NOS fender fit

Discussion in 'Color is everything!' started by BQUICK, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. IDOXLR8

    IDOXLR8 Senior Member

    Bruce did the body shop say they could fix it with out repainting the whole fender? AL.

    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    He hemmed and hawed.....ended up saying yes. I'm going to try a few things before I haul it back down there.......
  3. abodybill

    abodybill Well-Known Member

    Shimming those 3 bolts will push the wheel well down .It will not bring the fender up .Any good body guy should be able refinish blend the paint on the fender.If it was mine i would drill out the spot welds & fit the fender to the hood then install a couple of flat headed wheel open molding screws for a temp fix no one will notice unless you open the hood.

    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    What if I put a little pursuasion on them in terms of a hammer? Bring the inner fender up with it?

    Don't :blast: me!:laugh:
  5. Duane

    Duane Member

    My NOS fenders stayed on the car when I sold it. The guy that bought the car was a professional body guy and fixed them.
  6. abodybill

    abodybill Well-Known Member

    Hammer and bending is not going to work. Your problem is the outer fender skin Which is attached to the fender frame.
  7. pglade

    pglade Well-Known Member

    The paint is the easy part---as the top of the fender skin makes a 90 degree turn downward (next to the edge of the hood) they can easily mask and paint below that point. No need for spot "touch ups, etc"----they will roll the edge of the masking paper back for a soft blend of the new paint on the inner lip and the "old" new paint...this should all be done on the VERTICAL SURFACE and there will be no reason whatsoever for paint to be needed on th outer skin that you see with the hood shut.

    MARTINSR Well-Known Member

    Ok guys, I have to tell you, I have never installed an NOS fender on one of these cars. I have however installed MANY, MANY used, "different" original and others on every sixties and seventies cars imaginable and have never found the need to drill these spot welds out and change the relation of the top of the fender outer skin with the inner brace. The NOS fenders are NOT "rejects" off the line, at least not from what I am told. I know a guy who built these cars on the line in the Fremont plant and he has told me that is an old wives tale. But you never know, I just don't buy it myself.

    Anyway, back to the fender. This is the important question, HOW DID THE OLD FENDER FIT WITH THAT HOOD??? If the answer is the same or you don't know because you never had THAT hood installed on THIS car with a fender and THIS radiator support before being the car was a basket case when bought or this is a different hood than you ran or what ever all your assumptions that THIS fender is the problem go right out the window. If you have not had another fender on THIS car with THIS hood and THIS rad support without any other variance like the body has been off the frame and all that, you have no idea if any other fender would fit any better and have no idea if it isn't the HOOD or other issue causing the problem!

    These hoods bend VERY, VERY easy. If the hood hinge gets a little crusty and tight, the hood WILL bend. And it will bend in the middle while closing and it will then have a hump up in the middle just you describe.

    1. Is the fender and hood at the exact same height at the front and the rear?
    2. Or is the rear a little higher right at the back?

    I can't tell from the photo but it sure looks like the hood is up at the back as well, just not as bad. I am amazed at how many bodymen don't know how to adjust the rear of these hoods. The hinge has to "rotate" back by RAISING the front of the hood to lower the rear. I have worked with guys in this business for twenty or thirty years and they will be fighting a hood and I tell them to raise the front of the hood hinge to lower it and they look at me like I just told them I could bend steel with my mind. It blows me away how many guys don't know this. Your height in the middle of the hood can be changed quite a bit by lowering the rear. It may not be perfect but it will be as good as you remember it fitting before the paint job and body work.

    Sometimes it is what I call the "Bestest" fit. That is where instead of one area being perfect and another area being horrible you get both areas "ok". :Brow:

    It is VERY, VERY common to bend a hood into place. That being a new hood from GM or Toyota or what ever on a 2006 car, it is VERY common. To need to bend panels to get them perfect or "close enough". It is of course the last resort after shimming or adjusting adjacent panels or mounts like that rad support but it is VERY common.


