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Sliding Door Hinge Assy Refresh FAQ
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Amskeptic
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:41 pm    Post subject: Sliding Door Hinge Assy Refresh FAQ Reply with quote

Have a door that does not spring away from the body the instant your rear latch releases? Latch rip up your surround seal?

Your sliding door is a marvel of precision German engineering. Unbeknownst to most of you young pups, the acceptance of the new baywindow bus in August 1967 was greatly enhanced by that wonderful light sliding door that remained light years ahead of the domestic vans.

This beautiful engineering asks for very little from you, yet . . . too many sliding doors out there are sorely in need of some TLC.
a) lubrication
b) cleaning
c) adjustment

This procedure takes care of the rear hinge assembly only. It is responsible for supporting the door only when open.

Step 1) Remove Sliding Door Cover.
But first! Open door and observe if your slovenly friends have all caved-in the side of the sliding door cover by leaning against it. If you see contact between the hinge assembly and the cover, now is the time to go along the bottom edge of the cover and jerk it back out all along the length. You want a good 1/4 to 1/2" inch gap! Door shuts quieter too!
There are two screws accessible underneath the cover at the ends. The front end screw will require that you open the door a little. Early buses also had a through screw that you had to remove from the interior. There can be a little annoyance involved in removing this cover if it is rusty. To help you not scratch everything to death, please pull down on the front cover tab just released by the screw you removed so it actually bends down a little. The rear tab should already be above the support tab that is part of the vehicle's body. Get a nice piece of straight 1X2 even 2 X 4 wood and stick a rag on the top of it. The top surface of the wood you should then apply to the bottom edge of the sliding door cover near the back. Give it several smart thwacks with an accurate hammer. Stay away from the nice paint on the side of your jewel. Let the rear lift up first, and tap along the front just to get it dislodged. Pull the beading out of the way. Now you will see sharp edges that want to do the paint harm as you get the front tab extricated from the hinge area. The bent-down tab will get free more easily than the one you don't bend down in direct violation of my orders:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Sand and rust-catalyzing primer treat the inside surfaces of the sliding door cover. You can let the primer dry as you work on the rest of the procedure here, then mask the perimeter so you can topcoat the inside surface. If yours is also hideous on the outside, particularly along the beading surface, sand the whole thing down to bare metal, sand the outside with 800 grit, wash with detergent, rinse with hot water, dry quickly, prime 3 coats of grey primer and allow to dry for 30 minutes minimum before a quikNe-z wet-sanding with 800 followed by 1000 grit :
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


During the hour's cure/dry time, you can clean the rust from the beading, work on the next step of the procedure, then topcoat the inside surface (or whole dang thing). If you had to paint the whole thing, I'd leave it off for a couple of days curing before a 1000 grit gentle wet-sand on the outside, followed by a 2000 grit wet-sand followed by a rubbing compound/wax job. I just did the inside surface:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Step 2) Release Hinge From Vehicle
Get your floor jack (the one that does not ooze downwards) or an adjustable jack stand with a protective towel and get the jack or stand up to the same elevation as the lower sill. Have the jack able to roll in the same plane as the door, you can slide the stand if and as necessary.
Roll the sliding door back until the cut-out on the track lines up with the plastic glide. Lift the door/glide up and get the glide off the rail. That same rail holds the roller in, so move the door to the roller's turn to escape:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The door weighs a bit, be prepared. Set it on the jack/jack stand towel and do not simply release your hold, check out the physics, make sure everything settles in place. The important thing here . . . do not let the door sag backwards or forwards. If the front upper roller gets free . . . oh, you don't want that:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Step 3) Remove Hinge From Door

Amazing but true, remove the four 10mm bolts from the rear of the door, and pull the hinge out. That's it.
Early quality buses have a black plastic trim cover with two rear-facing screws and you work the trim cover out from under the window rubber. Late cheapskate buses have black plastic dress caps over the front bolts. All buses should have a rubber dust grommet that comes out with the hinge assembly:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Step 4) Disassembly/Cleaning
Remove the nut and washer that hold on the roller. If it is stuck on the hinge assembly, try a battery post puller to get it free:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Dunk it in a plastic cap filled with enough oil to immerse it. Though it is a sealed bearing, I have found that sometimes, along with some rotational futzing, you can work a little jeweler's screwdriver under the rubber seal under the surface of the oil to help lubricate a sealed bearing. Sometimes you can't. Then just working the bearing and feeling for play under the oil will help get some in where it is appreciated :
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Release the door-pop-open spring from the hinge assembly. It will be at its most relaxed in the open position. Remove the nut from the top of the hinge itself, and *look* at how the spring lever is indexed to the hinge with that square key. Pull the hinge out of the door side of the assembly and keep an eye on washers. The roller side of the hinge assembly holds the hinge with just a little circlip. Remove it, and be aware of the door stay cam that is indexed to the hinge with a square key too. All parts - clean! Those little spring-loaded hooks pivot on pins that can take a drop of engine oil.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


