Installing New Driver’s Side Hinges
(1995 Thunderbird LX)
Submitted by Greg Marshall
Calgary, Alberta Canada
It is possible to remove both upper and lower hinges from the driver’s side door without taking apart the dash. The removal of the parking brake foot assembly is definitely required. This has to be done so that you take out the inner black plastic/foam skirting that is secured behind the brake assembly.
Prior to this other panels need to removed; they are the lower steering column cover and the side cowling.
To remove the parking brake you need to create slack in the cable so that you can pull the end of the cable off the pulley arm. You can do this by two ways, either by releasing the tensioner near the rear axle under the car, or you can lightly clamp the front intermediate cable connector (located under the driver’s footboard area) to the underskirting of the car. To clamp the intermediate connector compress the parking brake fully, then C-clamp the connector to metal of the underskirting of the body. You don’t have to clamp it very hard and you might want to use a small rag to protect the paint.
Once secure you can release the brake and you should have plenty of slack to pull off the cable from the foot assembly. Use a 13mm or 1/2″ box end wrench to compress the prongs of the retaining clip so you can pull the rubber cable away from the foot brake. Remove the wiring harness that’s bolted to foot brake and the parking brake switch connector.
Once the foot brake is out you can pull the plastic skirting out by removing the upper tab near the firewall. For the access to the lower hinge nut you need to unbolt a switch box so that you can reach it with a socket extension (it comes off with two bolt screws.) You should now be able to access the upper and lower nuts with 12″ socket extension on 13mm socket.
There is no need to remove the door panel since the wiring does not readily disconnect to fully remove the door. There should be enough slack in the wiring inside the door to rest the door of some sandbags. You’ll need another person at this stage. Remove inner upper and lower hinge nuts. Remove the door side bolts first, then frame side. Bolt new hinges to the frame, first taking note of where you marked the placement of the old frame-side hinges. Bolt hinges to the door.
If the alignment is out. You’ll need a 3/8″ universal drive to adjust your frame side hinges from the outside when the door is fully open . Use a floor jack and a section of 2×4 wood to keep the door in position when installing and for adjusting the door (position the jack towards the end of the length of the door). Adjusting the door so that it fits right is perhaps the trickiest part, and requires some skill and a bit of luck to dial-in the door so it closes properly. Do not adjust striker pin as a way to compensate a misaligned door. It may however need replacing if badly worn.
Reassemble in reverse order.