View original topic: Window frame tweaking. Front doors bind. Side door ? too.... Page: 1, 2  Next
Fredrok Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:03 pm

Both of my front door window frames touch at the top forward corners before the strikers reach the latches. The passenger side is so bad that it's about 2-3" open still at the jam when resistance is felt and has to be slammed with an additional palm at the lower left edge to get it to close all the way. Of course this pops some of the interior panel clips and the door stays at the first "catch" while driving since you can't do the same process closing the door(s) after getting in. Not to mention it's painful to constantly "tweak" the door like that.

My question is would I be opening a can of worms thinking I can remove the window frames and take some radius out of them between the mounting sections and frame? Is there a way to shim out the mounting bars to bring the frame away from the body?

SIDE DOORS: My fwd side door needs to go right (fwd) at the top as the 2 doors barely touch just at the top unless I lift a bit while opening and closing. The gaps also support that adjustment theory. There isn't much play at the hinges and from my searching, am I understanding the only way to correct that is to remove the upper hinge and bend it?

Thanks so much for any input you experts can provide. I'm all ears.


esde Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:43 pm

I have just been playing with door gaps on my front and cargo doors for the last week trying to get them right. To move the door a bit, without bending the hinge, try this. If you place a washer behind the inner most screw, and not the outer one, it will angle the hinge a little bit, and move the pin away from the center where the doors meet. You might have to do both the upper and lower hinges to keep the top and bottom gap correct, it depends on whats worn or out of alignment. I used a little spray glue to hold the washers, while I slipped the doors into place. The fronts are tough, and I'm still working on them. Are the pins worn? Mine are, and will need to be fixed before I can get the doors better.

Fredrok Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:40 am

Esde, Thank you, I initially spent about 4 hours on the pass door a while back trying to correct the issue but had not thought about shimming like you said to move the pin centers. My pins are tight and there isn't any movement or slop anywhere with the door open. In the end of jacking with it, the last hour was spent just getting back to how it was when I started!

I think it was such a pita with 1 person that maybe subconsciously I was hoping that tweaking the window frame may be an "accepted" avenue in lieu of going back to the hinge dance. ;) I'll let this post marinate a while and put your inner washer idea into my bag of tricks. Can't believe I didn't think about the spray glue idea, thanks! I have a 16oz can of 3m contact about 4 ft from where I'm working on it. :x

cru62 Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:46 pm

Try what esde is suggesting first. Then, you may have to bend the hinges if that doesn't work. I have a replacement DS door for my '61 Kombi and it was either bent at the factory or swung open too much and bent the top AND bottom hinges so much that the door won't close or latch without forcing it. I tried the washer trick since it has worked for me in the past, but it won't work with out a big stack of them.

There is a video on this site somewhere showing a guy with a monster sledge and a chunk of wood just wailing on the PS hinges of a bus during construction. I guess whatever it takes to get that satisfying CLUNK when you gently shut your doors! :wink:

Oh, and, PICS, please.

Fredrok Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:28 pm

Thanks Chris for the extra input. Soooo, you guys are saying tweaking the window frame is probably NOT the way to go? ;)

I certainly appreciate all the help everyone contributes and as a VW newbie, I'm still figuring out what is "fixable" and what is "just the way it is". I know much of this wasn't perfect from the factory for sure.

Since you asked, pics:

Left door, just closed - not slammed. Not bad really, but it takes a palm at the bottom corner to get it to latch all the way and close the gap.

Right door at the starting point of binding in the upper right corner (above vent window)

Closed with just a slam on the trim

Closed with a hard slam using trim and palm at lower corner. I've had to remove the wedge on the striker to get it to close this far. Won't with it installed.

Fredrok Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:32 pm

Any suggestions here guys or learn to live with it? I don't think I'm brave enough yet to start bending hinges.

esde Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:57 pm

Looks to me like someone didn't do such a hot job re-skinning the bottom of the right cargo door, and the lower hinge might need to be shimmed. That wold close the center gap at the bottom, and move the top up. On the fronts, it's going to be tough as the bus is already in paint. I'm wondering if the doglegs have been replaced and the opening is maybe a little tight between the hinge and latch jambs? It's supposed to be 1072mm
If so you might need a porto power to spread the opening slightly. I just did it on my passenger door opening, but am not sure if I would have tried with nice paint

StockNazi Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:18 am

The bottom gap on the foward cargo door does look like someone did not test fit the door before welding the lower skin.

