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Anybody replaced an Avanti door hinge?

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  • Anybody replaced an Avanti door hinge?

    While my '63 was getting the body restored and painted, the hinge on the driver's side door gave up. Now I have to slightly lift the door up to get it to close properly. That's a very discouraging development. I've heard there are hinge repair kits available - has anyone bought and/or installed one? How tough a job is it? Thanks.
    edp/NC
    \'63 Avanti
    \'66 Commander

  • #2
    Is it the hinge, or the door mount for the hinge (door side)?
    I just fixed a hinge that lost the detent spring, bent the detent arm and ultimately tore the door hinge mount plate off the door.
    Was not a terrible fix, but it was rather involved.
    Nothing that can't be done, however..
    Jeff[8D]


    quote:Originally posted by edpjr

    While my '63 was getting the body restored and painted, the hinge on the driver's side door gave up. Now I have to slightly lift the door up to get it to close properly. That's a very discouraging development. I've heard there are hinge repair kits available - has anyone bought and/or installed one? How tough a job is it? Thanks.
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

    Jeff


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

    Comment


    • #3
      The hinges are very robust, to say the least.

      Here's what to do: Open the door, and place the fingertips of your right hand so they bridge the gap between the moving hinge leaf and the door itself. Now use your other hand to move the door up and down. If you can feel ANY relative motion between the door structure and the hinge leaf, then the inner section of the door where the hinge mounts is beginning to crumble. If there is ZERO relative motion, then it's probably worn hinge bushings.

      I recently did a writeup on such an Avanti door repair and posted it here under the thread header, "New Puppies in the Flock."

      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks to both of you for the info. I've got to find out exactly what's broken first. Then, I'm sure it won't be an easy fix for me. Nothing, and I mean nothing, so far on this particular Avanti has been easy or cheap to fix. And there's a new problem with it everyday; electrical, fuel system, body, interior, rust, leaks, you name it. I'd need an abacus to count up the latent defects I've found with this car. But I'm going to do a whole new post on that topic so other Avanti novices will know just what they're getting into unless they buy a low-mileage pristine vehicle to start with. Believe me, that would be the cheapest, best way to go.[V]
        edp/NC
        \'63 Avanti
        \'66 Commander

        Comment


        • #5
          Welcome to our world....
          (sincere sympathy empathy from prior experience.. You are NOT alone)
          Jeff[8D]


          quote:Originally posted by edpjr

          Thanks to both of you for the info. I've got to find out exactly what's broken first. Then, I'm sure it won't be an easy fix for me. Nothing, and I mean nothing, so far on this particular Avanti has been easy or cheap to fix. And there's a new problem with it everyday; electrical, fuel system, body, interior, rust, leaks, you name it. I'd need an abacus to count up the latent defects I've found with this car. But I'm going to do a whole new post on that topic so other Avanti novices will know just what they're getting into unless they buy a low-mileage pristine vehicle to start with. Believe me, that would be the cheapest, best way to go.[V]
          HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

          Jeff


          Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



          Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

          Comment


          • #6
            With the door slightly open and clear of the latch, move the back edge of the door up and down. If there is clunking movement, then the hinge needs new bushings. If the door moves up and down easily without noise, then the inner panel needs to be reinforced at the hinge mount pads. If the door requires some effort to bring up to the latch level, then the door hinge to door panel needs to be adjusted. This can be involved and tricky to do so that the door is properly gapped and doesn't scuff the paint on the front door opening at the horizontal ridge. If the inner panel needs reinforcement, then the door has to be removed, the captive plates for the hinge mounts removed, and thick pieces of fibreglass plate with the captive plates attached are bonded to the backside of the panel where the captive plates were located. If you have to do this or have it done, e-mail me after mid Aug. and I will send you a tracing of the patterns I used for the reinforcements. I made my own stock and it was approx. 1/4" thick or more. I used VetteBond #880 as the bonding agent. I believe this procedure was performed by Avanti Motors during Avanti repairs for soggy doors. There may be other posts on this subject. Try the search function.

            Comment


            • #7
              WCP, you have described the situation better than I did. I'd like to add, and this is sort of speculative on my part, but not ALL that much, that the underlying reason for this problem is that the body engineers didn't really understand the properties of the fiberglass that they were working with, or else miscalculated the forces involved.

              Both steel and fiberglass are elastic; apply a force to them, and they bend. Remove the force, and they spring back to their original shape. Where they differ is in what happens when the force exceeds their elastic limit. Steel will bend, and then stay bent, but still retain most of its original strength. Think of a bumper bent in a small collision; it's been distorted, but it will require a lot of effort to bend it back straight again, right?

