Team Chevelle banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part JULY's Ride of the Month Challenge!
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to solve some body panel alignment issues. I attached a few pictures for everyone to see. The fender appears to be fitting properly at the bottom but the top seems to be raised above the door. I played with the mounting screws and made it better, but this is the best I could get. The hood is not closed all the way so ignore that. Also you can tell that when I jack the car up, the fender hits the door. I'm thinking the front end appears to be leaning forward and down. If that makes sense. My radiator support is a mess. Seems like it was painted over to hide the rust by previous owner. So I was thinking of getting a new radiator support and seeing what happens? Also all the body mounts have been replaced. Its not an SS or going to be a show car, but I'd like to have this be pretty close to looking good. What do you guys think?


 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,715 Posts
Off the top of my head I would.say it probably needs some.shims at the.radiator core.support. I did a thread a couple.years ago on fender alignment on my 69. You could.search the archives for.that thread. There was some good tips in there. Also there was an article in Chevy High Performance on Chevelle fender alignment which may be helpful. I was able to find it online. There may even be a reference to it in my old thread. I was able to improve mine a good.bit but it takes a lot of trial and error. Other things come into play such as the health of your door hinges and hood hinges.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BTK

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,109 Posts
First things first, make sure your door is aligned with the rear quarter panel and rocker panel correctly. Next align/shim and tighten down the top of the front fender nearest the door and a pillar. Shoot for about 3/16 gap between them. You have to tighten these bolts first to keep the top of the fender level with the door. Next you want to shim and tighten the 2 bottom fender bolts at the door. This will create the bow in the fender to match the curve of the door. The reason the fender is sticking up is because the bottom was tightened first and is pushing the fender up instead of creating the bow in it. You could loosen the top bolts and try to push the fender down and tighten them but it is MUCH easier to get the top tightened down then do the bottom. Do your shimming at the core support last.
 
  • Like
Reactions: deffmike

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,104 Posts
Justin, is someone helping you? if you don't, someone manipulating the panels to sit right while shims are added or bolted down will make it a lot easier. When I did mine, I had to use shims
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First things first, make sure your door is aligned with the rear quarter panel and rocker panel correctly. Next align/shim and tighten down the top of the front fender nearest the door and a pillar. Shoot for about 3/16 gap between them. You have to tighten these bolts first to keep the top of the fender level with the door. Next you want to shim and tighten the 2 bottom fender bolts at the door. This will create the bow in the fender to match the curve of the door. The reason the fender is sticking up is because the bottom was tightened first and is pushing the fender up instead of creating the bow in it. You could loosen the top bolts and try to push the fender down and tighten them but it is MUCH easier to get the top tightened down then do the bottom. Do your shimming at the core support last.
I will try that. I figured I was missing something. I think the door is aligned well and my hinges are pretty tight. But I did the opposite of what you mentioned. I secured the bottom first and then tightened the top. I will mess with it next weekend!

