Auto Repair: Door Hinge Pin Replacement

If you have an older vehicle you may have noticed that your door has dropped, squeaks, rubs, or doesn’t swing as easily as it once did.  This is probably due to the bushings wearing on the door.  On my S10, the driver’s side door hasn’t dropped but it does squeak.   My doors are held on by two hinges.  Each hinge is held together with a pin with two flanged bushings in between the halves.  Here’s a picture of the top hinge.  The green arrow points to the lower bushing which is clearly worn.  The pin has worn through the bushing allowing the pin to rub directly on the hinge.  This is bad.  The pin is easily replaced but the hinge is welded to the truck.  If the hinge wears badly it would be a pain to repair.  So, fix it before it becomes a problem.

 

 

Here’s the lower pin and bushing.  It looks ok but it has to come out to replace the top pin and bushings.  So, it should be replaced as well.

 

The first thing to do is to remove the spring, seen in the top picture, that holds the doors in the detent positions.  I used a pry bar to carefully pop it out of the way.   Before you can remove the pins the door needs to be supported.  You want to neutrally support it at the normal height so that there is no force on the pins.  Here’s my cheap way of supporting the door.  Another option I’ve seen is to support the door with a jack while someone holds it.  This method allows the door to hang in position without needing another person.

 

Now I can start removing the pins.  The first thing to do is remove the ring that fits into a grove on the pin.  It keeps the pin from falling out.  On the top pin, the ring is on the top and the pin is removed by pulling it down.  On the bottom pin, the ring is on the bottom and the pin is removed by pulling it up.   The ring can be destroyed in the removal process as it is not reused.  I split it with a cold chisel and removed it with some pliers.

 

Next, drive the top pin down and out with a punch.  You shouldn’t have to beat the pin with a ton of force.  If so, then the door is probably putting a lateral load on the pin.  Try adjusting the door’s height and try again.

 

 

Once the pin out of the top holes it can be pulled the rest of the way out.  The bottom pin is driven up and out.

 

Here’s the top pin.  I think it is worn a bit.

 

Once the pin is removed the bushings can be removed.  The bushings are flanged meaning they only go in and out from one side.  On mine the flange was almost completely worn off the top bushing because it supported most of the door load.   I’ve pointed out the bushings with the green arrows.  The top bushing goes up to be removed while the lower bushing goes down.  Punch them out with a pin or collapse them with a cold chisel and pick the bits out.

 

The bushings on the lower hinge are in the door hinge half.  I’ve already removed the bottom bushing in this picture.  Put a towel or cardboard between the door and body to keep the two from rubbing on each other.

 

Here’s the old pins and bushings.  The bushing on the right is the worn one from the top hinge.

 

Here’s the shiny, non-rust colored, new pins and bushings.

 

It is important to note that the bushings are not identical.  One of the bushings is larger, inside and out, than the other.  It needs to go near the end of the pin that has the cap .  Accordingly, the holes in the hinges are differently sized as well.  The larger bushings won’t fit in the smaller holes.  The like colored arrows indicate which pieces go where.

 

Once you’ve identified which bushing goes where they can be reinstalled.  I tapped them in with a ball peen hammer but I’ve also seen online where folks have used a bolt, nut, and a couple washers as a press.  To use this method, position the bushing in place and then insert a bolt and washer.  Put another washer and the nut on and then tighten the nut down.  Using wrenches the bushing can be drawn into position.  Here’s the top bushings reinstalled.

 

Here’s the bottom bushings reinstalled.  Tap carefully with the hammer or a bit of the bushing might break off. 

 

With all the bushings in place, reposition the door to align the holes.  Add a little grease to the pins and/or bushings and reinsert the pins.  The new pins have a flat spring clip that fits in a groove on the pin.  The best way I found to install the clip, is to use a deep well socket and extension.  Place the clip in place and then push down on it with the socket end until it clicks in place.

 

Here’s the clip and pin in place.

 

To reinstall the door spring, it must first be compressed.  Of course there is a special tool for doing this.  You insert the spring in the tool and then tighten the nut down which compresses the spring.  Be careful as the spring may shoot out.  Once compressed, the tool and spring should be treated like a weapon.  Strong compressed springs contain a lot of energy.  If this spring were to fly out it could damage yourself or something else.

 

The door has tabs to hold the spring in place.  Put some grease on the wheel that the detent arm moves against.  Insert the spring and tool into the correct position and open it up.  Hopefully, the spring will end up in the right place.  If not, carefully it reposition with the tool or nudge it with a prybar while standing back.

 

Here’s the spring back in position.

 

That completes the pin and bushing replacement.  Now the door swings easily like it should.  Before I put the spring in place is swung with practically no resistance.  I can’t recommend this for everyone unless you feel you’re up to the task though.

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4 Responses to Auto Repair: Door Hinge Pin Replacement

  1. I did not know a regular joe could do that. Hmmm. Maybe, maybe…

  2. Tom says:

    I did this job last summer on my S10. Harbor Freight has the spring compressor for 5 bucks. Nice tutorial.

  3. Car Shopping says:

    Wonderful article! We will be linking to this particularly great post on ourr website.

    Keeep up the great writing.

  4. dav says:

    these spring compressor are junk they bend very easy I bought my at advance auto it bend so I welded angle iron on mine to strengthen it now it works great

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