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How To: Install Billet Hood Hinges

Project Overview

Watch how to replace worn out hood hinges. Transform the look underneath your hood with Plain, Slotted, or Drilled Billet Hood Hinge Sets (available in polished or black finish). Their bolt-on design fits the factory mounting holes with included stainless steel hardware. Also, take notes on how to properly set the gaps so your hood lines up with the surrounding body panels.

Video Transcript »

Project Difficulty

(1 star being easiest)

Estimated Parts Cost

$649.95 - $749.95

* pricing subject to change

Estimated Project Time

1 - 1½ hours

Required Tools:

  • Simple Hand Tools
  • 3/8" Socket Set & Standard Sockets
  • Towels for cushioning
  • 5/16" T-Handle or Hex Head Socket
  • Penetrating Oil
  • Shop Towels for Clean-up
  • Anti-Seize
  • Sharpie Markers
  • Masking Tape
  • Prop Rod

LMC Truck:

Hi, I'm Kevin Tetz working with LMC Truck to bring you some technical information and great how-to videos designed to help you out with your truck restoration project. In this video we're going to be working on a '67-'72 C10 platform and we're going to address an issue that sometimes gets overlooked in a restoration, well at least until the hood is up, and that issue is worn out original hood hinges.

If you've ever had to do this you know what I'm talking about. It could be just a little bit embarrassing at a car show, if not dangerous, if your panels bump together and chip your expensive paint. Panel gaps between the hood and the fenders are some of the most observed transitions on any vehicle. Sloppy hood hinges can make adjusting these gaps almost impossible.

Now one of the main culprits of a sloppy hood hinge is actually in the design of the hinge itself. These steel bushings right here, eventually these just wear out over time and they make the hinge just about impossible to adjust with the fasteners that you have. Now even though there's not a bushing kit available for these hinges LMC Truck offers almost every other nut, bolt and component for these vehicles and many other truck platforms, and the good news is when it comes to replacing hinges, now you've got some incredible options.

Of course, you can always go back with a quality replacement original styled hinge. Even replacement springs are available and they offer a nice looking e-coat primer and will give you back some adjustability in your hood, as well as a nice under hood appearance. Now these replacement hinges will look great with a new coat of paint under your hood.

But if you really want to step up your game when it comes to replacement hood hinges check out these options. These billet aluminum hood hinges are made from 6061 T6 billet and these come polished to a mirror finish. They feature gas struts for a long life of easy hood opening, large sealed bearings, stainless steel fasteners for a long life, and precision manufacturing for smooth operation. Now polished, cross-drilled and machined billet is not the only option that you have with these hinges. These black machine versions give you all kinds of style options, all with the same precision and quality construction as the other versions.

Now there's a couple more features that I want to point out. First, all these hinges have slotted holes that give you a greater range of adjustability when you're installing them, and just the design of these hinges dictates that you won't get the wobble that the original hinges are famous for. And if you're going for full custom on your truck that precision allows you for tighter panel gaps and a better precision fit all through your build. Each kit comes with its own set of stainless steel mounting hardware.

Now as far as a difficulty scale goes, well, it's not that difficult to bolt in hood hinges. It can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it's not difficult. That's a different thing. And as far as working by yourself, that kind of presents its own challenge. It's always nice to have a buddy to help you out when you're lifting the hood on and off, but we'll show you how to get around that as well.

And just a few simple hand tools will get this job done. You're gonna need a 3/8th socket set and standard sockets, some towels to protect your paint, a 5/16th T-handle or hex head socket, and some penetrating oil and shop towels to help you clean up. Now since we're dealing with new stainless steel fasteners we're going to use some anti-seize so we don't gall up the threads, and we need a way to mark the location of our original threads and this will do just fine.

Now the reason you want to mark your hinges in the first place is to get you back in the ballpark. Even if your hood's a little bit out of alignment this gets you a nice starting place at least where you don't have to completely readjust everything. Now masking tape works great around the outside edge of the hinges if you don't have a bunch of crusty grease, and if the tape will stick fresh paint works great. If you don't, these ink markers do a nice job of marking where the outside perimeter of the hinges goes and when you're done you can wipe them off with a bit of solvent later on. This is important- remove the striker pin from your hood. The latch can guide the hood into a different direction and possibly damage the paint. Removing the latch helps you see exactly where the hood falls naturally.

There's one more thing I want to show you about these factory hood hinges. This is not something that you will see with the billet aluminum hinges. Look at this hood wobble. That corner on that fender could be really bad, really bad. I'm glad to say goodbye to that forever. We're gonna do some homemade pads between our panels and this is just to hold the hood up while I'm doing one hinge at a time. This is a prop rod that I've had in my toolbox for a long time doing bodywork but you don't have to have this tool. You can use a piece of a broom handle, dowling or PVC pipe as long as it will hold the hood up and support the weight while you're doing one hinge, then the other one. Work smarter, not harder.

Some penetrating spray on all of the fasteners is a great idea to help with disassembly. Even spraying the night before will allow the fluid to creep into the threads and it just makes things easier. Protecting the paint is self-explanatory. The hood is heavy and the pads cushion it just in case it hits the fenders or the cowl. I never like to use impact tools on body bolts.

