Paint and Body A-Pillar gap with new door and hardware

bad_decision

Member
Aug 14, 2020
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Houston, TX
I am having a hard time adjusting my passenger side door close to where I want. I can get the roof and rocker panel gaps pretty good (not perfect yet), and quarter panel gap pretty good, but I'm left with a gap at the a-pillar between the door and body. The door barely touches the door-to-body weather stripping and I'm able to fit my fingers in that gap pretty easily. It's like I need a way to tilt the door in and out... need to push the top of the door IN toward the car a little bit more to seal the door up against the weather stripping better.

I can get the hinge bolts loose and get it lined up good... tighten the TOP hinge bolts and it's sealed up great. But as soon as I tighten the lower hinge bolts, the a-pillar bows out and creates the gap. When I get it all tight, the door a-pillar is flush with the body. On my driver side, the door a-pillar is pushed in a quarter inch or so.

This is a door pulled from another car. My old door was dented up badly and this door is in great shape. I guess the a-pillar could be bent but I'm hoping not. I have new hinge pins and bushings, new striker, new hinges, and even new hinge mounting plates and screws.

I've been setting the new striker first, then trying to line up the gaps. Maybe my technique is wrong, I have never done this before but I want to do it right. Pictures are below, any help would be appreciated! I have the fender off so easy access to the hinge bolts.

This gap increases a little bit at the top:
YsWS0zC.jpg


Gap at the top of the door:
ns5Xvpm.jpg


See-through a-pillar:
EcHKuCn.jpg


A-pillar is close to the body:
fkT87m9.jpg
 
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LX Dave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2017
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When I put the '84 together, which has '91 doors on it, I lined up the main door skin to the rear quarter and got the gaps even or very close all the way around. For adjusting the window "hoop", I just bent it in or out to make it go where it was supposed to be. I even had to bend the door itself to make it match up better. The truck I restored was worse but with some persuasion, it'll move. Just make sure the window is rolled down when you bend the frame.
 

91TwighlightGT

15 Year Member
Sep 8, 2002
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I agree with Dave. I see it a lot on cars where people locked their keys inside and went in through the door frame to unlock the car.
Put your knee against the inner for frame and pull the top to close up the gap.
 

90sickfox

Wasn't a pretty sight...and I've got big hands
SN Certified Technician
Mar 2, 2015
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Be careful bending the window frame. They can crack. If the top lines up without the lower hinge bolted up I would use a couple body shims. Provided the weather seal on the bottomed front corner seats with the shims in place.

Take the weather strip off and test the door. Some weather strip seals can cause all types of alignment issues.

Someone here had to cut the hinge and reweld it to get the replacement door to line up.
 

bad_decision

Member
Aug 14, 2020
9
2
13
37
Houston, TX
Thank you for the insight. I'm not sure that I actually bent the window frame back in, but I used a combo of the suggestions. I put a shim behind each bolt t in the lower hinge, manhandled the door into place with a lot of pressure along the a-pillar, and had someone tighten the bolts. It seals up much better. Probably not as good as factory but good enough for my use. It looks like the front of the door needs to come up another 1/8 inch but I'm afraid to loosen anything and kill my progress!