Do your door hinges on you Mustang need to be replaced or rebuilt, maybe your door needs to be removed and replaced? If either of these scenarios is playing out for you then you will have to realign the door to the car at some point. This short article and video will demonstrate the basic principles of Classic Mustang Door Alignment.The door that I am aligning is a new reproduction door From Dynacorn, so far it’s a nice piece and I am very pleased. The procedures that I am using to install and align the door on my 1967 Mustang coupe should apply for the 65, 66 and 68 model as well.
Have your fender removed from the car; if you don’t remove the fender you will wish you had after several hours of frustration. Also get yourself a helper, it will make things progress quickly and successfully; I went at it alone. A door hinge wrench is also a welcome addition.
Preparing the door
Install the door hinges on the door and make sure that the lower hinge is in the closed position; this will give you a straight shot at it on installation.
Install the door latch; having the door latch installed will help with aligning the door, especially if you’ve taken on the job alone and then install the door lamb sticker plate.
Prepare the door jambs and gap gauges
Before I mount the door to the Mustang I prep the rear door jambs and rocker panel with my panel gap gauge made out of pop-sickle sticks (you can use paint sticks), this will set the initial gap as well as help protect the jambs and rocker from an impact with the door edges.
Mounting and Aligning the Door
Once the door is mounted and the striker plate is adjusted so the rear of the door is aligned pretty well I move to fine tuning the door alignment.
Door Hinges 101
- Each door hinge has a body side hinge and a door side hinge; each of the sides plays a role in aligning the Mustangs door.
- The body side of the hinges allow adjustments to be made up, down and front to back
- The door side if the hinge allows adjustments to be made up, down, inboard and outboard.
- Each adjustment should be made to one hinge side at a time, tighten the bolts and then move to the next adjustment.
Problem and Solution
P: The gap between the top rear of the door and the quarter panel is to close, you need to widen the gap.
S: Make the adjustment at the top body side hinge, nudge it forward until you achieve the appropriate gap.
P: The bottom rear of the door is sticking out and is not flush with the body.
S: Make the adjustment at the top door side hinge, pull the top front of the door outward and you will see the lower rear of the door drift inward.
- Top rear in or out = lower door side hinge
- Bottom rear in or out = upper door side hinge
- Setting gap and angle = body side hinges, up down, forward or back
I hope this article has taken some of the mystery out of installing and aligning the door on your Mustang; if you have questions or some tips or experience you would like to share please leave your comments.
3 thoughts on “How to Install and Align a Classic Mustang Door”
Good simple clear instructions.
Thanks for the info.
I’ll definitely give this a try.
TonyS. — December 16, 2009 5:54 AM
Do you have a trick to keeping the backing plate (piece of steel with threaded holes the hinges mount to inside the kick panel) lined up and against the body? I was thinking maybe a magnet? Without having someone holding them inside it would seem they will just fall away when the first bolt is attempted to be placed.
SteveT — April 18, 2010 2:35 PM
a large magnet would work to hold the backing plate; I used a wide piece of masking tape or duct tape. It can be a bit nerve racking especially if the plate falls out of place.
JoeResto — April 19, 2010 8:18 AM
Thanks so much for the “popsicle” tip that’s really going to help out with my 73 mach 1.
Jim Wood — September 19, 2010 7:48 PM
We rebuilt the hinges on our ’66 Mustang and have trouble getting them properly aligned. Your pictures and description helped. Ours is a two door and we found that it’s not too hard to remove the knee panel from the inside by removing the chrome threshold first. That gives access to the body side of the bottom hinge. Although we tried to mark the passenger door plate before we removed it, it is still very tricky. Giving us the method to first correct one misalignment and then move on to the other is very helpful. Also, it is helpful for you to point out that the adjustments for the door side and upper and lower hinges correct different problems.
Jim Hannley — April 14, 2011 3:06 PM
Hi, got the fender off my ’67. Need to move the door forward. There seems to be no way to adjust the pillar hinges, forward or back, or up and down. Just a bolt hole, hinge hole, and a bolt. The hinge hole has only about a 1/16″ extra space. THX
steven manis — November 8, 2011 7:47 AM
Most likely the door hinge pillar backing plates are stuck to the pillar on the inside of the car, if you knock those loose you should have more room to align the door.
JoeResto — November 8, 2011 8:26 AM
Never even thought to look there! THANKS
steven — November 8, 2011 9:07 AM
Not to contradict this article, but I always found it easier to mount the hinges to the car first. That way you can hold the backing plate with one hand and insert the bolts with the other. The hinges are much easier to mount to the door since you don’t have to worry about the plate in the door moving much.
Brett — June 5, 2012 5:09 AM
During the course of my 4 year restoration of my 64 1/2 Mustang I have had to remove the fenders more than once to try to align doors. Now that the car has a pristine paint job on it I don’t want to take any more chances so I searched for a solution and found it. You can purchase S-shaped ratchet wrenches on E-bay in SAE sizes for as little as $15 for a pair plus shipping. I did this and tried them out and was amazed that I had absolutely no trouble at all reaching all the bolts on the door hinges. No more fender removal for me. Hope this helps. Thanks for all the great articles as they are invaluable and have helped me immensely during my restoration. Wish I could send you a picture.
Ken — February 20, 2014 8:16 AM
I had a similar problem with my 67 convertible but found that by marking around the hinges with a pencil first i could then make the small adjustments by firstly removing the door then adjusting the hinges and putting the door back on i did this three times to get it 95% correct with two people but it saved having to remove the fender and all the other bits it took about two hours and i always had a reference point with the pencil marks.
jimmy — March 6, 2014 9:26 PM
Need to find where to purchase door alignment wrench, name and manufacture
Have you thought about doing a fender alignment video ? Best ways to tweek the fender to fit better at the cowl ?