Hinge Pin and Bushing Replacement
Here at Speedway Motors we have our own personal projects going in addition to helping you achieve yours. One of our employees put together a solid review of a product that he used on his Laguna S3, and we thought it would be a great idea to share it with you. Check out what Steve L. has to say about replacing his door hinge pins and bushings with our kit.
One of the most overlooked and forgotten things on an older classic car are the Door Hinge Pin Bushings. It's not an issue that you see as much on 4-door cars, but more often on 2-door cars. Those great, big, long, and extremely heavy doors wreak havoc on the door hinge bushings. My 1976 Chevrolet Laguna S3 has some of the longest and heaviest doors out there. 39 years of opening and closing just wears the bushing down, and as they get thinner, they eventually crack and fall out. This allows your door to drop down when opened, and then you have to try to lift it up, and slam it shut. Left undone, this creates many more problems. The door striker, and door latch can be damaged, the outside door handle can break from lifting up on it trying to raise the door enough to get it shut. I've even seen extreme cases where the door striker bolt cage nut has been torn out from the door jamb from slamming the door too much. That will result in an expensive repair, and not being able to get the door shut. Replacing the door hinge bushings seems like an intimidating task, but in reality, it's something that can easily be done in just a matter of a couple hours right in your driveway. In my case, I'm totally restoring my Laguna, so I have all the removable body panels off the car anyway, so it made this job that much easier.
These are one side of the door hinges from my Laguna, as you can see they have seen quite a few years of duty supporting those big old doors. I was lucky, even though, the bushings were in really bad shape, there was a little bit of them still left. Had these gone overlooked for a little longer, the bushings could have fallen completely out. When that happens, the pin starts grinding against the hinge, and before long, the hole for the bushing gets elongated. Then you have a ruined door hinge, and it can sometimes be hard to find a repairable used one. In the case of a rare car that can cost quite a bit, and it can put an unplanned dent in your car project's budget.
All the years old opening and closing those heavy doors, just wears things out. Most GM cars have a detent roller that helps hold the door open in various positions. As you can see this detent roller is all chewed up, and the retaining pin for the roller was worn almost ¼ of the way through. You can see the smaller door bushing was worn, and was starting to break. These hinges didn't have much left in them, a little bit more and the hinge would be junk. This is why the door dropped down almost 2” when opened. The pins have the ends peened at the factory, so it's sometimes easier to just cut the hinge pin in half, and drive each half out of the hinge.
The Door Hinge Pin and Bushing Repair Kit P/N 926-11768, comes with 4 pins, 8 bushings, 6 smaller bushings, and 2 larger bushings (there are only 4 smaller bushings pictured, because I was in a hurry and already installed 2 of them in the hinge). Many GM cars use a larger bushing in the lower hole on the upper hinge. The kit that Speedway Motors offers has all the correct bushings so you don't have to buy extra bushings to get the ones you need. Some kits out there don't have the larger bushing included, so you have to buy the larger bushing separately. Or you have to buy 2 complete kits, one with smaller bushings and pins, and another one with larger bushings and pins. That leaves you with extra parts that you don't use or need.
One very important note is when pressing in the larger bushing; use a socket on the side of the bushing that doesn't have the flange. The larger bushing protrudes through the hinge farther than the smaller bushing. Failure to do this will result in the bushing being damaged, split, and broken.
I have had to fix this problem before, after people have replaced the bushings without doing it.
After pressing the bushings in the hinges, you can tap the pins through the bushings. The pins have a serration under the head, and this holds the pin tightly in the hinge. To seat the serration into the hinge, just get out your socket again, and place it over the point of the pin. This will allow you to press the pin in that last little bit, getting it seated fully into the hinge.
Another important note is, from the factory, the upper pin is installed pointing down, and the lower pin is installed pointing up. If you're doing a Concourse restoration, you'll want to install them that way, to retain the correct assembly. Otherwise, you can install both pins facing down; I've found the pins are less likely to work loose.
If you've taken your time, cleaning and painting, and using the Speedway Motors Door Hinge Pin & Bushing Kit P/N 926-11768, you'll have some nice, solid, smooth working door hinges. That will give you years of service, and make your car much more enjoyable to drive.
YOU MUST, I REPEAT, MUST CHECK THE ALIGNMENT OF YOUR WINDOWS IF YOU HAVE A HARD TOP CAR. (A HARD TOP CAR WILL NOT HAVE A DOOR FRAME AROUND THE TOP THAT THE GLASS ROLLS UP IN TO) FAILURE TO DO THIS COULD RESULT IN THE GLASS HITTING THE ROOF RAIL WHEN CLOSED, SHATTERING THE GLASS I'VE SEEN THIS HAPPEN TOO MANY TIMES.