Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Body -> Doors
Question from Greg:
I want to put a pair of NOS guards that I have on my doors. I wonder if using some kind of lubricant like Vaseline or lithium grease when installing the guards might keep the paint from being scraped? Any suggestions?
The stainless steel door edge guards that many used for factory equipment have their plusses, but they can also tend to scrape the paint when they are installed. The scrapes will be hidden under the guards, but it's still bare metal without the protection of the paint. This makes having guards that are not or have not been bent in directions they were not originally configured in very important. Even so, it's very probable that some paint will be scraped on the inner lip of the door skin as they must fit tight to stay put. If the build thickness on the primer/paint finish now on the vehicle is much more than what it might have been originally, the possibility that paint will be scraped definitely increases.
In some respects, they are good to have. In other respects, they can cause more problems than they are worth. Much easier to use some touch up paint on the door edges as needed.
It's admirable to reinstall them as they might have been or were factory original on the vehicle, but if it ever gets down to "Why not", just reply that you chose not to reinstall them. After all, it's a relatively easy thing to do for someone so motivated--just get out the rubber mallet, line things up carefully, and lightly pound/tap away.
Try dish soap or household stick wax.
Dish soap can be rinsed out when they gaurds are 90% installed.
The door edge guards should come with their retaining clips as well. These are a U shaped clip that goes on the door edge first, then the guard should snap over them. I got some nos guards a few months back for my '60 & still haven't fitted them.
Question from Dennis (1953):
The wind slammed the front door shut on my 1953 Imperial. Now when I pull the door handle it only opens about a 1/2 inch and that's it. The inside handle does the same. This seems quite a predicament as I cannot get to any part of the door to repair it. Anybody ever experience this problem and what is the solution?
Have a helper push the door completely closed while you're inside the car pulling the door handle to its fully opened position. Then try pushing the door open. Sounds like the secondary catch is sticking...
Had a similar problem with a friend's '66. Shot a lot of WD40 at the striker plate. Later, we pulled simultaneously on the inside and outside handles and gave the door a swift kick from the inside. Popped open.
Jack the car up at the side of the car under the door handle, that is jammed. The car should flex so that you will be able to open the door. Both wheels must come off the ground on that side.
The jack is under the chassis. This has worked for me many times.
Question from (1956):
I haven't been able to open the door on my '56 for many years and can't figure out why. Any suggestions?
Reply from Steve:
While flexing the door, put a 2 inch flat bar between the door and jam from the inside, door will pop open.
Question from Tim (1956):
I got the '56 2-door home today. I hope someone can help me get the driver's door open. It was missing the striker plate so I put one on not knowing the rest of the internals are missing on the door lock assembly. Well I can't get it open. The button you push in on the outside is not hooked up to anything. I guess the door latch is messed up. Any ideas how to get her opened back up?
I have the door pannel off, I just don't know what to do from there. What thing to pry or hit or anything. Something is deffinetly missing in there.
This happened on our DeSoto a while back the innards came loose from the button on the handle. We got the door open again by removing the door panel from the inside...not fun, and you have to be very careful to ruin the door panel or the clips that hold it on. It is a crude method. LOL... maybe someone out there has a better idea.
There are special tools available to remove door panels. Using the correct tool will prevent damage to the clips and the panel. This is particularly true on panels that are very old and brittle. I recently paid $11.00 for this tool. That is a small price to pay for all the damage and frustration that it can save.
Since you have the door panel off, look for the rod that runs from the door handle to the latch end of the door. If the rod is gone, then take a small inspection mirrror and look at the latch area of the door. You should see a lever you can pull, and that will release the star wheel of the latch.
Question from Rex (1959):
The rear door on my '59 Imperial will not open, and when I pull the door handle it feels as if something must be broken inside as there is no tension against the handle like on the other doors when I pull it out. Does anyone know if this is something that I can repair at the same time I remove the door panel or will I have to have parts to do the repair? I would not like to remove the door panel but once, so if anyone can email me and explain what's going on inside my door and what I need to do, I would appreciate it.
