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Old 01-21-2005, 02:57 PM
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twisted body

Let me see if I can explain this in a way that makes sense- While reassembling the front suspension components on my 64-1/2 mustang I discovered that the body is evidently twisted because with the rear supported on jacks at the rear torque boxes(the jacks have been leveled) the front drivers side is about 3/4" higher than the right side at the shock tower when referenced to a level line. The doors and everything else seems to line up ok but I am concerned about how this will affect the wheel alignment. The frame shop I talked to won't touch it since the body and paint is finished but I have put a lot of time and money into this thing trying to do it right and I don't want to cut corners now. Is this enough to cause a problem or am I being concerned about nothing ?

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Old 01-21-2005, 03:00 PM
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That doesn't really sound too bad for a 40 year old car. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 01-21-2005, 07:51 PM
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Since you don't have the suspension on and the vehicle sitting on it, I wouldn't worry about it right now. You may find that everything is different when sitting on the tires.
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Old 01-21-2005, 07:54 PM
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Red, you don't mention where the front is on the stands and if you leveled anything there. You have to hold the car up at four points, usually the "torque boxes" at the front of the rear springs and at the front of the "frame" rails at the firewall. On your Mustang you could also use the rockers which are sort of the "frame" on that car.

After you have the front and rear leveled ON A FLAT SINGLE PIECE OF CONTRETE, can you measure the front towers. The thing is, you would have to have some SERIOUSLY obvious damage to "something" to create a half inch. Now, this is very possible if you hadn't mounted the fenders before. The towers ARE the top of the mounting for the fenders on that car. Soooo, if the top of the tower were that far off, (without obvious damage to the tower) that would mean the top of the fender would also be off, as well as the rad support on that side. If the fender mounted on with proper gaps, there is just no way that tower could be up that high (without the aforementioned obvious damage).


Explain in detail how you are measureing it. You don't need fancy equipment, I can walk you thru it but I need to know how you are doing it now so I can hopefully skip a lengthy part of the explaination.
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Old 01-21-2005, 08:46 PM
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Martinsr-Here is what I have at the moment-Working from four level corners(checked with laser level)-Rear of body supported with leveled jacks at rear torque boxes-Front right side frame rail supported by jack at firewall- left side frame rail about 5/8" high over jack leveled with the right side. Moving forward to the shock tower the difference between left and right is about 3/4" measured from a level reference line to the bottom of the frame rail at the center of the shock tower. The body as it sits is actually supported at three points as the left front jack which is level with the right front jack has the 5/8" clearance between the jack and frame rail. I hope I am making sense with this, if not I will try and get some pics.
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Old 01-21-2005, 09:18 PM
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That sounds a little freaky seeings how all the body panels are OK. Look that baby over good for previous damage. Someone might have done a great job hiding a major repair. Other wise it is difficult to measure out a uni- body. Might just wanna put it together and get an alignment man to check it out.
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Old 01-21-2005, 11:59 PM
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Oh yeah, this sounds a bit goofy alright. But lets do some testing.

First, forget the laser level, is the car on a flat surface? Best to be on one piece of concrete. If it is a nice smooth garage floor it will be good enough for government work. If it is split up into mulitple pieces, things can get screwy.


Forget how level the jack stands are, let's measure from the floor. Forget about how high or level the point where you are holding the car up. It may not be perfect there, lets concentrate on the BODY and how straight it is as unit.

Move the jack stands out to the rockers. You may want to put a piece of wood or something there so you don't damage them. But with so little weight (the car is disassembled right?) there shouldn't be a problem.

Measure the rockers down to the ground and see if you can make them all the same. If you can make them all the same, go forward and measure the shock tower and also the rad support to the floor. You can do the same at the rear "frame" horns to the floor.

At this point you can measure the wheel wells, door hinge bolts just about anything to check any part of the car to locate problem areas.

If you end up with the thing sitting on three jack stands and a 5/8" or so gap on the third as you have now, you do indeed have trouble. But BEFORE you panic, turn the car around in that same spot and do the measuring again. If you end up with the SAME corner being off the jack stand, "You have some splaining to do Lucy".