Justin, is someone helping you? if you don't, someone manipulating the panels to sit right while shims are added or bolted down will make it a lot easier. When I did mine, I had to use shims
I was working away by myself. I will have to get a buddy of mine to help me. I will have to order some shims. Where did you get them from?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,104 Posts
I got the shims from amazon. You can sometimes find them at any auto parts store
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,715 Posts
I think i got mine from AMK products but they have a minimum order. At the time i believe i bought some unrelated bolts to get above the minimum however NPD sells some AMK stuff without a minimum.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
509 Posts
Brad & Bart, I am lucky I have not added the hours I have since I started to hang my fenders. Like Justin It seems no matter what I Do after aligning top or fender w/ door and getting 3/16 and tightening top cowl bolt, inside door bolt and firewall bolt. As soon as I mess with bottom two bolts the top of fender/ door pops up. I changed shims so many times I,m blue in the face. I have a 71 SS 454, 4 spd El camino. Full Body off w/ all new body mounts and core support mounts. I even send Frame to Frame shop to check it all out before starting w/ powder coating. The reason was Bumper fit bad on right front corner. they found minor frame horn damage. The elky still had factory orginal fenders (orgn paint still under repaint)and no damage. I put patch panels on bottoms of front two fenders made in USA by guys in Mich. Fenders would not go on. Bought two Dynacorn fenders still will not fit. Doors were changed w/ DVAP AZ doors. These were aligned to rockers and 1/4's before removing 1/4s. Doors line up real good. I just cannot get these fenders to line up. I can sometimes get them on and gap real nice but putting straightedge on door show center of fender does not touch straightedge. Tops and bottoms of fender line up real good w/ straightedge. It has got to the point of frustration that I had to walk away or damge something, I don't get it 6 lousy bolts and I cannot line these things up. You would thing the factory fenders would be the best fit.
Any and all ideas appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,109 Posts
It can be very frustrating that is a fact. Try this... Do as you have by aligning and tightening the top bolts. Shim and tighten the bottom 2 bolts, (ignore the top of the fender for now) see how many shims it takes to get the body line to match up and the bottom of the rocker. Once you have that figured out, see how far the top of the fender went up from being level with the door.. Now, remove the lower bolts, loosen the top bolts, push the fender down below the top of the door the same amount that it was sticking up previously and tighten the top bolts. Then go back to the bottom bolts/shims. This should make the top be in line with the door once the bottom is tightened. The thing a lot of people don't realize is that the fender is flatter when not bolted down, once you tighten the top and bottom it creates an outward bow to the fender to match the door. This is why you must tighten the top bolts first. otherwise you would have to try pushing down on the fender while tightening the top bolts which is a pain in the butt.

My doors are OEM, fenders are Dynacorn. I had to do A LOT of welding, cutting, grinding to get my gaps perfect. I started with a car that 99% of people wouldn't have used for a parts car. Just be patient and it will happen. Look at my project and you will feel much better about yours lol.

http://www.chevelles.com/forums/142-projects-builds/843913-who-brave-enough.html
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
509 Posts
Bart, tried your method and got my gap first time w/just a little shim adjustment. The problem left w/ both fenders is that in center of fender say 4" from top body line and 4" from bottom body line fenders do not line up w/ door panel curve. I used a straight edge and top and body of staightedge laid on door touches front fender on top and bottom. Its the center thats a little low all the way to emblem holes. I am thinking of taking off fender and making a few relief cuts in back and edge then putting fender back on and give a couple of gentle pulls w/ slide hammer. I'll sent a few pics. after ready your discussion it seems normal to cut weld and move to get what you want.
Thanks Tony
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
The problem left w/ both fenders is that in center of fender say 4" from top body line and 4" from bottom body line fenders do not line up w/ door panel curve. I used a straight edge and top and body of straight edge laid on door touches front fender on top and bottom. Its the center that's a little low all the way to emblem holes. I am thinking of taking off fender and making a few relief cuts in back and edge then putting fender back on and give a couple of gentle pulls w/ slide hammer. I'll sent a few pics. after ready your discussion it seems normal to cut weld and move to get what you want.
Thanks Tony
Below are some drawings I made up years ago when I had to cut in relief cuts on the inner structure of the fenders for my 74 Spirit of America Nova.
I had tried with brute force trying to get the right curvature in it but I was worried about applying too much pressure and then either denting or damaging the skin or over bending it.
What I also experienced was after I got the middle to curve outward more is it also affected the bottom portion as not the bottom lip bent upward. For this I then had to slice open the inner structure, open the angle or cut to get things parallel again.



#1 is looking forward against the back edge of the fender
#2 are the 2 relief cuts in the inner structure only
#3 is the middle bowed out more and that slice closed up in the middle of the fender but then notice how it puts a different angle on the bottom lip
#4 is with the bottom slice opened up to get the bottom lip square again
#5 is a layover of it before then after

On mine after I had the slices or cuts in the inner structure I was able to get the curvature right and then opened the door and got in there with my wire feed welder and tacked across the cuts to stabilize it and not have it move on me with taking it off of the car.

