Fender bowing out

Jim Streib

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums
Apr 6, 2004
562
Saint Louis, MO USA
While I do not do a whole lot of bodywork, I have the original fenders on my 74 Nova and while I could not tell you how well they fit prior to me taking them off I have to think it was decent.
When I went to put them back on I had to do some elonagating of some holes, push in the firewall face nut where the fender bolted to there, and played with shims here and there and something I noticed was I got things fitting nice I had to pry the fender one way or the other to get the fender to flex and take on a particular curve to meet the front door edge but then still had issues below a lower body line.
From what I could tell, no amount of shimming would get the fenders to fit as well as I wanted them and the option I took was to do some slicing of the inner fender structure leaving the outside skin alone and with these cuts I was able to more easily bend the fenders outside skin to where it needed to be and then once I was happy with the fit, took the fenders off and added a tack weld across the slit I had made and then checked the fit once again.If all was good I fully welded back shut the slice, ground the welds down and no one can see what was done in those area's.
How the fenders are not on my car is I still have shims but I can hang the fender and not have to pry or pinch the fender near as much as before and now it pretty much lays there and fits nicely.
I had tried using brute force to flatten the curve on the back edge of the fender but was worried about damaging the skin so with slicing the inner structure, bending things more easily and then welding things back together to regain strength I'm very happy with the results and the path I took.

I don't know if drawings will help as I didn't take any photo's but this might help too with a method of getting the fenders to fit:

18875499191_76275f8e77_z.jpg


Drawing 1 is the original fender
Drawing 2 has 2 sliced JUST through the inner structure and not the outside skin
Drawing 3 has the two slices closed up affecting the fender and now has a different outside curvature
Drawing 4 then needs to have the bottom lip sliced also to flatten it back out
Drawing 5 shows the before and after of the fender being rework on the curvature

This is also a bottom edge that had the inner fender structure cut, then the area bent, then the inner structure welded back together and the fit is a LOT better.

19025532645_1a1a06606d_b.jpg


19028598221_eb82c3485e_b.jpg


Jim
 

Jim Streib

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums
Apr 6, 2004
562
Saint Louis, MO USA
Thank you Jim! Those are some good ideas. I will keep these techniques in mind..

I just did what I thought would work and it did. I had tried brute force but with my luck I would have pushed even harder trying to bend something and then only have it go too far and create more of a mess.

I know too on my one door it had a twist in it and I hooked up a ratcheting tie down to slowly tweak it into the correct position.

I also had an original window frame that I had to drill out the spot welds to reposition it and weld it back in and it was on the high side of the factory tolerance which was way too off for my tastes.

You never know though sometimes things fit like they should and you are ahead of the game.

Jim
 

Rich Schmidt

Veteran Member
Mar 27, 2010
4,285
Denville NJ
The fender/door gap is funny on our cars because of the compound curves of that area. One thing that greatly effects the area you are having issues with is the FRONT bolt hole on the lower fender. It is amazing how moving the fender in or out as well as up and down at that area can "steer" the door area opening into shape. Bolt the top part on as close to aligned as possibly and then pull the lower portion both in and out at both the front and rear and you will be amazed at how the shape of the fender changes at the door opening.
 

badazz81z28

Veteran Member
May 4, 2001
22,110
Alabama
Though I agree on the alignment techniques provided, the bottom line is it’s a repop fender and that’s why it fits like poo. Other members have already experienced the same issue and ended up cutting the inner brace. Seems this is just what it takes with these parts.
 




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