    MARTINSR Well-Known Member

    Basics of Basics Body panel alignment
    By Brian Martin

    Nothing adds to detail on a car more than nice fitting panels. If the car is a light color it is even more important. Those black lines that are the gaps between panels really look bad if they are not a consistent width. While using this guide and aligning your panels be sure that you open and close the moving ones very carefully after a change. You can loose the gap fast which will allow the panels to hit, so be careful.

    I have to start with this very important point. ALWAYS have the car sitting on its wheels or at the very least the weight of the car should be on the axles. That being if you want it on jack stands to raise the car up and give you more access to the bolts and such, place the stands under the control arms as and rear axle. They should be out as far as possible towards the wheels. This can still cause problems on the front. Even in a little from where the tire actually holds the car up can change the amount of pressure being exerted on the cars body. A car can be twisted or bent more than you can imagine up on jack stands when the stands are set on the frame allowing the weight to hang off the ends. This is VERY, VERY important. Of course this goes for anytime a panel is being fit, either welded or bolted on.

    Hood alignment: Lets start with raising and lowering the rear of the hood. If the car you are working on has a hinge that sits on top of the cowl, your only options are to shim or bend the hinge. Bending the hinge slightly is one way to move it. If you need to come up in the rear you can put a small block of wood or other item on the hinge, to bend it. When you close the hood down (NOT ALL THE WAY) it will get in the way of the hood closing and bend the rear or the hinge up. If you need to bend it down, the only option may be to remove it and bend it a little. You can also shim the bolts between the hood and the hinge, more on this later.
    If you have a hood where the hinge mounts on the side of the fender or the side of the cowl like with an older car or truck, you want to "rotate" the hinge on the fender. Just pushing the hinge up and down will give you very little movement on the top of the hood.
    This is the strange little trick that you have to remember, if you raise the back of the hood on the hinge or raise the back of the hinge on the fender the hood will go up. If you raise the "front" of the back of the hood ON THE HINGE or the hinge to the fender it will go down. What you have to remember is you are working with a pivot point in the hinge, not a stationary part.
    If you loosen the FRONT bolt on the hood (where it bolts to the hinge) and put a shim, or washer between the hood and hinge, this will LOWER the hood on that side. If you put that same washer under the rear bolt it will RAISE the rear of the hood on that side.
    So, if you loosen the bolts from the hinge to fender and close the hood, the hinge will rotate on down in the front right? This will raise the REAR of the hood like putting a shim in the back bolt between the hinge and hood!
    What you need to do to lower the back the hood is to loosen the bolts (only slightly) and PUSH UP on the front of the hood. This rotates the hinges back, thus raising the front of the hinge and lowering the hood in the back.
    If the hinges are warn out it wont change how high the hood sits when the wear, not by more than a fraction of an inch. And I have never seen a car with these style hinges that you couldn't put the hood a half inch LOWER than the fenders if you wanted to. The adjustment is HUGE on these cars. That is one of the things that is easy to do on them is align panels.
    I recommend you remove the striker or latch from the hood so that you can move it up and down without worrying about the latch grabbing the hood. After you have aligned the hood, take a piece of dumb-dumb or clay or something similar and put it on the latch. This way you can see exactly where it hits when you do install the latch. You bring the hood down till you just tap this dumb-dumb but DON'T LATCH IT. Just so the hood makes an indentation in the clay/dumb-dumb. This tells you where you have to move the latch.
    I do this at work everyday, by myself so if you can't get help this is the trick. Always leave one bolt on the hinge tight. If you want to rotate it back, leave the front bolt tight. If you want to rotate it forward, leave the rear bolt tight. When you move the hood forward or back on the hinge, leave the bolts snug enough that you have to tap on the edge of the hood to get it to move. Or if it needs to go back, leave the bolts a little snug, and wiggle the hood up and down and the weight of the hood will make it slide down. Remember it only needs a 1/16" or so to make a 3/16" or more change at the front. To pull the hood forward on the hinge loosen them so they are still a little snug so you have to pull up on the back of the hood to make it slide that little bit. If you loosen it up so it moves anywhere you want it, YOU WILL NEVER KNOW HOW MUCH YOU MOVED IT AND YOU WILL MOVE IT TOO MUCH, GUARANTEED.
    Get the hood laying flat first, then move the hood forward or back on each side to make the hood fit the hole between the fenders. If the gap is large on the front right and small on the front left, then the hood needs to me moved back on the right side. As you move the hood back on a side it will close up the gap in the front of that side and open it at the rear of that side.
    You may need to move fenders too. Just do each change slowly, move it VERY LITTLE. Look at the bolt and washer as you move the panel, you will see where the washer used to be, the amount is much easier to control if you watch the washer movement.
    If you need to move the hood up or down at the front, you have a few ways to do it. First, on each side there are the bumpers. The hood bumpers are located at each front corner and look like a bolt with a rubber pad on top. Just unlock the jam nut and raise or lower the bolt so it holds the hood at the height you need to match the fender. You may find that the hood wont go low enough even with the bumper down far enough. The latch may not be down far enough. When you close the hood, you shouldnt be able to pull up on the hood or push it down. The latch should be tight enough to hold it against the bumpers tight, but not too tight. If you have to apply too much force to open the hood or it opens with a loud POP, the latch is probably too tight. If it is at the right height but you can lift it up some, then the latch needs to be moved down.

