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Old 04-22-2009, 07:48 PM
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Body Shimming

When placing a body on a frame how much shimming is normal. Here is what I have: I have a 41 ford 2 dr sedan that I mounted on an S10 frame. The S10 frame has been shortened but is straight & square. My body mounts are straight and square as well. The wheel wells even line up with the axles!

Today I started to mount the body. I jacked the frame up and leveled it off (garage floor is not level ) Everything appears to be right but when I put the body on the passenger side sags about 3/4 to 1" If I add an inch then the body is level.

This seems like a lot to shim. Is that normal? If not does anyone have any tips?

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Old 04-22-2009, 09:04 PM
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Have you checked to see what is out of square on the body?

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Old 04-22-2009, 10:38 PM
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sounds like everything is true but the body. are the body mounts level? is it the actual body thats out? measure, measure, measure. the answer is in the math. it's frustrating and time consuming, but some of the older bodies weren't square to begin with.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:12 PM
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How much of the 41 floor did you cut out?
When you say your body mounts are square and what reference points are they square and level?

Are your doors and trunk lid mounted and can they be shut so they line up? Never attempt to level one of those old full frame cars without the doors on, you will have to reshim when you go to fit them.

I have found many times that the bottom of the older bodies are not square, the bottom edges and floor are rarely level with the top, the reveal lines and wheel wells are not the same from side to side either. When I set a body on a frame to shim up to level, the frame is leveled with a good 4' or 6' level and I don't even look at the shop floor..if I want to use the floor as a datum line, I set a bar on the floor and level that, then I take side to side measurements from the bar.

The prominent body points I use as a reference are the ones you will see, like the roofline, windshield lower opening, top of the cowl, top of the rear deck panel, bottom edge of the lower panel below the trunk...things that will be seen as out of level when you look at the car are more important than measurements. It is easy to see if the lower panel is off, you have a visual parallel line when you look at a lowered car and can see the pavement. It is easy to see if a roofline is out of whack when you park the car on level ground in front of a shiplap sided house..Those lines are picked out straight away by a guy who knows whet he's looking at. I don't know too many people who can look at the tops of fenders or door bottom edges and see if they are out of level from side to side.

If the frame is level, sometimes I use a construction level mounted on a tripod to sight in the highest visible points of the body to set it up so it will look level when the car is done.

Sometimes I set the frame up level, then tack a level board on a wall behind it to sight against.

I have had to add as much as 3/4" to one side of one of those older bodies to get it level on a leveled frame.

Don't try to make everything square and perfect on any car built before will lose your mind. Honest.

my signature lines...not really directed at anyone in particular..

BE different....ACT normal.

No one is completely useless..They can always be used as a bad example
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:05 AM
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Shimming an old Ford (my limit of knowledge) can be a study in frustration. I spent hours, if not days doing my '31 roadster and then drove the car to another stall in the back of my house a few days ago. Guess what - I need to redo the left side. When I opened the driver's side door, I lifted a paint chip at the upper body reveal - a place that had about .125 clearance earlier. The body "sagged" at the first body to frame mounts. No big deal - but it means another few hours loosening and tightening and slipping shims in and out. That's my project for this morning. I've been using alignment shims and they work well, are in several thicknesses plus have that tab to hold on to while moving them around.

Dave W
Irelands child
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