Fender to door gap issue - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-29-2016, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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Fender to door gap issue

So I hung the doors and front sheetmetal on my stalled out 66 project in preparation to replace the rear 1/4s, only to discover the fender to door gaps are pretty bad. These are oem fenders and doors, but not original to the car.
The drivers side gap is slightly worse than the passengers.
The gap at the bottom is tight, and grows to about 3/8" on the drivers side, slightly less on the passengers side. The fenders fit good to the cowl, hood and valance.
I have pulled a masons line on the frame rails to compare to the Liskey diagram, as well as compared the measurements to a couple of 65 parts car I have. I can find no major variation to explain the gaps.
After many attempts to get these to fit I had my buddy, who has far more body work experience than me, to come take a look. After messing with it for a couple hours, he feels that the only thing I can do is grind and weld the gaps to suit me. I'm prepared to do this but figured I run this by the VM folks and see if someone has a different train of thought. Has anyone ever had a similar issue, and how did you correct it?
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Jody

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-29-2016, 02:55 AM
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thats pretty bad. musta been a monday or friday built car. you need to put front end type shims under the first 3 top fender bolts starting at the core support. that will tilt the front of the fender up and close the gap. i have a few 65-66 in the 70's that had fender shims. i saw quite a few that had fender shims. most of mine didnt.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-29-2016, 08:12 AM
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The fenders do not appear to be pulled back enough to me on the top. This will cause the rear / bottoms of the fenders to tend to kick back and pinch at the doors. Also, you may have some door sag due to worn out hinge pins/bushings. If the hinge pin and bushings are worn, that needs to be fixed first.

The fenders are pretty flexible. If the bottom fender gap is too tight to the door, it can be pulled forward while tighting that bottom bolt down. That back/bottom fender to rocker bolt that goes in the rocker clip in nut will also often have shims to set the bottom rear line of the fender even with the door. Make sure you have all the bolts too. The one that goes from the fender inside the car behind the kick panel is critical and that eyelet one that is screwed into a clip nut on those little right angle tabs are also critical. Getting all that sheet metal to line up is a process.

I've trial fitted my front sheet metal several times now and a process kind of evolved out of all that. The door to rocker and the rear door gaps need to be good first. I put the fenders on next making sure to pull the top of the fender tight up under the stainless windshield trim. I put a fender to fender panel bolt in at the back to hold it while I push and pull on the rest of the fender. I work on the bottom rear of the fender next to get the gap good to the bottom front of the door. That bottom bolt that goes into the clip in nut on the rocker panel holds that in place. Shims are often needed to get the bottom/rear of the fender aligned just right. I just use some washers for that.

The hidden bolt that goes through behind the kick panels inside gets snugged and also that eyelet bolt that pulls or holds the fender to the back is snugged down. Everything is just snugged and not final tightened. lastly, I mark 4 tape measure points between the fenders for the hood to go on initially. I will check that by just laying the hood up on there without bolting it to the hinges yet. The hood and the rest of the fender to fender panel bolts can then be fine tuned to get the best gaps for the hood.


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Last edited by macstang; 12-29-2016 at 08:31 AM.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-29-2016, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supershifter2 View Post
thats pretty bad. musta been a monday or friday built car. you need to put front end type shims under the first 3 top fender bolts starting at the core support. that will tilt the front of the fender up and close the gap. i have a few 65-66 in the 70's that had fender shims. i saw quite a few that had fender shims. most of mine didnt.

I was the first to 'break the seal' on my 65 FB and 66 CV factory-installed front fenders. Both had 1/8" shims in the front apron bolt position. When they were taken out, the bottom door gap pinched shut.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-29-2016, 11:54 AM
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How do you have the car supported? If you don't have sub frame connectors and supporting the car at the torque box area the front frame rails could be sagging.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the replies.

To answer some questions, the car is supported at 4 places on the rockers, and at two places under the core support. The car is a bare shell,no drivetrain, interior, glass, ect.
One thing I did not mention is that when I discovered this I had already replaced the front aprons and core support. After messing with it on and off for a few weeks and not finding a resolution, I decided replace those parts with what I felt where better quality parts from NPD. But that accomplished nothing.
The pics I posted already have an effective 1/4" or so of "shimming" done by flexing the front apron edges up and cheating up the corners of the core support.
The fenders were installed starting at the door and working forward. I can get a more consistent gap at the door by moving the lower part forward. When I do that, the front of the fender wants to be shimmed up off the front apron something like 1/2", which makes it impossible to bolt the valance up without pulling down on the front of the fender, which in turn causes the lower part behind the wheel opening to flex and screws up the door gap. I hope that makes sense.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 05:11 AM
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I would think something must be out of whack forward of the shock towers, most likely the front cross member and forward parts of the front sub frames. det0326 above came close in suspecting the front was too low. You say you replaced the core support and the front aprons, then found they required tweeking/shimming to raise them higher. This should not have been the case, at least not to the degree you describe. I am not at all sure a mason line would reveal what you really need to know here, especially if your indicator of reference is the bottoms of the floor support extensions. Take comparative measurements based on the Liskey Diagram of the heights of the front and rear frame rails at their most forward and rearward points. I believe your answer lies there. The doors look good with the rockers and the quarters. The issue is forward of the doors, and based on the degree of "off-ness" shows itself most clearly at the very front. Start there, then follow back to find where it starts to go wrong. Heck, it's not out of the question that it starts below the cowl, but let us hope that is not the case. An interesting test would be to fit an accurate quality export brace and see how it lands now, as it sits. That might provide a telling clue too.


