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Door hinge replacement

43130 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Manicmechanic
For cars manufactured 2005-2007 (ish?) the top hinge on the driver's door is a sealed Mercedes design that can't be lubricated. Unfortunately, it seems to be prone to a failure that causes it to "clunk" when opening and closing. While it doesn't appear to actually cause a failure to open and close the door, it's pretty darn annoying. For 2008+, the hinges were changed to an open (exposed spring) design. I finally got fed up with the clunk and decided to replace the old hinges with the new ones. They recommend that you replace both hinges, even though only the top one is defective (the simple pivot hinge on the bottom is usually still fine). With the new design, the spring mechanism is the lower hinge and the simple pivot is the top hinge.

Old hinge on the left, new hinge on the right.

To remove and replace the driver's door hinges, you'll need to remove the front fender. There are 10 bolts that hold the fender on, and it will require you to remove the wheel well liner to get to some of them. By leaving the door closed and only replacing one hinge at a time, you shouldn't run into alignment issues.

Parts required:
new top hinge, part # 55113469AD (left side, front door, top hinge)
new bottom hinge, part # 4575749AG (left side, front door, lower hinge)
Mopar touch-up spray paint, 1 can (5 oz) - easily enough to paint 4 hinges

Tools required:
10mm socket
13mm socket
various socket extensions
13mm combination wrench
1/2" combination wrench

about 2 hours (including figuring out where all the bolts are, not including painting). YMMV

Difficulty: 4
Intimidation factor: 6 (I'm removing body panels! What if my door doesn't align correctly!)

Start the day before by painting the hinges. No need to be perfect on these but unless you have a black car you probably want to get them the right color. Let the paint dry at least overnight.

Here's a diagram showing the locations of the 10 bolts you'll need to remove. Sorry about the order of the numbers; I numbered them as I found them.

Start by jacking up the car and removing the driver's side front wheel. Be sure to put a jack stand under the car.

Disconnect the ABS sensor by pushing downward on the top of the silver clip and pulling the connector out.

Remove the wheel well liner. There are a little over a dozen of the plastic panel clips holding it in, plus two plastic panel rivets. The regular panel clips just pop out (it's really easy if you have a panel popper tool, but a small flathead screwdriver works just fine). The plastic rivets will have to have their centers pushed in with an awl, and doing so destroys them. You can replace them with regular panel clips during reinstallation.

Once all the clips are out, maneuver the wheel well liner out and set it aside.

Now it's time to remove the bolts. Important note: they're almost all different, so be sure to keep track of which ones go where. All of the bolts holding the fender on use a 10mm socket but you'll need various extensions to reach each one.
Bolts 1-5

Bolts 6-10

These are out of numerical order but probably make sense to do it this way.

Bolt 1 - front corner, from under the hood

Bolt 9 - under the front corner, from inside the wheel well. You actually remove the nut from the bolt and leave the bolt in place.

Bolt 4 - bottom front corner, from wheel well

Bolt 10 - bottom front corner, next to bolt 4, from wheel well

Bolts 7 and 8 - you'll need to pull back the plastic cover at the bottom rear of the fender edge. The plastic cover is riveted to the side skirt (rear) and has a clip that pops out towards its middle. Don't pull too hard; just enough to pop the clip free.

Bolts 7 & 8 - under the plastic cover. You'll need to pull back on the cover while you remove these.

Remove the foam pad that's tucked in inside the fender just behind the door hinges (it just pulls out) but be careful not to tear it. Set it aside for now.

Bolt 5 - this is by the bottom door hinge. You can get to this one from behind the fender using your 10mm wrench with extensions or from the door jamb using an E7 (star) socket. You might be able to get away with just loosening this instead of removing it, but I removed it anyway.

Bolt 6 - same as bolt 5 but next to the top hinge.