One of the most important things when you measure a car is to use as many different "control points" as you can to CONFERM your findings. NEVER go with one measurement.
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Old 01-22-2005, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
I discovered that the body is evidently twisted because with the rear supported on jacks at the rear torque boxes(the jacks have been leveled) the front drivers side is about 3/4" higher than the right side at the shock tower when referenced to a level line.
3/4" is not really enough to make a difference on anything. There can be that much difference from the factory due to the fact that the car is not assembled is a precision jig. Secondly what kind of laser level are you using. Is it a self leveling level or a bubble level with a laser pointer. Next the stands would have to be placed exactly in the same place in relation to the frame. And by exactly I mean within a few thousandths of the same place on the frame. Next thing is you really don't know how straight the frame is unless it was taken clear down ond placed on an absolutely flat table then start measuring reference points. That is one reason car manufacturers came up with shims. Look at any car that is a few years old and you will see more shims on one fender than the other. More shims on one upper control arm than the other. Body mounts tend to be compressed more on one side than the other. There are so many variables that 3/4 of an inch kind of becomes irrelevant. What does matter is door gaps, hood gaps, etc. So I would not really worry about it unless body parts do not start fitting right.

Kevin
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Old 01-22-2005, 09:35 AM
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Martinsr-Yes sitting on smooth concrete floor. Ok This morning I spun the body 180 deg. and get the same result. Since the body panels SEEMED to line up I have not been concerned about that until now. With all the front end sheet metal installed I really could not see any thing wrong at first but when I measure at the fenders I can see a slight problem. The guy from the frame shop said he did not think it would cause much of a problem with wheel alignment but I Know it is there and now I find that the body parts don't line up as well as I first thought. One would think that much twist would be noticeable but looking at the car from the front it seems to be ok and all the door and hood gaps appear to be alright. I bought this car with no fenders or hood on it and since I could see no damage I mistakenly assumed the body was straight and I just bolted on the new parts, did the minor body work needed and painted. The plain truth is I SCREWED UP! and now I need to figure out what to do about it.
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Old 01-22-2005, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kevin45
3/4" is not really enough to make a difference on anything. There can be that much difference from the factory due to the fact that the car is not assembled is a precision jig.
Kevin, "precision" is relative I guess but for manufactureing in 1965 that car was indeed built on precision JIGS, as many are used in manufacturing a car. 3/4" is HUGE, the tolerance that would be acceptable on that car is about five mm MAX (3/16) if you were doing a repair. On most "modern" unibody cars it is three mm(about an 1/8"), on a BOF (body over frame) like a Chevy pickup it is six mm (1/4).
I have seen some seriously hacked up cars in my life, I have never seen a 3/4" stack of shims (other than on a control arm for serious alignment changes), it is simply unacceptable on 99% of a car. On a suspension componant it is even more important. 3/4" on a tower height could mean as much as two or three degrees in negative camber, you can't correct something like that on this car with adjustment.

One of the biggest myths there is in street rodding or just modifying cars in general is that you need a "jig" to do any frame modifications or to set up suspension, BULL. A "jig" is nice if you are making many similar frames. At your "big boys" shops they have "jigs" for frame construction because they are making the same boring frames over and over. I have been in a number of them. They have a 32 and a 33-34 Ford frame "jig" to make up belly button SBC, TH350, 9" rear frames for 90% of the cars they build. What about the other cars they do? The last time I was at Roy Brizios shop in San Fran there was a 40 Willys (base ball hall of famer Reggie Jacksons) and a couple of other non-32-34 Fords (one of them being guitar legend Jeff Becks). They have no "jigs" for them, how do they do it? With a measuring tape, that's how. You could build a frame from scratch, just a pile of tubing laying on the floor, in your garage that is "Perfect" within a mm or two with just a measuring tape, I have done it. The "jig" is STRICTLY for speed (ease) in production, PERIOD.

Compression of body shims, componant "sag" over time, and a zillion other things as you pointed out will necessitate the need for shims but 3/4" of shims means a something is "wrong" not just "worn".

Last edited by MARTINSR; 01-22-2005 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 01-22-2005, 11:54 AM
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Martinsr-Ok thats it, I am going to find a frame shop that will fix this body twist and if I have to redo the paint and body work then that is the way it is going to have to be. Lesson learned! Thanks I do appreciate you taking the time.
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Old 01-22-2005, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by oldred
Martinsr-Yes sitting on smooth concrete floor. Ok This morning I spun the body 180 deg. and get the same result. Since the body panels SEEMED to line up I have not been concerned about that until now. With all the front end sheet metal installed I really could not see any thing wrong at first but when I measure at the fenders I can see a slight problem. The guy from the frame shop said he did not think it would cause much of a problem with wheel alignment but I Know it is there and now I find that the body parts don't line up as well as I first thought. One would think that much twist would be noticeable but looking at the car from the front it seems to be ok and all the door and hood gaps appear to be alright. I bought this car with no fenders or hood on it and since I could see no damage I mistakenly assumed the body was straight and I just bolted on the new parts, did the minor body work needed and painted. The plain truth is I SCREWED UP! and now I need to figure out what to do about it.

