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Fixing a difficult-to-close door


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A few years back, I decided I had to do something about the way the driver's door on my '72 closed. I had to slam it, and it sounded like metal striking metal every time. After hours of cursing and filing the striker plate in a vain effort to get it to close without slamming, I discovered that there's a little rubber boot that's supposed to fit over the lobe on the latch, and it was missing. Over the years, as worn hinges caused the door to sag, the rubber boot wore out and dropped off. Just the loss of thickness of that boot caused the latch to begin its rotation too late as the door is closed. That delay in rotation caused a metal-to-metal collision, making it difficult to latch.

My solution? Get a new boot. Trouble is, you can't buy just the boot, you must buy the whole latch assembly! What I found is that the 69-73 Datsun 510 uses the same latch assembly, and the rear doors of the 510 4-door sedan and wagon latches are often still in good shape from less use. I pulled a few of these from 510s in the salvage yards several years ago. Perhaps someone else knows of another source?

Also, I've found that an out-of-alignment (sagging) door will cause a replacement boot to wear out quickly, so it's best to replace worn hinges or realign the door before installing a new boot.

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  • 8 years later...

Both Carl Beck and myself have posts on that old HybridZ thread (mine was post #31). That repair method worked for me.

Carl's post over at HybridZ, post #26, mentions the boot/sleeve that was mentioned by datsrex in the first post of this thread. To bad there isn't a new source for these but kudos to datsrex for coming up with a "Plan B" !

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  • 3 months later...

is there a picture of this boot sleeve thing. I may want to try this fix. My door clicks into the first detent easily. But takes quite a bit more force to get it to shut all the way. Before I start grinding anything, I will explore a new striker plate. But if none are available I may give this a try.

What a great thread... I just got lucky and found it..

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Except that grinding or replacing the striker plate is not the correct fix. It's a modification to compensate for the lack of the rubber/nylon sleeve on the latch.

The proper repair would involve replacing that sleeve.



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