Monday, January 11, 2016

Door Latch Striker Bolts. Restore or Replace?

Old door latch striker bolts, are one of those pieces that immediately jump out and rear their ugly heads the moment you open one of the doors.

During decades of service, they take quite a beating (literally), and they also get their fair share of exposure to water as well as dirt. The combination of these elements causes surface oxidation which makes them look bad, even though they may still work well.



In some cases, even a light detailing with a scouring pad or sanding paper, can help improve their looks considerably, but if you want to detail them properly, they must be removed from the door jamb.



Another option is to purchase the correct replacement parts. Just be aware that even though replacement striker bolts may be correct in every possible way, the head of the bolt itself may be different than the original, which in the case of my Corvette was a Torx head, whereas the new bolt had an allen head.

Replacement striker bolts are quite cheap, and come in a kit that contains two bolts and washers. You will need to save and reuse the factory shims so your door latches properly. You might want to clean, polish or paint them before reinstalling them. It is also very important to make sure striker bolt positioning is exact, so it allows the door to be aligned with the corresponding quarter panel.




And this is the finished product. The shims may give you a bit of a headache as you try to align them. They may also benefit from a fresh coat of paint as they are hard to clean. But with enough patience you can get them to sit properly. Yet another alternative is to find new shims at Ace Hardware or NAPA, for example. Just make sure the thickness of the shims matches that of the originals so you avoid potential binding issues.



This is an easy DIY project that should take not more than an hour if you choose to detail the original components. A grinder or electric motor equipped with a wire wheel, will make fast work out of cleaning the bolts and washers. Just be careful when using a power tool for cleaning purposes in order to avoid having these small parts becoming projectiles.

Thanks for reading.