Projects & Repairs --> Mechanical --> Doors --> Replacing Hinge Pins

Fixing A Sagging Door:

Replacing Hinge Pins On A Chevy Blazer,
GMC Jimmy,
Chevy S10 or
GMC Sonoma

(Covers Model Years 1994 to 2004)

In This Article:

  • The weight of the door is supported.
  • The door spring is removed.
  • The hinge pins are pounded out with a punch.
  • Old bushings are removed and new bushings installed.
  • New pins are driven into place.
  • The door spring is replaced using a spring compressor.

Related Articles:

Skill Level: 2-3 (Basic to Intermediate)

Time Taken: About 1 Hour

By Bruce W. Maki, Editor

Start:

Late 1990's models of Chevy Blazers and GMC Jimmy's are known to have door hinges that wear out, causing the door to sag. These sagging doors can be fixed by replacing the hinge pins and bushings. The parts for both front doors cost about $20.

Sagging doors are not just a nuisance, they can actually cause damage to other parts. On this 1999 GMC Jimmy the sagging driver's door had placed so much stress on the power door lock mechanism that an internal plastic part broke. The driver's door would unlock with the keyless remote, but had to be manually locked.

One symptom of wear-and-tear is a grinding, "crunching" or clunking sound when opening the car door. I've noticed lots of Chevy Blazers that make an awful noise when the doors are opened and closed. This is a sure sign of lack of hinge lubrication. Every time that noise happens some metal is being worn away. Eventually the hinge bushings and pins will wear out and allow the door to sag. Read more about hinge lubrication at the end of this article.

 

Door Almost Shut:

When the door was almost shut, the top of the door was a bit too low.

 
 

Door Fully Shut:

When fully shut, the door was noticeably higher. This difference in height is an indication of a problem. In this case the problem was worn hinge pins and bushings.

 

Other Reasons For Car Door Sag:

The driver's door on my 1993 Dodge Dakota has a similar sag problem, but it's not from worn-out hinge components. A couple of years ago I removed the doors (and fenders, and hood) to repaint the truck, and when I re-installed the door I guess the hinge was just a tiny bit lower than its original position, so the door now sags about 1/8 inch. One of these days I'll adjust it.

 

Jim set up a bench with padding to support the weight of the door while the hinge pins are removed.

Note that this bench is the right height only because the car was lifted up on jack stands for other repairs. Ordinarily something shorter would be needed.

 

Applying masking tape to fender to prevent door from scratching paint. Jim applied a couple of rows of blue masking tape along the edges of the fender and door.

 

Then Jim applied a layer of duct tape over the masking tape.

Duct tape provides a degree of cushioning and scratch protection, while the masking tape peels off easily. Duct tape used alone will often leave glue residue.

Applying duct tape over masking tape to prevent detached door from scratching fender.

 

Removing The Hold-Open Spring:

Jim used a prybar to pry out the door detent spring. (Also called the "hold open" spring.)

 

Removing the spring...

 

Starting At The Bottom:

Using a punch and a hammer, Jim drove the lower hinge pin upwards.

 

Once the pin had been pushed through the first pair of hinge legs, the weight of the door pinched the pin, making it more difficult to remove.

A this point it really helped to support the weight of the door...

 

To completely remove the hinge pin, Jim grabbed it with a pair of Vise-Grips and hammered on the pliers.

 

Then the pin came right out.

 

Top Hinge:

The top hinge pin (lower blue arrow) has the head on the bottom, so it needed to be pounded downward with a hammer and punch.

 

Closer view of driving the hinge pin downward.

 

With the pins removed, the door could be pulled away from the body, just a bit.

At this point that masking tape and duct tape acted as insurance to prevent the loose door from scratching the fender.

 

Supporting weight of door with bungee cord wrapped around garage roof truss. Once the door was loose, it helped to have a bungee cord helping to support the door. We wrapped the cord around the bottom board of a roof truss.

The bench (shown earlier) supported most of the weight, while this bungee cord kept the door from falling over.