I just corrected a similar door, that someone else had skined, inner/outter.

What I did was cut a few slots with a thin cutt-off wheel on the edge of the door, through both the inner/outter skin; that allowed me to give the bottom of the door a little more curve with a wooden mallet.

Being that your bus is already painted, that may or may not be of help to you.

55samba Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:49 am

The front doors can fit great after paint then be hard to close after new upper window rubber is installed. Does it seem like a lot of the front door bind is from the upper rubber pushing down on the door?

From what I see the cargo door fit should have been fixed prior to paint unfortunately. You could add a shim at the lower hinge which will push the top up. But the profile of the two doors do not appear the same at the bottom. I don't think you will fix this without damaging the paint.

Fredrok Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:21 am

Very valuable insight, thank you. I'm starting to believe much of this will be good to put in my pocket in the event I'm ever required to repaint in the future.

At first, I also thought the front door was a product of new rubbers but after looking at it closer, the upper frame itself is actually rubbing against the lip in the body so much that it's even worn through the headliner already where it folds around. This is what led me to initially wonder if the window frame was bent in too much. I'll still try the washers on the inside screws trick and see where it takes me.

Thanks again for input on the cargo doors guys. I was afraid I'd get responses like that but I guess I was "hoping" for "some are just like that from the factory". Considering the current gap all the way around, shimming out the lower hinge would be an excellent method to align it better. But how are you guys doing that? The I can get to the hinge screws of course but the hinge disappears into the pillar cavity and the hinge slot is just large enough for the hinge to fit through. THANKS!

Fredrok Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:29 am

esde wrote: I'm wondering if the doglegs have been replaced and the opening is maybe a little tight between the hinge and latch jambs? It's supposed to be 1072mm
If so you might need a porto power to spread the opening slightly. I just did it on my passenger door opening, but am not sure if I would have tried with nice paint

Esde, great reference thank you. I've spent a lot of time on the OACDP site but had yet to see that section. Supposedly, the only new skin up front was the floor pan. But every unrestored bus I've seen has $hitty doglegs so...?

easy e Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:12 am

Fredrok wrote: Any suggestions here guys or learn to live with it? I don't think I'm brave enough yet to start bending hinges.

I had a similar fitment issue to deal with, after painting completed.
I made sure all screws were tight at hinges, used the butt end of a couple foot long piece of 2x4 with a rag on the end for cushion... and a couple light/medium whaps with an 8lb sledge got the gaps good & tops horizontally aligned. No paint damage.

I'd tap the forward lower hinge rearward.
Have one person hold 2x4 & one man the hammer.

cru62 Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:18 am

Is it possible that the weatherstripping at the A pillar is preventing the door from closing all the way? One way to test if there is too much pressure from the door on the rubber is to place a sheet of paper on the rubber and then close the door. If the paper is removable with light pulling you should be good. If it is held so tight that it rips, well, not so good.

To me, however, the way the doors stick out says that the hinges need to be shimmed. I have inserted some washers of varying thickness under the two outside mounting screws on the upper, lower and sometimes both. This will change the approach angle of the door to the opening which makes the plane of the door more parallel to the opening.

If the bus had not been painted you could start whacking on the hinges to adjust them. But, clearly, that will not be an option for you. An easy way to check to see if shimming will help is to look at the upper hinge as the door is closed. If the two inside surfaces of the hinge contact one another BEFORE the door latches then shimming will be required. Closing the door repeatedly by forcing it will eventually rip the hinge mounts on the door. You are forcing it and something has got to give. :(

BarryL Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:10 pm

Is it too glued in to pull all the door rubber out and see what you got?

otahuhu Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:55 pm

Please, take it to a body shop, preferably one that deals with Ac VW's before you make a costly mistake. Body shops have a ton of experience with hanging doors.

Its hard to tell exactly whats going on because we cant see the entire door gaps in the photos, we need to see what the opposite side is doing to see how much adjustment you have....

If you really want to do it yourself you will need someone to help you, its not really a one person job. And it can take time to hang doors perfectly. Start from scratch one at a time, take the door off, check that the hinges are working properly and have the correct amount of play in the adjustment plate (ie they are not binding or screwed to the pillar). Check that the seals are fitted and cut/notched correctly. Re hang the door loosely, you can only really make big adjustments with the door wide open at 90 deg to get max leverage. If you still cant get enough adjustment to hang doors correctly, then either you're hinges, door, door opening, or bus is tweaked and with you're recent paint-job I would strongly advise going to a body shop. Even if worst case scenario you're bus is bent/misaligned a good body shop will be able to massage things into a functioning state without bashing or taking off paint. Best of luck...

