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KDirk

door hinges

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Anyone know if the upper  door hinges used on the Reatta are serviceable? I know many GM hinges can have the pins removed via a special tool for replacement of the roller when it gets worn, but the Reatta FSM doesn't specifically detail that procedure nor reference the pin puller tool.

 

My good 88 driver door is just starting to sag a bit due to the roller getting worn and creaks a lot even with repeated lubrication. I'd like to repair the hinge rather than replace it outright if possible. I can't tell if the upper hinge is made to be repaired just from looking at it and don't want to blow money on the tool and parts if I can't use them.

 

KDIrk

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

I do not know about the Reatta specifically but on GM vehicles in general they often used pin bushings.  In the past I have supported the end of the door with a jack and removed the bolts from the attachment point on the door in order to air hammer/regular hammer out the pins and replace the bushings.  If there are bushings you should be able to see them with the door open using a flashlight to peer in between the outer hinge piece attached to the door and the inner hinge piece attached to the body of the car.  They are made of bronze and are hammered into the stationary part of the hinge.  I can only provide info in a general perspective since I have replaced them in my truck and a couple of newer (early 90's) Chevy trucks and not in a Reatta.  It's a pretty straightforward job and the bushings are a universal type part that Help! makes.  

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Tom, thanks for that extra insight. I'm aware of the service parts kit and the tool, but can't tell with certainty if the pin comes out. I have some spare changes from parts cars so I have a fallback plan, but would prefer to rebuild the existing one so I don't have to media blast and paint a different hinge to match. Besides, the spare hinges are used parts from higher mile cars so will wear out as well at some point. Will look more closely in the daylight tomorrow, maybe with your explanation now it will become a bit more evident.

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It's hard to really explain an assembly but I've drawn a crude (read: very very bad and in MSPaint) assembly drawing to try and help you make sense of the assembly.  The hinges are not parts that should ever wear out as the pin only "slides" on the bushings.  The bushings are the wear item not the hinges.  The pin is splined under the head so it engages with the metal in the door side hinge and rotates with it as one piece.  The bottom does not need to be splined because the splines on top guarantee the pin/door/door side hinge rotates as one item.  The body side hinge never moves and the bushings are splined and hammered into the top of the holes in the body side hinge.  The splines on the bushings guarantee they never rotate in the body side hinge.  So what you basically have is a rotating pin that rides inside the bushings and only puts wear on the bushings.  when the bushings wear out the door starts to droop because the pin has wiggle room and the weight of the door causes it to sag.  Easy way to tell if the bushings are bad is to pick up on the end of the open door and see if the door can wiggle up and down slightly independent of the rest of the vehicle. 

 

All of the bolt holes where the hinges mount are slotted so you can adjust the door to sit correctly on the body lines of the car and close without interference but those are usually next to impossible to loosen without a LARGE wrench so the possibility of those loosening is next to nothing.

Door Hinge Assembly.png

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Ok. Curiosity was getting to me. Just came back in from outside looking at the hinges. A couple of things:

 

1. The bottom hinge, not the top, is the one with the roller (almost like a bearing) between the head of the hinge pin and  and the hinge itself. This roller bearing provides smooth motion while opening or closing, and sits in a detent at full open to help keep the door in place so it doesn't fall shut when parked on an unlevel surface.

 

2. This hinge design doesn't have the two brass sleeve bearings per your diagram (which was nicely done by the way) it has one roller bearing at the top, and the pin itself has spines where it is presumably pressed into the lower part of the hinge, and about 1/4" of the pin protrudes out of the bottom of the lower hinge arm.

 

I think my Deville has hinges like the one you provided the diagram of, but it is stored off site presently so I can't check it to confirm. In any case, I'm still not sure this hinge is meant to be serviced. Will dig out a spare hinge and look in the next few days, may be easier to tell off the car. Since there is a replacement roller sold (both OEM if you can find it, and Dorman)  that would appear to fit this, maybe it is repairable. But, there may be another type of hinge that is intended for so the fact a new roller bearing is available in itself doesnt mean anything.

 

KDirk

 

 

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I just had to go look at my hinges and it looks like you may be right.  The way the individual upper and lower pins are inserted into the hinges looks permanent.  If the ends of each pin weren't flared out you could easily remove them and there does appear to be a bushing of some sort in the pin assembly but I'm not sure how you would ever get it apart.  I need some spares for destructive testing to be sure there isn't a sane way to break them apart :rolleyes:

 

I'll tell you one thing.  It'd take a braver man than I to remove that lower hinge with that mean looking spring right next to it.

