Mechanics

DODGE RAM DOOR PROBLEM

1999 Dodge Ram • 105,000 miles

I was involved in a 'fender bender'. It was completely my fault. The front bumper is bent. The hood is slightly bent. The grill cracked. The truck drives fine, and there are no mechanical problems from the accident.

My problem is my driver side door can not be opened. The 1/4" space between the door and the front fender is gone. I now have to get in and out from the passenger side.

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Without replacing all of these body parts, can a repair shop pull on the body to get me back the 1/4" so I can use my door to get in and out of my truck normally?
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Guest
January 19, 2013.



You may be able to do that yourself. The mounting holes along the top are slotted to allow for some adjustment. Loosen them up a little, then use a flat wooden stick as a pry bar to pull the rear edge of the fender out so the front edge of the door can rotate inside it. Be careful with how much pressure you put on that stick. If the door isn't bent already, it is easy to do that from prying against it.

There are also some bolts at the bottom of the fender behind the wheel. Those are adjustable too but body shop people will not typically loosen them right away. They know that part was in proper adjustment before and once they pull parts back into alignment, the proof they did it right is the fit will be correct when those bolt holes line up like they did before. If you're going to leave it with bent parts, you may have to loosen those lower bolts too. That will make the fender move easier.

Since there's going to be some abnormal pressure on the fender, with all the mounting bolts loosened, you may be able to open the door, slide in a block of wood with a scrap of carpet around it to protect the paint, then slowly close the door. (Push the stick forward as you close the door to reduce the chance of bending the door. That's less likely to happen than if you close the door and force it to push on the stick). That block will push the fender forward more than necessary, and the door will hold it there while you tighten the bolts. When you open the door to remove the block, the fender will spring back a little. The clue to know if you're making progress is the "witness marks" on the fender. That's the spots in the paint that will not be covered in dirt around the bolt holes. You'll be able to see from them how far the fender has moved.

Caradiodoc
Jan 19, 2013.