97+ XJ doorless mod with "drop-in" adjustment

Old 08-24-2012, 09:48 PM
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Default 97+ XJ doorless mod with "drop-in" adjustment

The first part of this write up is from sharpie on JeepForum with some grammatical/clarity corrections. A huge thanks to him for doing the write up. Just wanted to share it on here. The second part - making the doors a "drop-in" style - is from me. I didn't see a write-up on here for this, so I figured, "Okay, I'll do it."

So, everyone knows the whole "cut hinge with angle-grinder, cut off bottom ear of hinge" way to do <97 XJs, but there hasn't been that much literature, let alone pictures, on removing 97+ doors, not to mention with power. If you don't have power, you can skip the steps that involve power. So here goes.

1. Roll down your window
This will help protect the glass while stowed, will make it easier to carry, and will just be all-around easier.


2. We need to deal with the door-controlled dome light now, unless you like jump-starting your Jeep
Use the correct size box-end wrench/socket (10mm?) to unscrew the dome light button on the body near the door hinges, and unplug the unit.
Once unplugged, the dome light will not be able to drain your battery

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3. Next, we are going to need that pesky door-helper to stop "helping"
To do this, get a hammer up there, and pound it from the bottom
once it gets to where you can't pound it any longer, get a phillips head screwdriver under it, and hammer on the screwdriver

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4. Support the door with a broom handle or pipe
The door will be inclined to close on you, and we need it opened to the maximum.
Put a cloth towel over the end that touches the door, or it could possibly scuff, mar, or scratch it.


5. Now, we have to deal with the electronics
Notice that when you open your door, there is a rubber boot between the body and the door, containing a big bundle of wires (or not many if you have manual locks/windows).
To remove the door, we have to unplug these wires. The easiest place to do this is behind the kick panel.
Start out by removing the two screws pointed out with red arrows

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Pull this panel up (it will still be attached, so be gentle), and slide the kick panel out. The passenger side will have a bolt under the door for the fuse panel, it's 11mm, and is easy to remove. Then you can access the plugs.


6. Pull the plugs that are attached to the door wire bundle
The driver's side has three plugs, and the passenger side has four. Just follow the wires coming from the door to locate them. The passenger side may be easier to remove if you take out the glove box.The plugs are easily removable by pressing down on the tab lock. My advice is when you get them out, cut the tabs on the plugs so they slide in and out easier.


7. Now we have to deal with the grommet on the inside of the body
Feed the plugs out of the body (2 holes in the 2 layers of the sheet metal)
It should just pull out initially, but you won't want to keep it there, as it will be an unnecessary burden.
Use dikes or a knife to clip the grommet away from the wire bundle.


8. Now, onto the hinge pins themselves
There is a plastic shield to the hinge pins that must be removed. Use a chisel (for wood or for metal) to chip away at the plastic

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Using some creative techniques, make sure you get all the way around, and the plastic should just come out

This is the end product



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9. Notice that the hinge pin is pressed in on both sides of the hinge.
This can only mean one thing: we get to do some good ol' metal cutting! I would start on the bottom first, so the top can hold the door's weight.
I used my handy-dandy dremel tool that I got at Ace Hardware for $40! Such a good deal!

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Now, each pin should take a full grinding wheel or two, that is normal.
Now cut into the middle of the hinge pin, which will result in this

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We still have to get these pressed pins out, and to do this, I used my good old prybar as a lever to get each side out
They should come out pretty easily, but if not use some creativity and some gumption. Oh, and be patient.

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10. Repeat the last step for the top hinge
Probably needless to say, but I'll say it anyway.


11. Nothing is holding the door on now, so we can just pull the door back, and off the hinges.
If your wires aren't out of the interior yet, you will wish they were


12. And the end product for one side

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13. What about being legal without doors?
In most areas, the law requires two mirrors, so you will have to find a way to get a mirror on one side (in most states, the driver's side) of the Jeep. I get one at Autozone/Pepboys mirror and sit on the hinge. Simple, but functional.

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14. What about putting them back on?
There are 2 options here - the first, described by sharpie, which uses pins, or second, what I did: make the whole door a "drop in" style, similar to what how the Wranglers are.

First, sharpie's way:
Well, if you are like me, you now want them to go back on at some point
So how are we going to do that? Quick pins come to the rescue here
I got two different types: cotter pins and quick pins

Cotter:
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Quick:
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Both have their strong points, but I find cotter pins easier to put in at the top, because they are offset at the bottom, and won't be a pain to install
Quick pins, on the other hand, have a ball-lock, and are good for security, as the cotter pins technically can rattle out (though I think it's a long shot of them doing it).

Second, my way:
Start by pulling out an angle grinder/dremel. You need to cut off the lower part of both the upper and lower hinges ON THE DOOR. Only cut the door side of the hinge.


From there you'll need four 5/16's bolts that are not fully threaded. They need to have a smooth section below the head. Two need to be 2" bolts, the other two need to be 5" bolts. Cut the threads off the bolts and install the shorter ones in the top hinge and the longer ones in the bottom hinge.

Top:


Bottom:


Both:


From there, test fit the doors. you should be able to drop them in place by starting with the lower hinge and then the upper hinge. The lower bolt needs to run though the bottom hole on the lower body hinge. Weld the bolts to the door hinge (I know, the welds look messy but I didn't feel like grinding them down) and there you have it, "drop in" doors.






The re-installation is pretty intuitive
Just take the kick panel off again, put the doors on, feed the plugs through, plug them in.


Conclusions
This isn't like installing a lift, rotating your tires, or changing your spark plugs. This is a modification that has certain ramifications:
1. You will never have stock hinges again without buying full stock ones from MOPAR
2. You will probably never have it seal perfectly anymore, as the pins you use will not fit perfectly, because if they did, you wouldn't be able to get them out again. Thus, the door will hang down a good 1/8 or 1/4".
3. You will always need a set of hands to put the doors back on, as lining it up is nearly impossible without them. And note that people will not always want to go out at 11:00pm to help you put your doors back on.
4. You will never want to drive with doors again, and it will become an addiction.
5. Be prepared for everyone's stares at the doorless cherokee.
6. It is illegal in some areas to drive doorless, and it is illegal in MOST areas to drive doorless without mirrors. Conduct yourself accordingly.

If you are okay with this, then doorless it is. If not, wait till you have a little more experience and help, and you can be doorless too.

Have fun, be safe, be legal, and drive happy
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