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Yeah, pretty much what I took away from my visual inspection. That said, the hinge went together, so logically it has to come apart. Whether or not that can be done non-destructively is at issue here. I probably won't have time to dig out a spare hinge until after Christmas now, too much going on. Seems like it has to be possible to press the pin out, but maybe I'm deluding myself.

 

I'm not too worried about that spring, it isn't that mean. I took a front strut coil spring to the knee once when trying to compress it for installation over a new strut (popped out of the spring compresser under a lot of pressure as it was about 30% compressed when it went into orbit) That sucked, badly. Ever have something hurt so bad you couldn't even cuss? And I'm a world class professional where swearing is concerned.

 

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I agree.  It has to come apart.  How could you put something together that doesn't come apart.  Some misguided optimist in me wants to believe the flared parts are like threaded on or caps or something to retain the pins.

 

As for something hurting you so bad you can't even cuss, gas still under essentially full fuel pressure blowing directly into your face/mouth/eyes as you spin off a fuel filter laying on the ground will do a pretty good job of that.

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Face full of gas? Thats pretty bad. I had brake cleaner in the eye once as it splashed back (was using a spray can with the straw) off the part I was spraying. That eye hurt and was blurry for a couple of hours even after flushing for 20 minutes. 

 

My dad once - when I was fairly young - was siphoning gas out of the car to fill the lawn mower. He accidentially got a mouthful of it while sucking on the hose to prime it and swallowed a very small amount. After calling poison control, they asked how old the kid was, he told them "31". They advised him to drink lots of water and milk and not belch near an open flame for several hours. No joke. Then, while cutting the grass he caught a rock in the side yard and it broke the front passenger window of the car, which was parked on the driveway. I think I learned a few new words that day. Mom had to leave and go shopping - in the other car - she was laughing so hard.

 

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My headlights are "acting up" occisionally on the Black as well. I am using "Truck-Lite" LED headlights that draw so little I installed a relay harness to help the car realize the lights were off and then allow the headlights to retract.

 I am going to swap out the headlight switch to see if anything changes.

 BTW I also got the face full of gas years ago when I swapped the fuel filter on the REd. I didn't realize that I should relieve the pressure through the valve on the fuel rail first. I did this while laying on a strofoam panel so not only did I get a face full of gas I got a head full of melted foam in my hair...

 Back to the other topic, good luck with the hinges, as this could be a learning experience.

Edited by DAVES89 (see edit history)

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Good on you Dave for replicating my moment of ignorance with fuel injected systems and hosing yourself down with the added suffering of styrofoam turning to nuclear waste underneath your head.

 

I'd be interested in learning about the hinges more too.  If I had spares I'd attempt to break them down as, unlike electrical nonsense, I actually understand mechanical engineering.  If you do any messing about with trying to take them apart Kevin I'd like to hear your results.

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Dave, gasoline+styrofoam=homemade napalm. All kinds of fun, and another interesting fact I learned in the pyromania phase of my youth.

 

As to the hinges, I will post an update when I have time to mess around with a spare, will be a couple of weeks probably with Christmas and new years, as well as some more pressing items needing my attention.

 

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Yeah, I assembled front struts exactly once. I was lucky not to take permanent damage  (or worse) from that experience. Since then, assembling new struts is something I pay to have done by a pro. The lower hinge (which is the one in question  here) has a roller bearing that is the worn component. I need to replace that to restore the hinge to original functionality, but it's unclear if that's possible. 

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An update on this. Dug out a spare lower hinge that was kind of nasty  (rusty mostly) and took a look at it. The main pin assembly can be removed, but only if one uses a grinder to remove the mushroomed portion off the bottom of the pin. It can then be driven out after the spring is removed to take the tension off.

 

This, however,  doesn't allow replacement of the check roller as I discovered it is held on by a splined pin that is pressed into the main hinge pin and is only removable by drilling it out. The issue then becomes what to hold the new check roller on with since the factory driven splined pin has to be destroyed.

 

I suspect the drilled out main hinge pin could be tapped and a grade 10 shoulder bolt installed through the new check roller with thread lock, or perhaps a machine shop could make something up to replicate the original splined pin and press it in. That would be the more costly option of course. 

 

The only good news is that the check roller is readily available and the hinge can technically be serviced, just not easily.  I'll be rebuilding a set before too long as my good 88 drivers door is getting some sag and squeak due to the check roller wobbling out. Will write up the process when I do so.

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