There should be a connecting rod between the handle & the mechanism. These often come loose from one end or the other & is most likely still inside the door. I've had the stuck door problem a number of times on '60- '63 Imperials & have found trying to open from inside usually works best. Try to spray WD-40 or a like product down into the door trying to coat the mechanism as mush as possible. After it works in for a while, move the inside handle back & forth & lean with your shoulder against the door somewhat forcefully. It should come open with a few trys.
I've been told by several '57-'59 owners that the pull-out door handles (also used on Chryslers and DeSotos) are prone to breaking. Sometimes they are fixable, but most often you'll have to get an entire assembly off a parts car. Pull yours out, and see if something came loose or whether it's simply broken.
Question from Kenyon (1960):
I am hurrying to remove my 1960 rear doors. The 1963 demo derby guy is letting me swap my rusty doors for his perfect ones (!!!). I need to have them out by AM Thursday and already have them stripped and ready to pull off. The fronts are already done.
Once I get all the bolts and such off and tug on the door, the slider bar that limits the door from opening wider than it should remains. This is on a pivot that is secured with a rivet and goes through the door frame on the B pillar and passes through a piece that is bolted into the interior of the door. There is a bumpstop on the end that does not appear removable.
Unbolting everything does not work. The FSM does not address door removal, just adjustment.
It appears that the round rubber bumpstop has to come off, but there is no apparent way to do so, and I'm suspecting that the rivet was the last part inserted. It would be cleanest to remove just that, and easiest to assemble if that were the only thing to press into place and then clamp down when this was assembled.
Is there a way to do this without going after the rivet?
We had a heck of a time with the doors on my '57 and my brother's '58 and swapping with the doors off the '59 burned up parts car. Anyway we found the rear doors off a '59 4-dr LOOK identical to the '57 or '58 (all 4-dr HT FYI) but they have a different internal contour and WILL NOT WORK which was not evident until we had the '59 door mounted on the '57 and went to shut it. YIKES! The only reason I mention this is if you current doors are soon to be smashed into oblivion, it would be best to find out if they don't work before they are destroyed. And they may be the same as I have never swapped '60-'63 doors, I just wanted to relate that story as it came as quite a shock to me when we suddenly had to find another door and they looked identical! Now about the slider bar that limits door mobility. We fought and fought with that and ended up drilling out the rivet.
May I share a similar experience with a '64 and '65 Imperial? I had a '64 LeBaron with a bad interior so I bought a wrecked '65 Crown four door with a good one, intending to swap door panels and seats. I too was surprised to find that the '64 and '65 four-door door panels are different, significantly so! Dear Chrysler moved the mounting of the door-pull/interior light fixture about a half an inch between the two years so that the '65 panels would not fit the '64.
I believe the '63 doors will fit the '60. However, the glass DOES NOT. The side glass is the same from '60-'62. The '63 is one year only. I believe you can swap the glass & all the runs to make it work.
Question from Nick (1961):
I recently purchased a '61 Imperial LeBaron and am trying to align the driver's door. It is sagging and doesn't shut completely. I've tried adjusting it as described in the shop manual and no luck yet. The rubber all around the door is good. There is some play in both lower and upper hinges. Are these hinges shot? Anyone have any tips?
Your hinges are probably wore, you may want to look into getting them rebuilt or finding some replacements. If anyone has some good recommendations on a hinge rebuilder, it would be much appreciated! I've seen some listed in Hemmings and Mopar Collector's Guide, but haven't done business with any of them, so can't make any kind of a recommendation. The old hillbilly trick of raising the door involves putting a washer or two between the hinge and the door on the bottom hinge. This will usually raise the end of the door about 3 times the thickness of the washer, but this is just an estimate. Just support the door very well, and soak the bolts good with solvent before removal. If the bolts seem stubborn, you may be advised to remove the interior panel and soak the threaded part inside the door with solvent as well. Hit the bolts sharply with a hammer to shock them loose, but be careful not to mar the paint on or around the bolts. Hopefully they'll come loose without too much difficulty.
