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How To: Install Internal Door Parts

Project Overview

If you have a whistling vent window, aged and worn window regulators, switches, door handles, and door locks, and if your door just won't close right, then this how-to video for replacing and rebuilding internal door parts is just what you need.

Kevin Tetz walks you through a complete rebuild of internal door components for 1981-1987 Chevy/GMC trucks, including the annoying vent window and door latch issues you've likely been dealing with for years. This full job is rated three out of five on the difficulty scale, but mostly because it requires a good amount of patience and time. Follow Kevin's recommendations to bag 'n tag every small item and/or take photos/video of your own disassembly, and you'll remove any guesswork from the replacement process.

Video Transcript »

Project Difficulty

(1 star being easiest)

Estimated Parts Cost

$1,376.30

* pricing subject to change

Estimated Project Time

3 hours

Required Tools:

  • Basic Hand Tools
  • Ratchet Set
  • Cordless Drill Driver or Manual Screwdriver
  • Needle-nose Pliers
  • Bags and Pen/Marker for Reusable Small Parts (recommended)
  • Digital or Video Camera (recommended)

Related How-To Videos:

LMC Truck:

Hi, I'm Kevin Tetz working with LMC Truck to bring you some tech tips and some excellent how-to videos that we hope are going to make your truck restoration project even better. In this video we're working with the 1981 through 1987 GM truck and we're going to show you how to completely rebuild the internal components of your door.

Now it doesn't seem like this truck is actually old enough to warrant a full restoration but let's face it 30 years have gone by and that's an awful lot of time for stuff to just naturally deteriorate or just wear out over time with use. Such as, door lock switch is messed up. The door handle works, chrome is peeling and it doesn't seat right, and take a look at this. Very common problem with these trucks and we'll show you how to fix it easy. Our vent frame is rusted and the weather seal is cracked and dry rotted. This thing whistles like Slim Whitman going down the road.

Now you don't have to throw your credit card at every single project but when you're rebuilding your doors you're going through the LMC Truck catalog or website you're going to find everything you need to completely rebuild your vent windows including the correct rubber and glass. It's going to give you a good tight seal, as well as the rivets and the brading tool to properly reinstall the ribbon on the pivot mechanism. You've got the safety catch for the vent window as well as even power window lift motors for one stop shopping. The correct channel runs, factory correct runs are going to fit like they’re supposed to and stay in the channel run and not shift over time, as well as a heavy-duty power window harness that eliminates the slow-moving window lift issue commonly found on trucks with power windows. Check the LMC Truck website for a separate video on this excellent upgrade.

LMC Truck offers brand new regulators with new tension springs and smooth-running rollers. New latch mechanisms with every single component remanufactured, even new glass sash channels that are fully coated for rust resistance. If you're going to the trouble of rebuilding your door or replacing your glass you may as well go ahead and replace all the wear items any ways. It's just money well spent. Now you may not need every single part and piece that we've shown you here, but isn't it nice to know that LMC Truck offers everything that you could ever hope to need to completely rebuild and restore the doors of your truck.

There's a lot to do but you can get it all done with basic hand tools. Now on a difficulty scale from 1 to 5 this is about a 3. The important thing to remember is to bag and tag your fasteners and parts as you pull them off. A digital camera can come in really handy if it's going to be a while before you rebuild your doors. A video camera is even better, either one will take the guesswork out of reassembly when the time comes. A cordless drill driver makes things easier but a manual screwdriver will get the job done as well.

We'll also get rid of the outdated rain guards on the door since they're looking a little worse for wear. The vent window assembly can be tricky to remove, just move slowly and you’ll find the clearance in the door frame. Now’s a good time to inspect your wiring if you've got power options in your door. Any frayed or broken wires should be replaced now.

Now it's a lot easier to put your pushrod in with the handle still on the outside. Plastic clips dry rot over time so we're installing new ones in the new latch assembly. That will hold it up. Needle nose pliers help when installing the outside door handle rods into the steel clips. Now since we can't show you inside the door very clearly, here's how this works. Your door latch sits in here bolted to the door and your key lock and the cylinder, locks and unlocks the door, as the key rotates in the cylinder. It's pretty simple. The lock cylinder goes into the opening and is held in place from the backside with a spring steel clip. Yep, there it is.

Alright, now the bottom of the door lock rod goes through the grommet here and it gets bolted in here and here, right there. And now we can take care of the issues with the vent window. We put some penetrating oil on it before we started this project, let it sit a little bit. I'm going to stack these in the order that they came off and leave them alone. You'll need to drill out the pivot rivet from the bottom. Be very careful not to drill through the frame and only drill the bottom of the rivet. There we go. These two washers need to be held right where they are. Just use some gentle pressure. Pay attention to how this rubber molding comes out of the vent frame, it will give you good clues as to how to install the new one.

