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  #1  
Old March 3rd, 2009, 00:11
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WrenchMonkey WrenchMonkey is offline
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Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Like many XJs (especially the two-doors) my driver's door has sagged badly for years. Last week, the damn thing finally fell off in the driveway. That's how I know it's time to fix something.

For those that don't know, the problem stems from AMC's lame-brained idea of welding the hinge to the sheet metal unibody (bad enough) and then neglecting to weld the rear edge (even worse.)

As those welds start to crack, the hinge separates from the body, and the door sags. Eventually, the hinge can break all the way off, and you're done.

I'm a pretty mediocre welder. I can stick plate to plate pretty well, and sheet to sheet pretty badly. But sticking the ~3/8" hinge back onto the cracked, rusty sheet metal just wasn't going to happen for me.

I considered paying a friend to do it, but he was busy and I was broke. So I came up with this...
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 00:12
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WrenchMonkey WrenchMonkey is offline
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

First, I cut out the ruined sheet metal where the hinge broke off. That left about a 2-1/2x3" opening.



Then I could see that there's enough space behind that panel for a new, stronger mounting plate.

So if I needed to mount the hinge like so (the yellow), I figured I'd need a plate shaped something like the blue outline. So I drilled (4) 3/8" mounting holes (red).



Then I cut my new mounting plate. I used about 8" of 2x1/4" flat stock. If you were careful and spaced your holes closer, you could get away with less, maybe 6", but I tend towards overkill.

I had to notch the bottom corner to clear a bulge in the unibody, then I drilled and tapped four holes to match the ones I drilled in the jeep body.

I ground the old welds off of the hinge, drilled a couple more 3/8" holes to bolt it to the plate, then (after test fitting everything) I drilled and tapped the plate to match.



Then I shot it all black.



It took a little wiggling to get it into position, but the plate bolted in nice and solid.



Then I bolted the hinge to it:



And finally rehung the door:



Photo hosting courtesy of C.O.R.E: www.cincyoffroad.com
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Last edited by WrenchMonkey; March 13th, 2018 at 16:34.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 00:12
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Overall, I'm thrilled with the results. I was hoping just to get the stupid door back on. But the new mount lifts it back up where it should have been all along, and it opens and closes better than it has in years.

I was careful to put the hinge right back where it was originally, and like I said, it does work well. If I was to do it again, though, I'd move the hinge forward (toward the front of the jeep) about a quarter inch. That way I could shim the door-side mount to exactly where I wanted it, and even adjust it over time if it started to sag again.

All told, it took me about an hour and a half (not counting the time to pull off the fender), and since I picked the plate out of the scrap at work, I was only out seven 3/8" bolts. (Even buying a foot of the flatstock would only be $4 at OnlineMetals.)

Hope it helps somebody else!

Robert
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 05:33
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

that looks good! should be beefier than stock for sure. i have a 4 door and ive noticed a little sagginess coming on... i will have to look into this when it finally falls off....
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 06:15
Deadman 94 xj Deadman 94 xj is offline
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Looks great. I didn't know you had any mechanical skills.



My two door was re-welded when I bought it. If it sags again I might look into this.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 09:41
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Nice work! My door hasn't fallen off yet, but I need to get on it. I've got serious gaps, up to 1/4" wide in some points, around the drivers door. The main reason my heep never gets washed; wet drivers seat sucks!
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 21:36
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadman 94 xj View Post
Looks great. I didn't know you had any mechanical skills.
.!.. ..!.

I don't. I just make sh!t up, and report what works. This one did!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadman 94 xj View Post
My two door was re-welded when I bought it. If it sags again I might look into this.
Are you sure? The factory welds are really ugly. Lots of people think they've been redone.

'Course, lots of them have been redone...

Robert
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 21:40
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgrigorenko View Post
i will have to look into this when it finally falls off....
Don't bother waiting that long.

I only put it off because I didn't know what I was going to do about it.

If I'da known how easy it was to fix, I'da done it years ago.

Robert
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 22:05
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Mine sags but the welds are not breaking at all its the pins wearing out.. because i can puck up and the door half moves but the body side stays put.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 22:15
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Purtyful. Got a drawing, or am I going to have to do one when I finally do this?

Yeah, I don't know why AMC welded the hinge base plates to the A-pillar - everything else I've seen has been screwed to a plate in the pillar instead. Go figure. AMC did a lot of things right, but when they blew it, they really screwed the pooch!
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 22:46
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WrenchMonkey WrenchMonkey is offline
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

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Originally Posted by 5-90 View Post
Purtyful. Got a drawing, or am I going to have to do one when I finally do this?
Neither, really.

I started with some rough measurements, but it quickly devolved to improv.

There's plenty of space to play with. The only thing that has to "fit" is getting the two sets of holes to line up. (I drilled all four in the body, then drilled/tapped the top one in the plate, mounted it in the jeep, and just marked through the holes. No measuring at all.)

I will do a quick sketch of the numbers I started with...

Robert
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 23:08
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

(Aw man, got the sketch done, but Pee-bucket is down for maintenance. Guess I'll post it in the AM...)

Robert
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 23:17
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WrenchMonkey View Post
(Aw man, got the sketch done, but Pee-bucket is down for maintenance. Guess I'll post it in the AM...)

Robert
Heh. If you've got a digital copy already, you can just email it to me. Use my addy, if you please...
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Old March 4th, 2009, 08:52
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WrenchMonkey View Post
(Aw man, got the sketch done, but Pee-bucket is down for maintenance. Guess I'll post it in the AM...)

Robert


But really, the only thing I measured was the outside 2x8. Everything else was just sort of seat of the pants.

Robert
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Old March 4th, 2009, 09:00
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Re: Broken door-hinge welds: cheap n easy fix!

Oh! And the only spec that really matters is that the hinge "finger" is vertically aligned with the lower one, and 12-1/4" (on center) above it.

Obviously, it doesn't really matter where the plate sits, so long as the hinge ends up where it needs to be.

Robert
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