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11-01-2005 09:20 PM Fender Installation, part 2
There is hardly a part on this car that I haven't put on, and had to take back off for some reason. The fenders were no exception, and I put them on and took them off alot more than twice. The passenger side wasn't too big of a deal, but the driver side would not push in at the bottom. Fairly quickly I realized it was my home made patch panel was hitting on the front of the rocker. I gently pried it away with a stick of wood, and ground on it with the die grinder with a carbide de-burring bit, and this worked, but I ended up taking it back off again, and laying my finished fender in the grass because the inner lip was not bent forward far enough to safely clear the front edge of the door as it was opened. I also had to push in on the crowned part to slightly bend the metal, for better alignment. I was plenty scared of cracking bondo or paint, but everything turned out fine.

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  [Entry #49]

11-01-2005 09:13 PM Fender Installation
It's actually starting to look like a car again. Long way to go still. I've installed the top 'stay' pads and the well liner, but messing around with the back window, it's clear I'm in over my head, so I'm going to take it and have it done by someone who knows what they are doing. I'm going to drive it there, so I'll get the remaining fender installed, hopefully for keeps this time.

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  [Entry #48]

11-01-2005 09:04 PM Recovery and Assembly
The windshield is back in. The top mechanism works and all the side glass lines up. I hope I won't have to move any of the glass adjustments when the convertible top is installed. I'll be sure to leave all the interior panels off until then. One disaster at a time.

The passenger fender is installed, this time for real, not temporary, and with all the bolts and shims in place.

I've got most of the wide Supreme trim installed. I did not have the passenger door piece, but I found one for $30 on my trusty Oldsmobile message board, and I had it shipped down from Michigan.

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  [Entry #47]

11-01-2005 08:22 PM Glass Installation and Disaster Strikes
With the top mechanism assembled, I glued in the windshield and put on the outside A-pillar trim. I attempted to align the door glass to the top mechanism. It did not work. In one of the earlier front end collisions, apparently the cowl moved, as I could not get any of the glass to fit. The driver door had more than one inch overbite at the top rear edge. This is a weird situation, as Iwas not sure what to adjust or where to start. I measured the distance from the top of the windshield post to the front of the quarterpanels on each side. They were over 1 inch different!

I did alot of calling around before I could find a shop willing to work on this old of a car. I transported it up to have them pull the cowl forward, and instead they told me the frame was bent. This is a painted, almost finished car, and that was certainly not what I wanted to hear about it.

When I got it back, the door alignment was better, although it wasn't too bad to begin with. The windshield post measurements were different, but the glass still would not line up. As it turned out, they straightened the frame, but never pulled the cowl. I took it back to them, 11 miles away. When I got it back the second time, I saw the idiots had scratched both door jambs, (one will be completely covered by weatherstrip, and I guess I'll have to touch up the other one and just live with it. I certainly wouldn't trust them to match the paint, or wait another two weeks to get it back from them.

If those problems weren't enough, the side glass still wouldn't line up! When the 'professionals' couldn't figure it out, I decided to take matters back into my own hands. I removed the trim and cut the windshield back out. I used a chain and an industrial come-along hooked to the back of my old Ford pickup.

I determined that the passenger side windshield post was a half inch or so closer than the driver side, so I started there first. I pulled it forward and then had to over pull it so it would stay where I wanted it. It worked! I was now able to line up the door glass with the A-pillar.

The driver side was not as easy. It was more than one inch off, so I pulled it so tight I thought the cable might break. The cowl leaned forward to an insane degree. I was afraid of buckling a fender, so I took them back off. I heard all kinds of funny sounds, sheetmetal in the floor popping, etc, but when I let it go, it was never far forward enough.

Finally, I cranked it way forward, and used the die grinder to cut a slit in the post. It obviously pulled much easier now, and I got it where I wanted, and MIG welded the slit closed. It worked, and I did it without hurting any of the paint. The weld will be covered by the stainless A pillar trim. All's well that ends well I guess....

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  [Entry #46]

11-01-2005 06:48 PM More Chrome and the Top Mechanism
This was the top mechanism before I disassembled it, bead-blasted and spray bombed it with gloss black Rust Oleum. The top header was rusted away to nearly nothing but I got lucky on ebay and bought a whole other top mech from a LeMans in Nevada. It was rust-free. I had it disassembled and shipped to me for about $200. A repro header is available, but costs over $350, and I didn't know how it would fit.

I used the Nevada header and one of the other bows because mine was bent. I sold the remains of the disassembled mechanism also on ebay. I started the whole pile at $24.99 just to make it go away, and was amazed when it brought $150!

The top mechanism is assembled and installed. The threads were stripped on one of the top lift pistons, so I had to buy a new one. I'm such a rocket scientist, when the new one arrived, it was a different length-and 35 years newer- so I ordered another new one to complete the pair. When it arrived, it was different than the first new one! Finallly got that straightened out, and I've got most of the side trim and emblems on now.

I have not installed the fenders yet, because when I installed the door rubbers, I ended up having to move the adjustment on one of the doors. I hated that, because I had gone to such pains to paint with the doors on, and I ended up chewing up the paint on the bolts anyway. I also might need to move one or both of them when I start aligning the window glass to the top mech and A-pillars.

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  [Entry #45]

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