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How To: Install Door Hinges

Project Overview

In this video, Kevin Tetz is going to show you how to replace or rebuild door hinges in a 1994-02 Dodge Truck.

Project Difficulty
Estimated Project Time
1-2 hours
Required Tools
  • Basic Hand Tools
  • Socket Set
  • Door Hinge Spring Compressor Tool

Video Transcription

Hey guys, I'm Kevin Tetz working with LMC Truck to bring you some tech information and some videos that we hope are going to make your truck restoration project go even better.

In this video were going to address replacing and rebuilding door hinges for a 1994 thru 2002 Dodge truck. Now this truck behind me has got 300,000 miles on it. It's the guys' daily driver and work truck, it's a great truck, but it's showing its age and its showing its wear particularly in the door hinges. Look at this. The bushings their shot and listen to this the springs, the bushings, the pins, the pivot mechanism everything is shot. It's just worn out and pretty soon the latch is going to start to suffer and your weather seal, so now is the time to do this repair and here's how we're going to do it.

LMC Truck offers everything that you're going to need to do this repair project at any stage including complete replacement hinge assemblies with new pins, new bushings, zinc coating, new springs this is almost better than a brand new one from the factory because it’s got the corrosion resistance that the factory never put on there. If you choose to rebuild your hinges LMC Truck has pink its, bushings all the E-clips and hardware that you're going to need to do this project and we're going to walk you thru rebuilding a hinge as well.

If you're going to replace your hinges, well I'm going to give it about a two out of a five for difficulty scale. If you decide to rebuild your hinges I'm going to bump it up to three out of five to rebuild the hinges because there's a little bit of trickiness involved and as far as tools you're going to need, basic hand tools, a socket set, metric on this truck with this year model and there's a cool tool that I'm going to introduce you to if you don't already know. This is a door hinge spring compressor and you're going to need one of these for just about every door hinge that's got a spring on it. You can pick that up in the LMC Truck catalog and as far as everything else it's just simple hand tools. You might want to grab some penetrating oil too if you've got an old worn out truck that's got a bit of rust on the bolts.

First things first we're going to soak down all the bolts with some penetrating oil. Now you don't have to have one of these jack thingies and this truck is lifted so were helping it out with a couple of blocks of wood, the point is to get the weight off the door so that you can remove the hinges without the door falling down, and that way we don't have to disconnect our electrical system. This stud is a bolt that comes in from the backside, so we've got remove the kick panel and the scuff plate. We’re going to release this seal. Sometimes you can get away with leaving yours plugged in but ours, the harness was too short so we unplugged it. Sometimes you got to improvise. Now we can pull our door loose. Now this is a thirteen millimeter bolt head and I want the kick panel off. Which is real easy to get to. I'm going to back this one off first.

Alright now here's a tip. If you're down to your last couple of threads take the ratchet off the extension and just gently, with your fingers and that way you can control the pitch that you're pulling the bolt out from. You stand a really good chance of not dropping it down inside the cab. You can pull it out like that. The E-Brake foot pedal assembly's got to come out so you've got to unbolt it from the firewall and from the kick panel. Now that gives us room to reach your hand up inside the pillar here, and get away from the insulation and get to the back side of this bolt. It's a little goofy it's going to take some futzing but it's just what you’ve got to do. I like it! I like it when that happens. Now before you change the alignment of your hinges, take a magic marker some masking tape or something. Draw a line around the hinges. Mark the location of it, this will give you really good idea of where to put the hinge back and minimize your adjustment. Look at all that adjustment, that's why your witness marks are so important. This one's stuck, there you go.

Whenever you're rebuilding your door hinge it's a really good idea to just do witness mark to make sure that you know which way it goes back together. Time can happen, the phone can ring, the dogs threw up on the carpet and if you get things crossed up you're going to have to do it all over again, if you get things backwards. So we're going to do our witness mark then cut our pin out. There we go. See ya. The old bushings are a piece of cake to get out, there kind of just going to fall out for you. A pair of needle nose pliers works well. There’s one. That's it, there done. I’ve already got the top sleeve out and to take the bottom one out I'm using the old pin as a driving tool, to pull it out of the way. Yea, here it comes. Seat the bushings. You want to be careful when you’re tapping in the brass bushings so you don't distort the bore or the opening. Slow and steady will get it done. You hear the sound change, it's seated in. Now I'm going to use my punch tool as a drift and pre-align the holes, get it as close as possible. Just get that seated at the top. I’m going to make sure I'm aligned again for good. There’s the brass, looking good.