Last edited by 4ocious; 12-30-2016 at 05:28 AM.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 07:06 AM
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Always adjust the gap at the quarter and rocker to perfection, then adjust the fender to the door. You haven't done that.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 07:32 AM
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Support the body st the suspension mounting points and install a quality export brace. Form what I can see on the photos the driver's door needs to come down in the front and up in the back. It may also be too tight in the back. There isn't much fudge factor here. It has to be right before you move on. It's amazing how a tiny adjustment can make a huge difference.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supershifter2 View Post
thats pretty bad. musta been a Monday or Friday built car.
My car was built in NJ on a Tuesday, and the body was crap. The roofline (FB) at the upper corners of the rear window dipped down so low the style line disappeared, and the corner joint bodywork at the front corners of the trunk lid would have embarrassed MAACO. The floor on the RH side was badly distorted because the seat belt nut in the rocker fell off, and they sliced open the rocker, bent it down, welded a nut in, and stick welded it back in place, bending the crap out of the floor and pinchweld at that point. Oh, and there were no screws at all along the top of the RH roofrail weatherstrip. It was drafty, so I fussed with the glass adjustment for years, and when I gave up and replaced the weatherstrip I discovered there were NO screws, just two at the bottom front and bottom rear. No holes, either, because installation of the screws was supposed to create the holes. So I installed screws, and for the first time ever the car was quiet and comfortable.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 22GT View Post
Always adjust the gap at the quarter and rocker to perfection, then adjust the fender to the door. You haven't done that.
But maybe he did. Let's see what the OP has to say on that.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 03:32 PM
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My car was built in NJ on a Tuesday, and the body was crap. The roofline (FB) at the upper corners of the rear window dipped down so low the style line disappeared, and the corner joint bodywork at the front corners of the trunk lid would have embarrassed MAACO. The floor on the RH side was badly distorted because the seat belt nut in the rocker fell off, and they sliced open the rocker, bent it down, welded a nut in, and stick welded it back in place, bending the crap out of the floor and pinchweld at that point. Oh, and there were no screws at all along the top of the RH roofrail weatherstrip. It was drafty, so I fussed with the glass adjustment for years, and when I gave up and replaced the weatherstrip I discovered there were NO screws, just two at the bottom front and bottom rear. No holes, either, because installation of the screws was supposed to create the holes. So I installed screws, and for the first time ever the car was quiet and comfortable.
wow ! those Ford workers must have been pissed cause it wasnt hump day !
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 07:59 PM
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I discovered, when messing with my 66, the front bumper to fender mounting has an effect on the fit. Also don't forget where the front fender attaches to the mounting point behind the headlight housing. I slotted and enlarged MOST of the bolt holes to get my fenders to fit "better". Still not like the original fenders I tossed because they had a couple of rust spots!!


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Lesson learned.....keep the original stuff and patch the poop out of it(if necessary)
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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I have a new Scott Drake export brace that was used as a reference during the cowl replacement, and remained in place while the floor and toe boards were done. It drops into place with virtually no hassle.
The drivers door gap at the rocker measures .235 at the front and .280 at the rear. At the 1/4 it measures .150 at the top and about .180 at the bottom. If you visualize that you'll see if try to make one gap better you make the other one worse. I've kind of split the difference.
On the passengers side the bottom gap is a consistent .250. The gap at the quarter is of no reference because the forward edge of the quarter was replicated with bondo thanks to a previous accident.
The mason line I pulled used the Liskey measurement at the front and rear frame rails to form a datum line that runs the length of the car. I then used that datum to measure the various points of reference Liskey shows, like the front crossmember attaching points, intersection of the front frame rail and floor support, ect. I assumed that is the way I should be done?
Like 4ocious,I was initially convinced that the front of the car was low. But I have just not been able to see or measure anything that points to a specific area that is causing the issue.
It may be time to bite the bullet and put down the string and carpenters ruler and get it on a frame machine for more accurate measurements.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrh68 View Post
The mason line I pulled used the Liskey measurement at the front and rear frame rails to form a datum line that runs the length of the car. I then used that datum to measure the various points of reference Liskey shows, like the front crossmember attaching points, intersection of the front frame rail and floor support, ect.
Jody, are you aware that the front and rear dimensions on the diagram are incorrect? They should be swapped.
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