    Doors: If the doors are off the car, bolt the hinges to the door and the cowl in the middle of the movement allowed. Lets face it, it shouldnt be too far off the center of holes. If the doors are on or if after putting them on things are way out of whack, raise the door up on the hinges as far as it will go while still staying about the right height. You always want to start high, it is much easier to come down than go up. Besides this is the ONLY time you will loosen all the bolts on the door. I dont mean ALL the bolts, leave the hinge to cowl (or center post on a four door) tight. Only loosen the door to hinge bolts. Unless it is WAY down then you may need to move the hinges up too. But do one at a time, both door to hinge or both hinge to cowl/center post.

    While moving the hinges aligning the door NEVER loosen all the bolts on the hinge, NEVER. Loosen all but one, just till it is still a little looser than snug. Leave that last on just a little snug. Lets say the door fits well but is a little too far rearward. NEVER loosen top and bottom hinges and move it forward. Loosen the top hinge to cowl/center post as described above and lift the rear of the door, a LITTLE. This will push the upper hinge forward. Now TIGHTEN that one bolt that was left snug. Do the same on the lower hinge, pushing down, but remember the weight of the door is helping, so little push is needed. Many times no pushing at all, just the weight of the door will do.

    If the door fits well but is out at the top or the bottom, again, loosen ONE hinge to DOOR in the manner described and push it out or in. If it is out or in at the top rear for instance, move the bottom front in the opposite direction. This will pivot the door on the striker, and move the rear top where you want. Moving the bottom rear takes moving the top front of course.

    You may need to twist the door. If the front fits well and rear is out at the top (or bottom, just reverse) you can put a block of wood at the rear of the door at the top lets say and push in on the bottom to twist the door. Some will take a LOT of force to bend, and be VERY careful not to let your fingers hang around the outside of the door edge!! I lost a finger nail doing this on a 69 Shelby GT500 convertible once (remember it well) when the block of wood fell out with all my weight on the door while twisting!!

    Tip: If you are hanging the door and you have access to the hinges (either through the wheel well with the skirt off or if the fender its self is off) you can simply hold the door up to the opening and push the latch shut. Then put the bolts in the hinge. I can often install doors all by my self in this way.

    Deck lid: The trunk lid is pretty much like the hood but the hinges dont move at all on the body (usually). So shimming and twisting are a few of your only options beyond the movement in the slotted holes on the hinge. Bending the hinge or pushing up or down on the sides of the quarters, front or rear panel are the others. These should be done ONLY after all other things are tried.

