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May 29, 2016

Door Hinges

[Click the pics for a larger view]

With the tub freshly on the chassis, I wanted to check out whether the door gaps were going to be a problem later.  So I fetched the doors and wings from the shed and set about hanging them on the tub.  Ther first snag I hit was that a couple of the door hinges were all but seized, and another one was very loose and floppy.  It seemed that they would need some attention before I could mount the doors.

The first thing I did was clean the hinges up for a better inspection.  In preparation for the door gap fitting, I made some of the fiber pads that the catalogs show, though my car didn't have any when I took it apart.

I soaked the stuck hinges in penetrating oil, and when they finally loosened up, I didn't really like how loose they were.  I decided I didn't want to use them in this condition.  It looked like a set of new hinges was going to set me back nearly $100, and there is of course the crap-shoot concerning the quality of what you get with after market parts.  

The other option was to rebuild the original parts.  A hinge is pretty simple, and it appeared there wasn't much of a downside to at least attempting to repair the hinges I had.

The hinge pins are held in the door side of the hinge by a pressed in spline.  They didn't come out willingly, but only with generous amounts of heat and violence.

I also discovered why one of the hinges was especially floppy.  The hinge pin was broken just below the splined section.  I couldn't drive it out because the larger part of the pin wouldn't stay aligned with the broken part.  I ended up welding a small bar to the top of the splined part so I could extract it.  The rest of the pin then came out easily.

I couldn't find any replacement hinge pins in the US, but they seem to be readily available in the UK, so I ordered some from there.  The pins, being aftermarket items, had some issues.  First, they were slightly oversized.  I don't think the description of the pins said they were oversized, but this ended up working in my favor.  The original pins still measured  very close to 0.3125", which is probably what they were when new (5/16" pins).  But now they were a little loose in their worn bores.  The pins were very hard, which explains both their durability and their brittleness.  I was prepared to sleeve the hinges to restore the nominal 5/16" bore, but the oversized pins made that unecessary.  

The second issue with the new pins is that they varied a little in diameter, between about 0.315" and 0.316", but none of them would slide into the hinge bores.  That meant I could just ream the hinges to accommodate the new pins.  I bought both a 0.316" and a 0.317" reamer, and hand fitted the pins to the reamed holes with the minimum clearance to give smooth operation.

I also noticed that the new pins were hard, but not as hard as the originals.  This might be a good thing, too, considering the broken original pin.

I was able to adjust the ears on the door half of the hinge to minimize up and down play by just squeezing them together in a vice.  I then ran the reamer down through the two ears to make sure the holes were still colinear.  I then drilled a 1/8" hole in each hinge barrel as an additional lubrication point, then powder coated the hinge bodies.  This will be primed and overcoated with body color later.  The original hardware was still in excellent shape.

A favorite lube for things like this is a mix of STP and a moly loaded lithium grease.

Then pressed in the pins, and these dudes are ready for prime time.

The pins and reamers came to a little over half what new hinges would have cost, so I didn't save a lot of money on this job, but it was sort of fun, and it keeps the car that much more original.

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