Now the sound change we're seated there so now, I can see the splines on the top of the pin. Like so. That exposes a gap for the E-Clip. There's our clip, there are needle nose pliers. We've got a super snug rebuilt lower door hinge. The spring compressor tool is super simple. Just put it in between the coils. It compresses the spring. It won't go flying across the room and the spring stays in the compressor until you're ready to reinstall it. Simple. If you’re wondering why I use a cut out wheel rather than just driving them out it's because they’re usually braded and on the other side and it would take an enormous amount of force to punch them out without removing one end first. Now just like the other side we made our witness marks and now we can start repairing. These bushings are shot so we are going to go ahead and replace them. The pins going to come out. When you’re using the cut off wheel cut the pin as flush as possible, but be very careful not to damage the hinge itself. If you do then just make sure you repaint it before installation. I'll just use the old hinge pin to drive the bushings out. There's the bottom. There it is..........BAM!

Alright, so right there we've got something to hammer against. One side. Like that. Give it a little love. Going to use my drift tool to realign the holes and set it. And that is seated. Now we've got a clip to put in. We’re almost there. There it is. Home free. Now our friend the spring compressor comes in. We're going to make sure that we're on the roller. Just the same way that we tightened it up, we loosen it off. That’s installed and it is that easy. Now that is a tight hinge. Ready to install.

We just showed you how to rebuild your hinges, but if you decide just to replace them, here's how to get them ready to install. We're going to color match our hinges to the truck. Now your auto parts store around the corner probably has color match pain tours, it was black so it was an easy match. We're going to scuff them up, give them a good wipe down, throw a couple coats of paint on, now were ready to install. When your spray painting make sure you’re in a well ventilated area, and always protect yourself. Alright we've got three coats of paint on them and they'll be ready to install as soon as the paints dry. Brand new door hinges for this truck. Well, they're there if you need them. We've even showed you how to color match them, but we were able to successfully rebuild the original hinges, so we're gone save a little money and put them back on. Alright. That gives us a little bit of an alignment tool, snug that up. Then the other 2, come in from the outside. Now I'm just trying to get as close as I can to these alignment marks. I think that is pretty good. Yep - there you go, that's it. If you're installing new hinges your location marks may not be as helpful just try to get them as close as possible to the original hinge location and then you'll just have to adjust them with the door mounted up. That is tight. Now here's a tip that might save you some time and even some lost bolts. A little bit of masking tape on the bolt head makes it very tight and it won't fall out of your socket. So now I can get back behind here and I won't drop it down inside the door frame. There we are.

Again I can use this as an alignment tool. I'm looking at my two holes, I can tell exactly when it's in the right place. Right there, now I can lock it down. One last check and I think we’re good so I'm going to snug this guy. These doors are heavy. The hinges need to be pretty snug so they don't slip under the weight of the door when you install it. If they need to be adjusted later, well then, you can just loosen them backup at that time. That's tight. The emergency brake pedal goes back, with 3 fasteners. We'll put our kick panel back. If you have to go back in and adjust your door hinges well, it's not a big deal to remove the kick panel trim it's just a couple of screws and it goes back on easily. Scuff plate. Here's a way to get you really close on your door alignment. These vehicles were assembled and then painted it and that can be a clue for you to align the door, just cover up the marks that aren't painted. Get your bolts in place and that gets you super close to the factory alignment. Yes, we're able to catch a thread. Now that I know my door's stable, I'm going to go ahead and plug my electronics back in. There, now our electronics are hooked back up. I'm going to snug it up. That ought to hold it. You can see by the shoulder of the bolt that we're pretty darn close. Close enough to doing a test closing of the door. See how it lines up. You never want to assume that everything's perfect the first time around. Listen. No binding sounds, the hinges are operating smoothly. Check your fender to door. Everything’s fine, nothing's contacting, it looks ok here. Our pinstripes kind of lineup. That's good, it latches, but, here, right here, it's kicked out at the top and if I follow it down here it's kicked in at the bottom. So what that means is that the door is going to cross up, so we can loosen that bottom hinge pull it out of the bottom, pull it in at the top and we should be good. Loosen those off. Okay, that's too much Bring it back a little bit. Now we'll snug it up. We'll test it again. Yea, that's what I'm looking for, that's a nice flush fit. And here door to the fender is nice and flush. We've got a great fit on a door. There’s no noises and it closes like a new one.

So we hope this video shows you that whether you're repairing or replacing the door hinges in your '94 - '02 Dodge pick-up it's a job you can handle. Don't forget about the LMC Truck catalogs or go to, for more ideas for your projects. For now I'm Kevin Tetz, thanks for watching.