Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

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Amskeptic
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Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:02 pm

The sliding door support roller assembly is the main weight carrying assembly, and it yields the biggest gain in sliding door "feel" when you refresh it.
(I have a little secret at the bottom if you successfully get through this)



Step 1 Removal
Grab a bottle jack and adjust it to the approximate height of the door lower edge. Open the door just short of catching the hook. Have your jack at the ready.
Under the door coming up through the roller assembly bracket are two 5mm allen screws with rectangular lock plates. Loosen them a couple turns each. Raise the jack to take some weight, not crazy like. Loosen the 6mm allen screw at the front. You will feel the roller assembly shift as it transfer the weight-bearing duties to the jack. Keep an eye on the upper roller. You do not want it to drop out of the upper track without your awareness and consent. Remove the 5mm screws. Now, babysit the jack/door deal as you remove the 6mm screw.
Image

We need to get the door away from the side of the car just a bit to have the necessary room to run the roller assembly back to where you can pull the vertical roller free of the track. Note that now is the time that you will greet whatever shims have been used to align the door's elevation. Get them off the bracket and put them in the cleaning pile:
Image

Now rotate the assembly 90* (don't scratch any paint on the bottom edge of the sliding door) and release the horizontal roller from its guide (apparently, I do not have the shims off yet):
Image

Lay out your shims and screws and roller assembly. The horizontal roller comes right off its spindle.You can pry the plastic cap off the vertical roller to access its expanding circlip, and remove it and the vertical roller:
Image

Step 2) Clean and Lubricate (and Modify As Needed)
There is a lovely ball bearing in the vertical weight-bearing roller that you clean and lubricate. Now the factory had this lithium sort of grease that dries out and turns into peanut butter over the years. I washed it all out and repacked with Valvoline DuraBlend semi-synthetic molybdenum disulfide grease AND a 1/4 shot of squirt can ATF + engine oil, just in case I should ever find the courage to go north into the cold country ever again. The horizontal roller, I also used Valvoline with a hit of ATF (too heavy a grease causes skidding between the roller and the track). With the cap on, that roller holds the grease/oil just fine.
Image

Below is the bracket upon which your rollers reside:
Image

I filed my bracket skinnier good 2-to-3mm on the underside to prevent contact between the bracket and the painted "floor" of the sliding door track. Even this fresh bus o'mine had the telltale scratches developing on the floor. Normally, you would go to your support roller assembly adjustment, and you would correctly deduce that merely loosening the 6mm screw and jacking the bracket up more vertical-like would lift the bottom of the roller assembly away from the floor of the sliding door track. Yet, sometimes the 6mm screw's captive nut in the sliding door does not allow you to arc the assembly more vertically so the bracket droops perilously close to the floor of the sliding door track:
Image

Step 3) Additional Chores
This is an opportunity to replace the door seal if needed, and it is a good time to rust proof this entire area. There is plenty of road splash that can work its way into the sliding door track area, and the seal running across under the sill can trap water with all the dog hair and detrius that accumulates.
While you're here . . . . . . why not gasoline-wash the grease all out then dry rag wipe and GumOut spray-on-a-paper towel wipe then sand and rust-catalyze prime then paint the sliding door track (and maybe the entire sill if yours does not have the three applications of clear plastic tape scuff-protection that I applied on day-one of ownership)?? That is the door seal wending up over the tool box so I could paint the groove too, because the seal groove can be a real rust trap.
Image

