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Old 05-23-2018, 12:52 PM
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How to align 1932 Ford runningboards / fenders

I've got a bit of a sticky problem...

1932 Ford coupe, Kilbourne fiberglass body, frame and fenders.

Bought the car for a song, didn't drive it, didn't look at it close enough, but the amount of parts and the completeness of the vehicle didn't warrant the full inspection. After I get it home which prompted the repair of a fuel hose that dumped a gallon of gas on my floor... I noticed that the fenders were not even and that the whole body looked like it leaned towards the passenger side. Measuring the fenders, the passenger side was indeed 2.5" lower than the drivers, that's a problem...

The frame had about a 1/2" difference side to side, not huge and not something I was going to deal with right away.

The problem that exists besides the visual aspect is when turning left, especially with a passenger the right front wheel will rub the fender, I hate that noise.

Since the front of the fenders are tied together with the headlight cross bar I tried what I could to shim and adjust that only helped a little bit, still about 1 1/2" difference in height.

Looking farther back along the fenders the running boards look as if they are also leaning. The drivers side slope towards the body and the passenger side slope away from the body, this would make the front fenders lean to the right...

Problem is the body, frame and fenders are all painted to match, I don't want to willie nillie start removing things I don't need to in case the paint starts to chip or flake where it has been touching...

Would the best case be to remove the headlight spreader bar, then each front fender from the frame and at the running board, then remove the running board from the frame and rear fender section. Re align the front fenders then fit the running boards so that they match the front fenders and rear fenders and support themselves on the frame?

This is my first adventure into 32's and I am in love, but wish I was starting with a car that wasn't painted so I could work on the body fit and mechanical without scratching paint.
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Old 05-23-2018, 04:35 PM
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32 Ford

Without hands on it would be very hard to say one way or the other but I'm not sure you have defined the problem. First, why is the frame lower on one side? Does this lead to a compounding of errors that results in a larger problem? I would say the best thing to do is strip the fenders and running board off and find out why the frame isn't setting flat. This may be as simple as a shock problem or bent frame but that's the place to start. Because of the rubbing I suspect suspension problems. Let us know what you find. Ride looks good by the way. Love '32s!
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:17 PM
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As you drive the car the tire rubbing the fender will eat the fender away. My fender got well worn till I did just as 39 Master has suggested. It's easy to go blind to the small problems when the car looks as nice as yours.


454 RATTLER
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Old 05-24-2018, 09:25 AM
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The frame being off a 1/2" is quite a bit! Now, is it just height, is the frame closer to the axle on one side for instance, is it simply lower do to a suspension error? Or is the frame level in the front and rear but not in the center? That would be scary! But, you could fake things along the way to make what you have better.

You have to look at something like this as a country western line dance, you are NOT going to get this perfect from what you have told us. To mess up something to get one area "sorta ok" that may actually fit now very good so you can get another area that is totally unacceptable into a "sorta ok" fit may be needed!

Level the frame, see where the issue is there, then level the running boards then level the fenders with the front fender braces being last to level them. THEN the headlamp bar. You may find at that time the bar doesn't even go on, it could have screwed up ends on it and have forced the fender braces into the position they were in.

This is going to be a BIG project, be ready! Hogging out holes on those fiberglass parts, bending braces, grinding the edges of the fiberglass parts, shimming, this is going to be a BIG job from what you have told us.

Brian
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Old 05-24-2018, 09:37 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

I did not mention that for whatever reason the assembler chose to use different positions for mounting the rear coilovers. the axle has three holes, the passenger side was in the middle hole while the driver side was on the lower hole.. I moved them so they are both in the same hole, and eventually will fine tune the spring height, just that change leveled the front so the difference was less than .25". Better...

With a daughter nearing 2 years old and busy with a job I haven't had as much time lately as I'd have wanted to dig deeper into this. One option I've thought of pursuing is to just turn it into a high boy, but am I decreasing the value if I do that or is it still about the same? I definitely bought it right as I paid half with the original owner did to get it to Oregon. It sat in his garage since 2012, he never drove it, there were 61 miles on the odometer. He didn't get vin inspection, no Oregon title, just a bill of sale... DMV workers were very confused, but I did eventually get a 1932 Ford title branded as a replica.


I would think that aligning everything would start with the front fenders and the headlight bar, then the rear fenders then fit the running boards between the two... the front fit is the most important visually, and who knows, it could even be the glass fenders aren't even compounding my problem...
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Old 05-24-2018, 09:54 AM
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WAIT A MINUTE HERE! The shocks were in different mounting holes? LOLOLOL OMG that's a good one. Good catch there! That's what I was saying why in the world is the frame off? FIRST you have to find out why, and you did and were able to fix it, RIGHT ON!

