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Customs Panel gaps.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flynbrian48, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,220

    flynbrian48
    Member

    I’m getting my ‘52 DeSoto back together and ready for paint. I’m struggling to be happy with park fit, realizing this is a ‘52 and standards are different.

    The hood fit is terrible. On the left side there’s a pretty consistent gap of 3/16” to 1/4”. The right side varies from less than 1/8 at the front edge to 1/2” at the center to 3/16” at the rear corner. In the center all of the little rubber bumpers are visible and are nowhere near the hood lip. I can get it a bit better by adjusting it at the hinges, but the only way I see to “fix” the gap in the middle would be to weld some 1/4” rod to the hood and blend it wits flap disk.

    Am I being too fussy here?
    IMG_1495.JPG IMG_1494.JPG


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  2. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,220

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Another look at the front corner... IMG_1496.JPG


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  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,849

    squirrel
    Member

    Looks to me like the fender is bent.
     
  4. DIYGUY
    Joined: Sep 8, 2015
    Posts: 883

    DIYGUY
    Member
    from West, TX

    No, you’re not being too fussy. I’m thinking the fender needs to move to match the hood. What I’ve learned from mine is the front of the fender needs to “rotate”. In your case counter clockwise looking at the front of the car. Got enough play for that?
     
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  5. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,849

    squirrel
    Member

    Take a picture of the fender, from the front...looking along the side of the car. Step back a bit, so you get the whole fender a in the picture.
     
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  6. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,406

    indyjps
    Member

    Not being too fussy. If you dont fix it now itll bug you forever.

    Fender to hood line is open and not very consistent in the horizontal.

    Front hood to fender is tight, consider if the front of your hood crown has been flattened, the hood is wider. Can you pull on front of hood from center to passenger fender to put more radius in it and shorten the side to side measurement to improve the fit at the fender. Hood also sets back from the fender, get that line straight ( pull corner hood out to align with fender edge, or push fender in to align with hood)

    If that doesnt work, Id consider pie cutting that corner of the fender. Once the tight spot at hood to fender is figured. Look at the rest of hood to fender line and get it consistent.
     
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  7. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,406

    indyjps
    Member

    How does the drivers side look?
     
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  8. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,800

    flatford39
    Member

    It didn't come from the factory with those gaps. Who knows whats been done to it over the years. I agree with others I think the fender needs tweeking.
     
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  9. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 3,034

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Setting the gaps is probably the hardest part of building a nice car. It would appear that the front end sheet metal has been removed from your car at one time...or replaced with that from another car.

    To deal with what you've got you'll need to loosen ALL the front end sheet metal bolts, including the core support-to-frame bolts, to allow the components to move around somewhat freely. Then lube the hood hinges so there is no binding. Begin the re-assembly by setting the gap across the back of the hood where it meets the cowl. Front to back and side to side.

    If all the parts were born on your car and it has not been wrecked you should have enough adjustment to nudge them all around until they gap properly to the hood. You should be able to accomplish this without slotting any holes or putting any great amount of pressure on the parts to get them into place.

    If, on the other hand, the car has been wrecked and repaired or the front end sheet metal transplanted from another car you will have to deal with it one bolt at a time, making modifications wherever necessary to get each part to mate gracefully to the hood...and then to each other. The undamaged and properly gapped-at-the-rear hood is the key to the puzzle.

    Yes, doing it right is a lot of work. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  10. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,693

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Block of wood and hammer time.
    Look for signs of prior damage. Those gaps resemble a very minor prior boo boo
    If there is no further adjustment you have to move things where you want them.
    Sometimes this looks a little brutal.
    The gap along the hood could be 2 things.
    A bad stamping or damage. Possible that the inner fender may need to be adjusted or ‘tweaked’
    Pushing the fender forward (not an adjustment but using a porta-power to ‘stretch’) will cause that gap to close. But what will it change at the front? That’s the fun part. Another possible way would be a slide hammer and 90* flat hook to ‘persuade’ that gap to close. The same question follows. What will it change in the front.
    The front of the hood could be tweaked to move forward on the bottom edge.
    The inconsistent gap along the front edge of the hood to fender gap indicates a twist in the fender.
    I always start from the cowl and move forward. I would tackle the wide gap at the center of the fender and move forward.
    No matter what ya do, patience and some experimenting will be involved.
    do not make drastic decisions while frustrated.
     
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  11. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,688

    J. A. Miller
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Central NY

    That will be nice when it's no longer "turd brown"!
     
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  12. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,680

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    How does the door fit the fender Brian? Lippy
     
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  13. You’re not being too fussy.
    Something moved the fender edge aroundAnd away from the hood.
    So you could move the hood to the fender via the quarter inch rod and flap disc. Probably a couple hours each side, have it all behind you by lunchtime.
    Or you could move the fender edges back to the hood with who knows how much effort. If you’re going for a perfect restoration then you need to move the fenders.
     