              Fiberglass, when it exceeds its elastic limit, simply fractures. Or the resin component turns into powder, and the inherent stiffness of the material goes away. When the two materials come into contact, and a load (or force) is carried from one into the other, strange things begin to happen. The forged steel hinges in the Avanti are broad and thick, and almost impossibly stiff relative to the flexibility of the door material. So you open the door, and the wind catches it, and swings it out hard against the stop. And where is the stop? Built into the hinge, right? So the hinge hits a positive stop, and the door, having some momentum, carries on for a bit. It does that by throwing a mean bend into the fiberglass panel to which the hinge is bolted. You get a stress concentration where dissimilar materials are fastened together. Under an overload situation as described above, all that concentrated stress is applied to about 1/4" of fiberglass immediately surrounding the perimeter of the hinge leaf where it bolts to the door. The fiberglass within that perimeter is braced by the hinge, which being many times stiffer, takes all the load. Further away from the the hinge, the fiberglass just gives elastically, and later bounces back. But right around the perimeter of the hinge, the forces are so great that the resin crumbles, or parts under tension. You look at a door which has failed this way, and there is an outline of the hinge leaf, made of crumbled fiberglass. Much of the glass fiber is still intact, which is why the door hasn't flat-out fallen off, but the resin which which makes it stiff has turned to powder.

              In my inexpert opinion, Studebaker goofed when designing the Avanti doors. Instead of using a hinge much like the regular Lark/Hawk hinge, only beefier, they should have designed a hinge made of a light stamping or tubular steel, and made it long enough to reach about 2/3 the length of the door, with fastenings at numerous points along its length. That would have eliminated the stress concentrations, and made for an overall lighter car, because BOTH the steel hinge and the fiberglass door structure could have been made lighter, because the loads imposed by the door's static weight, and its momentum when coming up on a stop would have been spread over a much larger area of interface between the two dissimilar materials.

              And instead of building the door check into the upper hinge, they should have made it a separate part, as it is on Larks, Hawks, and all other Studebakers.

              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
              Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

              Comment


              • #8
                Avanti door hinge reinforcement kits were available from Newman Altman Avanti Motors early on. They may have been left over Studebaker designed/produced original kits. Required repairing the damaged fiber glass and installing the steel threaded sandwich plates. Both doors on our Avanti still function properly having been fitted with said kits 33 years ago.

                Richard

                Comment


                • #9
                  quote: buy a low-mileage pristine vehicle to start with. Believe me, that would be the cheapest, best way to go.[V]
                  EDPJR Sorry you have and will continue learning the hard way if you finish your project. Good luck and God speed. Ironic that you bought your car from the man who unofficially owns the phrase "nothing more expensive than a cheap Avanti" jimmijim
                  sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Gord, you have described the cause of the door problems very well. It is probably good to mention another door problem resulting from frequent flexing of the fibreglass and that is that the inner panel will split of fracture vertically between the regulator assembly and the lift idler pivot. On a few cars, I added a 1/8" steel strap mounted between the regulator mounting capscrews and the idler capscrews to absorb some of the stress. On my current Avanti, since I had to add the hinge reinforcements, I also reinforced from the backside the raised portion of the panel where stress initiates the crack. The idler mount area for the 3 capscrews was also punky and slotted, so I bonded a reinforcement plate to the inside and redrilled the mounting holes. Edpjr, don't get discouraged. Bringing back an Avanti takes time and there is a lot of satisfaction in resolving problems permanently and the end result to we Avanti owners is well worth it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I once had a Avanti that I wanted to paint "666" on the door and burn it to the ground, and almost did. I parked it and the fuel pump failed, dumping a few gallons of high test into the pan. I went to start it, and pumped raw gasoline out of the breathers.
                      The door was so broken up by failed power windows, and hinge damage I had to replace the door, and that when I found the pillar braces were rusted out.
                      When I finally got it on the road I decided to take the wife for a spin and the heater core blew soaking her and the new carpets in anti freeze.

                      JDP/Maryland
                      JDP Maryland

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Oops! I should check my notes and photos before posting. At my age, memory isn't what it used to be. The 1/8" steel strap reinforcement goes between the idler and the rear fastener of the door opener remote and not the regulator. It picks up the top 2 screws of the idler and that rear screw of the opener remote. The panels crack at the rear of the opener remote in a vertical line due to the profile at that point.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Would you consider $15K cheap...? I didn't.[:I]

                          quote:Originally posted by jimmijim8

                          quote: buy a low-mileage pristine vehicle to start with. Believe me, that would be the cheapest, best way to go.[V]
                          EDPJR Sorry you have and will continue learning the hard way if you finish your project. Good luck and God speed. Ironic that you bought your car from the man who unofficially owns the phrase "nothing more expensive than a cheap Avanti" jimmijim
                          edp/NC
                          \'63 Avanti
                          \'66 Commander

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            15 Grand will buy a pretty schnazzy Avanti or Avanti 11. My e-bay observations. I've seen nice ones as of late going for less than 12. Check the completed listings. jimmijim
                            sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              One thing that I have learned is that "cheap" is never as cheap as I think that cheap should be :/

                              nate

                              official CASO #whatever

                              --
                              55 Commander Starlight
                              http://members.cox.net/njnagel
                              --
                              55 Commander Starlight
                              http://members.cox.net/njnagel

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