Goodmark Chevelle - Part 11

Finer Points of Front Sheetmetal Installation

Jason Walker Jun 26, 2002 0 Comment(s)

To say that reassembling a freshly painted car is a delicate process, might be an understatement. That fact becomes even more prevalent when it's time to assemble body parts that are completely awkward, like front fenders or the hood. As you will soon see in this article, there are a few methods of achieving this task without too many problems.

In the last segment, we explained that during the reassembly process you would run into dinging, scratching, and chipping very easily. Sometimes that stuff happens no matter how careful you are. Just expect it, and be as careful as humanly possible. Some of the best tools for preventing these nasty occurrences are a steady helper and a lot of soft towels. Some of the hardware needed will be body shims, body washers, an assortment of fold-over nuts and bolts, and the list goes on. To make sure we had all the necessary hardware on hand, we contacted AMK Products of Winchester, Virginia, and had every little nut, bolt, and clip necessary for the job sent straight to Metal Finish USA. Believe us, ordering a hardware kit, for whatever type of car you are restoring, will save a bucket load of frustration, not to mention countless trips to the hardware store.

With a clear understanding of how much patience, hardware, and tools you will need, the next step is to prep the parts to be installed with whatever kind of preassembly they may require (some body parts need seals or brackets to be installed before they can be bolted on). The inner fenderwells, supplied by Goodmark Industries, need the splash shields to be installed before they can be bolted-in. These shields were originally stapled to the inner fenderwell, and so they shall be on the Goodmark Chevelle, with a small difference in the stapler.

After the inner fenderwells are mounted, the fenders and hood will be a snap to install, as you will soon see. Look forward to seeing the interior, flames, glass, and a finished product in issues to come.

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Hardware kits, like this one from AMK Products, are invaluable when reassembling a car. There are usually a number of pieces found in these kits that won't be found at your local hardware store or automotive supply house. A kit like this will bring your frustration level down a notch for sure.

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Though there are many ways to install the splash shields into the inner fenderwells, we wanted to do it the original way for the Project Chevelle. The only problem with the original way was that we couldn't find a stapler big enough to puncture sheetmetal. Figuring out that this was completely insane, Metal Finish showed us, yet again, another way to have the same results without having to send everything to General Motors for installation.

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After taping the shield onto the fenderwell in the correct place, Craig was able to drill small enough holes to accept the staples. This allowed us to achieve the desired look.

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After the two holes are drilled, the staple should drop through the shield and inner fender.

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On the reverse side, a set of standard pliers and needle-nose pliers were used for bending over one prong at a time.

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After both prongs are bent down, a small hammer can be used to perfectly complete the factory staple look. These inner fenderwells look, and should last, just like the originals.

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Everything fits great with new hardware and sheetmetal (Any type of adjusting or fitting should be done before paint is applied. Ideally, you want to put the body together once before painting to be assured the car will go back together perfectly). Once the other side is mounted, we can move onto mounting the fenders.

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Before mounting the fender, Craig uses masking tape to protect the freshly painted edges, but mostly to be able to see the gap more clearly. It's a good idea to lay towels on the cowl as well as any other painted surfaces that may come into unwanted contact with each other.

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These are some of the different pieces of hardware that will be needed to successfully mount the fenders onto the car. You will want a variety of shims to allow for various gaps between the fender and body.

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You need at least four hands to carefully place the fender in position.

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Here is a good shot of the fender spacers and why they are needed. Not everything from the factory fits perfectly (which is normal, by the way) and is why fender spacers are necessary to bring everything together for a consistent fit and finish.

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Yep, you're going to need those fender shims down here as well.

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A quick measurement diagonally and across between the fenders will tell us if everything is square and ready for the hood installation.

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Next, we need to bolt on the hood hinges. The hinges are originals that have been sand-blasted and treated to a fresh coat of OEM paint.

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In this shot, we can see Craig using the masking tape once again to help in adjusting a uniform gap between the hood and fender.

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Even with six hands helping, installing the hood can be a slight struggle until hood bolts find their proper position. Once the hood is bolted to the hinges, aligning the hood may take a couple of tries to get it close. Adjustment, up and down, where the hood hinges bolt to the fenders will be needed.

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Depending on your car's needs, you may have to use spacers (like in the front fenders) between the hood and hinges. In the Chevelle's case, the hinges had enough adjustment, up and down, to line up perfectly.

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