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  14. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,693

    anthony myrick
    Member

    I fixed the gaps on a 59 impala with a similar situation. The gap in the middle was wider than the ends.
    noticed the fender had been repaired before.
    With the fender securely mounted on each end, I worked the fender with a slide hammer.
    I didn’t kill it, but used the flat 90* end to work the fender edge in. Several slight bumps with the hammer brought the gap in with no added damage to the fender. .
     
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  15. in my opinion, cutting and welding is a last resort when the quality or value reaches it's limit. I have fixed stuff before that was, cut/pieced /welded by a previous repair only to find when i aligned EVERYTHING else the cut pieces had to be put back the way they came originally. sometimes it is the only way...but MOST of the time not.just my experience
     
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  16. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,220

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Don't I know it! That's the worst color ever, but it does go with the puke beige roof...
     
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  17. I had the same problem with our '54 Ford wagon and as Jim pointed out my fender had a slight tweak, the only way to remedy the problem after the fender was painted was to use some washers as spacers around the front. HRP
     
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  18. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,220

    flynbrian48
    Member

    That fender had a VERY small dent, about baseball size, in the front that had been skillfully filled with Bondo over the original beige paint. (Sarcastic emoji inserted here) It doesn't seem like much, but I suppose it could be enough to have distorted the flange at the top where it meets the hood. Block of wood, hammer, and port-o-power time...
     
  19. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,693

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Absolutely.
    I will cut and weld them after all other means have been exhausted. I have even set em up on frame benches and fixed a gap.
    I also will not modify a gap until it’s sitting in its natural state. That’s on its wheels with the major components installed
     
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  20. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,220

    flynbrian48
    Member

    That gap is perfect, which made me hesitant to try to move the fender, because that gap would then be wonky. The hood really fits for shit, although as I said, by photos of when it arrived it's marginally better than it was. I'll get it, I just looked at the gaps and thought, "Now what do I do with THIS?"
     
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  21. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,849

    squirrel
    Member

    The reason I asked for that other picture, is that often when a fender is hit at the front, it will bulge out over the wheelwell. This is how you spot that...sight down along the fender, and see if it's bulged. If so, that tells you the fender is out of shape, and you'll never be able to get the gap right, until you fix what's causing it. Usually it's metal stretched out of shape, below the headlight.

    The bad gap at the hood is just a symptom.
     
  22. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,693

    anthony myrick
    Member

    Fix the dent as ya fix the gap. If they are affecting each other the gap may relax as you work the dent.
     
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  23. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,966

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Is the gap at the drivers door good? IIs it possible that the front end has moved left at the front?
     
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  24. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,220

    flynbrian48
    Member

    The door gaps are good and equal side to side. I loosened the fenders and shoveled things a bit, and hit some things with hammers. It’s better, not perfect. I think it’s the hood that’s “off”. A couple smacks with a heavy hammer and a block of oak and teeny bit of pressure with the Port-O-Power moved the lip enough that the right side is almost ok. A little more might get it close enough to pass without cutting anything. IMG_1498.JPG


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  25. DIYGUY
    Joined: Sep 8, 2015
    Posts: 883

    DIYGUY
    Member
    from West, TX

    looks better! I know nothing about that brand but my front end on my 56 ford is supported right in the middle and, when enough bolts are loose you van teeter the whole front on that middle connection and side to side slightly. Might find the sweet spot somewhere in there. Patience !
     
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  26. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,849

    squirrel
    Member

    looks pretty good. Can you move the fenders apart from each other, at the grill opening? That would get the gap more uniform, and also hopefully prevent chipping paint so easily at the front of the hood and fenders.
     
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  27. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,220

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Well, not easily. They're held together HARD by the hood latch support (which you can't see) the gravel pan behind the bumper (which you can see) and an inner gravel pan between the exposed pan and radiator (which obviously, you can't see). There's no "adjustment" with these and the fenders, no shims, no real room for shims, they are where they are. There's really not much adjustment ANYWHERE, the hood hinges have minimal adjustment as well. It's kind of like a modern car in that the parts go where they go.
     
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  28. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 7,220

    flynbrian48
    Member

    LOL, it's certainly possible, since my measuring skills are somewhat sub-par. Note the work at front wheel openings to accommodate the 1" longer wheelbase...
     
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  29. looks to me like the nose is over to the left. also evident in one of the first photos of the gap between the back/top of fender along the cowl. fix the dent, push the nose to the right, and start ALL the adjustments again.
     
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  30. IMG_1495.JPG
    looks like it gets wider as it goes back?
     
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