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Looking for Do-it-yourself Door Alignment Information

Discussion in 'Model 3: Interior & Exterior' started by AlanSubie4Life, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    My passenger side doors have been misaligned on my car since I got it over a year ago. I'm understandably reluctant to bring the car to a service center to have this addressed (some of this stuff is on the due bill, which I still haven't had addressed):

    TL;DR:
    1) Has anyone adjusted the alignment of doors themselves? Any tips?
    2) Has anyone adjusted striker position to pull doors in a bit further, themselves? Any tips?
    3) Has anyone fixed a hood underbite themselves? Any tips?

    Thanks!
    -----

    Since I've recently had success in:

    1) fixing my trunk lid hinge point alignment with the C pillar,
    2) Fixing my front bumper cover alignment with the quarter panel,
    3) Eliminating the contact of front driver quarter panel with the A-pillar base (rust issue),

    I'm kind of thinking, similar to the above issues (which I dealt with for a while until trying to fix them myself, which turned out to be trivial), that adjusting door alignment might be trivial and something I could do myself. Did some searching here and it looks like it is a question of loosening certain bolts and then hammering on the hinge, but hoping for more guidance from people here, if anyone has tried it - the "right" way to do it.

    I actually have two issues - the front passenger door alignment, and separately, the rear right door doesn't close completely.

    I believe the second issue would be addressed by adjusting the striker position - but not sure whether I should adjust the striker on the jamb, or whether I should adjust the position of the latch in the door itself.

    Both these issues captured in the pictures below.

    After this, I was hoping to fix my hood's underbite (the hood sits low in the front, which is unsightly as it presents an underbite, but practically, it compresses the frunk seal excessively, which also makes the frunk hard to close) . Was also wondering whether anyone has experience with shifting the hood latch assembly position. Obviously removing the trim from the frunk would be trivial, but since I haven't done that yet I don't know whether there is some "flex" on the positioning of the latch assembly to allow it to engage a bit sooner. Any experiences here before I take things apart to find out?

    When I went to the service center briefly (I left without leaving the car) they were talking about adding shims or something for the hood issue. Didn't seem right ,but it could have been bad info.

    Front Right door is too high; note large body line misalignment and the way the curves are misaligned:
    IMG_4590.jpg

    Right rear door sticks out a bit. I assume a striker position issue. Might also be a bit high, but it's not nearly as severe as the front door - the body line looks fairly well aligned:
    IMG_4589.jpg
     
  2. MrFusion

    MrFusion Member

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    This is pretty easy to fix. You just need the torx bit to use with the striker screws. I’ve adjusted mine in and out to resolve the “dancing window” issue that can occur if the striker is too far outboard (so the door doesn’t clear the striker when it pops open). I just put painters tape along the top and bottom to keep the vertical alignment the same and then put painters tape on the opposite side from the direction I was moving it so I could see how far I moved it. It only takes very small movements to get things tweaked.
     
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  3. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    Thanks for the tips! Ok, so that likely solves that problem...I will work on it shortly.

    Now I just need tips on the door hinge and the hood latch...
     
  4. Adam3

    Adam3 Member

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    Post some after photos!
     
  5. mswlogo

    mswlogo Well-Known Member

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    I adjusted both a Window and a Striker on my Model X Raven.

    Pretty standard stuff. Plenty of Youtube Videos.

    Your photos look like mostly Striker adjustment which is easy. I've never done a door hinge.

    On my X (as many cars do) there is a threaded plate the Torx screws go into. Mine didn't want to budge with bolts loose. Probably paint or something. I forget how I broke it loose.

    A misadjusted striker can lift the door slightly too. But if it's lifting you can usually tell (it's hits and then lifts).

    Watch your windows don't have new issues if you pull the doors in a bit. They might improve too !!

    My striker was pulling in to much. Which caused glass to tip away at the top causing air leak on the INSIDE along the top of the door panel.
    But Striker adjustment (out) was not enough and I had to adjust the Window too.

    Be careful on the Frunk as there is an outstanding TSB to adjust it. And I don't know exactly what they do.

    You could probably get a Mobile Service to do some of these easy ones. And you can keep an eye on him ;)
     
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  6. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    I should add that for the hood, the knobs on the hood that are shown for adjustment in some YouTube videos do not address my issue - the latch itself (on the frunk side, not the hood side) seems to be mounted just too low. I've tried backing the knobs on the hood out, and it just makes it impossible to close the frunk.

    I found one YouTube video for the door alignment but it involved a special tool and breaker bar, and essentially was bending the door frame, so I don't think I want to do that. So, still searching around for video fixes for the best door alignment techniques...

    Thanks again for this tip, very very helpful.

    Thanks for this tip, it was helpful for my rear door.

    Ok, here's for the easiest one, the rear passenger side door. It took me a couple minutes to realize the entire striker was clamped with the bolt holes behind and how to move it around. But once I figured that out it was easy.

    I moved it in very slightly, less than 1/16 of an inch. When I moved it in further it would have a hard time closing, so I had to adjust a couple times. And then I saw the door was lifting as was mentioned above, so I then moved the striker downwards a similar amount.

