Unspringing the Chevy Door

We made our stop in Wells Nevada on a very very windy day. When we pulled into a gas station we were unfortunately headed downwind and the wind grabbed the door out of my hand and whipped it open. Boom! a sprung hinge. I got it closed, but it wouldn’t open. So now what?

Wendy jumped online and quickly found a blog that described what someone did to fix the door of their Chevy Impala. It even had sketches and a few photos. I took the hint and went looking for something more specific to a Chevy Silverado. After consulting several more blog sites, I decided the first thing I would try is the old “jam the hinge and unjamb the door” trick. This is where you open the door (if you can), insert some sort of block into the hinge, and gently slam it a few times to bend back the stuff that got bent when it swung too far out. 

The symptom for my door was that it was popped out about 1/16” away from the centerline of the truck, that is the door got “wider”.

The door sprung out just a tiny bit, enough to jam

When I tried to open the door, the leading edge hung up on the trailing edge of the fender. I didn’t want to scratch or bend either of them, so I decided to try a little persuasion. I applied painters tape to both edges to act as both a protectant and a lubricant when I tried to get them to slide by each other. Painters tape has a waxy surface, so I thought it might help.  I used a screwdriver in the gap and gently pried and pushed until the door slid open. 

Painters tape applied so it wraps into the gap

 

Painters tape and a screwdriver let the door slide by the fender

Once the door was open I could examine the two hinges to see what bent. In this case it looked like both the hinges on the top and bottom pulled a little away from the jamb and door.

Upper hinge at jamb side before the fix

 

Door side Upper hinge before the fix

I needed something that was a little smaller than the open gap in the hinge. I tried a couple of sockets from my wrench kit, but they were either too short or too long. I settled for the head of my mini-crescent wrench. Perfect! I jammed it into the gap of both hinges, first at the top of the top hinge, then the bottom of the bottom hinge, then the bottom of the top, and finally the top of the bottom. A few gentle pulls toward me on each jam did the trick. Pull gently at first, then check the clearance of the door and fender, then pull some more if it needs it. You’ll get the feel of it pretty quickly.   

The head of the wrench goes into the hinge gap

 

Pull gently at first, then more firmly if needed

It went amazingly quick. Before I knew it there was a noticeable improvement in the hinges, mostly from bending back the sheet metal of the jambs. They fit much better. And the door opened and closed smoothly.

 

After the "Unsprong" jamming

This is such an easy fix it’s hard to believe that a body shop might get a few hundred bucks for it and keep your vehicle for a day or two. In fact, two of the online blogs described this procedure as a routine door adjustment on the Toyota assembly line at the NUMMI plant in Fremont California. If it’s good enough for Toyota, it’s good enough for me! The tools needed? Here’s more than what I needed! 

I really only needed the Mini Crescent Wrench

Tippy (remember he has NO opposable thumbs) still has a little to offer here. And don’t forget to scroll down below the “About W&W Mudd” and give us a “Like”! Our page rank has gotten the interest of Woodall’s, one of the best RV organizations around!

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About W&W Mudd

Once retired from high tech and education, Wendy and Warren now retired from fulltime RV-ing and have taken the leap to boating. Oh yeah, and then there's that un-retired and managing Peoples Storage in Kenmore WA thing.
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