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Door hinge phillips screws- alternatives to adjust door?

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  • Body / Glass: Door hinge phillips screws- alternatives to adjust door?

    I've had a problem for years of the door adjusted slightly low on my '60 lark convert. There doesn't seem to be any hinge movement when lifting the door so it doesn't seem like worn hinges. The problem is getting the big phillips screws loose to adjust the hinges. I've read the thread which discusses this in detail. I have a good quality impact driver with a #4 phillips bit which fits perfectly and the screws are not stripped. They won't move with a 3 lb. hammer. I know the next step should be heat, but I only have a propane torch which, I gather, won't help much. I'm not ready to invest in a new torch to (maybe) get out 6 screws.

    My question: I can get the outer screws attaching the hinges to the body loose and maybe the center one with an extension. Could the door possibly be adjusted by loosening these screws, jacking the door up to the right height and retightening them? I realize this is not the preferred method, but I thought it might work. I only need to get about 1/2 inch at the handle end of the door. Thanks.

  • #2
    I ended up just drilling mine out. I used a reverse twist M42 cobalt drill slightly smaller than the thread size of the screws. Most of them came right out with an 18volt drill motor, I had to chase a few threads for the ones that ended up getting drilled through. I replaced all the hidden ones in the door with SS socket head FH cap screws and a little anti-sieze compound.


    • #3
      There is no adjustment possible on the hinge-to-body screws. Well, I suppose you could put shims between the lower hinge and the pillar to raise the door, but that's more work than doing it the right way.

      If the car runs and drives, why not take the interior door panel off, and drive it to a shop that has an oxy-acetylene outfit, and a hand who knows how to use it? Heat the screwheads alone to red heat with a small tip, and let cool. I like to use the proper size Phillips head on a 3/8" drive flex handle. You can get a lot of torque that way. If you dip the tip of the Phillips bit in valve grinding compound, it greatly increases the grip, and reduces the tendency of the bit to "cam out" of the fastener. In fact, it can give you so much grip, that you can easily tear the head right off the screw. That's why you do the heat-cool cycle first. Avoid penetrating oil until after the heat-cool cycle has allowed you to "crack" the screws loose, then go for it. Use the torch flame on screws soaked with penetrating oil, and you will have a fire, which may damage your paint!

      If you can see down inside the door, and the protruding ends of the screws are really encrusted with rust, just bite the bullet and go with the drilling option.
      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


      • #4
        IRT your question in para 2: the problem is that there's almost no "adjustability" in the hinge-to-pillar screws. The screws that go into the door are the ones that allow up/down, front/back movement through shims and/or moving the door around. However, since you can get the pillar screws loose, it wouldn't hurt to try.
        Skip Lackie


        • #5
          All good ideas, I had to drill some of mine out.
          Any good drill bit will do, start out small and as you drill out the center it will shrink slightly and crack loose the same as explained above.
          Worst case you drill to the size that the screw head comes off and then drill properly for the needed tap.
          Just be careful not to break a drill or a tap off in there, once that happens you have no choice but to use heat.

          Good luck,



          • #6
            Hinge to body screws won't give you adjustability. It's the hinge to door screws. They screw to a floating plate inside the door.
            Spray with penetrant (PB Blaster, Kroil, etc.), heat with torch, let cool, spray, heat, spray, cool, use impact screw driver.
            Exercise patience and determination.
            Brad Johnson,
            SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
            Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
            '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
            '56 Sky Hawk in process


            • #7
              Those are not Phillips screws... They are Posi-Drive. However large Posi-Drive bits are hard to fine... so we end up using Phillips.
              Good Luck!


              • #8
                Also look at the condition of the hing pillar/floor area. One the factory rust options is rust around and through the area where the bolt attaches the floor to the crossmember. Body kinda sinks when rust weakens this area and changes the height of the door. Check gaps around the door and front and back are somewhat the same, then moving hinges isn't gonna solve it, raising the body back up will. Seems more pronounced on convertibles and hardtops- heavier door.


