Hot Rod Forum banner

'54 Chevy Pickup - Adjusting the Doors

13981 Views 26 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  horvath
I'm a "beginner" when it comes to doors ... can anyone give me some pointers on making my doors open and close nicely?

The hinges seem solid ... but I have to slam the doors to get 'em to close and, naturally, I don't like that.

What tips have you got for adjusting the latches, etc. ... or is there a good book you can refer me too?


Alan Horvath
<a href="" target="_blank"></a>
Acoustic Rock ... for real.

[ February 15, 2003: Message edited by: horvath ]</p>
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Adjusting doors is pretty straight forward and simple, just a real pain in the tukus if you are at it alone. To adjust the doors all you would need to do is losen the bolts for the hinges and play with it until the door closes the way you like. Use a hydraulic jack and a 2x4 under the door to keep it from going hell bent for leather. This will aid in the one person adjustments. It could be the door alighnment that is causing the need to slam the doors or just the age of the door latches. Try adjusting the doors first by seeing how the door latch hits the pin, then move the door to see if you can get a better striking line-up. If that doesn't work, you may need to swap for some bear claw latches that are newer safer and pretty easy to install, but door alighnment should do the trick.

No problem, happy to help with all your auto body enigmas.

Tell me about the 54, i am in the process of building a pro street 54 at this time.
Happy to!!!

I just got it only 3 weeks ago, and I honestly can't wait to get up every day, because of it. It's a wonderful truck ... I bought it for $8,750 ... out of Humble, Texas ... had it transported up to New Jersey for $900 ... gave it to my mechanic and had the gas tank repaired (it's mounts broke during transport), hooked up the heater (and it worked!), and had to replace the 2 front Cragars (they were bent), and 2 new front tires ... I spent about $1000 tweaking it up ... my mechanic and his partner wanted to buy it from me! They said "everything on this truck was done right" - that made me really happy. I think I got an amzing deal for the price. The frame is true and VERY clean, too. And no rust anywhere.

It came with a 12-bolt Chevelle rear (mid-70s) ... 350 Turbo tranny - mid-70s (which had a warped pan, so I replaced it with an aluminum racing pan) and the 350 Small Block (mid-70s) all have about 19,000 miles on 'em ... plus :
Edelbrock Intake Manifold
Quadrajet Carb with electric choke & pull-off
Block Hugger Headers / dual exhaust
HEI Distributor
Mild Hyd Cam
Gear Drive ...

The rear wheels are 15" ... fronts are 14" ... and the front end is a Fat Man Mustang II with tubular A-arms (upper & lower) ... 11" brake rotors & calipers from an '82 Monte Carlo ... manual rack ... and a '75 Caddy tilt/tele steering column.

Also - I love this - the gas tank (30 gals!) was moved to where the spare tire is usually stored and they did a real nice job of putting the fill spout and door in the rear fender.

The interior is pretty nice - all button-tufted, but old and tired looking. However, I love doing interiors, so I'll be having fun with that once the warmer weather starts up - and you can bet I'll be posting pictures here, every step of the way. The best part, is the interior has panels throughout! I mean, the roof, top/back left & right corners, behind the seat -- no metal areas at all, so it'll be pretty easy for me to re-do it all.

There are NO interior lights, and the wiring is pretty poor -- the headlights and taillights were rewired, but everything else under the dash is totally bad news, plus the fuse box is dead on one whole side. So my 1st project this Spring is to get an EZ-Wire kit and completely rewire the truck.

I also am gonna put a vibration dampener on the steering column -- too much road vibration getting transferred. I'll be doing that in a week or so.

Also, the doors need new weather stripping and seals and adjustments ... they aren't too bad, but they can be way better.

Oh, yeah ... the vacume wipers were a REAL joke! So I put an electric conversion kit in and the wipers work great now - plus I have 2 speeds, too!

I decided to buy this instead of a new car (I hate new cars) ... so this is my "daily driver" and what a blast it is to drive around -- everyone is WAY more courteous to me on the road ... I constantly get compliments and thumbs-up from other drivers and all the kids in the neighborhood wave and shout "YES!!" when I drive by. LOL! It's so cool!

Phew! Well, you asked, bro' ... and there it is (I think).

