Escape Door Hinge Bushings - Sagging door

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Escape Door Hinge Bushings - Sagging door

Postby TooManyToys - July 3rd, 2012, 10:59 pm

When I was searching for a used Escape with about 100k on the clock one of the common issues I found was the driver door hinges were worn. This would lead to the door sagging when open. The one that I purchased for my GD was a good example of the worse one’s found to the point that it started to scrape the paint on the driver’s side second seat when it was closing. Another characteristic is that it take a little more force to close the door and if you watch it carefully, you can see the back of the door rise as the latch engages the door striker. The easiest way to check for worn hinge bushings is to grab the back of the door while it is open about a foot and try lifting and lowering the door. There is always some movement with new bushings, but when worn there is quite a lot. The door lift on the striker is the best determination.

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Ford only sells new complete hinges at $32 MSRP and $24 discounted each. Plus you have to remove the front fenders to get to the bolts when replacing the entire hinge. The two other options are to buy replacement bushings from sources like McMaster or get the Dorman Kit from places like Rock Auto. I did the latter as I was not sure how worn the hinge pins would be, and I would not have to play around measuring. Part # 38465, Rock Auto $8.84 plus shipping for each door.

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In reading about others who had installed the kits there were some issues about bushings being hard to remove or breaking them. Here is how I did them on this vehicle without any issues. DO ONLY ONE HINGE AT A TIME!

I didn’t take any pictures of the floor jack holding up the door, but you want to put a folded heavy towel on the jack pad to protect the door, then place the jack at the outer end of the door and raise it just enough to take the weight off one hinge. Again, you will do only one hinge at a time.

If you’ve done bodywork in the past you know that hinge alignment is a critical issue, and can be very frustrating to get it right when you are starting from scratch. The ideal method with this type of repair is to first mark the location of the hinges so you can get them back in the same spot, easily done with a magic marker, and easily cleaned later on with alcohol. Depending on the tip of the magic marker you will either have no space between the mark and hinge, or a slight one. I mark both hinges at the same time so if there is a space I can reference the other hinge when putting things back together, and mark which end is the top.

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Once marked, the first thing I did was slightly loosen the hinge bolts on the one I'm working on while the hinge pin is still there to take any twisting force. Once loose, I then pulled the circlip with needlenose pliers. The hinge pins take some hammering to push them out as they are an interference fit at the serrated end. You might not have a striking instrument that fits in the door cavity. I have a large amount of metal strips in my toolbox to use as striking punches so I had no issue, but (and I hate to say this) you could also use a long screwdriver if necessary. With the pin out, remove the two bolts all the way and maneuver the hinge half out the rest of the way. Note that the top pin faces up and the bottom hinge pin down.

With hinge half on the bench (tailgate) its time to remove the bushings. Keep track of the flanges and sizes, as the pin will only fit one way as it is stepped. There will be some rust that forms between the bushing and hinge that increases the force to dislodge the bushings. Trying to use a screwdriver to pry the flange like others have done resulted in the same problem they had, the flanges break off. So with some 5/16” bolts in the garage, I made my own puller and press.

I used a 3/8 drive socket that was larger then the bushing flange so the flange could be drawn into it. For the end of the bushing without the flange, a washer between the nut and bushing was used. This bolt was a little too long so I put a 3/8 nut up top as a spacer. This setup only allowed me to move the bushing 1/8 inch at most, but that was enough to break the hold the rust had on the bushing. I then used the threaded end of the bolt as a driving punch on the non-flanged end of the bushing and tapped it out. The other bushing was dealt with the same way.

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As you can see from when I was all done the bushings were quite worn. And a picture of the old pins for reference.

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To install the bushings I first cleaned the hinge of any corrosion with a three sided scraper, but even the edge of a flat blade screwdriver would do. With a little oil on the bushings, I used another 5/16” bolt to pull the bushings in. With this type of method, the bushings’ flanges are pressed flat and the bushings are forced in straight rather then hammering on them and getting them crooked.

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With the new bushings installed it is just a matter of getting the hinge half back into place, lightly tightening down the hinge’s door bolts, then tapping in the new pin and installing the new circlip. I was missing one circlip so I just reused one of the original clips.

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With the top hinge installed, the magic marker alignment checked and bolts torqued down it was time to move on to the bottom hinge, which was completed in the same way.