                • #9
                  I am so new to all this, and not quite sure of the body terms. . .but over Thanksgiving my brother in law and I jumped on my GT to adjust the doors. . .we took them off the hinge at the body and created shims for it. . .and then. . .read a thread on here. . .and took the panel off the door and began to work with the attachment there. . .it made the difference but we have not fully completed the task. . .but least ways now, I dont have to slam or lift the door. . the form and fit are not quite true. . . yet. . .on another note. . .the plate that the door uses on the body, we loosened it, and close the door and then adjusted it to the new height and fit. . .again, be kind. . .as this is all new to me. . .but I am daring to try it all. . .

                  THINK right--TALK right--WALK right--Its that SIMPLE!

                  Ernest E. Brown
                  The church at the Christian Center, Arab, Alabama


                  • #10
                    Some times if just a small adjustment is needed up on the door the adjustment is called a 4 ft long 2x4 under the door to the rocker panel sill and slight lift up. Just be carefull and dont chip your paint.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by swvalcon View Post
                      Some times if just a small adjustment is needed up on the door the adjustment is called a 4 ft long 2x4 under the door to the rocker panel sill and slight lift up. Just be carefull and dont chip your paint.
                      I was just gonna make the same suggestion-but I use a 4' long steel bar,actually it's an old axle,from what I don't know. I put a 2x4 under the door,a 2x4 on the rocker,and pry up with the bar on the 2x4s. Another method,is a 2x4 under the door,and a floor jack under the 2x4. Jack it up,and watch the door move. Some stepping on the rocker mat be needed[or pull down on the rear fender]. I also have tool,made by Snap-on which attaches to the door latch,and to the striker on the post,then you pull the door up with a 1/2 inch drive breaker bar.[for modern latches only]


                      • #12
                        Here is an explanation of Posi Drive screws used on the Studebaker door hinges.


                        Posi Drive bits are available from "SNAPON"

                        When I try to adjust doors , I replace two of the screws with "grade 8" 5/16" fine thread hexhead bolts with a washer and star lockwasher.
                        Leave the one Posi drive loose.

                        I adjust the door with a socket on the grade "8" bolts and after everything is correct I tighten the one Posi drive and replace the bolts with the Posi Drives (one at the time).
                        Mc.Master Carr sels a flathead screw the same size as the Posi Drive but uses a Torx head.They also have the correct lock washers for these.
                        Robert Kapteyn


                        • #13
                          Pay particular attention to #8!

                          On the '60 Champ, based on a Lark cab, the firewall mount hangs on the firewall but is not attached to the frame. Consequently the entire front clip rests on mounts to the floorboard near the hinge pillars a center mount at the back of the cab and a center mount under the radiator! Once the floor board rot away the clip hangs on imagination. Once I figured out the bone headed design with no floorboards it was easy to see why I had to lift the doors to close them. The rebuild on the Champ included placing axle bumps on the purposeless firewall mounts that now rest on the edge of the frame.

                          With that history lesson, seeing that the rear of the driver door on the Speedster sags 1/2 inch I can see an apparent slight weakening of body to frame support at the hinge pillar. I will give consideration to this before I wrestle with door adjustment.


                          • #14
                            Heat the posi drive heads, with oxy-acetylene small welding tip. Or try the bernz-o-matic. After that, bang on the screw heads with a hammer. {rust will sometimes form under the beveled posi-head seat in the hinge area thus locking. after cooling, spray penetrant around the head and inside of the doors near the threads of the posi-drive screws. Tap with a hammer again.. cheers 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


                            • #15
                              I got my posi-drive bit from Snap-on probably 30 years ago. It does work better than a large #3 phillips.

                              1947 Champion (owned since 1967)
                              1961 Hawk 4-speed
                              1967 Avanti
                              1961 Lark 2 door
                              1988 Avanti Convertible

                              Member of SDC since 1973