Bolt 2 - front, from under the hood

Bolt 3 - by hood support, from under the hood

Now we're ready to remove the fender. IMPORTANT! You're going to have to slide the fender about an inch towards the rear of the car to get past the protrusion next to bolt 1 with the driver's door open. There is very little clearance and you don't want to scratch the paint on the driver's door. Hang a towel over the driver's door, just in case. First pull the rear of the fender away from the car a few inches, then slide the fender back to release.

Once the fender is off, set it aside on a blanket to prevent it from getting scratched.

Put the wheel back on and lower the car. You want the car resting normally on all 4 wheels for the hinge removal and re-installation. NOTE: it may be necessary to drive the car a short distance to get the suspension to sit normally. I found this out after completing the job and finding that the door wasn't perfectly aligned later, even though it was perfectly when I installed the hinges.

Now for the easy part: replacing the door hinges. The hinges are each held in place with 4 bolts. They appear to be 14mm but two of mine seemed to be 1/2" - use whichever wrench seems to fit best, since you don't want to damage the bolt heads. You'll need to use a combination wrench to reach one of the bolts.

Top hinge. With the driver's door closed, loosen the 3 bolts and one nut. Once all are loose, remove them. The door will remain in place, held there by the remaining hinge and the door strike.

The old hinge should be able to be wiggled out. Grab the new top hinge and wiggle it in. If you can't get it to fit past the fender support, remove one of the bolts and loosen the other to rotate the support out of the way. Note: the bolt holes on the support are slotted to allow for adjustment. Make sure you'll be able to put it back where it used to be (you probably have rings of dirt around where the bolts were, which makes it easy). Install the hinge and bolt it into place. Torque to 21 ft lbs. Test open and close the door a few times to make sure it's still aligned correctly. If you had to loosen the fender support, put it back into position now and tighten.

Bottom hinge. Procedure is the same as for the top hinge. Again, test open/close to make sure its aligned properly.

Time to put the fender back on. Open the driver's door and again cover the door with a towel to prevent scratching. Maneuver the fender so that the protrusion next to bolt 1 is lined up and bolt 9 fits through its hole. Make sure that the top of the fender (under the hood) sits on the correct side of the sheet metal under the hood.

Re-install the bolts, but don't tighten them yet. I installed them in the following order: 3, 2, 1, 9, 7, 8, 5, 6, 10, 4. With the fender now held loosely in place, CAREFULLY close the door.

If the fender isn't properly aligned you don't want to bend or scratch anything. Nudge the fender as needed to get the gaps just right. Tighten the bolts one at a time, checking alignment and door operation after each one. (I don't have a torque spec on these, so I just tightened them "enough.") I found the following order easiest for keeping the panel alignment right: 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 4, 9, 1, 2, 3. Check the gap between the hood and the fender.

Jack up the car and remove the driver's side front wheel again. Use a jack stand.

Re-install the foam pad inside the fender by the hinges.

Re-install the wheel well liner and secure with the original fasteners. You'll need two additional fasteners to replace the plastic rivets you broke during removal.

Check the ABS sensor socket to make sure there's no debris inside it. Clean the metal clip with a toothbrush if necessary so that it slides down and pops back up easily.

Check the ABS sensor plug to make sure there's no debris inside it.

Push down on the metal clip on the ABS sensor socket, slide the plug in, and release the metal clip. Pull gently on the plug to make sure it's secured.

Re-install the wheel and lower the car.

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Hello, Sorry to bring up an old post but iam asking you guys who changed out door hinges how to do adjust the door for alignment? I cant tell which bolts to loosen, the hinge/pillar or hinge/door side? I cant tell which side has the adjustment. I need to move the door up slightly and forward.
Simply unscrew the hinge bolts you just installed, just one turn should be enough, then have a friend pull and hold the door up, a bit higher than where you need it to be, then tighten the bolts again and test. You could need to do it a few times to get the perfect alignment.
The bolts on the pillar or the bolts to the door? I cant figure out which bolts to loosen? Doesn't it matter, iam not sure which bolts can adjust?
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