Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby 95AstroLT [OP] » December 7th 2018, 12:46am

Need advice - know others have had this situation. (In fact, found a post that could be a pic of our van, even the same color! https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... ge#p883849 )

1997 Safari, essentially no rust, 182K miles. Where the upper driver's door hinge attaches to the body I'm seeing the beginning of an opening between the hinge and the body.

Body man suggested I look behind the sheet metal under the dash - said there should be a plate corresponding to the hinge. (Makes sense, welding the hinge to sheet metal wouldn't be one of GM's better ideas, but then welded hinges don't inspire awe.) From what I can tell, the visible metal inside (where the parking brake mechanism mounts) is not the back of the outer metal. That is, I believe it is sort of a "box" and any plate would be inside the box.

I'm OK with welding as K-TRON did in the above link, but would be interested to find out how that held long-term (post is from 2015).

If there IS a plate in the box, I'm thinking drill an access hole, then a hole through the plate, outer sheet metal, and body side hinge and run a bolt through.

At this point the opening isn't very big. Door opens and closes fine. Perhaps if I'm gentle with the door it will last forever, but I'd like some insurance.

Any ideas would be appreciated, especially regarding the likelihood of a plate hidden from view.

Bill
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby WoodButcher » December 7th 2018, 1:43pm

Get access to the back and bolt it if you can otherwise you must weld.
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby WoodButcher » December 7th 2018, 1:57pm

I went back an looked at K-tron's reply in the other thread and apparently there is no room or access to the inside.
Weld it.
As for longevity I don't know how he made out but I can say with confidence if I were to do that myself it would last as long if not longer than the rest of the truck.
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby Coaster » December 7th 2018, 2:10pm

its glue. its a thing now
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby sixsix » December 7th 2018, 2:41pm

Coaster wrote:its glue. its a thing now

It may be now...

But it was not then. I cannot believe they glued the door hinges on.
Seam sealer yes , welded yes. Woody's right.

Surely.



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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby WoodButcher » December 8th 2018, 2:51am

Lol!
Yeah, they are spot welded.
BIG spot welder,,, lol.
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby smokinjoe » December 8th 2018, 4:47am

Have this same issue. Too bad theres no way to do like a toggle bolt or tap threads into the back plate.
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby 90safari » December 8th 2018, 6:10am

You'd have to pull the door off, in order to drill and or tap it.
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby astrometalvan » December 8th 2018, 1:11pm

Maybe a toggle bolt like the ones that hold a microwave oven to the wall would work?
Drill the hole from the front, squeeze the toggle and pop it in and tighten up the bolt.
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby AstroWill » December 8th 2018, 9:00pm

I would get it cleaned up and welded. I also wouldn't use the door as a crutch to get in/out of the van, seen that cause problems before.

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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby MechBob » December 9th 2018, 12:16am

Astro front door hinges have no "backing plate",there is merely 3 layers of thin sheet metal,not fully welded,but spot welded at the spot welds you can see in the hinges,and spot welded in other places(GM saving money). Replacement hinges come with a threaded backing plate,for use after you drill and chisel off the old hinge.If you are going to keep the van,you should pull door,drill through the hing and layers,and put in a bolt,washer nut,washer on the inside.But,you could use a nut with a made in washer,as you might have to weld it to a wire,to get it up there,through the lower access hole,unless the newer vans have an upper access hole?IDK.Just 1 bolt pinching all the layers would make a huge difference.Also,body shops have been known to cut an access hole to get to the inside of the hinge area,but be sure to seal it,to keep mice out.
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby 95AstroLT [OP] » December 9th 2018, 5:24am

MechBob wrote:Astro front door hinges have no "backing plate",there is merely 3 layers of thin sheet metal,not fully welded,but spot welded at the spot welds you can see in the hinges,and spot welded in other places(GM saving money). Replacement hinges come with a threaded backing plate,for use after you drill and chisel off the old hinge.If you are going to keep the van,you should pull door,drill through the hing and layers,and put in a bolt,washer nut,washer on the inside.But,you could use a nut with a made in washer,as you might have to weld it to a wire,to get it up there,through the lower access hole,unless the newer vans have an upper access hole?IDK.Just 1 bolt pinching all the layers would make a huge difference.Also,body shops have been known to cut an access hole to get to the inside of the hinge area,but be sure to seal it,to keep mice out.


Thanks for the description - makes sense.
I didn't see an access hole, but haven't removed dash trim or kick panel yet (waiting for a day when temperature is over freezing!).
Still like the idea of a bolt, even if an access hole has to be cut. Access hole on the inside could (?) negate need to remove door. Thinking an old school fender bolt with their nice thick washers. Probably look better than weld but since it should only show when the door is open - and only slightly even then - I'm OK with anything that functions, bolt or weld. Nice to have options.
So I'll know more when interior covers are removed and I can get a better view. Body guy was concerned what shape the metal behind the hinge is in. From what I see so far and the general condition of the body I'm not really concerned about rust. Think this whole thing started when the wind caught the door one day.

Thanks for everyone's input, comments still welcome. I'll keep you posted.
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby 95AstroLT [OP] » December 9th 2018, 5:33am

AstroWill wrote:I would get it cleaned up and welded. I also wouldn't use the door as a crutch to get in/out of the van, seen that cause problems before.


For sure wouldn't hang on the door! Dear wife mistakenly thought the bar above the passenger's side air bag was a passenger assist. Fortunately she quit pulling when she heard plastic cracking so it's still there with only minor damage. Have a replacement from local JY, but had to seriously hurt the dash to get it out of the donor van.
Like these vans, but some stuff sure could have been made better.
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby 95AstroLT [OP] » December 9th 2018, 5:37am

astrometalvan wrote:Maybe a toggle bolt like the ones that hold a microwave oven to the wall would work?
Drill the hole from the front, squeeze the toggle and pop it in and tighten up the bolt.


Great idea, just can't picture one heavy duty enough. Hole would need to be oversized in order to fit the toggle through. Maybe a HD toggle exists - I'd definitely like to know about it!
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby Leeann_93 » December 9th 2018, 4:37pm

95AstroLT wrote:Dear wife mistakenly thought the bar above the passenger's side air bag was a passenger assist. Fortunately she quit pulling when she heard plastic cracking so it's still there with only minor damage. Have a replacement from local JY, but had to seriously hurt the dash to get it out of the donor van.



Pics and description of how to do that without damaging your dash are in the post with an upside-down pic of a nasty vacuum line less than halfway down this page:
https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... &start=200
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Re: Driver's door hinge to body coming loose!

Postby WoodButcher » December 10th 2018, 12:06am

MechBob wrote:Astro front door hinges have no "backing plate",there is merely 3 layers of thin sheet metal,not fully welded,but spot welded at the spot welds you can see in the hinges,and spot welded in other places(GM saving money). Replacement hinges come with a threaded backing plate,for use after you drill and chisel off the old hinge.If you are going to keep the van,you should pull door,drill through the hing and layers,and put in a bolt,washer nut,washer on the inside.But,you could use a nut with a made in washer,as you might have to weld it to a wire,to get it up there,through the lower access hole,unless the newer vans have an upper access hole?IDK.Just 1 bolt pinching all the layers would make a huge difference.Also,body shops have been known to cut an access hole to get to the inside of the hinge area,but be sure to seal it,to keep mice out.



Good info Bob, thanks!
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