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Old 06-20-2011, 09:38 PM   #1
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Cheapo tailgate hinge fix

I had some rusted/seized tailgate hinges and didn't want to spend $100 for a pair of hinges

I opened the hinge to the max open position.

Using a drill bit I drilled into the hinge towards the pin. Made sure not to go too far and stop once I got through the first surface. If you go too far, you drill right into the pin and through it.

It looks like the body of the hinge is aluminum and the pin is steel. The steel rusts inside and flakes off creating a lock between the rusted steel pin and the unrusted aluminum.

Here's what the hinge first looks like with a hole in it



This is a wider angle view



I took the hinges off but you should not if you perform this procedure because the weight of the door will give you leverage to do the next steps.

Once back on the Jeep I sprayed some PB Blaster into the hole I just drilled.

Then came the fun part. Move the door back and forth a lot. Move a bit, spray a bit. Move- spray... etc

Eventually you'll notice a lot of rust scale coming out through the hole you drilled into the hinge.

It may look like this

:

I then took a smaller drill bit, cleaned out the hole, sprayed some more PB Blaster and kept cycling the hinge back and forth until I got it to move with no effort at all.

A swift breeze and my door now opens/close where before it would take a really hard push causing it to creak like a 82 chevy.

Just make sure you are ready to replace your hinges should you destroy them. Again- the outer 'shell' of the hinge is aluminum. It is soft and you will drill through it pretty quickly. Do not push too hard or you will also drill into your hinge pin.

you just saved $100
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:07 PM   #2
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What size drill bit did you use?

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Old 06-20-2011, 10:21 PM   #3
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Im confused why are you drilling holes in your hinges again? I'm not meaning to sound ignorant, but it seems you had rust build up and the door did not swing easily? Did you try penetrating oil and then a silicone lube or other product, or even a rust converter before all that? JW.

Otherwise looks cool and makes sense.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:26 PM   #4
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Wow!

Was just discussing this very common issue with Jeep tailgate hinges yesterday with my brother. Mine is and has been very stiff since I bought it a couple years ago.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GoldenSahara00 View Post
Im confused why are you drilling holes in your hinges again? I'm not meaning to sound ignorant, but it seems you had rust build up and the door did not swing easily? Did you try penetrating oil and then a silicone lube or other product, or even a rust converter before all that? JW.

Otherwise looks cool and makes sense.
The hinge pins are "sealed". From what I've been able to tell the hinge pins are inserted and flanged. Between that and the paint it creates a pretty good seal that doesn't allow anything to easily penetrate and get between the hinge and hinge pin. Drilling the hole allows a penetrating oil to enter easier and let all that rust get out.

OP this is brilliant. Awesome job, my old hinges had this problem, but I ended up getting a whole tailgate off craigslist for 60 bucks and already had hinges that worked smoothly.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:35 PM   #6
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Great write up and good pics. I like your logic of fixing before replacing. I would personally go with 2 holes top and bottom so the pb blaster can drain the rust debris better. None the less this is a good write up Jeepers can use.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by freeskier View Post
The hinge pins are "sealed". From what I've been able to tell the hinge pins are inserted and flanged. Between that and the paint it creates a pretty good seal that doesn't allow anything to easily penetrate and get between the hinge and hinge pin. Drilling the hole allows a penetrating oil to enter easier and let all that rust get out.

OP this is brilliant. Awesome job, my old hinges had this problem, but I ended up getting a whole tailgate off craigslist for 60 bucks and already had hinges that worked smoothly.

Actually if its rusted then that means that water was able to get into the hinge. therefore if water can get in, penetrating oil, which is made to wick through rust and places that even water can't go, can make it. I have used it on my hinges after I purchased my jeep. my hinge swings TOO well now. But yes his method does seem to work. If you think it gets all the rust out, then your wrong. You should still treat it with a rust disolver/converter to prevent further build up, lube it, and continue to use pentrating oil and lube regularly. Only issue is now you have a hole in your hinger, whick will rust. I would suggest using a bead of body filler and filling that hole back in, or use a small dab of paint in the hole to cover the rust surface. because now moisture can enter that hinge even easier than before, and will rust alot quicker on the existing rust.