Now ... tell me about YOURS!


[ February 16, 2003: Message edited by: horvath ]

[ February 16, 2003: Message edited by: horvath ]</p>
See less See more
Man what a buy,I expect to have 20 in mine and do everthing myself except paint and interior.
Yeah ... I've got $12,000 in it now, and figure it'll be $15,000 by the time I finish the interior and all the other little things that come up.

Most people spend $20,000 - $30,000 on a new car ... and have terrible monthly payments - especially when you add the cost of insurance!

Speaking of insurance ... I insured my truck @ $15,000 and got $100,000 liability and comp AND collision for $240 per year ... with unlimited mileage!!!

If you're looking to insure your hot rod, check out
<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

I went to car show in Dallas yesterday and there was only one 54 in the show.
Yeah ... I've been noticing the '54s seem to be more scarce than 50-53. Also, I think ALL these antiques are becoming a lot more scarce than they use to be ... time is having it's effect, I guess.

I'm glad I got the truck I got because it's also becoming obvious that it's popular enough to get absolutely anything for it - like Dolphin Gauges supplying '54 Chevy mounts for their stuff.

So YOU have a '54 too! Any pics yet?

[ February 16, 2003: Message edited by: horvath ]</p>
Alan - also check out the latches and striker plates for excessive wear. This might be the cause of your having to slam the door to get it to close, it was a problem on my '52. I wound up just upgrading to a pair of bear claw latches, I almost fell out of the truck one day around a corner.. :)
Thanks, man. I'll definitely give a good exam after this snow goes away - we got 2 feet last night!

LOL! The same happened to me! I didn't "almost fall out" ... but I guess I didn't slam the door hard enough when I got in and as I made a left, the door swung open. Freaky experience!
I will soon start posting pictures of progress in work. I hope to be done in 14mo. I think i may have to practice on my painting,some of these guys are realy proud of some second class work. Loy
Have fun, Loy! I'm looking forward to watching your progress.

hi,i'm really interested in seeing the progress on both of your trucks i've been working on mine now for 4 years i'm always running into some sort of thing i can't remeber how it's supposed to be or how it fits. maybe i could call on you guys for help. thanks
oh yah
i forgot, if you remove the catch on the door piller and then check the door for alighnment you will be able to tell if the door needs adjustment or if it is the latch that's giving you problems.
if the door needs no adjustment that is ,it's not sagging or hitting and fits nice then fix the latches the bear claw latches are excellant i have them in my truck
Thanks OneOff ... that's a good one.

I'm new at this ... just got my '54 ... but I'm learning a whole lot, and am more than happy to share it all! I think it's a real BLAST to talk to others who have the same interests and ESPECIALLY those who have the same truck.

Mine has air conditioning, and the unit looks old but works well ... so tonight I took the face off of it and got some CHROME paint from WalMart's ... tomorrow I'll run the paint can under real hot water for a while and re-spray these plastic-chrome pieces ... and voila! My Air will look as good as it feels!

horvath; Your truck already has good bear-claw latches so as HK says, it is just a matter of loosening bolts and adjusting by eye/ear 'til things work right. In addition too hinge adjustments, you can also adjust the striker plate in the door jamb by loosening the 4 hold down screws. Sounds like you need to adjust your striker plate out a little so it latches with a little less force. Also, they make little spring clips that clip over the latch dog in the door mechanism that takes up the slack that develops over time in these latches. Jim Carter, Chevs of the 40s, etc. all carry these clips. I have a set on my truck and they really improve the door function.
Very cool info!

THANKS, Willys36 ... I'll definitely try those spring clips.

But as far as adjusting the hinges, etc., can I manage it by myself? Or wait till I have someone with me, to help? I hear it's kinda difficult to do as a one-man operation.


[ February 24, 2003: Message edited by: horvath ]</p>
Good string of messages. I also just purchased an old truck, 55 1st series. Very similar to the 54 except for a couple changes to the hood and driveshaft. Going through all the mechanical items to make this a daily driver then work on the cosmetic items. Its in pretty good shape with minor rust and parts that don't work. The one thing I can't find is a chrome grill. The one I have is painted but would like to replace it.
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.