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Thread: Door and Louvre Struts

  1. #1
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    Door and Louvre Struts

    Last evening I installed new louvre struts from DMC and am very pleased with them. The upper ball cups were so rusted that I had to spray with WD40 and carefully work them loose, then sand and lubricate the ball studs before installing the new struts. The operation is very smooth and gradual. The doors however are another story, especially the drivers side. It feels like there is extreme tension and if you let go of the door it flies up so hard it seems it could snap something. I wonder if I should be attempting to reduce tension on the torsion bars, but the amount of rust scale I found up above make me hesitate to mess with anything.IMG_6042.jpg

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    EFI'd dn010's Avatar
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    You can remove the door struts, let the doors hang open with the torsion bar energy and see how much they are open. If my memory is fine, it should be about 2-4". If it is more or less then the bar needs to be adjusted. Adjusting the torsion bars only require you to unbolt two screws each so rust shouldn't be a big issue as far as the roof box is concerned.
    -----Dan B.

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    Did you get the soft lift door struts? I've had both over the past 20+years, soft lift struts are the way to go.
    Andrew
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dn010 View Post
    You can remove the door struts, let the doors hang open with the torsion bar energy and see how much they are open. If my memory is fine, it should be about 2-4". If it is more or less then the bar needs to be adjusted. Adjusting the torsion bars only require you to unbolt two screws each so rust shouldn't be a big issue as far as the roof box is concerned.
    +1

    Measure the door gap between the position of the lower edge of the hanging door to lower edge of closed door. Run the preload test with all the panels/parts on the door (except the lift struts). http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?1682

    You do want to check your door torsion bar preload and adjust them if needed because:
    a. The bars commonly get up-torqued to (mistakenly) fix doors that droop when the struts give up. You may be facing exactly this issue from a PO.
    b. An over-torqued bar is bad thing for the roof box and the bar.
    c. It makes the door harder to close.

    Notes:
    1. Soft lift struts won't address (b) or (c) but will help with door bounce as mentioned elsewhere.
    2. See warnings in the linked thread about NOT adjusting the torsion bar by yourself. Preload test, yes, but not the adjustment.

    I have yet to find a door torsion bar that was set too low. Only correctly or too high. And usually the latter...
    March '81, 5-speed, black interior

  5. #5
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    I did some testing of the torsion bars with the struts disconnected last evening, and the drivers door seems to have too much tension. Here are some pics of the results.
    IMG_6050.jpgIMG_6051.jpgIMG_6052.jpgIMG_6053.jpg

  6. #6
    EFI'd dn010's Avatar
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    Your measurement should come from the bottom of the door to the sill, looks like way too much.
    -----Dan B.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dn010 View Post
    Your measurement should come from the bottom of the door to the sill, looks like way too much.
    I didn't read the post about where to measure from prior to doing this last evening, but I hoped that this would still tell us what is going on. It is sounding like the driver side is definitely going to need adjusted.

  8. #8
    EFI'd dn010's Avatar
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    I don't think you need to re-measure it, you can tell just by the pic that it is adjusted way too much.
    So your options now are A-find someone with a jig to help you adjust the bar or
    B you can adjust it with a large hex wrench and something for leverage but without a jig but you need to remove the louver.
    Either way you look at it you need to remove the T-panel "upper finisher". I suggest marking the end of the bar and retainer with a line of paint or nail polish so you can see how far you're adjusting it down. It is also easier to keep the door strut removed and open the door as far as possible to remove the most torque from the torsion bar as possible, just watch the t-panel so you don't kink it. First I'd shoot for the 4" mark measurement because I've found that sometimes depending on the strut the door doesn't want to spring open as energetically. If you want to go less you can adjust it, try to open the door with the strut attached and readjust if necessary. Good luck.
    -----Dan B.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rich's Avatar
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    Yes, somebody over-torqued the driver door. You may have noticed that door is harder to close than the other one.
    The allen key (hex wrench) and the associated tools are not trivial bits. Be sure to use 1/2in. drive tools, nothing smaller.
    The bar-bracket removal calls for at least 3 hands with or without a jig.

    Recommending you have an experienced person do it for you or with you. In case you want to become experienced then you and your helper should thoroughly read BOTH of the pdf's in this post: LINK: http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?1287
    March '81, 5-speed, black interior

  10. #10
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    Those PDFs are good but don't tell you to remove the strut and open the door as far as possible. It's important because the further you can get the door open, the less torsion energy the bar will have. For a bar as over adjusted as yours there will still be quite a bit left but any relief makes things easier. The only down side is you have to keep reinstalling/removing the strut to test the bar adjustment.

    Because I've never had any help, I've always done these adjustments and removals by myself without a jig using a long handled L shaped hex tool with a jack handle over it however DO take Rich's advice and seek help, it isn't easy and it is possible you can shatter your rear windscreen if you slip regardless of method.
    -----Dan B.

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