I don't mean to sound harsh or rude but IMO this is not something I would want to do.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:45 PM   #8
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Actually if its rusted then that means that water was able to get into the hinge. therefore if water can get in, penetrating oil, which is made to wick through rust and places that even water can't go, can make it. I have used it on my hinges after I purchased my jeep. my hinge swings TOO well now. But yes his method does seem to work. If you think it gets all the rust out, then your wrong. You should still treat it with a rust disolver/converter to prevent further build up, lube it, and continue to use pentrating oil and lube regularly. Only issue is now you have a hole in your hinger, whick will rust. I would suggest using a bead of body filler and filling that hole back in, or use a small dab of paint in the hole to cover the rust surface. because now moisture can enter that hinge even easier than before, and will rust alot quicker on the existing rust.

I don't mean to sound harsh or rude but IMO this is not something I would want to do.
Well first you don't need water for rust to form. Second, sure over a period of many many years water can wick in promoting rust, while just a couple minutes of shooting it with PB blaster or something wont do much. Third even when something does manage to work its way in between the hinge and hinge pin there is no easy way for the rust or PB plaster to get out.

Doesn't seem like you have much experience with the tailgate hinges. Maybe if you had this issue you would understand.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by GoldenSahara00 View Post
Actually if its rusted then that means that water was able to get into the hinge. therefore if water can get in, penetrating oil, which is made to wick through rust and places that even water can't go, can make it. I have used it on my hinges after I purchased my jeep. my hinge swings TOO well now. But yes his method does seem to work. If you think it gets all the rust out, then your wrong. You should still treat it with a rust disolver/converter to prevent further build up, lube it, and continue to use pentrating oil and lube regularly. Only issue is now you have a hole in your hinger, whick will rust. I would suggest using a bead of body filler and filling that hole back in, or use a small dab of paint in the hole to cover the rust surface. because now moisture can enter that hinge even easier than before, and will rust alot quicker on the existing rust.

I don't mean to sound harsh or rude but IMO this is not something I would want to do.
SERIOUSLY? I think any body who would go through all the trouble to take pics and make a nice write up first of all deserves courtesy, I am sure he attempted to dissolve the rust prior to drilling.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeskier View Post
Well first you don't need water for rust to form. Second, sure over a period of many many years water can wick in promoting rust, while just a couple minutes of shooting it with PB blaster or something wont do much. Third even when something does manage to work its way in between the hinge and hinge pin there is no easy way for the rust or PB plaster to get out.

Doesn't seem like you have much experience with the tailgate hinges. Maybe if you had this issue you would understand.

Yep, seriously. I wrote my original reply to the OP, others chose to respond to it. I said this was my own opinion, so nothing to argue about. Penetrating oil is made to penetrate very quickly. Water not so much. I stated that I did have this problem with my hinge, so of my friends couldnt even close my tailgate. Then I was able to get it to work perfectly again. Hmm looks like I do understand.

I was not discourteous at all, I simply asked him a question very nicely. I said it "looks cool and makes sense". Thats praise is it not? I just said it has some flaws, nothing wrong with that. Maybe I dont want the guy's hinges to rust up again so I made some suggestions to go with his method.

Oh, and in reply to your "points"

1)HowStuffWorks "How does rust work?"

"­For iron to become iron oxide, three things are required: iron, water and oxygen."

2) Do I need to respond to this? you can look at several studies on how much a good penetrating oil can help, and trust me PB blaster is not top end stuff. plus thats not the only step to freeing a rusty hinge in this case.

3) When "something" aka rust gets in there, you think drilling a hole in it, opening it even more to air and water, which creates rust in a chemical reaction with the iron in the hinge, will help? penetrating oil and RUST CONVERTER are made to loose up rusted THINGS, then to convert rust and make it fall or erode away. then lube to cover the metal and prevent water from reaching it again.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:08 PM   #11
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paredline, I mean no disrespect to you, your thread, your idea, or anything else. I simply wanted to have a conversation with you about how you came about your plan and what you had tried, and if you have planned anything to prevent future rust. I'm sorry if I offended you, and I apologize for all these posts from us all on your write up. If you'd like to discuss this with me, I'd appreciate it. PM me or we can continue here when you get back. Out of respect for you I'm not going to argue anymore on here, with these two accidental trollz, who attack me for asking you a simple question.

regards,
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:30 PM   #12
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No worries. The debate is good.