    Took maybe 30 minutes or so but most of that was figuring out the way the striker moved.

    Before:
    IMG_6162.jpg
    After:
    IMG_6167.jpg
     
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  7. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    #7 AlanSubie4Life, Nov 30, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
    So I fixed my remaining issues:

    1) The crooked doors which results in poor body lines. (Fairly easy. Requires 13mm box end wrench (ratcheting ideally), T45 Torx/star Bit, Painter's Tape, maybe Foil tape to prevent paint flaking )

    2) The frunk being hard to close (primary issue), and cosmetically the hood had an underbite. (Super easy to fix. Requires 10mm socket and ratchet, and some tape or similar item, if you want to mark original position.)

    So everything cosmetic on the outside of the car is now fixed without a service center visit or mobile service call, thankfully!

    Crooked door procedure:
    1) Loosen two 13mm bolts on lower hinge slightly. (Depending on the issue it may make more sense to adjust the upper hinge, which is probably harder. Look long and hard at the panel gaps and the door tilt, and figure out which one makes sense...)
    2) Knock the hinge loose slightly (may take some doing with a rubber mallet, or lifting up the door). It will eventually slide. You only need to loosen one hinge at a time - there is plenty of play.
    3) Slightly shift hinge in direction needed to straighten door. Very small shifts, otherwise the door could hit the rocker panel or fender! You may want to mark original hinge position with painter's tape.
    4) Retighten, check alignment, being sure that the door will not hit anything.
    5) Adjust striker (using tape method recommended above) if needed to allow proper closing and "pull-in". If you adjust them too much the door will not close properly. Small movements only.

    Tough to Close "Underbite" Frunk Procedure:
    1) Lift up and remove the little plastic panel in the frunk with the release button on it. It is just easy-to-pop clips that hold it in. Careful to not yank the harness when removing.
    2) Mark original bolt locations, then loosen the two obvious 10mm bolts and adjust latch plate up/down depending on what is needed (I adjusted the plate down).
    3) Retighten and check fit.

    Pictures. Sorry the car is so dirty. It's clean now.

    Frunk Pictures & Result:
    Latch pictures. The edge of the blue tape was the original bolt location. I moved the catch point up quite a lot! This is why the frunk was so hard to close - that large seal for the frunk had to be heavily compressed.
    IMG_6223.jpg
    IMG_6232.jpg
    Before IMG_6220.jpg
    IMG_3453.jpg

    After (Finally the frunk closes like it should!). The panel gaps on left and right are slightly different (unrelated to this adjustment) but fixing that would be much more involved as getting at the appropriate bolts requires removal of all of the frunk plastic trim: IMG_6235.jpg

    Door Pictures:
    I actually made minor striker adjustments on a few doors (can be done for very small adjustments) and adjusted both driver and passenger side front doors. The pictures here are just from the passenger front door. You can try protecting the paint on the bolts with aluminum pipe tape (seemed to work ok), but it will flake off somewhat no matter what. I started with painter's tape which wasn't great.

    Hinge movement:
    IMG_6192.jpg
    Striker movement:

    IMG_6195.jpg

    Before (see how the body lines do not align at all - door is tilted up and too high at the back). It looked worse in reality than it looks in this picture:
    IMG_6186.jpg After (I actually raised it very slightly after this picture was taken, as it is very slightly too low here):
    IMG_6189.jpg
     
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  8. Adam3

    Adam3 Member

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    Thanks for the detailed post!
     
  9. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    No problem. For the door with the biggest adjustment, it may be necessary to do adjustment of the other alignment axis; some investigation needed on how exactly to do that, but I have some ideas. Basically the bottom of the door sticks out a bit more than the top, and it can’t be fixed with striker adjustment or the inner hinge adjustment. The outer hinge adjustment I believe will give me the degree of freedom I need. Has the added benefit that those bolts are not painted, which makes it easy. It looks like the top bolt on the lower hinge on the door side has allowed lateral movement, while the bottom bolt is fixed. That should allow the adjustment of pulling the bottom of the door in relative to the top, I hope.

    Not sure if I’ll get around to it though. Much more minor and less noticeable than the prior issues.

    The frunk closing effortlessly makes this whole boondoggle worth it!

    Basically dealing with this:
    714E97B7-0515-43E9-A59F-960009CFFFB3.png
    5A37FEB1-710B-4D87-9C37-5B4AD8E2973A.png
     
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  10. Dave EV

    Dave EV Active Member

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    While we're talking about DIY Model 3 door alignment, I've got two minor issues. Visually, the doors line up just fine, but closing the doors is off (comparison is another Model 3).

    Drivers side door: Takes a bit of extra force to reliably close the door. Seems like the striker should be moved out, but then this would cause the door edge to be misaligned, no?

    Passenger side door: Feels like door is not cushioned well when closing - perhaps misaligned striker, too? I'll have to look at it again, but may be hitting striker slightly before closing all the way.

    Thoughts? Probably should just make a service appointment, but if these are 15-min fixes, I don't mind giving it a shot.
     