    Fenders: Most of the tips for doors and the hood work here, with a little twist or two. Start with fitting the rear top of the fender. I like to put all the bolts in, loose. Not falling out loose, just so the fender would easily move. Close the door, and with the hood open adjust the gap at the top of the rear of the fender to door. After you tighten other bolts this cannot be modified so, do it first. Tighten the bolt under the hood closest to the door to secure the position. You may need to shim a bolt at the rear of the fender to the cowl, to move the fender forward or back. After you have that bolt tight and the gap is to your liking open the door and tighten the rear fender bolt that is at the top of the fender in the door jamb. Now do the bottom bolt, with the door closed, adjust your gap. You may need to wedge a flat blade screwdriver or body spoon to force the fender forward to get the desired gap. Or just the opposite, use a 2x4 or something similar off the front tire to force the fender back to get the gap. This is one of the hard spots to get nice because you have to get both the gap and the in and out of the fender to door at the same time with the same bolt. Some cars have two bolts that are far enough apart to get the gap and tighten the front bolt and then pull the fender in or out and tighten the rear bolt to get the flush fit of the panels.

    General tips: Bending a panel or adjacent panel is sometimes required. You can get this done in a number of ways, one is to use a block of wood. Lets say that along the edge of the hood there is a spot that is high. Well you cant adjust it down, the front and the rear are perfect. So you can lay a block of wood on the spot, right at the edge where it is strong. Using a big hammer (the bigger the better, trying to make a small hammer do the job can cause a lot of damage) hold the block and strike it nice and solid. Then check the results, you may need many strikes to do it. In doing this you may want to support the hood at the front with a block of wood under the hood. This way the hood is up off the fender and it will bend easier because of the solid rest it has. You can also put the block under the edge of the hood at a low spot and with steady pressure bend it down at a point if you need it.

    If you are working with very tight tolerances, you can actually grind the edge of a panel or jamb to get an extra fraction of an inch. Be VERY careful and using a fine disk like 80 or 120 take a LITTLE off. You dont want to grind the metal thin of course but a LITTLE can make a big difference when you are fighting for fractions. Now, you really wont be cutting too much metal, you are really just cleaning off ALL the primer and paint there. Then when you prime it, dont put a lot or sand it thin so there will be very little on the edge.

    You may want to paint the hinge with a little contrasting paint. Do it with the hinge bolted on, right over the bolts. This way you can see easier how much you have moved it.

    These directions are for doors where the hinge bolts flat to the side of the cowl and then flat to the front of the door. There are of course many ways the hinges can be mounted on cars. If yours are different than you need to use the concepts that I have described here. If for instance you have a 1950 Chevy pickup. The hinge bolts flat to the back of the cowl but will work the same way. The door hinge bolts flat to the side of the door. In this case you do just the opposite as I earlier described. You would loosen the hinge to cowl bolts to move the door in and out and the hinge to door bolts to move it back or forward. If you find that your car has a design that hasnt been addressed, take a good hard look at your hinge arrangement. If the door is open, close it enough while you can still see the hinges and imagine what direction will it go if you loosen a particular set of bolts. Get an idea of how you can move it, then start the alignment process.
    These are just ideas that I have used over the years and some may work for you some wont, but it is a start. Above all, have fun!
  10. 12lives

    12lives Gravity is matter warping space-time - Einstein

    Wow Brian - as always your input is fantastic - thanks!!!!

    Bruce - I got some more info and will email it to you.

    Folks - The guy who did the work is a "good guy". While he has years of experience, he is still learning, as are most of us. He works by himself is NOT a collision shop. He is very dedicated and honest. I think you can tell from the pictures that the paint job is nice. He does complete restorations on cars (mostly GM A bodies, his personal car is a 442) that are rust buckets to refreshes on nice cars. He charges by the hour for what you want him to do. I wasn't there and do not know the complete story so I'm not going there. However, I recommended this fella and so I feel some responsibility in this.

