thing that I found important was to never have all of the bolts loose at the same time while trying to move the door. It is really rather easy to gradually move the unit in any direction by using only two bolts in the A post and two in the door. By then loosening one and having the door slightly open you can make very small adjustments at a time by lifting or lowering the outer edge of the door. For example to move to the back, alternately loosen the upper then lower bolt into the door and seesaw gradually up and down. A similar motion on the A post bolts will adjust the in and out position. It does take a little time but very fine adjustments are possible this way.
Of course, it is still useful to use protective tape around the opening while doing this.


Thank you all for the great input. Yes, like Paul says, the d&^%%$ door moves in 18 directions!

So much for ‘correct gaps’.

(David Norton) #13

Now I don’t feel so bad about having chipped the paint. I used a few “colorful” words, walked away for the day, then pulled it back apart, resprayed, and got it right the next time.

(Roger Benjamin) #14

scariest part of the restoration is the front door gap adjustment. you have to watch how much clear coat is applied to that area… use small wood shims on the sill to hold the door up while adjusting fore and aft gap.

(69 FHC ) #15

That’s what I’ve always thought they did. It’s the only explanation that makes sense when you consider that both the hinge and metal behind the hinge are threaded. That would indicate the door was fixed to the hinge and then the holes were drilled and tapped and screws inserted to allow for precise realignment after installation of,<i’d guess, weather stripping.


Help me out. I still don’t understand the function of the 2 phillips screws in the middle of the door-side of the hinge. Nor the process of how they pre-installed and installed the doors.

(angelw) #17

Hello Vlad11,
Ideally, there should be no holes tapped in the frame of the door that correspond to the holes for the two phillip head screws you refer to, prior to fitting and adjusting the doors (as would be the case in the factory. Once correct adjustment has been completed and all hinge bolts tightened, tapping size holes are drilled in the door frame, using the two holes in the hinge as a drill jig and the two components (hinge and door frame) tapped as one. Screws are then attached and remain as part of the assembly.

Their purpose is to aid in the quick alignment of the doors, should the doors have to be removed from the body at any time. In use, these screws are screwed into the tapped holes through the hinge and door frame, As these holes were drilled and tapped subsequent to correct fitting of the door, it follows then that the doors will be close to correct alignment when the door is attached to the hinge with these two screws any time in the future,

In all the restorations performed at my works, these holes in the door frames are welded closed and the surface dressed flat, so that new holes can be drilled and tapped after the doors have been correctly fitted, therefore creating and accurate reference when doors are refitted at a later stage.




Bill, thank you so much. Crystal clear. Looks like the doors were poorly fitted, or [gulp] the body frame bent a bit. I’ll split the difference and try to narrow the front gap to give me more of a back gap. BTW, can I install the seals without removing the door later?

(Erica Moss) #19

You can yes. It’s slightly easier with them off but the benefit of being on is that you can shut it to hold them in place while they set up.

(69 FHC ) #20

My theory:

Before painting the workers hand fitted the doors, ensuring the gaps were as they should be. At this point all the hinge bolts both to the body and door are in position. At this point the worker(s) drill two holes in the hinge and run in two screws. When the door is removed in the future for, say, weather stripping installation the doors can then be reinstalled in exactly the same orientation because3 there is zero slop in the tapped holes. I may be totally wrong but I can think of no other reason for those holes to be there.