  11. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    #11 AlanSubie4Life, Nov 30, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
    Won’t necessarily move the door out significantly if it is really compressing the seals a lot due to striker position. It will a little of course but may not be enough to notice.

    T45 bit is all you need. Once you loosen the bolts a little you can slide the striker around (you do not need to remove the bolts) - they go into a moveable threaded section on the interior of the door frame which clamps when tightening. Mark the edges with painter’s tape of the original location in the opposite direction of expected movement (so on the inside and top or bottom for you). This is for reference and really helps. Very small movements are all that are needed especially for a latching issue.

    For the cushioning issue could also be striker. See whether it aligns well with the latch as you close the door. (You can see by looking in as you close the door.) Also watch any door you are adjusting to see if the striker is “lifting” the door (it really should not do this, but sometimes is ok).

    My rear left door is lifted by the striker, but the door seems fine. I would have to adjust the hinge to fix this, and I do not want to bother. If I just lower the striker, the door would be angled down too much.

    Obviously don’t over tighten the bolts so make a note of how tight they are when loosening.
     
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  12. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    Gave this one last shot with a 10mm wrench and 10mm socket on the black bolts. There was much less play than I expected. However, I might have eked out 1-2mm or so. Pulled out the rear passenger side door a mm from the bottom anchor (pictured) and pulled out the top and pushed in the bottom of the passenger front door. And then adjusted the striker inwards slightly.

    Mostly looks better, though not 100% perfect. Good enough for who it is for...I’m done with this and will move on to being bothered by the mounting of my headlights (which I am sure is also easily adjusted other than having to remove the frunk liner)

    I feel like Tesla’s quality control checks are garbage. This stuff is super easy to get right. I didn’t even know what I was doing and it was no problem. Anyway, hopefully the above info will spare the service centers some visits by people who have tools and the inclination to do it themselves (and don’t want to endanger their cars with the service center).

    Compare to picture above:
    DEDFBFDA-D095-44E6-B127-FDC8B0679FCB.png

    The adjustment for moving bottom of door out/in (perhaps not intended for such a purpose - very little play):
    32EBF7A3-FA6E-4D68-B965-4D14BAEEE696.png
     
  13. vickh

    vickh Active Member

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    OT but I hear a "rattle" when my wife closes the back doors (not as "firm" as front) Is that fixable thru alignment?
     
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  14. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    It’s possible. Striker position does affect the sound of the door closing, potentially. But it depends on what the noise is. If your door alignment looks good I would look to see if the striker is lifting or lowering the door - that would be a possibility.
     
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  15. vickh

    vickh Active Member

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    Will check. I might be doing a service request soon anyways. Will see if Tesla mobile can fix this gratis?
     
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  16. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    Maybe. The problem is getting them to acknowledge the problem. For me it was just not worth it. I went to the service center 10 months ago to have my due bill items taken care of but just left because it seemed like a dangerous place, and they couldn’t get the various scratched plastic pieces on my due bill in stock before I dropped it off - so who knows how long they would have had it. I showed the guy the egregious alignment issues and he did not really seem impressed (probably gets nothing but complaining about this sort of thing). So I just left and decided to take care of it myself (eventually). Finally got around to it.

    One of these days I will get the due bill items taken care of. They are all inconsequential at this point, so I don’t really care. The frunk was the biggest functional issue.

    There is no reason mobile service could not fix door alignment and striker issues, though (I was not sure until I figured out how to do it myself). Seems like an excellent option. There is no reason for the car to be at the service center.
     
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  17. Dave EV

    Dave EV Active Member

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    Moved the drivers door striker out a tiny bit. Not enough to notice the door sticking our farther, but enough that it seemed to help the door close a bit easier.

    After playing with the door a bit it seemed that the striker was a bit low. Lowered the striker a bit which helped significantly with how the door feels when closing (much more cushioned), but now the door sits a tiny bit low, so it appears that the proper fix is to loosen the hinge bolts, tilt the door up, then move the striker back up accordingly.
     
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  18. AlanSubie4Life

    AlanSubie4Life Efficiency Obsessed Member

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    Yes, this is basically the situation with my left rear door, but I am not going to bother to fix it. The striker currently lifts the door a fair amount and as a result it does not close quite as satisfyingly as the other rear door. But it is good enough. The rear doors never sound exactly the same as the fronts when closing. A tiny little more of a “rattle” sound from them than the front doors. Though both of mine are a little low before closing, so maybe if they were “perfect,” it would sound great.
     
  19. Vipercat

    Vipercat Member

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    @AlanSubie4Life , can you explain how you were able to move the striker? I’ve loosened both screws but the striker won’t move. When I completely remove the screws and the striker I can see the embedded nuts in the pillar where the screws screw in and there is room for the screws to move, but again; The embedded nuts won’t give way. I’am afraid to use too much force with a hammer or other tool, so hope to hear what does the trick.

    Thanks!
     
  20. Vipercat

    Vipercat Member

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    @AlanSubie4Life , sorry to bother you once more. Above you seem to describe the ‘movable threaded section’ I noticed as well. But which seem stuck in my car. Should I carefully knock on the screws after I’ve loosened them a bit to unclamp the threaded section?
     

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