Step 4) Reassembly
Put the clean two 5mm screws, two rectangular lock plates, and the shims if your car uses them, near the rear of the door opening along with the 6mm screw and the wrenches.
Slide the lubricated vertical roller on the spindle with a groove on the roller support bracket. Install the circlip, followed by the plastic cap. Stick the horizontal roller on the remaining spindle and bring this assembly over to the sliding door track cut-out. Carefully negotiate the 90* arc that gets both rollers inserted into the track. Bring the door into position and get the upper roller in its upper track. I used a knee to hold the door here while I got the 5mm screws started, slap in the shims, then the 6mm screw. With loose screws, feel how much movement you have to adjust the position of the door both in the horizontal axis and the vertical axis. I usually "default" to the tightest position I can get, meaning getting the door as high as possible, and inward as far as possible. Hold the door here while you tighten the 6mm not too tight, but reasonably firm. Under the bus, tap the shims in as far as they will go and make a note if the bottom course of the bracket is parallel with the door. You can work a mialigned angle back to parallel, but I recommend a fully involved jack supporting the door while you loosen everything again, and reposition the bracket on the door, then go try to get door high and inward again.
No final tightening just yet. Shut the door. Observe the gap along the bottom of the door from front to rear. Observe the gap along the top of the door. Are they equal? Along the whole length? Nice.
If the gap is not equal, you must determine if the rear striker plate, the rear hinge support bracket, or the support roller bracket, need adjustment.

a) if the bottom gap is small on the bottom at the rear, and the rear striker picks up the door as it closes, the hinge support needs to be loosened and the door picked-up before re-tightening the 10mm hinge support bolts.

b) if the bottom gap is small at the front, either try another round of lifting the door with loose roller support assembly screws then tightening. If no improvement, add a shim.

c) if door edge juts out at the top, loosen the upper roller 13mm nut a bit, and tap the roller spindle towards the door, try 2mm.

P.S. here: adjust the clearance between the upper roller and the ceiling of the upper track at its narrowest point (on my bus, that is very close to the rearmost spot) to 1mm. There are three screws for the upper roller vertical adjustment, AND you need to make sure the roller is exactly perpendicular. You will have nailed it if the roller does not try to climb up the spindle in either direction

d) if door juts out at the bottom, the door needs to be tucked in closer to the roller support bracket. Try to get all slop erased AND pull the roller assembly towards the door so the horizontal roller is pulled against the door side of its track hidden under the door sill. The half-million mile Road Warrior required that I file the doorside radius of the roller support bracket all the way up alongside the 6mm screw so I could get the door flush with the b-pillar.
(bracket in the below photograph was hit with 320 grit sandpaper followed by a little 800 grit and clearcoat for an understated satin shine)
Image

A smooth sliding door is a real treat. I can vouch that these mechanisms can work perfectly for a very long time with just periodic lubrication.
Colin

(so . . . what's the SECRET?? Here's the secret: with both upper and lower rollers aligned for a straight shot, I do not use any lubrication in the upper and lower tracks.Just a bit of garage door opener grease for the plastic glide in the hinge support. Keeps things cleaner. I maintain a good wax on both to keep the exposed metal from ever rusting. The real lubrication is in the roller-to-spindle interface. Wow! What a secret!)
Image
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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vistacruzer
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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by vistacruzer » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:52 pm

just what i needed thanks colin owe you a beer :sunny:
71 bench 1915
70 wide lowered body rag top 2056 type4 DTM nothing stock if I could touch it.
Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

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jmstu76
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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by jmstu76 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:31 pm

Great write up. So simple and I love the secret. Makes so much sense to lube the bearings not the track. Just for reference, both my verticle and horizontal rollers had dust caps and cir clips. Same ball bearings but different shaped rollars. This is on an early '76 Westy.
James
1976 2.0L FI with Hydraulic lifters

Edmond, OK
(405) 623-2191

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Amskeptic
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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:58 am

jmstu76 wrote:Great write up. So simple and I love the secret. Makes so much sense to lube the bearings not the track. Just for reference, both my verticle and horizontal rollers had dust caps and cir clips. Same ball bearings but different shaped rollars. This is on an early '76 Westy.
My 1970 Bus has the double cap/circlip style as well. I guess in 1978 the bonuses were flying to the engineers who came up with new ways to cheep-out.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by mentalQtip » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:50 am

I read this an went right to my bus and found two allen screws at the bottom of the door were totally stuck. Any secrets to getting the things out? Being on the bottom makes it tricky to soak with pb blaster.