Oh boy, you do have some work ahead. But again, don't get discouraged as Kevin said, there could be still be some explaination. Did you put it the jack stands under the rockers as I suggested? And are you measuring down to the floor?

So, you didn't INSTALL the fenders prior to this? That is a big mistake, you are learning a lesson on this one. Of course if the body i twisted, evenly over the whole area the parts could fit reasonably well. If indeed the body is "twisted" (kind of unusual, damage usually is more locally located), this 3/4" is over a greater area and can be hard to notice. If you were to build the car and put it on the ground there will likely be a difference from the height of one fender well to another of approx. half the 3/4", that is not very good, but acceptable to many people. The wheel alignment "could" be cheated one side to the other and end up with an "acceptable" alignment. It is very hard to say if you could with all the variables or LACK of variables when doing an alignment. I say it "could" possibly be done but you will be "robbing Peter to pay Paul" and still end up with a "cross camber" where one side is just acceptable on one end of the specs and the other side is just acceptable on the other end of the specs. It "can" sometimes be done. Again, if that twist is over the whole body, you split the 3/4" in two. So the towers are actually 5/8" "apart" not 3/4". But 5/8" is a LOT in suspension alignment.


One of the things I would be concerned with as well is how did this damage occur? Or should I say, I would be damn curious as to how the heck this could be. Look at the front inner fenders, rad support. Look to see how it is welded to the firewall and to each other. Do the welds and just in general look the same side to side? In other words were some of these componants changed? Look to the rear and do the same thing, look side to side on the quarters and under body, does it look the same?

Look closely at where you placed the jack stands, do the areas look the same? And again, did you place the jack stands in a different place like under the rockers as I suggested?
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Old 01-22-2005, 12:27 PM
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I did move the stands to different places as you suggested and for the record the tops of the jacks are level with each other and the reference line that I am using. As much as I don't want to believe that this is happening the fact is that it is true. Is there someway to fix this myself? I am quite willing to tackle a big job and I will listen to advice even if I do make an occasional "minor" mistake.
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Old 01-22-2005, 12:58 PM
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Red, notice I have said a number of times, that you need to measure down to the floor. Forgive me if it sounds like I don't trust you but I don't like the "reference line that I am using". The "reference line" that you are using could be wrong. Don't "level" ANYTHING, just measure down to the floor. It may sound "caveman" but I assure you, there is a method to my madness. You don't need a "level" floor for that matter, you could measure out a frame with one both the wheels flat on one side. I am not going to get into how to do it, we don't have to go there.

Honestly, use the floor. Measure down to the floor at all the points I mentioned.

If this body is twisted that much, you won't be doing a thing, you will have to bring it to a shop with a good frame rack and a good bodyman to fix it. This is one job you just can't realisically pull off in your garage.

HOWEVER, this is why I am telling you to measure, MEASURE, MEASURE . And to look all over that car for a reason for this "twist".

I may sound like I "don't believe you" but it is only to CONFERM what you are saying. I would do the EXACT same thing if I were finding these results myself. When I measure out a car, be it the frame or simply the engine compartment for square, I do the EXACT same thing. Like any good scientist performs many different experiments to CONFERM his findings, you have to do the same.

I have MANY, MANY times found a first or second measurement to be unreliable. MANY, MANY times I end up with a COMPETELY different results after five or six. This happens for a number of reasons from using non symmetrical control points to very localized damage that isn't something to worry about in the big picture. All I know is, you REALLY need to look over WHY you ended up with these particular results in repairing something like this.
It may not be necessary for you to being you will likely be taking it to a shop, but this is what HE will be doing to make the repair. You might as well learn something about the procedure.
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Old 01-22-2005, 02:27 PM
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Martinsr- Here is what I have now....left and right side rear supported at the rocker panel close to the wheel well with 25-1/2" to the floor on both sides. Right side front at the rocker with 25-1/2" to the floor but the left side front measures 26" to the floor with no support. These measurements were taken the same distance from the rocker ends on both sides. I am puzzled now since now the frame rails at the shock tower seem to be a lot closer at 29-1/8" right side and 29-1/4" left side. This floor is smooth and appears level looking at it but I can't say for sure that there are no high and low spots. Anyway I put away my laser level(shucks, first use I found for the dang thing) and I did away with my reference line. Also no engine,tranny or interior for what that may be worth.
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