Aftermarket Fender Fitment Issues

Discussion in 'Body Restoration' started by 76 for 26, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. 76 for 26

    76 for 26 Member

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    Well, have the doors hung the best I could and want to install new aftermarket fender And horrible fitment. Problem is when I get the top set, I can’t pull the bottom down enough to flatten and suck the fender into alignment with the door (body line high as well). After messing with for two days, I threw the old fender on to see how it lined up. Two days on new fender and pics below show how much work still left to do. Literally 5 minutes to get old fender to line up decent with new door scheme. This is telling me my door is likely aligned properly and I need to work the new fender. Question is, anyone out there run into fitment issues like this and what did you do to correct? I did a search, but little info on new amd fenders. The fender itself seems much more solid than oem, which is what I think may be making it stiff and unable to flatten. Was thinking of making relief cuts on inner brace, but not sure where...thoughts?
     

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  2. Jim Streib

    Jim Streib https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums

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    I had to make relief cuts in the inner bracing on some original fenders on a 74 Nova of mine. My issue was on the lower section.

    Once I made the cuts the fender was easier to tweak so I could get it to fit but you do have to come back and weld the cuts back up to regain rigidity. I used a thin cutoff wheel to make the slices and once the fender was tweaked and fitting better I placed a few tacks across the slice then checked the fit again and then eventually welded the complete slice back together.

    Once the welds were ground down, the spots where the slices were at could not be seen.

    I did not have a camera at the time but all I can offer is some drawings I made of doing things:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157651244726957

    I also had to elongate some mounting holes to give myself more adjustability.

    Jim
     
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  3. 75Maro

    75Maro Veteran Member

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    I agree with the elongated holes. I used a unibit or stepbit to enlarge all mounting holes in my AMD fenders to get a decent alignment. Also had to bend the mounting point that attaches to the firewall
     
  4. steins70z28

    steins70z28 Veteran Member

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    My experience with many repop panels is that the dimensions aren't correct, usually they are longer (oversized) than the original. From what I can see from your pics is the top lines up and the bottom lines up as original but the middle body line is to high and of course the curve doesn't match the door. On an original fender you set the top then add necessary shims to bottom mount area to pull the curve to match the door then tighten bottom bolt, somewhere between 1 to as many as 5 shims. Before you start cutting I would take a measurement from the mid body line to the lower body line I think you will find it longer than the original. If you make relief cuts to allow the curve to match the door I think your bottom body line will be below the door line and the curve of the rocker. I hate to say it but I think you may have a really though time getting that fender to work. I think in reality it would need to have the lower portion including the inner brace sectioned (shortened) so it will fit, then you have to work the gap between the fender edge and door edge. All this work is why people are willing to spend so much for original sheet metal. Is there a reason you can't use the originals?
     
  5. badazz81z28

    badazz81z28 Veteran Member

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    It does look like a relief cut in the inner brace will help you pull it down. I would first contact the supplier and see maybe you can get a replacement. Maybe that fender does a have a defect...The body line not matching up, in fact being high seems to be common with all aftermarket fenders...don't know why.

    As for repop metal...yes and even YES to AMD...they all have fitment issues. I have tried deck lids, filler panels, header panels, fenders etc...they all fit like poo! I buy NOS panels and they slip right on...Anyone who says "even NOS needs work" is full of it (ok maybe to get them to perfection). Only if AMD put more effort into the Camaro like they do the Mopars. I can't believe how bad AMDs trunk filler panel fits...OMG!

    I have an OE passenger fender that's rust free with some minor body work in the light bucket area I would sell in mid AL if you need one.
     
  6. secondgenaddict

    secondgenaddict Veteran Member

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    Are the doors aftermarket as well?
    How tight is your quarter to door gap?
    If the doors and fenders are both aftermarket - Go ahead and BITE the BULLET -start slicing and dicing them and doing what ever to make them fit.
     
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  7. 76 for 26

    76 for 26 Member

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    Thanks for all the responses. New doors and fenders all around due to rust. The gap to the a-pillar is about 3/8 as is the bottom door to rocker gap. I think the door is set pretty decent, especially given how well the old fender fit after a few minutes worth of adjusting. I agree with repo parts needing a lot of adjustment and will likely make some relief cuts on the rear brace. If that doesn’t work, will cut and splice new panel onto the old (pretty pitted up on back side and decent amount of bondo on front after last high school repaint). Unfortunately, returning the fender a no go. The project was delayed for some time while taking care of dad and these were purchased a long time ago.

    Steins 70Z28, I measured the top edge to middle body line and it matched the original fender at 12 7/8ths as did the mid line to top lower line at 13 1/2.

    Time to do some cutting...ugh. Good news is after replacing all the floor, intermediate, and trunk pans along with the firewall, it is all squared up subframe went back in with no hiccups. I was definitely worried about that when I pulled it off the jig to r&r quarters given all the new metal and loss of all of my measurements and pictures (whole different story). Now just need to figure out the front end prior to diving into the quarters.
     
  8. steins70z28

    steins70z28 Veteran Member

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    Have you tried to to stretch the fender down by installing shims at the bottom mount area? Sometimes its it hard to get the necessary number of shims to go in. I usually start a bolt in the bottom after the upper portion of the fender is set and start pushing 3 to 4 shims while pulling down to stretch the fender while pushing it into place over the shims. Curious if the fender has as much flex as an original. The more shims installed typically flattens the curve to better match the door. This should also bring the mid body line down.
     
  9. ChevyReb

    ChevyReb Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Good advice from posts 4 through 7 above. I used one aftermarket fender and here is what I recall I did to get mine to line up well. Are you saying you have a 3/8" gap from the rocker to the bottom of the door? If so that is a little much and should cause the door midline to be higher than the fender. I do not have any shims on the fender to upper cowl bolt. I do have shims on the bottom. I did have to move the door jam bracket too, this is from post #163 in my build thread. You may find some info in other posts there a few before or after this one. So What I did was line up the fender using only bolts that went in without major elongating and put the fender close to correct position and then made mods or moved brackets so that one bolt going in did not cause you to have to pry the fender to insert any of the others. If I did this again I may would replace the lower GM fender with a patch as long as you can seal everything so it doesnt rust through from the inside.

    "I finally got my 1/4 inch gaps! I had to modify/fix the aftermarket passenger fender by removing the top rear bracket that the upper bolt goes through in the door jam under the A pillar and welding it back in the correct position. This allowed me to move the fender farther forward which in turn let me move the pass door forward. Adding 1/16 of an inch to the front and back door gaps to make them both 1/4 inch fixed the issue I had in the spring of the hood to header panel gap being too narrow on the passenger side. So at this point I can now focus on finishing the body work and getting it ready to paint."
    upload_2021-1-5_10-39-19.png
     
  10. 76 for 26

    76 for 26 Member

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    Well, after a long week (and all weekend), I made some progress. As you can see, the gaps still need work (aftermarket doors and fenders). However, I was able to make on small relief cut on the drivers fender and stuff 4 shims at the bottom to flatten out the curve (still about a 1/16 fender out further than door in mid section). The top fender to hood to door lines up decent, but the fender is in slightly. I had to do the same as ChevyRob on the top rear fender to inner door cowl mount as that part of the fender out of whack (out waaay to far from cowl) and the contour was off as well. What you all think, throw on the hood and make sure no big issues and proceed with r&r of quarters? The gaps will be address after the quarters are on in case any other tweaks need to be made. On a side note, these fenders are a bit heavier and seem to be made out of thicker gauge steel than the originals. Overall, some fussing, but probably due to my first time doing this.
     

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