They sell a hinge repair kit at most auto stores like AutoZone. It consists of new Hinge Pins and bushings of different sizes that replace the worn out parts on you old hinge. The doors were so heavy, and the hinges seldom got the lubrication they needed to keep the friction down, that they just wear out! Try your passenger door and you will see that it is probably as tight as a new car, because it didn't get the use your driver do did. I have used the process on both American and Foreign cars, and they seem to be all the same sizes that the kit fixes. Just remember that the door is HEAVY, and I always use a floor jack and block of wood to protect the bottom of the door, not just from scratches, but from bending it. Have someone help you for safety purposes.
If there is any play in the up-and down movement (grab the open door opposite the hinges and lift it up and down) you need to carefully determine if its the hinges or the hinge mount to the frame.
If its the hinges It could be an easy fix to replace the rod on your own. If its the mounts then it might be easier to bring it to a body shop and have them re-mounted (or do it your self its not too hard, just need know how). More likely its the hinges.
Those doors shouldn't have any play in them what so ever.
Question from Loyal (1966):
I seem to be having a door latch problem on the driver side door of my 66 Crown Coupe. Sometimes it doesn't want to latch & other times it doesn't want to release. Has anyone else had problems with this wheel style latch system? Are the parts interchangeable with other Chryslers?
I also wanted to thank everyone for helping with my Idler arm question. My mechanic had found a source for the bushings & is going to replace them.
Reply from John:
Most likely, the mechanism needs a good cleaning & to be relubed. This is a very common problem. You may get lucky squirting some WD-40 or similar product down into the door. Lower the glass & give the whole assembly a good soaking. The best thing though would be to remove it & soak all the crud out of it.
Question from Teddy (1966):
Will a door from a 1965 4-door Crown fit my '66 convertible? I guess a door from a '64-'65 convertible also will fit, any other door I could use?
Only doors from a 2-door coupe or convertible from 1964-1966 will fit.
Even then, the mounting form door panels/inner door hardware can be differently positioned.
Find a retired body man to have a look at your door and see if it can be fixed. Unlike Chebby's or Plymouths, the doors off of a 66' Imperial two door or convertible are a lot harder to come by, especially in Europe, and should be repaired whenever possible. Of course if it's too far gone one of the junkyards in the states might have one but that should only be used as a last resort, the freight will kill you. Another idea, if you have a junker fdht., would be to lengthen one of the front doors off of those by borrowing some material from the rear door and splicing it in. Alternately the exterior of the fdht. door panels could be used to replace the crumpled one on the convertible. However there might be enough of a difference between a tdht. door and a fdht. door that it may not work.
Question from Jeff (1966):
I have been communicating with an Imperial owner who is trying to open the back door of his Imperial that has not been opened in many years. Any suggestions to offer him?
Pull out the rear seat and pull out the door panel. Pull the release bar manually and push HARD.. it is easier with 2 people.
Try opening from inside the car as the rod to the outside handle may be disconnected. Make sure the lock button is pulled up & while pulling back on the handle, lean very hard into the door & it should open.
Door mechanism usually seizes from lack of operation and buildup of foreign matter. This trick has always worked for me: Lay down on rear seat. Using one foot to hold door handle in the open position, use the other foot to rap/hit firmly on the door closest to door latch area. Repeat using more force til door pops open. Usually done shoeless as not do mar door panel.
Take inner panel off and spray WD 40 or something better into the lock mechanism, let sit a while and repeat a few times. release from inside and push.
I had this exact issue with my 76 NYB when I got it last summer. Your friend's Imperial may not be suffering from the same thing that my NYB was but here is what happened to me.
