Friday, September 28, 2018

Body Work: Bolting the Pieces Together--Part 1

Now that the fastback is finally off the rotisserie and that piece of hardware now out of the garage, it's time to start the tedious work of bolting body panels on, getting the gaps set, and prepping for body filler, primer and blocking.

The first step in this process was to figure out where I had stashed all the parts I needed.  I had ordered a bunch of hardware to put things together from CJ Pony Parts before my return from Canada so they'd be waiting for me when I got home.  Then I had to find the front and rear valances and trunk hinges which I was pretty sure were in my storage unit.  So I headed over there and sifted through all the boxes.  I didn't realize I had so much over there!



After doing an inventory, I got what I needed from the storage unit and headed back to the house.  I'm still looking for some parts, but they are either in the garage attic or in my man-shed out back.

I dug through the box of packaged hardware for CJ's and found the hood and hinge nuts and bolts.  I got the hood hinges mounted and then enlisted the help of a friend to get the hood on and aligned.  It's pretty close, but still needs some work.  Then it was on to the fenders.

I got the fenders mounted but that didn't go exactly as planned.  Finding the  rear lower and upper fender brackets took some digging through boxes.  I'm regretting getting sloppy on not doing a "bag and tag" immediately instead of throwing them loosely in a box.  Oh well....

Then came the issue of getting the captive nuts in the right side rocker panel.  The one on the driver's side was OK.  The passenger side must have gotten ripped out when that side of the car was wrecked.  The only way I could see getting it in was to bend the metal tabs "up" on one side so I could slide it in.  Then I would bend it back which would lock it in the rocker panel.


Wouldn't you know that with my dumb luck, the tab broke off after getting it in the rocker panel.  I had a long bolt run into the nut to aid in the installation.  I just left it there and got out the welder.  I figure a few tacks will do the same thing as the tabs.  So the nut is welded in.  Not the prettiest job, but functional.  I keep telling myself, "No one is going to see it."  True.  But I'll know those ugly welds are there.   Moving on...


With all the brackets and hardware in place, the positioning of the fenders began.  Pull a little here... Push a bunch there...   Tighten the bolts and away you go.   Sort of.  Trial and error and more hood adjustment got things fairly close and consistent.  Then it was on to the trunk lid.

That wonderful trunk lid...

If you remember the gyrations I went through to get a new trunk lid for the Mustang, it was quite an ordeal finding one that fit.  If you don't remember, take a look HERE and check out that post.  The deck lid I got was better than the Dynacorn one, and it looked pretty close to the original one, but it was still off some, especially getting the body lines to be spot on and having the gaps be consistent.  It involved not only the position of the lid on the hinges, but where the striker on the rear panel lined up as well.  After I got it where the lid didn't shift left or right when closed and locked, I had to grind off  3/64 of the edge about 3" long on the right rear side and corner to get that gap better and to keep the lid from hitting the rear fender extension.  I'm going to have to tweak something there to get a better fit.  Pity I didn't take pictures of the gaps before I blew this apart.  Another "Oh well" moment.  But I don't have any of the rubber stops in that would keep the lid from closing to low.  I'll make some shims and Gorilla Tape them in place.  I'll need it stabilized anyway during sanding and blocking.

So after all that, I realized I need to take the front fenders off.  I need to put the front fender extensions on and put the door hinges on which is near impossible with the fenders on... at least to do any kind of adjustment to get the doors close to where they should be.  But that's OK.  I'm getting good at taking the fenders on and off.  Plus I have an extra set of fender bolts I can use that are still "virgin" to do the final assembly after paint.

Photos of the gaps follow...

Upper passenger side of the trunk lid.

Right rear corner after grinding the edge down 3/54"

Lower driver's side and rear quarter gap.

All assembled (minus doors and valances)

Driver's side hood and fender gap

Passenger side hood and fender gap
An actual functioning hood on the car for the first time!



Old stock repro trunk lid closed
Trunk lid back on the body again (No rust in this one though)


And there you have it.

Until the next time...

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