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And here we are with the door in perfect alignment and easy to close.

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Hopefully you will get to yours before the paint starts to get marred. The hinge pin repair took me about 45 minutes to complete.

To fix the rear door paint I probably spent about 2 hours putting on basecoat, coasts of clear to rebuild up to the factory thickness, then block sanding with an eraser and 100,1500, 2000 grit before polishing to get it to look like new. And if someone needs a Dorman kit let me know, I’ll sell the extra.
Last edited by TooManyToys on July 4th, 2012, 11:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Escape Door Hinge Bushings - Sagging door

Postby lilblue - July 3rd, 2012, 11:11 pm

Awesome write-up! :thumb: I haven't replaced pins and bushings since I was a kid working in my father's shop.
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Re: Escape Door Hinge Bushings - Sagging door

Postby Jay2TheRescue - July 4th, 2012, 10:39 am

Over the 20+ years I've owned my Buick, I've done this job several times. (The door on a 1981 Regal weighs about 300 pounds because they essentially put a layer of guardrail inside the door to protect against side impacts.) I usually do this job with two people and a floor jack. I take both hinge pins out and remove the door. I tap the bushings out, press the new bushings in, then line up the hinges and tap the new hinge pins in. This way you still maintain the factory door alignment as you never remove the hinges. Its odd that Ford does not sell a hinge kit, as I have purchased the Dorman kits before, but the kits I bought at my local GM dealer had higher quality bushings. The bushings in the Dorman kit were made of really soft metal, and I think I wore the new bushings out in about a year. I went to my local GM dealer, and they sold me 8 bushings and 2 hinge pins. There was a noticeable difference in the quality, and the rebuild with GM parts lasted 7-8 years before I had to do it again.

I always say I drive my cars till the doors fall off, put them back on, and drive them some more ;)
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Re: Escape Door Hinge Bushings - Sagging door

Postby TooManyToys - July 4th, 2012, 12:33 pm

Like you, I don’t have any problem pulling a door when I’m doing a Shelby restoration or re-skinning a door. But on these types of forums I tend to use the perspective that my granddaughter or son will be doing the work, not very experienced or 110 lbs wet, so I try to present the repairs so they can do it. The risk management part of me worries that they might get in over their head in disconnecting the wiring harness or scratching / denting the bodywork when moving or reinstalling an entire door. Marking the hinges and only removing half of the hinge, especially the door side that has a minimal amount of movement in one plane (when doing one hinge at a time) keeps the weight lifting and complexity down.

Marking the hinges is a technique that works well for both experienced mechanics and DIYs for many years, and the rest of the presented work only requires a few tools. Even the jack for roadside tire changes can be used in this situation to hold the door up. Changing the hinge pins and bushings in this manner is less complex then doing a brake job and only requires one person, so it’s a good forum DIY IMO.

I can’t say how long the Dorman bushings will hold up as I’ve never used them on a Ford Escape but these doors weigh much less then your 300lb example. I guess I’ll see in a few years.
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Re: Escape Door Hinge Bushings - Sagging door

Postby Jay2TheRescue - July 4th, 2012, 1:49 pm

Yeah, I forgot about the wiring harness. My Regal does not have power windows or locks, so all I'm dealing with is just the door & hinges.
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Re: Escape Door Hinge Bushings - Sagging door

Postby Ford204 - December 16th, 2013, 10:48 am

Any chance you can upload the pictures for this post again?
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Re: Escape Door Hinge Bushings - Sagging door

Postby patsfan1704 - December 17th, 2013, 12:37 am

Ford204 wrote:Any chance you can upload the pictures for this post again?

+1

I'd like to second that :peace:

:pics:
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Re: Escape Door Hinge Bushings - Sagging door

Postby tomw - December 17th, 2013, 11:06 am

Yes, it would be nice to see the pics as I had not read this repair post previously.

I watched this process being performed on a Chevy pickup on you-tube. Pretty much followed the same steps. Not sure if the door was completely removed as it was a while ago.
Most times, if the upper hinge pin & bushings are replaced, about 90% of the sag is corrected. If you have an assistant who has strength, have them lift on the door while you observe where the 'slack' is in the hinges.
If the door has the 'hold open' click because the rubber wheel is damaged, you can repair this at the same time.
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