#1- the holes can be sealed with a little dab of black silicone caulk. This way they can be used again when needed. I'll just leave them open. Maybe fill them with grease.

I drilled the holes so that they face the front of the jeep and are more or less covered when the door is closed.

#2- I did this knowing that I would replace the hinges if I failed. Fortunately it worked

#3- Yes moisture can enter the hinge now (theoretically) but at least now it has a way to get out as well.

#4- size of drill bit- I forgot
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:42 AM   #13
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That works

Mine just sag. No fix for that (I don't think)
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:39 AM   #14
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That works

Mine just sag. No fix for that (I don't think)
Same problem here. I replaced my stock hinges last year and now the replacement hinges are getting loose too. I no longer run with a spare because of that. They were fine until I put the stock spare on a few months ago. Time to start saving for a bumper mounted tire carrier.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:59 AM   #15
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No worries. The debate is good.

#1- the holes can be sealed with a little dab of black silicone caulk. This way they can be used again when needed. I'll just leave them open. Maybe fill them with grease.

I drilled the holes so that they face the front of the jeep and are more or less covered when the door is closed.

#2- I did this knowing that I would replace the hinges if I failed. Fortunately it worked

#3- Yes moisture can enter the hinge now (theoretically) but at least now it has a way to get out as well.

#4- size of drill bit- I forgot

Perfect, answered all my questions Thats exactly what I wanted in the first place. It was pretty creative to think of drilling a small hole to get the rust out. I think a small dab of grease in the hole would do the trick
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:33 AM   #16
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Same problem here. I replaced my stock hinges last year and now the replacement hinges are getting loose too. I no longer run with a spare because of that. They were fine until I put the stock spare on a few months ago. Time to start saving for a bumper mounted tire carrier.
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:49 AM   #17
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Great idea...I've tried spraying PB on the hinges, also spray white lithium (worked for a little while) but I'm wondering...if I use your procedure but with the right size drill, why can't I put in a zerk fitting and then I can just GREASE the bugger and solve all the problems?
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:24 PM   #18
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I thought about a grease fitting too. Except there isn't much room there to hold grease, nor is there enough room to tap threads to hold a fitting. As you know to get a good set of threads you have to go beyond the piece you are threading.

If you go beyond it you'll be stopped by the hinge pin
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:37 PM   #19
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exactly right. I think with the small size of your hole, youll be alright with just a little dab of grease. maybe take a small shred of electrical tape and heat it, and press into the hole. with your black paint no one would notice, and that stuff melts so it basically like pouring rubber into a hole. I have done some crazy stuff with it.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:39 PM   #20
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OK, love the fix by the way! And as for the grease bit. Give it a shot.
You already have the hole. Put a Zerk fitting in your grease gun. Put the other end of the Zerk against the hole you drilled and push hard. Pump the gun. You may in fact be able to shoot some grease in there. It would help seal from any moisture getting in.

When done, clean off the hole, apply a dab of silicone sealer to the hole. If you need to re grease it pop out the plug you formed.

And even with out rust forming there is the thing of using dissimilar metals, and how they react to each other.

Saw it all the time on fire trucks that came into the shop. Aluminum panels attached to steel. The aluminum would corrode due to the steel it was up against.

And you'd be surprised how much pressure you can put out with a grease gun. I used to pop pilot bushings out of flywheels with one. It will push that grease into any clearance you have between the pin and hinge.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:50 PM   #21
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shelby of course silicon sealant. I was thinking too redneck like usual
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:59 AM   #22
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OK, love the fix by the way! And as for the grease bit. Give it a shot.
You already have the hole. Put a Zerk fitting in your grease gun. Put the other end of the Zerk against the hole you drilled and push hard. Pump the gun. You may in fact be able to shoot some grease in there. It would help seal from any moisture getting in.

When done, clean off the hole, apply a dab of silicone sealer to the hole. If you need to re grease it pop out the plug you formed.