The outside door handle felt like it was either disconnected from the latch mechanism or the door was locked. I could tell the door lock plunger was not coming up all the way and I could hear no "clunk" when I moved it so I assumed the lock was stuck shut. I was right. After sitting in the damp west coast climate for a long while, the latch/lock mechanism was rusted so that it would not move. What I knew I had to do was to get inside the door to lube it and work it free. To get inside the door, I had to take the upper door panel off. To get the door panel off, I had to open the door. You can see my dilemma. I removed the six rather large bolts that hold the rear door onto the car. Removing the hinge bolts allowed the door to slump away from the car enough that I could get the upper door panel off to effect the repair. I recall a near-miss at one point. I got the door panel off and I stuck my hand in the door to unlatch it. Just then a little voice said, "If you unlatch the door now, what will be holding it to the car, besides the power window wires?" I then wend back out of the car and placed at least a couple bolts back in the hinge. I didn't tighten them up but rather threaded them in just enough that they would hold the door. I then set to work on the latch. It took some doing but I got the thing open. I then removed the latch mechanism and took it to the bench for clean up and re-lube. After reinstallation and realignment of the door, it works perfectly.
Question from Clay (1967):
Are '67and '68 Crown coupe doors interchangeable?
The molding holes are in a different location. The interior trim panels are brass on the 68 and wood veneer on the 67.
I'm pretty sure they would, but the location of the exterior trim is different. In '67, there is a long slender body molding or "spear" that runs the length of the car in the center of a little trough, for lack of a better word, that also runs the length of the body. On the '68 there are two pieces of trim that are mounted on the highest edges, or the "lips" of the same trough. So, depending on which way you were going (67 to 68, or vice versa), you would have to fill in some holes.
Also, the door handle trim is a little different. On the '67 it's simulated wood on the grip, in '68 it's brushed aluminum (or stainless?). That's pretty minor. As for the inside, there are some minor differences in the door panels but I'm %99 sure the doors would interchange otherwise.
They are interchangeable, and the differences that have been pointed out are correct except there will not be holes to fill. There will be studs to remove. On the 68 the chrome trim is held in place by painful plastic clips that are mounted on studs welded to the door skin. They would be a pain to remove, but it can be done. If you did that you would then need to relocate the clips with sheet-metal screws. I have saved a few doors for the 67 and 68 imperials over the years because they fit the coupes and convertibles, both rare cars.
Question from Demetrios (1968):
My sedan's lower hinge seems to be giving up. The passenger front door needs to be raised to close properly. The problem seems to be a small sleeve on the shaft of the lower hinge. Are these hinges repairable (doubt it, I can't see how one can remove the shaft), or should I just replace. Anybody can sell me one of those? Now, the tough part. Say I get a replacement and attempt to replace it. Do I need to remove the door? The access to the screws that hold the hinge to the door is sort of limited, but with a wiggle joint and a real short 9/16", there is a chance. Anybody has experience on that? Or should I let a professional body guy handle it?
You're right, access is very poor, but you can do it. I have removed all the doors (and EVERYTHING else!) from the body of my '67 Crown 4-Dr in preparation for a complete redo of the body. Since you only need to remove one hinge, your job will be easier. Just support the door's weight with a bottle jack and a block of wood ( to avoid marring the paint on the bottom of the door.) You will see that there is a sheet metal hinge cover plate that has to come off too.
It seems to me we have a vendor who is rebuilding those door hinges - check the IML archives. Seems to me this was Lowell Howe, but it might have been Dr. Bullock. Fortunately, mine being a 35,000 car, the hinges are perfect.
There's a company called ACME products in Arlington WA that sells hinges. They specialize in MoPar products so they may have them for Imps. They feature a grease zerk on the top of the hinge pin to make greasing simple. I saw they're ad in a mopar magazine. Don't know much more about the company, but I sure like the idea of a grease zerk in the pin. The contact info is All Chrysler Muscle Equipment, 3405 172nd St.NE #5, PMB216, Arlington, WA 98223-4735 Phone # (360)652-0134 www.superbirdbob.com
This page last updated November 12, 2004. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club