REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
Front and rear doors may be removed using the same procedure.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Protect the door and surrounding trim and painted areas using cardboard and masking tape. A thick masking tape is available at local body and paint supply stores. Cover and protect any corners, sharp edges or protruding objects.
- Support the door, by placing a floor jack and a piece of wood underneath the door.
- Remove the bolts from the door stop arm.
- Remove the door panel, detach the wiring connectors, and guide clips.
- Remove the wiring harness from the door frame. If necessary, use tape to keep the wiring pulled aside.
- Inspect and make sure all applicable wiring connectors are disconnected and removed.
- Matchmark the location of the hinges on the door and/or vehicle frame.
- Unfasten the hinge bolts, then remove the door assembly.
If necessary, make shims out of scrap sheet metal, paint stirring sticks or cardboard and tape in place with masking tape to the area to be aligned or shimmed.
- Position the door into place and finger tighten the hinge bolts.
- Align the door with the hinge marks made earlier and tighten the bolts.
- Attach the wiring connectors.
- Attach the door stop arm and tighten the bolts to 89 inch lbs. (10 Nm).
- Remove the supporting jack.
- Install the door panel.
- Connect the negative battery cable.
When checking door alignment, look carefully at each seam between the door and body. The gap should be constant and even all the way around the door. Pay particular attention to the door seams at the corners farthest from the hinges; this is the area where errors will be most evident. Additionally, the door should pull in against the weatherstrip when latched to seal out wind and water. The contact should be even all the way around and the stripping should be about half compressed.
The position of the door can be adjusted in three dimensions: fore and aft, up and down, in and out. The primary adjusting points are the hinge-to-body bolts. Apply tape to the fender and door edges to protect the paint. Two layers of common masking tape works well. Loosen the bolts just enough to allow the hinge to move in place. With the help of an assistant, position the door and retighten the bolts. Inspect the door seams carefully and repeat the adjustment until correctly aligned.
The in-out adjustment (how far the door "sticks out" from the body) is adjusted by loosening the hinge-to-door bolts. Again, move the door into place, then retighten the bolts. This dimension affects both the amount of crush on the weatherstrips and the amount of "bite" on the striker.
The door should be adjusted such that the leading edge of the door just below or no more than level with the adjoining body panel. The trailing edge of the door should be adjusted such the edge of the panel is slightly above the adjoining body panel. If not properly adjusted, the doors are likely to cause a wind noise.
Further adjustment for closed position and smoothness of latching is made at the latch plate or striker. This piece is located at the rear edge of the door and is attached to the bodywork; it is the piece the latch engages when the door is closed. Although the striker size and style may vary between models or from front to rear, the method of adjusting it is the same:
- Loosen the large cross-point screw(s) holding the striker. Know in advance that these bolts will be very tight; an impact screwdriver is a handy tool to have for this job. Make sure you are using the proper size bit.
- With the bolts just loose enough to allow the striker to move if necessary, hold the outer door handle in the released position and close the door. The striker will move into the correct location to match the door latch. Open the door and tighten the mounting bolts. The striker may be adjusted towards or away from the center of the car, thereby tightening or loosening the door fit.
- The striker can be moved up and down to compensate for door position, but if the door is correctly mounted at the hinges this should not be necessary.
Do not attempt to correct height variations (sag) by adjusting the striker.
Additionally, some models may use one or more spacers or shims behind the striker or at the hinges. These shims may be removed or added in combination to adjust the reach of the striker or hinge.
- After the striker bolts have been tightened, open and close the door several times. Observe the motion of the door as it engages the striker; it should continue its straight-in motion and not deflect up or down as it hits the striker.
- Check the feel of the latch during opening and closing. It must be smooth and linear, without any trace of grinding or binding during engagement and release.
It may be necessary to repeat the striker adjustment several times (and possibly re-adjust the hinges) before the correct door to body match is produced. This can be a maddening process of loosen and tighten, check and readjust; have patience.
If a door makes a knocking noise over bumps, it's likely the striker is not centered in the door latch. Inspect, loosen and lightly tap the striker up or down as necessary.