Here is the album I have on some bodywork where I was using a paint stick to see how my panel to panel levels were:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157652326305064/with/18875499191/

Jim
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
509 Posts
Jim, I must have been reading your mind. That is were I left off today making the relief cuts just were I needed them and just like you did. tomorrow hopefully I get these things to line up easy so when its painted It will slip right on. I got to say , something that looks so simples is really a MFER.
Thanks for your imput.
Tony
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,623 Posts
If the fender is a GM replacement they never fit quite right from new. The brace at the rear which attaches to the firewall is skewed and sometimes needs a trained pro to get it aligned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Jim, I must have been reading your mind. That is were I left off today making the relief cuts just were I needed them and just like you did. tomorrow hopefully I get these things to line up easy so when its painted It will slip right on. I got to say , something that looks so simples is really a MFER.
Thanks for your imput.
Tony
I know working on my car that some of the parts did not meet how well I wanted them to line up and came up with ways and spent a fair amount of time to work what was there to be better. Like others have said before, it's all in the attention to the details. I know on mine I spent a lot of time sanding over gaps to where even now with it still in primer, one can sight down the side of the car and not see any change in the reflection from one panel to another. I've looked at a lot of cars that are all nice and shiny and I can see that they probably block sanded the doors off the car as well as the fenders, and it shows in the reflection. Not everyone see's this but I do and I can appreciate ones that really shine with superior panel fit.

On my car I kept fighting the back corners of the hood not always lining up in level to the fenders and cowl so I made my own bracket and used a factory front edge hood bumper. I tried new hinges and I think just due to the design of the hinges how they have so many pivot points, I could never get consistency. I also seem to think I've seen some GM cars with these rear hood lip bumpers on them and I just expanded on the idea to get them onto my car.



Yep, as far as the fenders, once the proper fit is established then one should be able to take it off of the car and put it back on and the fit be like it was before.

Jim
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,715 Posts
Well this has escalated beyond my alignment knowledge. These are some good tips you guys are sharing. I guess its easy once one knows how to tackle the obstacles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,215 Posts
Below are some drawings I made up years ago when I had to cut in relief cuts on the inner structure of the fenders for my 74 Spirit of America Nova.
I had tried with brute force trying to get the right curvature in it but I was worried about applying too much pressure and then either denting or damaging the skin or over bending it.
What I also experienced was after I got the middle to curve outward more is it also affected the bottom portion as not the bottom lip bent upward. For this I then had to slice open the inner structure, open the angle or cut to get things parallel again.



#1 is looking forward against the back edge of the fender
#2 are the 2 relief cuts in the inner structure only
#3 is the middle bowed out more and that slice closed up in the middle of the fender but then notice how it puts a different angle on the bottom lip
#4 is with the bottom slice opened up to get the bottom lip square again
#5 is a layover of it before then after

On mine after I had the slices or cuts in the inner structure I was able to get the curvature right and then opened the door and got in there with my wire feed welder and tacked across the cuts to stabilize it and not have it move on me with taking it off of the car.

Here is the album I have on some bodywork where I was using a paint stick to see how my panel to panel levels were:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157652326305064/with/18875499191/

Jim
Jim,
What a great narrative and pics of how to solve your problem!! I'm sure others may be able to use your technique(s) to make fenders fit better. I can remember having trouble with mine on my '69 and they were factory ones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Jim,
What a great narrative and pics of how to solve your problem!! I'm sure others may be able to use your technique(s) to make fenders fit better. I can remember having trouble with mine on my '69 and they were factory ones.
Well this has escalated beyond my alignment knowledge. These are some good tips you guys are sharing. I guess its easy once one knows how to tackle the obstacles.
I can say years ago, I never knew what I do today and I'm still learning. When I did my first pair of full quarter panels with rear outer wheel housing replacement and a taillight panel, I though I would be ahead spending money on some NOS pieces only to have one side not fit real well. I took a break and figured out ways to correct things and get them how I wanted them to be. Even on my car, I reused the original doors that have welded on hinges and the doors had a twist in them and figured out a way to get them straight using tools I had laying around. I had an issue with a trunk lip that needed to be pulled in and welded together a specialized tool to allow me to do the work.