So now that the frame is level the fenders are only a 1/4" off? I would think I would drive that baby with a smile on my face and that's it! How about the tire clearance? That may be fixed too.

I wonder if this is why the guy sold it? That would be pretty damn funny.

Brian
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Old 05-24-2018, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR View Post
So now that the frame is level the fenders are only a 1/4" off?
No dice, the frame is no essentially level, but the passenger side fender is still more than an inch lower than the drivers, that is measured at the wheel arch along the center line of the axle. Adjusting the coil over positions just helped level the frame.

Oh, I remembered, they are both on the upper holes and the coilovers are adjusted so the spring sits way down at the bottom of the threads. This means that there is only about 1.5" of up travel before the shocks bottom out... I need to get the right spanner so I can spin those back up the body and lower the mount positions for a little more up travel.

Front end is a sfa with a transverse spring, wish it was a ifs, but maybe someday...
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Old 05-24-2018, 04:11 PM
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32 Ford

Does it have sway bars front and/or back? Keep the fenders and keep the solid axle. Sounds like the car was built but never fine tuned body panels and suspension. Keep picking on it, it will come in fine.
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Old 05-25-2018, 09:19 PM
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martin is absolutely right. You always address the frame/rail first. So what you are saying is the left rail is up? Get a straight edge and find the bad rail X it out by measuring. If the rail is down you are in luck cause pulling up is easy with a bottle jack and a chain and heat from a torch. Pulling down would most likely require a rack/pulling tower/down pull wheel . If it's swayed you can call pull off a tree and a 10 porto with and reverse ram and some chains to keep the car in place, but obviously better done at a shop. Then do the panel re-alignment yourself. You will then perhaps find out that shims that were needed here and there are no longer needed and maybe see evidence that the seller knew about it and tried to hide it with shims. Most old cars that I worked on where there was rail damage thru the repair process you can conclude that owners of the cars knew and just hacked around it to conceal it. I'd say it's true on 9-10 old cars that later become trailer queens, well the ones that significant damage to hide.
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Old 05-26-2018, 12:03 AM
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it cant rub the fenders of there aren't any...

This is a brand new car with 100% new parts, did I say that part? With painted and detailed frame rails I'm reluctant to heat and do any significant frame adjustment. I hope I can sort it out via the suspension setup. Since everything is "Finger Tight", I doubt they did more than bolt it together so it could roll into a trailer.

Heck, they just tacked the exhaust...

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Old 05-26-2018, 06:23 AM
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Not something you want to hear but probably 'blowing' the car apart may be your only 100% fix. Whoever built the car evidently didn't know how these things go together. Or didn't care! Now that you have it, you may want to do full take down then rebuild to a better assembly that satisfies your needs.

The spreader bar for all intent, keeps the fenders from flapping. You need to bolt the fenders to the running boards and frame. Then you may be able to reinstall the spreader but you also may need to force everything in place - which in turn may damage your paint. Unfortunately, fiberglass, if not fully cured in a mold for days will continue curing when removed which may cause twisting and distortion even with premium parts - my Wescott fenders probably have 20-30 hours each with grinding, 'glass work and fitting just to get them close enough. Then there were many days of heat lamps to soften them so they could be relaxed enough to fit the spreader.

1/2" frame problem - too much. That needs to be fixed. Twisting, cutting and welding possibly.

What I'm saying is fix it once, but do it right with no real shortcuts. Yep, it will take some time and even more bucks but knowing you did it will make it worthwhile.

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Old 05-26-2018, 08:38 AM
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Is the frame straight or not?

Brian
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Old 05-26-2018, 08:50 AM
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If it is all "finger tight" then the car was not finished. Now we know it kinda sorta all goes together so now we do the final alignment and tighten it all up.. I would want to check the chassis to see that the chassis sets plumb square and level before mounting the body and fenders myself..

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Old 05-26-2018, 08:59 AM
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There are more things to fix than you would expect... I'm going to be going over all the major systems, getting the chassis level and set so it drives and steers well.

After that when putting the fenders back on, assuming I go that direction, do you start with the headlight spreader bar alignment then work your way back?

I will take some time this weekend and compare the two genders side by side too, I may be working with the deck stacked against me. The good news is the paying looks really good under the fenders, only a few scuff marks...

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Old 05-26-2018, 09:09 AM
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when I mentioned heat that's if it's needed. You first try without heat. Probably wouldn't even mess up the paint if pulled with a blanket and chain. You might think it's less work to ignore it but you might be wrestling and fighting to get a better look and may even scratch body panels dealing with the outcome of ignoring that rail. That's usually how things go when you cut corners. you eat it later or live with the results.
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