I always like to feel the tension, the resistance and possible cross threads by hand first. If I have to I'll use impact tools but I always want to know the condition of the thread, so it's something that takes a little longer, but in my opinion it's good advice to use hand tools on fasteners like this. Now this goes to the museum or the scrap heap. More penetrating fluid on the threads will help and if you felt any binding on the bolts at all chase the threads with new hardware just to be safe. Ours felt good and backed right out. It's always a good idea to use an anti-seize lubricant when using stainless steel bolts threaded into metal threads. The dissimilar metals can sometimes promote galling of the threads and it feels just like a cross thread but it's nearly impossible to remove. Thread your new hardware in by hand. This allows you to carefully install the hinge while checking for binding or cross threads. Here's where your witness marks come into play. They just let you know where to install the new hinges and give you a good place to start adjusting from.

Alright, so now we got all the fasteners in. Now we can start to fine-tune around our existing marks, put the other side on, see where we're at. With the hood snugged up on the first hinge the second is pretty much exactly the same procedure. Now there's a very good reason why I didn't want to have the striker or the latch in place when I'm bringing the hood down. I don't want it to pull it out of alignment and possibly jam the hood into my fenders. It doesn't matter for our truck but if yours is shiny paint you'll thank me for that. Now what you want to do is ease it down really slowly. Boy, those are smooth hinges. Alright. Now you take a look and I'm seeing a giant gap right there, but over here, well, it's overlapping and it's touching. That's why I didn't want that latch in place because it would have bruised my paint, like that.

Okay, so now we got some adjustment to do. So I'm too tight here and it's wide on that side and narrow on this side so that tells me the whole hood has to turn that way. But you got to think about it differently with the hood up because the hood has to go up on this side instead of forward- so you got to think about it as it opens up. Think about your geometry lessons in high school. I'm going to loosen this off while I'm supporting the corner of the hood. I'm just gonna try and bump it. There, okay, it moved maybe an eighth of an inch on this hinge on the top. Snug it back down and we'll try it again.

Okay, so that helped that gap but as you can see it's low there to the cowl piece, our gap's about okay but it's low. So we're gonna remember that and take a look at the front. Okay, so we're better here. We're at the right gap on the backside. We can't bring it forward anymore but it still needs to come away so that means it's got to go back on the other side. Back off these two on the top. We only have to pay attention to one axis at a time. Oh, that was it. Wow. We went about an eighth of an inch or even maybe 3/16. We're gonna snug that up and see what we got. Alrighty.

So right here no resistance, no contact. Sixteenth of an inch there and we're still 3/8 here so I'm going to ask a little bit more out of that adjustment on the backside of that hinge on the passenger side. On the top. Following me? Sliding the rear corner of the hood back with the top hinge bolts pulls the hood gap open on the front of the driver's side of the opposite side. And adjusting only one axis at a time lets you sneak up on the total fitment of your panel. Okay, now we're looking pretty darn good here. This is consistent all the way back to the back of the hood. It's still a little bit narrow. Let's look at the other side. On this side, same thing, it's parallel front to rear. We're in good shape except for the fact that this gap is larger than the driver's side gap, so we have to move the entire hood back this way just a taste.

I've got another piece of tape here just for reference and since I'm okay front to rear, I think, we're gonna mark this off, just to make sure you know where we can go back to just in case we slip. I'm also gonna put a mark there, contrasting mark right there. Now these hard-coated hinges, it's easy to get the ink markers off of it so don't sweat it, This is just a nice alignment tool. Okay, so we're gonna do this one bolt at a time and the goal is to move the hinge over to the driver's side which will bring the hood over to the passenger side.

I've taped off my pry bar so I can carefully adjust the hood without damaging the aluminum. Oops, gravity still works, and we are going to loosen the top bolt. Give that a gentle push. Alright, now that doesn't look bad. That's, that's just about right, that's about three sixteenths. So we're narrowing it down. And with the hood closed you could still see it's not bad but it's a little low on the hood side.

So dealing with one axis at a time we've got our hood gap side to side, now we can lift this hinge up at the back bolt and get our level up what matches the cowl. I want to make sure the front one's snug, they're not super tight. And the back two need to be reasonably loose so it can pivot off of this front angle, pivot the whole thing up. Pivoting the rear of the hinge upward brings the back of the hood up and slightly forward at the same time. That's probably more than enough. That's what I need to lock it down onto. I'm just going to snug the top one, we'll see where we're at. No, I think we went a little too far. Alright, back up that action. And I'm just gonna push up on the hood. Yep, and just roll that hinge back.

It's a slow process aligning body panels but it's really important to take your time and make sure the action of opening and closing your panels is without binding or interference. In our case before the bodywork phase. Setting gaps before bodywork is a not-so-secret secret of custom builders everywhere. Just like fitting your doors with new weather seals before the bodywork phase gives you a perfect fit on the sides of the vehicle when you're done, getting your hood gaps as close as possible before welding, fillers, blocking, and priming is so much easier with a good set of precision hinges in place.

I'm really happy with how this hood fits. It's about a sixteenth of an inch tighter on the driver's side than it is the passenger side, but you know, everything is parallel side to side and the hood gap across the back is nice and even, and once I put my striker back in I can cheat that hood a tiny little bit to make it a perfect fit left to right without stressing these hinges out.

One last thing before we wrap up. If you use a little bit of acetone or some paint thinner you can get your magic marker reference markings off easily. It looks like a brand new set of absolutely gorgeous billet hood hinges.

We hope this video has shown you that you've got tons of options when it comes to upgrading your factory worn out hood hinges, and we've shown you that if you take one axis at a time and think your way through the process, realigning your hood is something you can easily do yourself. And thanks to LMC Truck you've now got some great options for custom hood hinges. I'm Kevin Tetz, thanks for watching.