how do I replace a door


Old 10-21-03, 08:29 AM
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how do I replace a door

After an unfortunate encounter w/ a trucker who wasn't looking where he was going, I must replace the driver's side door on my 1989, 2door, non-convertible, manual window Chevy Cavalier.

I was wondering if any kind soul could explain the procedure to me and what, if any, tools I might require to bring it off.

I already have a replacement door. I just need to know how to take it apart and put it back together so to speak.

Thanks in advance to anyone who offers their aid.
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Old 10-21-03, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Barre,Vermont
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I think Joe is the resident afficienado on 89 cavaliers
Old 10-21-03, 09:33 AM
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Mark the location of the old hinges using a Sharpie marker or scribe the body line.

There are a few bolts on the door side, probably 13mm. Remove those. Get a helper to hold the door. Take it off. Then bolt on the new one.

Match the scrape marks you made before with the new (or used) hinges. Loosen and adjust the door till it closes with ease and lines up with the body of the car.

Basically some simple patience and trial and error and you'll get it .

Ya, you could say I know a thing or two about these Cavaliers (own one).
Old 10-21-03, 09:53 AM
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I appreciate the quick replies, but after having re-checked the hinges, they appear to be fastened by a sort of pin and crimping arrangement.

Am I looking @ the wrong protion of the hinge or am I perhaps interpreting what I am seeing incorrectly?

Let me give a description....

The upper hinge seems fastened by a tapered bolt (it looks like an oversized sewing pin) @ the upper portion (the tapered section protrudes through the hinge) there appears to be a sort of crimped fastener and I cannot tell if it is threaded on the interior (it's on the under side of the upper portion of the hinge). beneath the upper hinge on the bottom side of the 'bolt' is another fastener that is similar in appearnce.

The lower hinge has the same sort of pin type 'bolt', but also has a thicker bolt-type arrangement as well that looks like its purpose is to pivot or aid in balancing the door as it swings. There is a rubber bushing on the upper end of that pivot.

If you could shed further light on this, I would be very grateful. Thanks again to any who should offer insight.
Old 10-21-03, 10:24 AM
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True, some are welded. The J body might be like that. Basically, if you can't see any bolts on the door or body side at the edge of the hinges, it's a job for a body shop in all honesty as cutting/welding/grinding etc are required.

You MAY be able to grind off the pins and separate the halves of the hinge to peel apart the hinge, but I wouldn't recommend doing this if you are a novice.

How does it look on the "New" door? If it's all welded there, and you see torch marks (an indication that the yard cut off the door), you have your answer---welded.

Why not go after the trucker that hit you? Let them pay for it. Shoot, you'll probably get a new paint job out of the deal. LOL.
Old 10-21-03, 10:40 AM
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Long story about the trucker. Not an option.

Let me make sure I am understanding correctly and then I'll (I think) be out of your hair.

Am I to take the hinge itself off or am I to part the hinge?

On closer inspection I do notice that the hinge is attached to the body by what seem to be conventional bolts. The door itself is attached to the hinge by means of the sewing pin type bolts that I described.

Once more (and only one I hope) thank you.
Old 10-21-03, 10:45 AM
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You either have to take the bolts off on the body side or the door side. They are 13mm (from what I remember) bolts. If it's this type, go ahead, mark the position of the old door, remove it and install the new door. Use the best pair of hinges (between your originals and the ones from the replacement door).

Line it up as I indicated the best you can.

If it were my car, the trucking company would be giving me a new paint job.....
Old 10-21-03, 11:28 AM
darrell McCoy
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Hmmm! wasn't a road rage deal was it??? In all honesty, cost or not, have a body shop do it for you then if it does not suit you, you have a recourse. Doors are a PITA anymore, some welded, some bolted inside body, some bolted thru hinge. Have seen them one bolt thru body inside and the other thru hinge outside.
Regardkess, you need a good helper, plenty of rags or some type cushioning to prevent kinks on door bottom, dents and whatever. A jack comes in mighty handy also. If applicable, you will need a spring compressor for that wee little spring that you must be real careful as it can fly out and gettttcha. Agreed, find the trucker co ad or truckers billfold. If it was his fault, then I wouldnt pay a dime. But again I dont know the "rest of the story".
Old 10-22-03, 07:44 AM
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I wanted to thank you guys for the advice. Iv'e got some things to think about now.

As a matter of clarification, it ~is~ the Trucker's fault. Unfortunately, actually proving liability in this case would be a trick as it's not immeadiatly clear cut, so I'ld be making this repair out of my pocket @ first anyway.

The cost and trouble of chasing this guy down for a measly 150$ is not in my schedule, so I'll take care of this one way or another.

Thanks again. Your insight and prompt responses have been greatly appreciated.

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