There is SO MUCH knowledge out there and I can give what I can but I also know there are techniques I have yet to try and hopefully when I do try them I have good guidance and not do so much damage that I have to start over BUT sometimes one has to do that.

Jim
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
509 Posts
Jim, your right it does grab ya if your at this stage. I was looking at the beginning of your door gaps in photos w/paintstick and I am impressed. I cannot get my doors fenders or quarters this flat. They all dive inwards at gap and to me this would take extensive metal work to get that stick flat. of coarse you can raise it up w/ bondo but then your door edges and fender edge become unrealistically fat. i tried to copy those photos of doors and 1/4's but could not. except for these fenders everything else is done awaiting final poly ester filler. Nothing should be this hard. it angers me when I see some people just slap on fenders and walk away. I even have decided to put new door skins on because i sanded them down to bare metal because there was too much bondo in doors and i have some good dents right in front of reinforcement brace that I cannot get behind. anyway took today off gonna hit it tomorrow again.
thanks a million for your help and everyone else's
Tony
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Jim, your right it does grab ya if your at this stage. I was looking at the beginning of your door gaps in photos w/paintstick and I am impressed. I cannot get my doors fenders or quarters this flat. They all dive inwards at gap and to me this would take extensive metal work to get that stick flat. of coarse you can raise it up w/ bondo but then your door edges and fender edge become unrealistically fat. i tried to copy those photos of doors and 1/4's but could not. except for these fenders everything else is done awaiting final poly ester filler. Nothing should be this hard. it angers me when I see some people just slap on fenders and walk away. I even have decided to put new door skins on because i sanded them down to bare metal because there was too much bondo in doors and i have some good dents right in front of reinforcement brace that I cannot get behind. anyway took today off gonna hit it tomorrow again.
thanks a million for your help and everyone else's
Tony
I tried copying the photo's but the only way I could do it was to left click the picture in the album, then mouse over the picture and left click to enlarge it, then hit the PRT SC button (print screen), then open up paintshop and then hold down CTRL and then hit the letter V and the picture should then paste into paintshop. Then you can move it around, trim it, whatever and then save it as a file.

I know years ago when I did not know what I do now is I was using a lot of filler (what I've been calling a bodyman in a can) and I know what you are saying about edge thickness variations or a filler edge. I know on my doors, I would first get an idea what area's needed to be raised or lowered and did what I could with body hammers and dollies but it got to a point that I could no longer feel issues so I then shot the area's with primer and with a paintstick wrapped with sandpaper, started sanding the panel. If I started seeing bare metal appear I would stop and work the area down with a hammer and dolly and then sand some more. If I saw spots that the sandpaper did not even touch, I would raise the area again using my hammer and dollies. Eventually I got to the point of not breaking through down to metal and having the sandpaper scratch all of the panel.

Since I'm a novice, I had tried using my air file in spots but kept chasing issues as I could just not get it to work with the foam backer so I bought another sled, peeled off the foam, took some 1/4" thick plexiglass and cut it to be where the foam was at originally and glued it on. Now I had a hard surface on the backside of the sandpaper and got it to work better for me that way. I've seen guys using the air files with the foam backer but I just could not get it to work right OR I was expecting too much or did to much with it before switching sanding methods.





Another thing I used was Grandpa gave me some old lead files and they were perfect for wrapping sandpaper around them and using it to have a rigid sanding board. Granted they are only about an inch or so wide but it worked for me. Today, you can buy all type of sanding boards but I used what I had laying around.

Jim
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top