Fredrok Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:22 am

Thank you guys.

Easy, I did just that last night on the lower hinge, thanks for that. It moved just enough to widen the gap up top so that they just barely don't touch, but not enough to really notice in a pic. I stopped because the paint around the door side of the hinge started to crack and I could see a brunt of the force affected that area where the hinge is 90d to the door. I think that particular solution would be to take the door off of the hinge(s) and do the same some more. I was able to get the lower hinge IN a bit before binding to help with the misaligned skin.

Chris, it's possible the the new rubber isn't helping, but the top of that door is against the lip in the body (frame against headliner). I'm thinking that either way, it need would need adjustment regardless if it's that tight with new rubbers? To cover the bases, I'll test the way you advised and yes, something has to give and your comment is exactly my concern. The 2 hinge surfaces are close but definitely not contacting. That was one of the first things I checked thinking that is where it was binding and subsequently lead me to that upper frame.

Barry, Chris, that's what I'm going to try next is pulling the rubber out to see if it helps but I'd still be in a similar boat if it did help, no? I suppose it would give us more direction.

otahuhu, After all the invaluable input here, that's what I'd prefer to do at this point unless there's an "aha" moment after the above mentioned trials. Ironically, it is a VW body shop "shortage" around here that, in part, led me to buy one completed instead of restoring myself. 2 came recommended and I couldn't get either to really communicate with me prior to a purchase I was willing to make on a 13w basket case locally.

There is an ac vw shop that has great reviews that I'll call to see where they take their body work. Admittedly, all of my previous restorations (non VW), I've farmed out the body/paint and I'm usually doing it all alone which doesn't help. I can turn a wrench with the best of them but have not the facilities, time, patience or desire for body and paint. I'm just nervous about leaving it to just anyone really.

A man's got to know his limits.....;)

cru62 Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:01 am

Fred-I went back and reread some previous posts. I missed the part about the window frame rubbing on the channel. I remember a video of the assembly line of a British car maker showing how they get the doors and hood to line up after assembly. One of the doors didn't close/latch easily and the gorilla on the line just kept tweaking the door until it fit. You might try this with your door by pulling the window frame outwards until it stops hitting the body and takes a "set".

Also, looking more closely at your pics, I think that given the nice, even and tight door gaps, especially at the trailing edge of the door, shimming may cause more problems than it solves.

One of the ways that I also adjusted the fit of doors on my buses in the past has been to put a piece of wood in the area between the front hinges and close the door gently while pushing it. This will bend the area on the door where the hinge is attached. This area is robust and can take some brute force coupled with finesse to accomplish any changes. But it has worked for me.

Ultimately, I think that otahuhu is correct and a trip to the coach builder is in order. Overall, your bus is very nice. There is good attention to detail. Rocky did a nice job.

Fredrok Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:23 am

Chris, thank you for the additions. I too think if I can get that frame back a bit, that the door will close much nicer. But I don't "know" that, thus my solicitation for expert opinions here.

I'll do more digging locally for someone far more knowledgable than I. Maybe I'll even post a thread for suggested shops? I'll likely have a couple of beers for courage and try gently to tweak that frame if I come up empty handed on a good shop or person in the Denver area.

Yes, Rocky did a great job and he is a stand up guy, happy to have as a new friend. It had 60 miles on it after a rotisserie restoration including all new rubbers when I picked it up and I think we all assumed that to be the bulk of the closing issues. Like all restos freshly completed, it has needed some tinkering and tweaking here and there, but he and I both expected that and it gives me something extra to do in the garage and a break from Jeep stuff.

BarryL Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:06 pm

Fredrok wrote: I too think if I can get that frame back a bit, that the door will close much nicer. But I don't "know" that, thus my solicitation for expert opinions here.

If you remove the door panel and loosen the bolts holding the door/glass frame it will pivot in and out a little. I'd go out then tighten and try it. Also is the rear of the door/glass frame fully home downward into the door itself?

volksaddict Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:26 am

Take a trip over the hill to KCW :D

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