Looking for a way to re-bend door window frame back to (close to) spec

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61
Location
CT - USA
The car is a 1988 Dodge Aries, and certainly, panel gaps on K cars were not up to modern specs, but here is the issue I want to correct, if I can. Around 20 years, back when the car was a daily driver, the outer edge of the driver's door was bent outward (it hit the side of the house, door was open while backing into a narrow driveway). At the time, a local repair shop bent it back to where it is today, which is not so bad. The door does not leak, but the window glass only barely drops into the channel before it reaches the top, and there is a lot of wind noise from this door once the speed is > 45 MPH. The problem is that the top corners (front edge, and especially the rear edge) are bent in too much, and the frame is bowed out around the mid-point. So far, I have tried to place a 2x4 on each side and squeeze it in with an 8 inch C-clamp, but the flat surfaces on either side are in different places, so the wood just moves out of position. And I tried just pushing the door closed, against a 2x4 at the top of the door frame, but I don't think I can push with enough force to change the shape. I want to try to push the center area of the window frame in, maybe 1/2 inch. So, I am wondering if anyone reading this would have suggestions. I have attached pictures of the leading and trailing edge. I drew a blue line in where this gap is, and added red color to the approx. location that the gap is at its worst. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Front edge-1-enhanced.jpg


Back edge-1-enhanced.jpg
 
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9,991
Location
MA
Wow pretty impressive to be still driving it when it's 32 years old. Anyway the way to bend it back is the same as the garage. You just kinda hang on the side of the door frame til it's bent back. Kinda tricky though as you could be doing too much or too little which is why it's more of an art than science. The real way to fix it would be to replace the door but it's probably hard to find a used door of that vintage anymore in the junkyards. I got rid of my K cars back in the 90s. Had the Reliant and the Lebaron GTS turbo.
 
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12,507
Location
North Carolina
Since you say it does not leak, i think trying to reshape this frame to eliminate wind noise could result in leaking. Its already been bent once in the accident, and reshaped, trying again on this age car, could make things worse. You may can look at different crush able types of weatherstripping at the points of wind noise. But enduring the wind noise may be the price of no leaks on a car this age with previous door frame shaping. I would revisit a body shop, in case there are any newer materials or techniques they may have. But i would not spend much at all, be glad its not leaking.
 
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2,012
Location
Somewhere in time
I have no useful information to provide on how to fix this. I will, however, make the observation that driving a 30+ year old Dodge Aries faster than 45 mph is a death wish in and of itself. Would your problem be solved if you just kept it at 40 mph or less?? Then, no bending, no 2x4s, no new door insulation, no nothing. Just drive it around town and enjoy.
 
Messages
1,151
Location
USA
Originally Posted by spasm3
Since you say it does not leak, i think trying to reshape this frame to eliminate wind noise could result in leaking. Its already been bent once in the accident, and reshaped, trying again on this age car, could make things worse. You may can look at different crush able types of weatherstripping at the points of wind noise. But enduring the wind noise may be the price of no leaks on a car this age with previous door frame shaping. But i would not spend much at all, be glad its not leaking.
THIS! Don't screw around with this unless you are willing to put up with more problems or are willing to go to a professional body shop. I bet with a little extra weather stripping the wind noise can be reduced.
 
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15,986
Location
...
I would try some weatherstripping or something along those lines. Some might consider the noise a feature. Many K cars had it as standard equipment. I remember a number of cars of that era where people put t shirts or stuffed a old towel to stop the noise. Just be thankful it doesn't leak.
 
Messages
1,627
Location
VA
I remember stuffing vaccum line into the weatherstripping to cut down wind noise in an old Duster. It was a coupe, so the window didn't have a frame, but that might give you a tighter seal in the window channel.
 
Messages
12,507
Location
North Carolina
Originally Posted by Chris142
Replace the door.
I started to suggest that. But everyone would have questioned my sanity as to the availability of an 88 Aries door!
 

tomlct

Thread starter
Messages
61
Location
CT - USA
Thanks for the comments & replies. The weatherstripping is only 1 year old (I got it from a vendor at an all-Mopar show last year, but the original one did not leak, either). This style of weatherstrip is solid & spongy, so I could not stuff vacuum line inside it. I might ask at a body shop, when my tax refund arrives. I was just wishing there was a relatively easy way to press down the obvious high spot a little. And as to never driving above 45 MPH, the car is not a daily driver, but for trips like going to car shows, sometimes a stretch of interstate road is part of the route, and I think the car is as safe as any non-air bag car of its era. The tires & brakes are good, and it tracks & stops straight, and it can comfortably go 65-70 MPH if I really want to,but I usually baby it at 55-60 under those conditions, if traffic permits.
 
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