And even with out rust forming there is the thing of using dissimilar metals, and how they react to each other.

Saw it all the time on fire trucks that came into the shop. Aluminum panels attached to steel. The aluminum would corrode due to the steel it was up against.

And you'd be surprised how much pressure you can put out with a grease gun. I used to pop pilot bushings out of flywheels with one. It will push that grease into any clearance you have between the pin and hinge.
It's called Galvanic Corrosion, grease is a good way to prevent this from happening. Laters,
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:01 PM   #23
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Well I just put this guide to use. I searched forever to find a store that had some pb blaster in stock >.< found it though. I tried just dousing the hinges without drilling and working back and forth, tried for a good 30 minutes of spray wiggle spray wiggle. Then I drilled the hole and started over. My door is like factory now used some grease to seal the hole for now, will replace with either clear or black silicone caulk on monday since all that stuff is in my uncles work trailer. Although my brother-in-laws father-in-law said if this doesn't work he would take them to his shop and replace the hinge pins with stainless steel and add a zerk fitting
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:09 PM   #24
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Thank you all for your input i drilled PB d and greased the hole. Working much better but i believe im going to have to replace them eventually.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:24 PM   #25
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All I did was spray pb blaster on my hinge a few times a week for about a month and my tailgate has been fine ever since, about 2 yrs now. Nice writeup nonetheless
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:59 AM   #26
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I have the same problem and was wondering if drilling holes would compromise the integrity of the hinges. I guess it doesn't really matter as what the OP has posted would at least buy some time, perhaps years. Thanks OP!
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:26 AM   #27
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I don't recall all the details, but I did some work on my old 95 YJ hinges years ago. IRC I disassembled them somehow and maybe used bolts for pins??? I know I added a grease zerk, but never had to add grease before getting rid of it, so I can't say how well it worked. I do recall the same thing mentioned above, the hinges worked too good after that!
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Old 02-09-2012, 09:06 PM   #28
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The integrity of the hinges are compromised. There are holes drilled in them.


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I have the same problem and was wondering if drilling holes would compromise the integrity of the hinges. I guess it doesn't really matter as what the OP has posted would at least buy some time, perhaps years. Thanks OP!
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:27 PM   #29
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Gonna try PB Blaster and drill if I need to

Great thread. Came THIS close ---->| |<---- to buying stainless hinges. Thought I was the only one with stiff hinges. Mine happened after I removed them and had a friend remove the pins, strip the hinges, paint them and press the hinges back in. They worked great for a while, as they always had. Then they started binding up. I thought the way I remounted the tailgate might have been screwy, putting a bind on the hinges. So I took the Jeep to a local shop and they said, "no, it's the hinges 'cuz the door's lining up fine. Try some PB Blaster." Well, I did, but apparently I just gave up too soon. The hinges still look good, so I'm going to try to fix them. I'll try the patient approach of just squirting PB Blaster several times a week while working the tailgate back and forth. (They're so stiff it's like trying to push and pull a bus.) I'll let you know how that works for me. Otherwise, I really like the drill a hole approach and I'll try it if I need to. This thread might have just saved me $100-$200 for new hinges. Matches all the other cheapie fixes I've done to keep Ol' Red happy.

By the way, I've had my '98 Wrangler Sport since '99 and yes, I joined Wrangler Forum just so I could reply to this post
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:30 PM   #30
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Thank you!

Just wanted to thank the original poster for taking the time to post the pictures. I just bought a 1999 Wranger with 115,000 miles on it. In good shape, but some minor problems.

One was the tailgate hinges which were completely frozen. I managed to get them to open without breaking anything with some penetrating oil.

But it was a beast to move and penetrating oil alone wasn't going to do the trick. I was on the verge of spending 145 dollars for new hinges when I decided to do a search just in case somebody out there had this problem and had a way of fixing it.

Well I never took the tailgate off the hinges as you suggested and drilled one hole in the middle of each hinge. In minutes I had the think working better than new. I say that because new it is too loose in my opinion...had one of these new years ago.

I finished by putting some oil in and working the gate back and forth. I will "seal" it off with some grease at my dad's place when I get there.

But it works like a gem. Thanks again.

Joe

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