If available, a helper could be used instead of a cord, but who wants to stand around holding a door for half an hour.

 

Removing Door Pin Bushings:

With the door separated from the car, Jim used a hammer and punch to drive the bushings out.

The bottom bushing on the upper hinge after being removed partway. You can see the upper-most bushing directly above (covered in white grease).

 

Once the bushing was part way out, Jim alternately used a punch and a notched prybar to completely remove the bushing.

 

Removing the bushing on the top leg of the top hinge.

 

Upper hinge bracket with bushings removed.

Note how the bushings are located on the body side of this upper hinge.

On the bottom hinge, the bushings are located on the door side of the hinge. When driving out the bottom hinge bushings, the door needs to be well-supported and held steady.

 

Installing The New Parts:

A set of two bushings, a pin and a lock ring cost about $5, and two sets are needed for each door.

 

Note the groove near end of pin.

The lock ring goes here.

 

IMPORTANT:

Note how the head end of the pin shaft has a larger diameter, plus the knurling to hold the head in the bushing.

The bushings have two different inside diameters. The larger I.D. bushing needs to be placed where the head of the pin will go. 

 

To install a new bushing, Jim set it in place on the hinge bracket.

Note: This was the small ID bushing, because the upper hinge pin has its head at the bottom

 

Then he used a pair of vice-grips to squeeze it into the hole.

The goal here is to just get the bushing started in the hole.

 

Next he used a big punch to drive the bushing completely into the hole.

It's best to use a series of sharp hammer taps. Serious heavy hammer blows could bend the hinge leg.

 

Upper hinge, bottom leg:

Jim used the same procedure to install the other bushing in the lower leg of the hinge bracket.

This was the larger ID bushing.

 

 

Subtle Differences That Matter:

Note how on the lower hinge the bushings go in the bracket attached to the door...

 

...while on the upper hinge the bushings go in the body side of the hinge.

 

Jim inserted the hinge pin into the upper bracket. In the upper hinge the pin points upward.

 

Then he used a punch to drive the pin into place.

 

With the pin fully seated, he set the lock ring into the groove at the end of the pin.

 

Then he used a hammer and a forked pry bar to pound down the lock ring.

 

The lock ring after installation.

 

Driving in the lower hinge pin:

Remember the note about different bushing ID's. On the lower hinge, the larger ID bushing goes on the upper leg of the hinge.

And both of the bushings go into the hinge bracket attached to the door.

 

Replacing The Hold-Open Spring

This tool is a door spring compressor.

Note how the legs of the spring compressor are inserted into the spring approximately one coil away from the ends

 

When compressed, the spring is much shorter, so it can be put back into place without a fight.

 

Jim put the spring and tool into place between the door and detent mechanism,

 

Then he loosened the screw on the compressor to expand the spring and let it slip into place.

 

The door hold-open spring back in place.
Lastly, Jim removed the masking tape and duct tape from the fender and door.

No scratches!

 

Hinge Lubrication:

When I worked as a mechanic in the early 1990's, we always lubricated the door hinges whenever we did an oil change. Lubrication is simply a matter of spraying some white lithium grease where the hinge pin meets the bushing, and applying some grease to the detent roller, which is part of the mechanism that holds the door open.

Silicone spray (such as WD-40) is not adequate! Silicone works... but it's so thin that it just runs off within a few days, leaving the moving parts dry. Any type of grease should work, but white lithium grease in a spray can is the most convenient to apply.

I suppose a better design would incorporate a grease fitting and tiny passageways to direct the grease to the moving parts... but these hinges are not that sophisticated. I've never seen any car door hinge design with that degree of sophistication.

 

More Info:

Tools Used:

  • Hammer
  • Punch
  • Vise-Grip Pliers
  • Door Spring Compressor
  • Notched Prybar

Materials Used:

  • Door Pin With 2 Bushings (2 Sets Per Door)

Related Articles:

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Written July 16, 2007