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chucksrt 11-25-2011 05:36 PM

Express van side doors pop interior panels off when closed?
I have a 96 chevy express 1500 Hi top conversion van. I notice that the interior panels pop off of the doors when they are closed, the hooks that latch it into the door are all secure and the hooks that have been damaged but have been repaired with an epoxy. The doors seem to be straight. If I open the doors and push in on them there is a very slight amount of movement. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? I am wanting to dynamat all of the doors and interior panels to quiet it down from road noise and to add a stereo to it. I just would like to stay away from adding screws to help secure the panels!

poncho62 11-25-2011 05:51 PM

moving this to interior forum

chucksrt 11-25-2011 06:41 PM

I didn't know where to put it. I thought the issue may be related to hinges but wasn't sure if the panels were the issue themselves.

MARTINSR 11-26-2011 06:24 AM

You mention hinges because it sounds like you know more about the condition of the doors than you originally posted. It sounds like the door has been sprung or something to distort the hinges or mounts so the door isn't closing in it's "hole" properly and hitting something like the jamb or the other door pushing the trim panel off. I know that the clips that hold those panels if they are the ones I am thinking of are pretty tricky. Are they the big metal ones that are riveted to the trim panel?


chucksrt 11-26-2011 06:42 AM

These panels have hooks on the lower half (looks like an upside down L) and it latches into a bunch of holes in the door (square holes), and on the top there are plastic nubs that stick out of the panel that connect to metal clips around the window glass moulding. I mentioned the hinges because there is a very slight amount of movement if you push on the door (against the hinge). It seems that when the door is closed that it may be hitting the step at the bottom of the door and popping the panel off. But the doors look to be true?

MARTINSR 11-26-2011 11:34 AM

As you close the doors get down to a body line height so you can look straight on it. Gently let the door hit without pushing it shut and then while gently pushing look at the body line to see if the door is moving up or down as you force it into place shut. It is very often that the door is misaligned and the striker pulls it into place. So you can shut the doors and they look aligned, well yes, because they have been forced to be so. But the door should swing on it's own right into the striker and the latch latch without any movement up or down of the door.

How about on the step, has the rocker been hit from the underside pushing up the rocker a little? You may not have noticed that and it only takes a little sometimes. How about in the threshold of the door, is the trim on the bottom original? Has some accessory step or trim been installed that may be thicker and pushing up on the door trim? Or is that trim out of place, has it been pushed around and the clips aren't going into the holes properly or something like that?


MARTINSR 11-26-2011 11:35 AM

I am thinking that it is the door it's self that is out of alignment, post some photos of the hinges and doors.


MARTINSR 11-26-2011 11:37 AM

I never clarified what doors are they? As I remember the only ones with those L shaped hooks on the panel that go down in thru holes on the door are the front doors. But what doors are we talking about?


chucksrt 11-26-2011 12:54 PM

These are the pass side, side doors (for access to the second row seats). I will try to get some pics of the doors before I run out of light. The door seems to be forced upward when you push it closed. I am going to recheck it now! Thanks!!

MARTINSR 11-26-2011 01:03 PM

Those side doors are easily "sprung" (opened too far) just because of their design. The hinges stop them from opening all the way and seldom have some sort of "check strap" to limit travel so they get swung open and wham, the door is stopped by the hinge and the hinge gets bent a little. Do that 1151 times and the door is out of alignment. :)


chucksrt 11-26-2011 01:19 PM

chucksrt 11-26-2011 01:21 PM

Is there a fix for a sprung hinge? It looks to be welded to the door and the body, is there a tool that can bend them back?

MARTINSR 11-26-2011 01:58 PM

It's kinda hard to tell because you need to walk around and look at the other doors to see that none of them fit real well on those vans. But looking just at your photos it looks like the rear side door gap is tighter at the bottom to the quarter. That being said it looks "sprung".

You also want to look at where the latch his the striker and be sure that it will still work if you raise the door up a little. Often, it is all about doing subtle "massaging" of these parts (gentle hits with a large hammer :D ) to get it all to work well.

Here is a "Basics of Basics" (click here) to repairing a sprung door that is used by bodymen and auto manufacturers every day. And yes I mean auto manufacturers on the assembly line! I had been doing this stuff for many years, body repair that is. And bending hinges or mounting points, bending door strikers with a smack with a hammer, that sort of thing to fine tune a fit, or to make something fit where you had no adjustments. Many manufacturers have strikers for instance with no slotted holes, they just bolt on solid so you often have to bend them a little bit to make the door fit well. I honestly thought I was doing something "out of the box" and a little hacky when I did this. But you do what you got to do sometimes. I forgot that notion the first time I went thru the NUMMI plant near by where they were building Toyotas at the time. Right there at the end of the line, the last thing on the cars assembly were guys with hammers and chisel like tools whacking on the strikers and sticking a tool in the hinge bending them just as I describe in the "Basics". LOLOL They used a long handled rubber mallet looking tool for the hinge alignment. They used a long handled "Chisel" like tool being hit by a pretty large (4lb) sledge hammer to "fine tune" the door strikers!

So this is a normal form of repair you may do here. Just don't go too far, that's the cool thing. Bend it a little, check if, bend it a little, check it. If you go too far, just open the door and push too far "springing" it again. :D


MARTINSR 11-26-2011 01:58 PM


Originally Posted by chucksrt
Is there a fix for a sprung hinge? It looks to be welded to the door and the body, is there a tool that can bend them back?

And yes they are welded on. Brian

MARTINSR 11-26-2011 02:01 PM

We are talking about doing the bottom hinge here, you need that brought forward to bring up the bottom of the door.


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