Guide to Replacing the Door on a 1965 GMC Stepside Pickup

Guide to Replacing the Door on a 1965 GMC Stepside Pickup


Replacing the door of a vintage truck like the 1965 GMC Stepside Pickup can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and a methodical approach, it is entirely achievable. In this comprehensive tutorial, we will walk you through the process, step by step, as demonstrated by The Brothers Workshop. This guide covers everything from initial preparations to the final adjustments, ensuring your door replacement project is a success.

Initial Preparation

Gathering Tools

Before you begin, it is crucial to gather all the necessary tools. The essential tools for this project include:

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Regular flathead screwdriver
  • Drill (optional but recommended for efficiency)
  • Various screw sizes specific to your truck model

Having these tools on hand will make the process smoother and help avoid unnecessary interruptions.

Assessing the Task

Start by assessing the task and identifying the specific components that need to be removed. This initial assessment helps in planning the workflow and ensures that no step is overlooked. The key components include the door locks, vent window, and inner workings of the door.

Removing the Old Door Components

Step-by-Step Removal

  1. Locks and Screws:

    • Start by removing the locks using a Phillips head screwdriver. Carefully unscrew and set aside the locks, keeping the screws organized for reassembly.
  2. Vent Window:

    • Next, focus on the vent window. Remove the three screws securing it in place. Be gentle to avoid damaging the window or the surrounding frame.
  3. Inner Mechanisms:

    • Remove the remaining screws that hold the inner mechanisms in place. This may require a bit of maneuvering, especially if the components have been in place for a long time.

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Using the Right Tools

Emphasizing the importance of using the right tools for the job. While a drill can expedite the process, hand tools are perfectly adequate. The key is to work methodically and keep track of all screws and parts.

Installing the New Door Handle

Importance of Proper Installation

Installing the door handle correctly is crucial for the overall functionality of the door. Secure the handle with two screws, ensuring it is firmly in place before moving on to the next steps.

Detailed Process

  1. Align the Handle:

    • Position the handle correctly and insert the screws into the designated holes.
  2. Secure with Screws:

    • Use a Phillips head screwdriver to tighten the screws, ensuring the handle is securely attached.
  3. Test for Stability:

    • Once installed, test the handle for stability to make sure it operates smoothly without any wobbling.

Fitting the Window Mechanism

Preparing the Mechanism

Before installing the window mechanism, it is essential to prepare all the necessary components. Walk through the process of assembling the window crank and other mechanical parts.

Installation Steps

  1. Align the Mechanism:

    • Position the window crank and align it with the designated slots within the door frame.
  2. Secure the Crank:

    • Use screws to secure the window crank in place, ensuring it moves up and down smoothly.
  3. Test the Mechanism:

    • Once installed, test the mechanism by moving the window up and down. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure smooth operation.

Tips for Success

Valuable tips to avoid common pitfalls:

  • Take your time to ensure all components are aligned properly.
  • Double-check all screws and parts for tightness and stability.

Adding Weather Stripping

Importance of Weather Stripping

Weather stripping is vital for sealing the window and preventing drafts, water leaks, and rattling noises. Explaining the importance of installing the weather stripping correctly to ensure a tight seal.

Installation Process

  1. Measure and Cut:

    • Measure the length of the window channel and cut the weather stripping to the appropriate length.
  2. Insert into Channel:

    • Carefully insert the weather stripping into the window channel, ensuring it fits snugly.
  3. Secure with Clips:

    • Use clips to secure the weather stripping in place. Make sure the stripping is evenly distributed and properly aligned.

Testing for Fit

After installation, test the fit by closing the door and checking for any gaps or misalignments. Adjust as necessary to ensure a perfect seal.

Installing the Vent Window

Challenges and Solutions

Installing the vent window can be tricky, but there are practical advice to make the process easier. Insert the vent window at an angle to fit it into the frame without scratching the paint.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Prepare the Frame:

    • Ensure the window frame is clean and free of debris.
  2. Insert the Vent Window:

    • Insert the vent window at an angle, gently maneuvering it into place.
  3. Secure with Screws:

    • Use the appropriate screws to secure the vent window. Double-check the alignment and tightness of each screw.
  4. Test the Fit:

    • Open and close the vent window to ensure it operates smoothly without any obstructions.

Final Assembly

Installing the Locking Mechanism

The final step involves installing the locking mechanism. Carefully fish the lock into place, ensuring it aligns correctly with the window rail.

Ensuring Proper Alignment

  1. Align the Lock:

    • Position the locking mechanism correctly within the door frame.
  2. Secure with Screws:

    • Use screws to secure the lock in place. Make sure all parts are tightly fastened.
  3. Test the Lock:

    • Test the locking mechanism to ensure it operates smoothly and securely.

Final Adjustments

Emphasizing the importance of making final adjustments to ensure everything is perfectly aligned. Check the door's operation, ensuring it opens and closes smoothly, and that all components are properly fitted.


Replacing the door on a vintage truck like the 1965 GMC Stepside Pickup requires attention to detail, patience, and the right tools. By following this comprehensive guide and expert advice, you can achieve professional results and ensure your door operates smoothly for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Preparation is Key: Gather all necessary tools and components before starting the project.
  • Work Methodically: Follow each step carefully and keep track of all screws and parts.
  • Test as You Go: Regularly test the fit and operation of each component to ensure everything is properly aligned.

Final Thoughts

With the right approach and attention to detail, replacing the door on your vintage pickup can be a rewarding project. Take your time, follow the steps outlined in this guide, and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

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