I put up with the rattling door for the past 4 years and decided it was finally time to do something about it. The symptoms; an annoying clack-clack-clack while off-roading, and the door pulsates in & out of the doorframe while driving at high speeds. I inspected the door hinge and found that there was a lot of freeplay in the hinge, this was apparent by opening the door and lifting up on the lower back part of the door, it moved about 1/4 inch without too much lifting effort. Closer inspection revealed that the brass bushing and the door hinge pin were worn, causing the freeplay. I decided that now was the time to take action, fix that rattling door problem as soon as possible. Sure, I could have just bought a kit, but that would have been way too easy. Here are the parts and instructions if you want to fix a loose door hinge, and restore that 1979 Bronco (or other old Ford Truck) to its place of majesty in this world and have that door close like it just rolled off the factory floor.
Time to do the modification:
1 hour per door (unless you remove the hinge to inspect and correct rust)
2 days if you remove the hinge to inspect and correct rust
Hand drill, I used a 10" drill press
Parts (for each hinge):
1 – 3/8-16×5 Hex Cap Screw Grade 5, Zinc Steel
2 – 3/8 extra thick washer, Zinc Steel
1 – 3/8-16 Nyloc Nut
2 – Bearing Flange 3/8×1/2×1, Bronze
Approximate Cost: ~ $7.00 per hinge
- Remove Door
- Drill out old hinge pin
- Tap out old bushings
- Machine new bushings to size, and insert into the inner hinge
- Drill the outer hinge to 3/8
- Reassemble door hinge
- Reinstall door
- Remove door – To do this, I rolled down the window, opened the door and secured the door to the garage ceiling rafters with a rope. I protected the paint by wrapping a towel around the top of the doorframe and then tied the rope around the top of the doorframe. Next, remove the bolts that secure the door to the hinge. When all of the bolts are removed, you should be able to carefully swing the door out of the way. Make sure the door is secure since the doors are very heavy and could cause a lot of hurt if it fell on you! I found some surface rust between the door and the hinge, so I removed the hinge from the body at this point, although you do not have to remove the hinge from the body. If you prep and paint the door and body area, make sure that you accurately mark where the hinge goes, this will save you a lot of time and trouble when realigning the door.
- Drill out old hinge pin. I used a bit in a drill press to drill off the dimpled head of the old hinge pin. You could use a hand drill with a steady hand. The dimpled head is located on the bottom side of the hinge pin. Once the head is removed, then tap the hinge pin out of the hinge with a hammer and bolt of your choice.
- Tap out old bushings. I tapped out the old bronze bushings with a bolt and hammer, taking care not to damage the steel hinge.
- Machine new bushings to size, and tap into the inner hinge. The dimensions of the 3/8×1/2×1 Bearing Flange are slightly too large to fit into the hinge, so I used a weekend mechanics lathe (drill) to take off some of the bronze material. I bolted up the bearing flange into the drill press and used a file to remove ~ 1/32 material from the outer diameter. Then I cut off the non-flattened end of the flange to be about 1/16 longer than the old bushing. Next, I used a hand drill and abrasive pad to take material off of the head of the flange until it was the same as the old bushing. Next, carefully tap the new bushings into the inner hinge.
- Drill out outer hinge to 3/8 The next step is to drill the outer hinge holes to 3/8 so that the new hinge bolts will fit. The old holes were ~ 5/16.
- Reassemble door hinge. To do this, align the outer hinge over the inner hinge and use the 3/8-16×5 Hex Cap Screw as the new hinge bolt. Dont forget the washers. I placed the Nyloc nuts so that they were on the upper side of the upper hinge and on the lower side of the lower hinge. This will allow you to easily remove the door in the future. If you get it reversed, do not blame me when you try to take them out after the door is reinstalled.
- Reinstall door just swing the door back into place and bolt the door back onto the hinge. Make sure that you are careful to place the hinge plate at exactly the original location, otherwise the door will need to be realigned.
- If you were successful, the door should open and close like new. If the door needs realignment, then try this;
First, adjust the body hinge plates so that the door fits into the door frame correctly. I loosened the body hinge plates 1 at a time, using a wood block and hammer to tap it into the correct place. Then, tighten it down (all 3 bolts) and move to the next one. When it got to be a close fit, I just closed the door with the bolts snug but not tight, and the door just popped into alignment with the door jam. I carefully opened the door, tightened up the hinge bolts, and it was a perfect fit.
Next, adjust the door hinge plates so that the door is aligned with the body contours. I did not have to do this.
Here are some pictures;
Surface rust hiding underneath the door hinge!! Must fix NOW!!
New Parts for 2 doors
Drilling the outer hinge to 3/8
Bench Test Assembly, before paint
Upper Hinge, Installed
Lower Hinge Installed