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Old 12-28-2012, 08:01 PM
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panel alignment on 55 Chevy's

is it me or are these cars a nightmare to line up? I noticed the cowl gets pushed back easily on these (3rd one where I noticed) and it closes up the gap on the windshield pillar, so you can have nice gaps on the door but up top you have no gaps. I used a porto power and 2x4 lightly but you can't do much cause you will have more gap up top in the rear than the bottom to the quarter. So I cut a slice on the windshield pillar and opened it up, and had to do away with the darn lead. I noticed the door hinge bolts for the two inside the hinge pocket have washers with huge teeth and it can very easily fool you into thinking you have no more movement, but you probably do. I also notice the door gap to the cowl is always the one that will never be right unless you weld a bead. I dunno, just a few things I noticed but I bet someone's out there that knows a lot about the quarkyness of lining these things up. Any odd tips or common things to look for? Any tip appreciated.

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Old 12-29-2012, 06:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tech69 View Post
is it me or are these cars a nightmare to line up?
You got that right! I had to slice the rear posts on a wagon to get the lift gate to fit, and weld a bead to get any of the door gaps right. I have a lot of original parts so switching hoods worked on the front----after the 3rd or 4th one, and they were all different. There seems to be good reason why these cars have a lot of adjustment points on them.

There isn't a lot you can do with the hood gap, so I kind of let it set the gap for the rest, even though I start with the door to 1/4 gap and work forward.
The assembly manual says the gaps should be 1/16-3/16 which is very tight and you don't see many with that consistantly all around.
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:05 AM
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I will second that one as well. Did one of these nightmares a year or so ago. The drivers door just would not fit to the winshield pillar no matter what. I ended up longating the hinge to door brackets and still had a hell of a time getting the door to move to where I wanted it. Then had to reshape the bottom of the door to quarter (cut and reweld). The passenger door fit no problem go and figure??
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Old 12-29-2012, 07:19 AM
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They slapped them together back then, And now when we put them back together our attention to detail makes it a PITA. The price to pay for a perfect gap! CAR OR WOMAN LOL!!
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevymon View Post
You got that right! I had to slice the rear posts on a wagon to get the lift gate to fit, and weld a bead to get any of the door gaps right. I have a lot of original parts so switching hoods worked on the front----after the 3rd or 4th one, and they were all different. There seems to be good reason why these cars have a lot of adjustment points on them.

There isn't a lot you can do with the hood gap, so I kind of let it set the gap for the rest, even though I start with the door to 1/4 gap and work forward.
The assembly manual says the gaps should be 1/16-3/16 which is very tight and you don't see many with that consistantly all around.
thanks for that. I do notice it seems they're just meant to be tight.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mr4speed View Post
I will second that one as well. Did one of these nightmares a year or so ago. The drivers door just would not fit to the winshield pillar no matter what. I ended up longating the hinge to door brackets and still had a hell of a time getting the door to move to where I wanted it. Then had to reshape the bottom of the door to quarter (cut and reweld). The passenger door fit no problem go and figure??
wow, that's exactly the issue we're having. Driver door super tight up top but the passenger door pretty good all around. We can see marks in the door jamb of the actual door once being pushed into it. So maybe someone just adjusted the door forward and let it fly.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:10 AM
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They slapped them together back then, And now when we put them back together our attention to detail makes it a PITA. The price to pay for a perfect gap! CAR OR WOMAN LOL!!
love the quality of metal then but I agree, a nightmare! Seam sealing the big gaps all around is just a joke. They don't make the stuff thick enough!
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:41 AM
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If you think you can get the old cars to have the gaps you see on the newer stuff you'll drive yourself crazy. Most just fit good enough to get the door shut. If you get it right in one spot it will be off somewhere else. The name of the game use to be get it close and let it go.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:19 PM
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But of course it comes down to what are your expectations and passion. If you want them to fit perfect, I mean flawless, all it takes is time.

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Old 12-29-2012, 04:17 PM
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I think I can wing 3/16" gaps all around on these but the only obstacle is time permitted. The boss tells us the guy wants close to 3/16" all around but he's not willing to pay enough to measure every little area and be super critical. Would be nice but I want to keep my job. It's just gotta look good...but even that is a pain in the arse on these 50's cars.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:38 PM
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Mercedes sells a cool feeler gauge set for panel gaps. You could make one with plexi glass or something of the sort of a few different thicknesses. Typically you are using only a few so you could make one up for this car then when with the next one make that one and so on until you have a number of them in your tool box.

Brian
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:46 AM
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I use two shims welded together and it equals 3/16" exactly. Like I said, on this job it doesn't have to be exact. Just close.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:16 AM
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Using welded shims as a guide, never thought of that, good one.

And speaking of shims, fender shims are pretty limited.



How about front end alignment shims? There are way more, going all the way down to 1/32" They are nice to have around.





Brian
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:30 PM
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nice shim kit. Sure beats our little plastic bag of randomness. We're getting there though. Just got a brand new lift so eventually we'll get a vise and a bolt bin...one day.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:37 PM
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If all panels line up on a 55 its already ben welded cut or fitted ,demand was so high for the all new 55 chevy tolerance was not an issue
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