Winch my door please?
February 21, 2012 8:43 AM   Subscribe

I backed the open door of my old beat-up pick-up truck into a tree (yeah I know) and now it won't close. Everything looks reasonably intact and the hinges move except that the whole door has been displaced forward about a 1/4 inch. Any suggestions on getting in back into position?

I am thinking that the part of the hinge bracket welded to the body has actually gotten bent. With a pry-bar i was able to wedge the door back in, but I don't have enough leverage to push it any farther. Next up: chaining the hinges to a tree and trying to bend them back, which seems like a recipe for disaster but...
posted by to Technology (15 answers total)
Oh Man, a friends old ranger pickup had the same thing happen to it. It bent the frame! I'm not sure exactly how it was fixed, though I know it involved the insurance company and a new door. We used the drivers side door exclusively for a while...
posted by defcom1 at 8:59 AM on February 21, 2012

Gotta love those trucks that are old enough where the following phrase comes up in discussions regarding their repair:

Next up: chaining the hinges to a tree and trying to bend them back, which seems like a recipe for disaster but...

So I'd take it to the grungiest, oldest mechanic you can find (preferably one that either chews tobacco or smokes cigarettes, bonus points for both or handrolled cigs) and ask him what he'd do. Make it clear you don't want to fix it the 'right' way since this is, obviously, a beater truck. He's probably been there/done that or will be able to visualize a fix that doesn't involve either A) ripping your door off, or bending things further out of wack.

I'd avoid the chaining up and driving away method, you're unlikely to get good results. I'd say the prybar method is a good one, if you're not getting enough leverage have you tried a cheater pipe? What about heating the metal with a welding torch to soften things up?
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:06 AM on February 21, 2012

You could drill holes through the body and door and run a old belt through them. I've seen it done.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:20 AM on February 21, 2012

If it didn't bend the door frame (car body), how about a junk yard for new hinges? I did the same thing on an old Ford I, but the spot where the hinges attach to the body was a mess.
posted by johnn at 9:22 AM on February 21, 2012

Response by poster: part of the hinge is welded to the car body is the part i think is bent... so getting a new door probably wouldn't change anything.
posted by at 9:28 AM on February 21, 2012

Best answer: This is basically how I fixed the sprung door on my 1965 Ford Galaxie about a hundred years ago (I used an 11/16 socket in the hinge)
posted by buggzzee23 at 9:29 AM on February 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Yeah I'd replace the hinges.
You can definitely get a set of pins and bushings, and you'll probably want that, but an entire hinge sounds ideal.

Slightly more delicate than what you're planning to do, but a tiny bit of sag or shift in those doors and they never close or open properly.

It's a pain in the ass, but such is life. Worst come to worst you should be able to find an entire door from a scrap yard if your truck is at all common. Taking a door off isn't the end of the world.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:30 AM on February 21, 2012

Oh nevermind.

Well remember. Just because it's welded doesn't mean you can't replace it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:31 AM on February 21, 2012

We fixed a slightly-smushed Bronco by pulling the body in front of the door "forward" using the tow strap and tree method. It worked fine and the truck is still in use another decade later. Just think about where the strap/chain will go if it breaks, and don't be there. Use a big tree, and work up slowly and patiently to the required force - you sure don't want to go too far.
posted by fritley at 9:46 AM on February 21, 2012

Can you use washers between the hinge and the door to get that quarter inch back?
posted by just sayin at 10:26 AM on February 21, 2012

Might try shimming striker plate/latch too.
posted by just sayin at 10:27 AM on February 21, 2012

I had to do the strap and tree method. But I spaced it out over a month or so, I think. I was pulling out the back of the cab, where it wraps around to meet the rear of the door. I would tighten the strap over time, not all at once.
posted by narcoleptic at 10:38 AM on February 21, 2012

I watched a locksmith once repair the hinges on a steel fire door. He put this thing over the hinge (it looked like a hinge itself) and continually closed the door on it until it was lined up. Maybe car guys have something like that?
posted by jara1953 at 5:19 PM on February 21, 2012

Response by poster: the "fix for the sprung door" was exactly it. For the sake of posterity, it's essentially just: put a space blocking the hinge and then try to close the door. the lever principle saves the day! (also, winching the hinges against a tree totally didn't work)
posted by at 6:55 AM on February 22, 2012

Response by poster: should be "spacer blocking the hinge"
posted by at 6:56 AM on February 22, 2012

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