With our vent window frame got rid of the rust and scuffed it up gave it a nice coat of paint. With the window itself, the glass is perfect and there's no signs of the glass wanting to fall out so it doesn't need replaced, so we're just going to leave it like it is. We'll replace the handle because the chrome's pitted, for now the first thing we're going to do is put the rubber gasket in the frame itself. You'll notice I've also gotten rid of this rivet up at the top this just makes the job a lot easier. This channel here has got a rib on either side and it's got to sit inside the frame. So you're just going to have to have a lot of patience and give yourself some time to do this. We're replacing this rivet at the top and lining it up using locking pliers just to make sure we've got everything right where it needs to be. Here we go. There's that. Now for this rivet all we used was the corner of the bench vise and braded the rivet with the vise.

You can use a clear silicone to seal the vent molding or black weatherstripping adhesive. Both are available from the LMC Truck catalog, and this fence will make sure that the silicone dries the gasket where it's supposed to be. The vent window latch will be replaced by a roll pin, we're going to carefully drive out. Alright now this comes apart. In here we need a hex head socket to remove it. Right now before I forget where everything goes, I'm going to leave it where it is and assemble it like I took it apart. Starting with the new outer molding and rubber seal, I'll install the other gasket, the wave washer, the cylinder which only goes one way, followed by the hex head fastener spring. This provides the spring back for the button, a new latch right there. Now we just put the roll pin in. Start the roll pin outside. Be extremely careful around the glass with a hammer, a tiny slip can break the glass so use gentle pressure and protect your vent glass. That's it, our hardware's laid out the way it came out and it just goes back in the same way. One last rivet we're done.

You might be the next set of hands for this one. I've got my friend helping me and we've got a solid object to brad the rivet against. You hear the sound change as it brads. That's it. Now we set the vent window's tension. Here we go. Bend back our tabs, and, totally latch it and that will help that silicone seal and let's, even got the click. Here we go man. We're done.

I'm installing a new cage for the lift motor and it gets riveted in place. Now this is just going to go in the same orientation as the other one, because that's how it came out we're just going to make it easier to install back in the vehicle. There. Now we bolt it in. Take the clamp off. Nothing blew up. Ready to go.

The first thing I'm going to do is plug in the lift motor so we don't have to think about it. Ever again. Where's my stud, there we are. I’m just going to loosely bolt this into place, just to hold it. Now I can plug the window switch back into check the connection and move the regulator into position.

Even though we've reused the original window sash, we did use new glass setting rubber from the LMC Truck catalog to properly seat the glass. An acrylic hammer helps to seat the glass into the channel of the sash. Alright the glass is seated, time to go back in the door. It's a really good time to lubricate the window channel before you put it in on those new rollers. Now, we can come down. You can carefully use the window lift to help you guide the rollers on to the sash. Just be careful not to get the glass in a bind and don't pinch your fingers. Alright now it's in both rollers.

Alright, let's get the vent window in there. Feeding the vent window into the door can be tricky, just remember what position it was in when it came out and have patience. We taped our rubber seal to the frame until the adhesive cures. Just stay like that for now. The new rear door glass channel goes inside of the door. Alright and that, kind of loose for now, but that's that. That's the back channel. Well, the new window motor rocks. Alright so now we can snug our regulator up. Screw in our vent window assembly. We're getting close to home people. Getting these guys nice and snug. Here we are.

Now your vent windows going to be tight because of the new weather seals, so you got to make sure that you find the right screw port. There. You can do this with a stubby screwdriver but the ratcheting guide that's just a nice convenience. The outer door seal is easy to install. Make sure that your hooks are in the slots first. We're good to go. Then it's just a matter of sliding it down in, doesn't take a whole lot of effort. There's a vent window frame. And this locator is a beautiful thing. Goes right up where the original one went and locks the channel run in place. So we're going to go across the top first. Once the top is in place install the glass run to the front and rear channels. There. If you need a little lubricant a foaming glass cleaner works great. The metal tab at the top gets slipped into the door frame just like the original, locating the glass run correctly. This is where your door handle rod goes in. We're just about done. There's that, there. That's it.

The pull strap bracket gets replaced with our new one. And the brand new inside door handle gets installed. Alright, check the window. Perfect. Yea, perfect.

Alright, one more thing before we go, remember this? I'll show you how to fix that. It's going to be the easiest project all day long. These strikers are notorious for losing the plastic collar. Now there's no amount of adjustment that can fix that so you've just got to replace it, and it's inexpensive from LMC Truck. Give it a bit of a snug, there it is, like a brand new one. Sometimes it's just the little things.

So we hope we passed on some great tips that'll make it easier for you to restore or refurbish the internal door components on your '81 through '87 GM truck. Don't forget to cruise the LMC Truck catalog or go to LMCTruck.com for more ideas and more parts and pieces you might need to make your restoration project even better. For now I'm Kevin Tetz, thanks for watching.