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Old 06-07-2016, 10:52 AM   #1
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My driver door isn't where it's supposed to be

I was doing a tricky maneuver in the van the other day, trying to reverse back up out of a steep messy road had petered out to ATV-width, complete with a nice crumbly dropoff into a canyon on my left. There was lots of my getting in and out of the van as I maneuvered it here & there every few feet, with the van leaning perhaps 15 degrees forward and to the left (towards the dropoff).

Anyway, I finally got myself out of there, but afterwards I noticed that closing my driver door now makes a horrible grinding metal noise. Looking closely, I now see that the driver door is positioned a few millimeters forward on the van, such that the sheet metal rubs (and paint flakes off) on the door front edge and there's now a large gap on the door's rear side.

I wonder what happened? With the van leaning to the left, was I too rough on the door letting gravity swing it open against the stops? I was hanging onto it so I wouldn't fall myself down the slope. Or did the van body somehow flex? I've noticed no other symptoms driving around afterwards. The hinge doesn't obviously look like it's moved, but I haven't measured (comparing to the passenger door perhaps) with a ruler yet.

In any case, I need to find a way to reposition the door. Has anyone done that? I'd love to do this without having to take off the front-left quarter panel. Can I just loosen the hinge-to-body bolts and shift the hinge & door backwards? Or can I put some washers between the door and the hinge?

Here's a mediocre crop of a photo that shows the door as it is now:




Any thoughts welcome! Thanks,
-- Geoff
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:56 AM   #2
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Probably just tweaked a little bit.. You can loosen the hinge bolts and move it.

Also, you can move the front fender as well, loosen those bolts and wiggle it around.
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Old 06-07-2016, 10:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rallypanam View Post
Probably just tweaked a little bit.. You can loosen the hinge bolts and move it.

Also, you can move the front fender as well, loosen those bolts and wiggle it around.
It looks like getting good access to the three or four hinge-to-body bolts will be difficult without taking that fender panel off.

Is taking the fender panel off difficult?

-- Geoff
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:02 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by geoffff View Post
It looks like getting good access to the three or four hinge-to-body bolts will be difficult without taking that fender panel off.

Is taking the fender panel off difficult?

-- Geoff
I don't remember.. but front fender is easy enough to remove.. I think one bolt behind turn signal, two or three bolts under hood, two in door jamb, one on bottom pinch weld. And make sure you unscrew the fender liner as well.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:14 AM   #5
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Door looks fine. I'm pretty sure its the fender that's out of alignment. Did you earn that dent during said excursion?
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:33 AM   #6
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Door looks fine. I'm pretty sure its the fender that's out of alignment. Did you earn that dent during said excursion?
Well, you can't really tell from the photo, but the gap on the rear edge of the door is now too large. Furthermore, the door now doesn't quite latch perfectly when it closes -- I have to slam it a bit. So I'm pretty sure both front and rear have shifted together.

No, I didn't hit anything on my recent excursion. The fender dent is from high-lift jacking on my stuck-in-the-mud Baja adventure back in 2014, when I was jacking the van by the wheels, and the jack would push hard into the van body. All four of my wheels now have those dents above them.

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Old 06-07-2016, 12:57 PM   #7
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I had a similar problem. Look at the door latch, and see if it hits the striker in the center. If not, try lightly jacking it up by the bottom with nothing loose. The area where the hinges attach to the door seem to be pretty weak and flexible. Once the latch hits the center of the striker, if the door still hits the fender, loosen the bolt on the bottom of the fender and gently pry the fender forward and away from the door with a piece of wood.(I used a wood wedge) Once you get some clearance, hold pressure on the fender and tighten the bottom bolt. If none of that works, you may have to loosen the hinge bolts and try again.
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Old 06-07-2016, 02:07 PM   #8
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Is it possible that by leaning on/swinging the leaned-over van's door open with too much force.....that you seriously (once or twice, or more?) "over-opened" the door too far.....forced it farther than it wanted to go once it hit the "stops" that are built into the hinges.....and as a result you either:

1) tweaked/deformed the surface on the inside edge of the door, where the door-hinge bolts to it
or
2) tweaked/deformed the surface on the van-body sheet-metal, where the door hinge bolts to it
or
3) a bit of both
?

If you deformed either (or both) of those surfaces, effectively rotating your entire drivers' door hinge clockwise farther than it wanted to be.....then the door might not logically want to return all the way closed like you're describing (since the hinge might not have enough additional rotation built into it.) And it might (in bending thus) end up positioning the forward edge of the door differently in/out as your photo shows.

Just a thought. (and maybe the hinge itself is tweaked too.....but I would put money on the door (or body) sheetmetal deforming before the hinge did.
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:15 PM   #9
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[QUOTE= as a result you either:1) tweaked/deformed the surface on the inside edge of the door, where the door-hinge bolts to it.[/QUOTE]

Yup, that's where mine bent, you could actually see a slight dishing of the sheet metal. This could easily be caused by a lot of weight pulling down on the top of the door (as in, getting out and hanging on the door for support)
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Old 06-07-2016, 08:45 PM   #10
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It appears to me you hyper extended the door, what gives first is the door skin. If you look just under the lower hinge along the door line you will see grey primer about a quarter inch wide and usually 10-12 inches long. This is where it comes apart at the seam, from inner door skin and outer door skin.

To get your door open to get the fender off. Although the fender is not the problem. So you don't need to take the fender off, but to get the door opening easier. Take a putty knife"flat scrapper" place in between door and fender right at the lower body line. Pry towards the door with the scrapper placing the fender on the outer side of the door.
Once door is open gently pull on the edge of the fender. That should allow you open and close it more freely.

I see a lot of these when the driver lets's the door fly open in the wind....
The fix can be done to the door on but is very difficult.
Hope this helps
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