Fox Door/body Alignment Issues. Worthwhile To Fix?

Discussion in '1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk-' started by Virtual, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Since I don't know a lot about bodywork issues, I'm soliciting opinions from those of you who do, on whether or not I should even considering doing something about the door to body alignment on my 90 LX convertible. Basically I've always just ignored it as a cosmetic issue, but I've been thinking of doing some other cosmetic repairs (mainly paint, and some trim touch up) recently and am wondering if this is something I should consider investing in, or stay away from since it might just lead to a whole ball of wax that isn't worth it. Other aspects of the car are all good. It's got low miles, minimal rust, good motor, interior etc.

    I've included some pictures to try and show what it looks like. The rear bottom of the drivers side door isn't flush with the body, and the rear top of the passengers side door isn't flush. The car was in an accident once (long ago) and this is likely a result of that, and as a result I never thought it anything worth even looking into. The obvious concern is that there some underlying frame twist or something like that, although it doesn't affect its drive-ability. But some of you may know better how difficult a fix this might be? On the off event it might be worth considering, if anyone has any recommendations of a someone in the Northern Virginia/DC area who might be worth taking it to, let me know. Simplest case I'll probably just leave it be and continue to enjoy the other aspects of the car, but I thought it worth asking about. Thanks.


  2. I never excelled at body work myself, but if you already know the car was in an accident the hinges may be tweeked. Have you tried adjusting the door in a little at the striker? That may pull it in a little. Are the plastic bushings in the hinges and striker there and intact?
  3. Do the doors open and close ok? When the door closes can you pull the door on the latch (door handle) side and shake it or does it close solid? If it shakes then the strike needs to be adjusted.

    If the top of the door is sitting a little bit high on the latch side when closed then I'd try to loosen the hinges a little and lower the door down (with doing this you may need to adjust the striker.

    The issues with the door being uneven with the body (whether pushed out or too far in when the door is closed) is solved with grabbing a short piece of 2x4 wood. If the top is sticking out too much then you want to open the door and insert the piece of wood toward the middle/lower middle of the door jam, close the door against it and lean/push on the top of the door to push it in. do this slowly but surely and it will twist the door slightly back into shape. Do the reverse for a door that's pushed in too far when closed to pull it out. After pushing on the door with the wood in the door jam pull the wood out and close the door and check the alignment. This is how a lot of bodymen address this issue.

    These are merely suggestions for small corrections. The accident that the car was in most likely twisted the body a little and you can only correct that twist so much with these tricks that I'm suggesting. You can put your car on jack stands and inspect the floor pan but if it's only a slight twist you wouldn't see it there, only your doors, fenders and hood will show it and everything will be a little bit off but hey so were all cars in the 80's and 90's straight from the factory.
  4. Yeah moving the striker a little can do it. It'll move in all directions to a certain degree. But as suggested, you may have a bigger problem if the car was wrecked.
  5. start simple make sure the strikers have the bushings on them
  6. The suggestions are well appreciated. FYI. The doors do open and close well, with very little slack in them. Theres' maybe a little slack on the passenger side (the one sticking out on top). But otherwise they're pretty tight, just out of alignment.

    Much as I dislike buying specialized equipment for 1 off repairs, I'm thinking a piece of 2x4 is a reasonable investment :nice: Should one take the door panel off before doing this, or can this be done with the door panel still on? It always make me nervous using brute force for such things. I'd be nervous of damaging the door skin, or over twisting more than was needed (though in reality I'd probably be sufficiently afraid of pushing too hard and may not accomplish anything). The other concern I have is that because this a convertible twisting the door will end up screwing with how the window aligns with the top. I tried adjust my quarter panel window once by myself, and ended up having to pay someone else to get it right :bang:
  7. You do not need to remove your door panel. Your door is plenty sturdy and heavy as hell too so no worries with messing it up unless you kick it or over muscle it. When you put the 2x4 in the door and push on it you start with a small amount of force and increase as needed. I've done this a few time before and I had to do it on my 87 T-top recently and worked just fine. If your window rolls up and seals to your vert top just fine with the door out of alignment then I don't see a problem with it when the door is aligned correctly especially since it's such a small adjustment.

    Good luck!
  8. S&S auto body Manassas Virginia
  9. Over the last few months I've worked on this alignment issue. I took the 2x4 approach, except that I wrapped it in a towel to protect the door jam. It took me several iterations, mainly because in the beginning I was a wus and didn't want to put enough weight into it. Basically I'd work on it. Let it sit. Realize it still wasn't where I wanted it, and then go at it again a little later.

    Part of this was also adjusting the striker. Also, although I tried installing some new striker bushings, that actually seemed to make things worse, in terms of shutting the door, so I took them off again. I'll probably revisit that again at some later time.

    Here's how it turned out. Passenger door:




  10. Here's the drivers side door. My experience was that adjusting the door that was sticking out at the top was much easier than when it sticks out on the bottom. Part of it is a leverage thing, and it involved sitting on the ground, slamming the door shut with my feet.

    This one isn't quite as good as the other side, but it's about as far as I seem to be able to get it, and overall I'm pretty happy with it.



  11. Hi Virtual.. how exactly did you fix this? - - I have almost the exact issue with my passenger door... how did you use the 2x4?
  12. Your talking to a 3 year old thread. There is a thread called fox body painting 101, @Davedacarpainter is the author, ask him but he will need picks.
    Also look at how your other panels, hood, fenders, deck lid fit. That may hint at where to start adjusting stuff
  13. 2 points for searching!
  14. For the upper part of the door he placed a 2x4 wrapped in a towel and placed it in the 1/4 jamb area toward the rocker. Then you close the door onto the 2x4 slowly until you make contact with the 2x4.

    Then he pushed on the upper part of the door to twist it back into shape.

    Then for the lower he just moved the 2x4 higher in the 1/4 jamb and pushed on the lower part of the door.

    If you don't have subframe connectors installed on your car, this is a sign from your car saying it needs them. The body is twisting from launching it a bit aggressively. As our mustangs age, they metal develops a bit of fatigue and will tweak a bit easier than when they were younger. Though they would twist even then with repeated hard acceleration (but who doesn't do this?:nice:).

    If this doesn't make sense to you, PM me and I can give you a call and explain it better.
    Shakerhood and 90sickfox like this.
  15. Sorry.. Somehow I missed the updates to this thread.. But Dave (who knows a thing or two) has it correct. The only thing I'd add is there's no reason to by shy about it. It took longer than it should have simply because I was initially afraid to apply enough force. Eventually I got serious enough about it, and was able to make it twist back.

    My philosophy was that since all I was doing was twisting the door back I was unlikely to do anything a good body man couldn't undo. I was pretty happy with my results. Good luck...

    Davedacarpainter likes this.