What the heck, paint the hinge if you don't have one of those bling-bling pre-'73 buses with the chrome (woooo!) hinge. I used the exact same formula as the wheels; Duplicolor Aluminum Engine Enamel 3 coats followed shortly by Duplicolor Clearcoat Engine Enamel 2 coats. Tape off the working surfaces:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Clean the rail and vicinity on the car under the right rear window with gasoline to get rid of the years of caked-on grease. Wipe down with a clean dry rag just after your gasoline rag has picked up the last of the grease. Follow with a flash GumOut-on-paper towel technique to make a suitable bonding surface for your subsequent rust catalyzing primer on all splintered paint/rust areas, and allow to dry as you continue with the procedure. Topcoat touch-up the cover tabs and under the window where the retainers reside. Be thorough here, you only need do this once in the life of the car:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Step 5) Reassembly/Lubrication

Note how the hinge has to bear the weight of the door. On the inside end of the hinge, the hinge itself is hanging from the roller/guide. Lubricate the weight bearing surfaces with moly grease.
Insert the threaded end of newly-painted-or-not hinge in the roller/guide's hinge hole and install the door stay cam as shown in the photograph:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Is it not ridiculously cool how simple and elegant this thing works? Once the door is open, the hinge is held perpendicular to the car with this hook. The hook is only released within inches of the door closing, when the catch is shunted by the . . . shunter on the shunter/open door catch/sliding door cover holder assembly bolted to the car at the very front edge of the sliding cover
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Lubricate the load-carrying surfaces of the washer and install the nut and tighten to 10-12 ft/lbs. Use engine oil in the port provided for the rotating surfaces of the hinge inside the roller/guide assembly (remember this spot so you can lubricate henceforth with the sliding door cover installed). Install the roller with its sealed bearing. You may need to gently tap on the inside race edge with a socket that surrounds the shaft's threads until you can draw it down with the washer and nut. Here is the assembly so far with arrows pointing to the load-bearing surfaces:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Now get the orientation of the door-pop-out spring figured out. Consult the photograph:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


As you install the door side of the hinge assembly onto the hinge, you need to have this lever indexed correctly to the square key. The spring wants very much to make the hinge perpendicular to the car. When the hinge is parallel to the car, the spring must extend:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Since the door rests on the outside hinge shoulder, you will recall that it is a punky little circlip holding the hinge to the door side. Get this all assembled before you pull the end of the spring over the barb anchor in the door side assembly. It is a small screwdriver-bending moment. Persevere! Grease the spring when you are done. Slather and wipe off:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


You can now install the completed hinge assembly back into the door. Any touch up required under where the hinge assembly goes? Now is the time. No scratches! Make the rubber dust grommet sit pretty. Install the four 10mm bolts and preload the hinge downwards just a tad (this has the effect of lifting the door a tad in the rear when all is installed. Tighten the bolts to snug + a little hoi-cha! and put the decorative black plastic caps on the front two bolts for you later buses with no plastic cover. Early quality buses required that you work the plastic trim cover under the rubber window surround and install two little screws in the end of the trim.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Now you can put your door back on the car and get rid of the (rickity, in my case) jack/jackstand. Just get the roller in the slot, move door forward a little and slip the guide onto the rail.
Note in the below photograph:
Green Arrow - shunter contact area
Yellow Arrow - shunter that releases catch at
Red Arrow - hinge "cam" catch.

There are the lubrication ports too, by the way. Follow the green/purple arrows, engine oil only. And you can see that VW did not even bother to remove the holes for the screws for the earlier trim covers:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


As the door is closed, you can see the release of the catch that allows the hinge to arc parallel bringing the door in to the rear striker plate. The red arrow here represents the door-pop-open-spring getting extended where it waits for you to open the door next time so it can throw the rear of the door away from the body BEFORE the latch can tear up the surround seal:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Apply the beading to the cover with an adhesive just in dots down the length of the cover. Do not glob on huge blobs of adhesive unless you like the thought of water-capturing rust-outs. Start the front just enough to engage the retainers and get the front tab stretched over the shunter/open door catch/sliding door cover holder assembly. You have to firmly/gently press the cover down on the retainer tabs all along the window while babysitting the beading. Man, if you just painted the cover, I hope you have quality paint that dried hard. Once you have it down get a towel-coated piece of wood and tap into place with the beading expertly laid down along the window rubber. Install the screws lightly in the tab at the rear (tinnerman nut still in place??) and in the shunter/open door catch/sliding door cover holder assembly. Pull the ends of the cover to a nice flush appearance before your final tightening.
Do NOT let your slovenly friends lean against the cover any more. Get all prickly "HEY! Don't touch my car, man!". I have seen hinge assemblies worn unbelievably by a steady diet of screeching down the caved-in cover.

