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MG MGB Technical - Door out of alignment

1977 mgb roadster.

Recently it has become more difficult to open my driver door than usual. Investigation revealed that I'm wearing a groove in the inside bottom of the strike plate and the underside of the door latch.

I've adjusted the striker plate in many different positions with no real success. I cannot discern any looseness in the door mounting, nor can I see any change in the hinge mounting as the painted areas do not relect any movement. When closed the door alignment is fine. There hasn't been any weight on the door which would bend the hinges, and the body is rust free without any distortion.

I'm assuming the door is riding low.

I'm hoping for suggestions on how / where to adjust the door and any ideas on what happened that caused this change.

Thanks for your help in advance.
Brian Denis

Hi Brian,

If you check your door alignment just before closing it, you will find that it isn't aligned, it has dropped.

The striker plate on the B post only adjusts the alignment of the door in towards the seats (or out). To fix the height alignment you need to remove the door trim and you will see two rows of three screws, see image below. Also see the item DOOR ALIGNMENT in the MGB General thread.
Before attacking thses screws almost close the door and check the gap between it and the body to see if the top needs moving forward or the bottom backward, for an even gap. If the top needs to come forward loosen the top three screws and gently lift the door a bit, tighten just one screw and check that the door is now correctly aligned. Note that if it is not you can tell by the door being lifted by the striker plate as it is closed. Continue with the adjusting and tightening of one screw until the door is in its correct position, then really tighten all three screws. Replace trim.


Herb Adler

Herb....thank you! Your comments and especially posting the picture was most helpful. I'm sure this is the adjustment I was looking for. Now if I can only get those screws to move......

First attempt was unsuccessful. I started to follow the other door alignment thread per your suggestion and I can see I'm going to need those ideas as well. A previous owner apparently tried to remove the screws, also unsuccessfully, based on the mangled condition of the heads.

Thanks again.

Brian Denis
Brian Denis

Brian, as mentioned in another thread see if you can get some allen socket head counter sunk screws to replace the hinge screws. Especially the six on the door. As you've seen, even with the correct Pozidrive driver (not Phillips) the heads can easily get mangled. The allen head ones hold up much better to repeated screwing and unscrewing and they are much easier to tighten up with one hand when trying to hold the door with the other.

The door striker plate can actually move upd dorn slightly. What I did on mine was get the door positioned right in the gap, then tighten the striker platscrews so it was tight but moveable then carefully closed the door so the lock onn tdoor would push it into the right place. Then I just adjusted it a little from there so it wasn't being scraped by the mechanism as it closed.

Have a look at Paul Hunt's site for the door hanging procedure:
Simon Jansen

Simon, thanks and your timing was terrific!

I had just tapped out one of the top three bolts and looking into the screw hole, was worried there was little to no adjustment available. They appear to be countersunk screws in the hinge going into fixed threaded captive nuts in the door.

But Paul's site points out once all three screws are removed there is movement in a plate in the door where the screws thread in.

So, now that I'm confident I'm on the right track... again... back to the job!

Thanks again Herb, Simon & Paul for your site!

Brian Denis
Brian Denis

If you take the screws out completely all at one it can be tricky getting the screws started in the plate again. I found that using two nail punches stuck in the holes would hold the door in place enough to get the third hole to line up enough to get that first screw in.

Simon Jansen

I've had success removing the 6 screws but not in adjusting the door enough. First the success.

Heat and PB Blaster weren't enough to loosen the screws. I had to drill 1/2" into the center of each with a 5/32" bit, then use a #3 / 7/32"-9/32" easyout to remove them. Constant pressure rather then brute force eventually got them to turn. I was rather "disappointed" in the lack of corrosian on the threads considering how difficult it was to remove them.

There wasn't enough "adjustment" available to raise the door. The top screws were way to the left in the door access holes before I started, the bottom screws were way to the right. I actually elongated the door's access holes thinking I could get more movement... I didn't. It appears the door was already at the far end of available adjustment before I began, assuming I'm doing it correctly.

I'm looking for any other ideas and suggestions. I'm close to bringing the car to a local shop that services MG's and having them take a crack at it.

Any thoughts are most welcome.
Brian Denis

The three screws for each hinge should give *loads* of adjustment, they screw into a sliding plate similar to the striker plate on the B-pillar. They are for setting the fore and aft position of the door (all six loose) as well as the height of the trailing edge (either top set or lower set loose depending on the relative front and rear vertical gaps). Before I had mine painted I spent ages trying to get the height of the trailing edge right but was never happy. After many years I decided to try again and got it right in seconds.

To move the *leading* edge of the whole door up or down (or in and out to get it flush with the front wing) you have to slacken the four screws through each hinge into the A-pillar plus the nut at the back, accessed by removing the splash panel in the wheel arch.
Paul Hunt 2010

Thanks for the response Paul.

I needed to elongate the screw access holes in the door and still was not able to get enough adjustment to lift the latch off the striker plate. That's what makes me think I'm at the limit of the adjustment.

Is there a way to check that the striker plate has full range of motion or am I correct in thinking since I've had to make the access holes larger I'm already at max?
Brian Denis

Hi Brian,

Could you post a picture of your door, along the side of the car, so that we can see how the chrome strip is aligned with the body, both at the A & B posts. My driver's door wouldn't lift, ike yours, but there was a drop of about 1/8" at the A post. After aligning, by lifting, there was enough adjustment with the 6 screws in the door to properly align the B post end. It will need the 4 screws and the big nut oosened, as Paul has mentioned.

Herb Adler

With the six screws loose are you saying you have very little movement of the trailing edge of the door up and down, or you have a lot of movement but it doesn't go up far enough? Even the latter case doesn't seem right, especially if you have tried moving the hinges on the A-post as well.

How is the alignment of the crease from the front wing, through the door to the rear wing? That should be a straight line. If the door crease is above the rear wing crease then the problem is that the striker plate isn't going down far enough (although its main adjustment is in and out to get the door flush with the rear wing), or the latch is too low. If it's below then the door needs to be raised.

If I set my door so the crease aligned with the both wings I ended up with a dog-leg when looking along the car, the front wing was higher than the rear. So I slackened off the bolts securing the trailing edge of the front wing, put a piece of timber between the top of the wing and the garage roof, and jacked up the car until the front wing crease lined up with the other two. I didn't have to undo the hinge to A-post screws and nuts, and at no time did I have insufficient adjustment on either door or striker plate.
Paul Hunt 2010

This thread was discussed between 05/06/2010 and 14/06/2010

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