Fender and Hood Alignment Issues
I'm having a problem getting the front end of my 69 Firebird aligned. The fenders and hood are all Dynacorn. I see 2 main issues right now. First, the hood seems to have a bow in it. I have it flush with the fender at the front and back on both sides but in the middle of the fender the hood is about .250" higher. Any idea how I should go about handling this?
I can't seem to get enough gap between the fenders and the hood. The edge of the hood does not seem to be a 90 degree bend, it is more like 80 degrees and then it takes a 40 degree bend back away from the outside.
It looks sort of like this
I have the doors adjusted as far out as they will go. If I shim the fender out to set the gaps for the hood they stick out further than the door. I'm thinking about drilling out all the welds on the side of the hood and rewelding it so that the side of the hood is 90 degrees. Anyone had to deal with something like this before. Thought I'd check before tearing up a brand new hood.
Pics might help someone on here give you better help and see a little better what is going on. Sorry, I haven't worked on one or with those parts.
My boss bought a dynacorn 69 camaro shell, and other new parts, fenders, hood ect. I didn't work on it and see exactly what they did, but do know they had some issues with fit, and it took some beating around and adding on to get good gaps. I think they said the right fender was really bad. Seems to be the norm with many of the aftermarket parts, need some modification, beating around and bodywork to get fitting correctly, but unfortunatly it is often about the only choice you have to work with today. Also the older cars didn't exactly fit perfect from the factory.
Did you try any sites dedicated to the firebird, that will likely get more view from others working on the same car, and more likely to have one find your thread who has already dealt with those parts? Here is just one site dedicated to the firebird, with a forum, and also read through the faq's and the thread I'll link to.
First off make sure your subframe or anything isn't bent (did your old parts fit fine?) and that everything is sitting level like those faq's say.
I'd hate to give you wrong advice and have you ruin anything, but some possible ideas, so take it fpr what its worth, not having previously worked on that car or with those parts.
If your hood edge bows in the middle but is flush in the front and back, you might possibly able to place a block of wood under the areas where it is flush, and persuade the edge flush to the fenders in the middle by using a decent sized block of wood and hitting with a hammer along the edge or maybe even putting some of your weight and pressure on it will be enough.
You say the fender gap to hood is tight.Its a lot tougher to take off the edge to get the right with gap then it would be to add on to the edge.
Is the door to quarter gap flush and is it even with the rocker? It might be possible to work the fender edge flush with the door if you set your hood to fender gap. But the top and specially the body line could be difficult. Is there a fender bolt iinside the door when you open it, that should help hold that area in flush as well, if you can get it pushed in far enough.
Sometimes when persuading something like a fender edge or a door edge in, I'll even sit my butt on the floor and use my foot to put some pressure on it. But if the top of the fender sticks out from the door when you set the right width gap at the hood, maybe you could get a wider fender to hood gap if you bolt down the fender and set it flush at the door, and use a block of wood and hammer along top edge of the fender, and hit out away from the hood to get a wider gap between the fender and hood.
Here is an article on panel alignment (Click here) "Basics of Basics" but you have WAY more than the "basics" to deal with here. I have been in this business over thirty years and my skin shivers just thinking of installing ANY repro set of fenders and hood on a 60s car let alone what I have found to the worse junk you can buy, Dynacorn.
The "massaging", pushing, "tweeking", bending, hogging out holes, needed on these parts is way beyond what you would ever have to do with original pieces. I would rather install trashed and rotted original pieces and repair them, than Dynacorn parts.
Do you have the originals?
And by the way, "Team Camaro" is probably the best site you will ever find on the Camaro/Firebird body. There is a great bunch of guys over there that live and breath these cars. Click here for Team Camaro
I've never used Dynacorn stuff prior and didn't know it would be this bad. I do have the originals but the bottoms are rusted and I took at least 1/2" of filler off most of both fenders.
The car is buried in the garage so I won't be able to get pictures until this weekend. I replaced the body mounts last weekend and the fender alignment is actually worse. I have 1/2" between the right fender and door and 5/16" between back of the door and quarter panel. The firewall mounting bracket on the fender is against the firewall so the fender is back as far as it will go without moving it - not sure bending it will make enough of a difference.
I printed out the Basic of Alignment paper and will give it a try this weekend.
After market parts "RESEMBLE" the original. Very rarely do they fit. Start with the hood to cowl. That gap has to be right. Then you can look at the fenders, and nose. They probably will be to narrow or to wide, the wrong shape, lacking hole that hit any thing, and are not straight.
The only thing that is good about the stuff is-- it is not rusty " yet"
Dave's Hot Rod Shop KC Mo.
I would dig out the original fenders. I am not kidding you, replace the patch panels, repair the fender, you will have the same time as the dynacorndog parts but have an ORIGINAL part on the car instead of a Taiwan part.
I have litterally pulled a fender off the back of the steel collectors truck and repaired it and returned a repro one once. NO KIDDING!
I have pulled undamaged repro parts off finished, painted cars and replaced them with repaired originals because the owner was so unhappy with the repro part.
I avoid them at all costs.
"If the repro companies wanted to be honest they would say in the catalog: Similar to original, can be used if nothing else is available."
what was said is very true. i just replaced the rear quarters on my 68 cougar. i needed to replace outer wheel well for the drivers side.well i ordered from a cougar book for 68 cougar. the part shows up with mustang sticker on it and tiwan.it wasn't close to the right part , i put 6 or more hours of work into that peice to get it to fit up. you can bet i did everything i had to , to save the passenger side. use the factory parts if at all possible.
The hood bow can be tuned with a 2X4 and a BFH to match the contour of the fender. If the hood seems too wide at the rear make sure to check it against your cowl panel-many times these hoods need to be pulled up in the center for more curve in the rear and this also decreases the width of the hood making your gaps at the fenders. The factory spec'd the front fenders on these cars to not be flush with the doors-they should be out from the doors .060"- .100" for door clearance so if a flush lexus type fit is wanted plan on making some modifications. The mods usually involve tweaking the front edge of the door out and taking some of the bow out of the fender with proper shimming-also sometimes the flange at the rear of the fender where the door swings in needs to be trimmed for door clearance. None of this stuff is easy and does take time. Proper radaator support is also necessary and the way these subframes bolt on and the fact that they usually are a little tweaked or sagged from years of use also can make for some alignment headaches. During a complete resto I usually prefit all the sheetmetal with the subframe off and the core support setting on screw jacks making sure the car is level from front to back-then on final assembly I shim the subframe mounts to get the core support height exactly where it needs to be. As little as 1/8" height difference on the core support mounting points can cause bows in the fenders. And definately the fenders shouldn't be under a lot of stress when installed properly-I've seen guys jack up under the cowl area to get the fender to fit then when the jack pressure is off the fender contorts from the strain of the vehicle weight-not good.
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