Nice and clean with the cover on. Just a light coat of grease on the rail will do:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Door shuts easily and opens with alacrity. As it should.
Colin
(p.s - added 01/10/11 *Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh* )
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Last edited by Amskeptic on Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:06 pm; edited 6 times in total
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EZ Gruv
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might just do this on Saturday. Awesome.
But removing/replacing that slider track cover is a total pain.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write up Colin,I have a slider that is hanging up. The wife bitches about it all the time. The drivers door works well,I don't give the slider a second thought. Will be doing it next week !!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoa, this has to be at least a 7 hour write up prepare. About 3 times longer to write it up than to do the proceedure itself. You got patience! I salute you. Applause

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dvergillo
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As always great write-up. Just did this on my '77 awhile back. It spooks me every time I open the door and it pops out so far and fast!

At the same time I also installed a "bling-bling pre-'73" chrome hinge. The painted and chrome hinges have different shoulder heights so you need parts from two hinge assemblies to make it work.

I still miss the second closing position of the early doors that suck the rear of the slider in place when closed.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you rule! Shocked
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice write up and nice pics.

i would like to add a few things.

-after cleaning, inspect for wear on the shafts of U shaped pivot piece, and the areas where the ends pass through the pot metal assemblies. a simple cleaning and lubrication may be fine for a low mileage vehicle, but i have seen several assemblies that were significantly worn in these areas, necessitating replacement parts. i can speculate that the wear was caused by lack of lubrication over the years, or by dirt getting in there are wearing the bores of the softer metal, or a combination thereof. while a good cleaning and lubrication will probably help in most cases, it won't fix worn out parts.

-i am not sure how well oiling the sealed bearing in the roller will work in the long run, since the bearing is originally packed with grease. oil may loosen things up initially, but i don't think it will provide a long term solution. i think oil will run out. perhaps you can give us an update to see how the oiling holds up? that bearing can definitely become worn out. i used to have the bearing number written down somewhere, but i have lost that info. perhaps if someone does this procedure in the soon future, you could make a note of the bearing number (should be stamped on the bearing or perhaps marked on the seal). again, might not be an issue for low mileage busses, but most of us aren't driving those. replacing that bearing, or the roller entirely, might be a good option for longer term smooth operation.

-in the "oil port" picture, you did not note the two oil ports on the post on the sliding door. these also need oil lubrication. sorry my arrows are not as fancy.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd add to inspect and possibly replace the nylon block while you have everything apart. The new ones will have a bolt instead of rivet to hold them on.

Every time you bust out the spray paint on this ridiculously original bus, I shiver. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great right up, anything different on an early bay (1968)?
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post , I will be doing this job in the near future so it will help a lot to follow the steps. Thank you for your time writing this up.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bearing seal can be removed with a thin xacto knife or the like and fresh grease packed inside. When finished I just snap the seal back into place.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dvergillo wrote:
The bearing seal can be removed with a thin xacto knife or the like and fresh grease packed inside. When finished I just snap the seal back into place.

X2, learned that from an old school helicopter tech, I use a dental pick and a custom made mini packing tool that goes on the grease gun, that way you only have to open one side of the bearing.

Nice writeup Colin.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice! I'll be donig this to both of my sliders soon...
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you are my hero!
Why couldent you have done this 3 months ago when I was doing this
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hazetguy wrote:

-i am not sure how well oiling the sealed bearing in the roller will work in the long run, since the bearing is originally packed with grease. oil may loosen things up initially, but i don't think it will provide a long term solution. i think oil will run out. perhaps you can give us an update to see how the oiling holds up?

-in the "oil port" picture, you did not note the two oil ports on the post on the sliding door. these also need oil lubrication.




The lubrication of sealed bearings may or may not work. Busdaddy wrote that he has dental-picked the seals off and repacked the bearing and successfully reinstalled the seal. I look forward to trying that.
My "stupidest" effort to lubricate a known dry sealed bearing was on one of the idler pulley of my Lexus V-8. Lumpy to rotate in my hand, after a bunch of dunkings and rotations and prying at the seal under oil, it definitely smoothed out. Those bearings spin at two and half times the engine rpm under heavy loads, and I had no option but to make a go of it since I had to have mobility. The engine has an additional 12,000 miles on it and the bearings are still quiet, with engine oil as lubrication.

Ahh, fixed that lubrication omission, thanks for pointing it out.
Colin
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice!

You can also buy a new one for $45.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

busdaddy wrote:
and a custom made mini packing tool that goes on the grease gun,


pics?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the nice write-up.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did mine this weekend, great post, very helpful. Also did the lower roller, door works like a charm now.

I had already ordered some parts, so I had a roller and the nylon block handy. I probably didn't need the roller, but my block was shot. The one from BD seemed to be OEM, it fit perfectly although it was riveted so I had to use a bolt. I'm going to order a few more of those, the other stuff might last another 30 years but not that thing.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:40 pm    Post subject: Broken spring/hinge key Reply with quote

Great write up - it will make reassembly (relatively) easy. I've found my door problems - the hinge key is broken (the part you marked with the red arrow). I've searched the usual suspects for parts and can't find one. Any suggestions?
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