Joseph

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Amskeptic
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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:43 am

mentalQtip wrote:I read this an went right to my bus and found two allen screws at the bottom of the door were totally stuck. Any secrets to getting the things out? Being on the bottom makes it tricky to soak with pb blaster.

Joseph
Remove inner door panel carefully. PB Blaster from above the screws. It is difficult to see the screw heads, you will be doing more of a general baptism along the inner/outer metal panel interface and hoping that you accidentally saturate the area. Use 5mm allen wrench with a small box wrench for additional leverage. Do not round out the allen head. Use small visegrips to help your leverage.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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jmstu76
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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by jmstu76 » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:45 am

Amskeptic wrote:
mentalQtip wrote:I read this an went right to my bus and found two allen screws at the bottom of the door were totally stuck. Any secrets to getting the things out? Being on the bottom makes it tricky to soak with pb blaster.

Joseph
Remove inner door panel carefully. PB Blaster from above the screws. It is difficult to see the screw heads, you will be doing more of a general baptism along the inner/outer metal panel interface and hoping that hyou accidentally saturate the area. Use 5mm allen wrench with a small box wrench for additional leverage. Do not round out the allen head. Use small visegrips to help your leverage.
Colin
Would light tapping on the Allen key with a ball peen hammer be appropriate? I always tap my Allen sockets in fully on CV's to minimize rounding out the Allen head. The tapping may also break up some of the corrosion bond.
James
1976 2.0L FI with Hydraulic lifters

Edmond, OK
(405) 623-2191

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Amskeptic
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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:31 pm

jmstu76 wrote:
Would light tapping on the Allen key with a ball peen hammer be appropriate? I always tap my Allen sockets in fully on CV's to minimize rounding out the Allen head. The tapping may also break up some of the corrosion bond.
Absotively.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

stevespeirs
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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by stevespeirs » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:36 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:02 pm
then sand and rust-catalyze prime then paint the sliding door track
First of all, thanks for another fantastic tutorial - so much great info and advice. Looking forward to getting started on the refresh sometime soon.

My sliding door track is in desperate need of a good clean and paint. Is Dupli-Color Rust Fix a suitable rust-catalyze primer, or can you recommend a better product?

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Amskeptic
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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:41 pm

stevespeirs wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:36 pm

My sliding door track is in desperate need of a good clean and paint. Is Dupli-Color Rust Fix a suitable rust-catalyze primer, or can you recommend a better product?
Is it actually rusty or just deeply grease-grimed? Wash with gasoline inside the track area and wipe down.
Do you see actual rust penetration?

If no, clean with acetone wipe, dry, prime with any good etching primer, topcoat.

If yes,
Mar-Hyde One Step is good. Both rust catalyzing primers benefit from your following the directions.

a) it is a greasy environment, so strip it down thoroughly ending with a strong acetone wipe.

b) now apply a mist of water to activate the rust areas down there. Allow to dry with no blotting/wiping.

c) light coat of rust-catalyzing primer, wait 24 hours, etching grey primer, wait three hours or so, top coat.
Colin

(p.s. under the door step pads is where the nastiest rust seems to hide . . . no grease from any roller/tracks there!)

Image
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

stevespeirs
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Re: Sliding Door Support Roller Refresh

Post by stevespeirs » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:31 am

Amskeptic wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:41 pm
stevespeirs wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:36 pm

My sliding door track is in desperate need of a good clean and paint. Is Dupli-Color Rust Fix a suitable rust-catalyze primer, or can you recommend a better product?
Is it actually rusty or just deeply grease-grimed?
Quite possibly it's just deeply grease-grimed. Gasoline wash first, then I'll decide what steps to take. Thanks for the additional information. Much appreciated as always!

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