Steve M

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Squeaky, creaky door hinges?

This is a fairly common issue with Gen 3/4/5 Vipers...I've certainly noted it from time to time with my own, but I never really took the time to figure out why. I had tried spraying the part of the hinge I could see with the door open, but it never seemed to fix the issue. Thanks to someone else’s post a while ago, I finally caught a clue bird that I wasn't seeing the part of the hinge that was causing the issue.

In order to access the rest of the hinge, all you have to do is remove the triangular shaped body panel just in front of the door and you'll really be able to see what's going on in there. Removing the body panel is simple: you will only need a T-20 Torx bit to remove the three screws that hold it in place. Once the screws are out, tilt the top of the panel towards you, and then pull the bottom part of the panel kind of up and towards the back of the car. The next three pictures showing it apart should help you understand how it fits:

Where the 3 screws go:

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The bottom of the panel showing the three slots that fit with the tabs on the black plastic side sill vent panel:

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Insert Tab A into Slot B (and forgive how dirty my car is):

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So now what? Well, here's the culprit (door closed):

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And a better shot up close (door closed):

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So what is it? It's essentially a leaf spring...once you open and close the door with the panel off, you'll see exactly how it works. Mine still had some grease on it, but as you can tell, it is metal on metal contact. It wasn't always that way, but over time, the coating just wears off, and that's what you have left. The picture makes it look far worse than it is - the little chunks you see are actually just the coating peeling off (not metal shards), and it really wasn't all that rusty, but the flash certainly made it look that way.

Here's what it looks like with the door partially opened:

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And with the door fully opened:

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As I said, just play with it a bit and you'll see how it all works...it ain't rocket science.

You just have to give it a good lube job. If yours is as dry as my sense of humor, it's gonna grind and squeak on you.

I used Lucas Red n Tacky for the leaf spring, and sprayed some PTFE (Teflon) dry lube on the hinge pins for good measure:

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All in all, it took me about 5 minutes per side to clean everything and relube it. Works like a charm now, and it seems to hold up quite well. I'm sure white lithium grease would also work well...I just wanted something that wouldn't wash away easily, and that particular Lucas grease has very good water resistance. Being lithium based, it is also compatible with pretty much any grease out there, so you don't have to worry about any adverse reactions if you end up using a different kind of grease in the future. And yes, thanks to the power of the internet, I’ve learned that not all greases are compatible with each other.

I realize this is probably a pretty dumb post for most, but I never really took the time to investigate why the problem even occurs. Hopefully this will help someone else out too, especially newer owners. There's nothing worse than your car sounding like a clapped out hoopty when you go to open and close the door.
 

FoxyChicken

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Thanks for the write-up. I’m not having these issues but it’s good to know it’s an easy fix if these ever happens.

I wonder how many door operation cycles it takes for that coating to peel off…..
 
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Steve M

Steve M

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Thanks for the write-up. I’m not having these issues but it’s good to know it’s an easy fix if these ever happens.

I wonder how many door operation cycles it takes for that coating to peel off…..
Not sure - I bought my car used with <10k miles on it back in 2011, and it was at least another 9-10 years before I started noticing any creaking.

A lot of it has to do with the environmental conditions and how the car gets used - mine is more of a weekend toy that spends most of its time in a garage, and very rarely sees inclement weather of any sort.

It's something I'd recommend doing every 1-2 years or so, mostly because of how easy it is to do.
 

Goggles Pizano

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One thing to be aware is since it is 'wet' grease, it will attract dirt and stuff. So if it gets road debris throw to it, check and clean it.

Back in the old, old days, the highend cars had leather boots you would wrap snd tie the freshly greased up leaf spring to keep road debris off of them.

But good post not dumb.
 
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