    - Bill
  11. IDOXLR8

    IDOXLR8 Senior Member

    Brian, I need to respectfully disagree with you on this one. There was a problem with the fender and if you drilled the the fender would almost pop in to place. You can see this even on the tops in the middle of the fenders becaust the fenders have a gentle curve on the tops for side to side on the top, AL.

    MARTINSR Well-Known Member

    Like I said, I have never seen that on THIS fender but on other parts things like that happen once in a while. The new Honda Accord (2005-) have a similar problem with a bracket that is bonded to it. I am more than happy to concede that you say it is, so it is. :)

    I still think that a little more proper alignment on this hood "may" get it good enough to meet "the customers expectations". :)

    And as far as drilling the spot welds, this could be done right on the car as all these welds are excessible as far as I know. You could drill them out, put the fender into place and then plug weld them cooling the area and not even burning the paint at all on the outside. Then simply repaint the area of the jamb effected and you are good to go.

  13. nyrivi65

    nyrivi65 Active Member

    Sorry i can't give any advice on this topic i just wanted to say something after reading all of this. I'm not a GS owner, I have a 68 Riviera but i love reading most of the posts on this forum even if they don't have anything to do with Rivs. First Bruce, That looks like a sweet car. I hope you get your fender/hood issue fixed without to much aggrivation. Now Brian. I don't even know where to start. I'm not good with computers and i never tried to print anything off this forum but i hope i can figure out how to print all the information you gave. I am just starting to learn about cars and I'm a bit green, and people like you and the others who gave Bruce ideas are the reason i come here. I think its awesome that you took the time to write such a detailed letter. I am sure you gave ideas to alot of people who read it. Well thanks again and good luck Bruce

    MARTINSR Well-Known Member

    Steve, thank you so much for your kind words. I figure with a few tricks the learning curve is a little less steep and more people can enjoy this great hobby.
    If you like this "Basics of Basics" there are a number more over at the Team Camaro site. (click here)

    As far as printing them. The best way is to copy and paste the text onto your email or MSWORD or something like that, then simply hit print from the "File" button at the top of your browser. If you just hit print you will get it as well but you get the whole screen with all kinds of graffics and stuff that will eat up your ink.

    Thanks again, Brian
  15. pglade

    pglade Well-Known Member

    same response here---the common "test" on these particular Buick fenders is the "finger test"....on the originals you can usually get your index fingertip touch the back of the panel inside the gap we are discussing. Put two side by NOS and one I am looking at in a room in my house right now...and the difference is obvious. The factory pushed to outer fender skin too far down when they spot welded these NOS fenders.

    The gap is VISIBLY and "fingerly" narrower on the NOS fenders. Also--certain holes towards the front are noticeably out of alignment vs the originals. I would not push down on the hood (thus probably weakening it along its already weakest point) when the fender could be drilled and rewelded to fit properly.

    MARTINSR Well-Known Member

    That is wild, if it is that far off then by all means just drill the spot welds and and reweld it.

    I stand corrected, very interesting.

  17. 12lives

    12lives Gravity is matter warping space-time - Einstein

    Hey Patton - since you got them handy how about a picture for the record???

    - Bill
  18. TimR

    TimR Nutcase at large

    Agreed, this is a well known problem on the later NOS fenders and even some of the factory ones near the end of the runs (72) appear to have this (not to same extent though)...I think there are pics already post on George N's site....
  19. pglade

    pglade Well-Known Member

    With or without the "finger test" Bill???? :laugh:

    I will post them....should be tomorrow. I'll try to take some exact measurements along the length of each gap for comparisons sake also....but remember the warning... "your results may vary".
  20. IDOXLR8

    IDOXLR8 Senior Member

    NOS Fenders

    I have a driver's side NOS fender (hope I never need to use it) and I can barely fit my baby finger in the opening so I guess I havd a bad one, AL.

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