: Doors don't close easily...

07-18-07, 12:37 AM
Since i've owned my 78, the driver nor passenger close easily. Both have to be closed with more effort than a newer car would require. I saw an auction on ebay for new door strikers for my 78 Fleetwood. In the description it stated that new strikers with the plastic in the middle will solve the problem of the doors not closing properly. Does anybody know if new strikers will solve the problem and if so...are there generic GM strikers or do I need a set specifically for a 78 Cadillac?

Highway Star
07-18-07, 01:37 PM
Yes, those plastic bushings are necessary. For a quick fix test, wrap several layers of electrical tape around the post (about 1/16th") and then try shutting the door. I used the plastic replacement bushings sold at Advance/Autozone. They were a little snug so I sanded the inside slightly so they move freely on the posts. Use a correct tool for removing/installing the posts.

07-19-07, 08:22 PM
The hinges could also be a bit worn and cause the door to sag.

07-19-07, 09:18 PM
Must keep those plastic rings lubricated with some light grease; if not, they will deteriorate.

I bought a 76 Olds Toronado (18k miles) from an 89 lb lady who could not close the 120 lb door.

Replaced strikers, and I was on my way.

07-19-07, 09:25 PM
Yeah, those are the big two. The pins in the hinges get worn over the years and let the door sag, then it takes more effort to make it close correctly. I need to have mine done.

How do you find the tool to take the striker off? I need to do that too...

07-20-07, 12:56 AM
Thanks for the replies people. I think i'm gonna try the replacement bushings before I buy new strikers. I gotta ask my body guy if I can borrow that tool, or better yet let him do it for me.

Highway Star
07-20-07, 11:04 AM
The tool I used was a T47 Torx socket/bit that fit's a 3/8" ratchet. It's best to get the replacement bushings that fit without having to mod like I did. Maybe some better auto-parts places have more size choices.

The jamb post will need to be aligned correctly when re-installed. Not too high, not too low. This can usually be done just by eyeballing how the latch meets the jamb post by slowly shutting the door (not all the way).

The door should also be flush with the quarter panel when correctly adjusted. It usually takes a bit of experimenting to get it just right. Basically, this thing is just a bolt that has to be in the optimum spot.

If hinges are shot, it's probably best to get those repaired/adjusted first.

07-20-07, 03:06 PM
I used to have the same problem with a 78 Chev Malibu I owned. I'm not sure if your doors latch the same as other GM cars, but this is what I did.
First check to see if the door alignment is good with the other body panels. It is possible the door has started to sag. If they are noticeably crooked, a bodyshop can usually straighten the door seems by adjusting the door and it probably isn't a big deal for them.
It's trickier than it looks for the average joe and the door alignment could really be monkeyed up if not done correctly. There are shims involved and everything must be marked before anything is moved. Best left for the pros.
If the door looks pretty straight in the opening, it may have sagged a little, or the jam post might have worn and need a slight adjustment. Probably smart to first mark the original position of the post with a scribe or permanant marker too so you have a reference point. The torx bit is the right way to go to loosen the post, but in a pinch you can use a vise-grips on the outside edge of it and CAREFULLY unscrew it just a very little bit -- only until you feel it is not so tight. While it is still snug you can rap it gently a few times with a small hammer (cushion it with a block of wood if you want). It doesn't have to be moved much at all, maybe an eighth of an inch to make a big difference.
Keep the post, hinges and bushing lubed.
I guess start with the easiest things first.