How to Improve Front Fender Alignment?

Bus79Z

Member
Oct 14, 2013
62
Midwest
Hey everyone, I recently put the front fenders back on my car but I am having a little trouble getting them lined up. Right now, I think they look half way decent but I'm not sure how I could make them better. Any tips would be appreciated!

Here is a overall side view of the passenger side:
FQDVLQi.jpg


Passenger side looking back to front:
CjhbI8N.jpg


Gap measurement on passenger side towards the top:
L73Vx2r.jpg


Gap measurement on passenger side towards bottom:
qbD9v6I.jpg


Overall side view of the driver side:
7xBAs7Q.jpg


Driver side looking back to front:
ZNYRV5a.jpg


Gap measurement on driver side towards top:
ESK0NlZ.jpg


Gap measurement on driver side towards bottom:
w0Slrt9.jpg



The biggest areas I am not happy with are at the top of the fenders near the windshield. On the passenger side, the fender is almost touching the window. I feel if I go over a big bump I'm likely to crack my window. It is a little better on the drivers side but each side isn't flush with the door like it is on the sides of the fender.

Passenger side near windshield:
9BP6AXT.jpg


Another view of the passenger side:
l68Lf0T.jpg


Driver side near windshield:
K4jQKqV.jpg


Another view of the driver side:
tGERmKL.jpg


I have tried adding and removing shims in different places but I can't seem to get it right. My workflow was:
1. Add shims to top of firewall to get height set
2. Add shims to front of firewall to adjust gap
3. Add shims to inside of door to get it flush with the side of the door
4. Fine tune with shims at the two locations under the rocker

I also left everything loose at first and then worked my way around snugging up bolts until they were all tight. I'm not looking for perfect gaps as everything will have to come apart later for final paint and body but I feel they could be improved on.

And when the fenders came off the first time, I never noted how many shims went where... lesson learned!

Any help or feedback is greatly appreciated!!
 

badazz81z28

Veteran Member
May 4, 2001
22,110
Alabama
How does the door to quarter look? It appears to me the doors need to be adjusted by being tilted. Then the fenders can be lifted upward and possibly outboard. You have to not get too uptight about the gaps. As long as it’s and consistent as possible and about .220”, you won’t get them perfect.
 

steins70z28

Veteran Member
Apr 14, 2012
327
Tulsa, OK
Your sequence of adjustement is how I do it. Your center body line looks good and your decals line up so your height looks correct. Here's what I would try. The pass side lower area needs to be pushed in to match rocker / door and pulled back to close the gap. Much easier with 2 people because its hard to pull back toward the rocker and push in at the same time. You can really on expect to gain maybe a 1/16 by pulling back not much give in the fender. The drivers side only needs to be pulled back toward rocker.
You might try a half thickness shim added to the top inside the door. An additional way of adjusting the top lip of the fender is by placing a large flat bladed screw driver or pry bar on top of the door hinge and catching the bottom lip of the area that the bolt behind the door goes through and gently apply upward pressure to help align fender lip to the door. It will only adjust so much. I use a rag around the tool after paint, this again is much easier done with 2 people. I've done all the above mentioned adjustments by myself but is better done with an assistant. Hope this helps!
 

Ratty_81

Veteran Member
Nov 13, 2020
400
Ugh, I have to do this to the doors and all the front sheet metal soon. Not looking forward to it...
 

Twisted_Metal

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Gold Member
Feb 26, 2004
31,406
Bloomington, MN
A nylon ratchet strap around the body will pull and hold the fenders in at the bottom.

The doors look like they are aligned well with the "A" pillar but I don't see the top of those fenders ever lining up with the doors unless you physically bend/pry them upwards.

I don't think the fender tips will align well with the hood either.
 

Bus79Z

Member
Oct 14, 2013
62
Midwest
How does the door to quarter look? It appears to me the doors need to be adjusted by being tilted. Then the fenders can be lifted upward and possibly outboard. You have to not get too uptight about the gaps. As long as it’s and consistent as possible and about .220”, you won’t get them perfect.

The doors look pretty good in my opinion. Would the doors still need adjusted even if I never messed with them? I'll try to get some pictures to post up in the next day or so.
 

Bus79Z

Member
Oct 14, 2013
62
Midwest
Your sequence of adjustement is how I do it. Your center body line looks good and your decals line up so your height looks correct. Here's what I would try. The pass side lower area needs to be pushed in to match rocker / door and pulled back to close the gap. Much easier with 2 people because its hard to pull back toward the rocker and push in at the same time. You can really on expect to gain maybe a 1/16 by pulling back not much give in the fender. The drivers side only needs to be pulled back toward rocker.
You might try a half thickness shim added to the top inside the door. An additional way of adjusting the top lip of the fender is by placing a large flat bladed screw driver or pry bar on top of the door hinge and catching the bottom lip of the area that the bolt behind the door goes through and gently apply upward pressure to help align fender lip to the door. It will only adjust so much. I use a rag around the tool after paint, this again is much easier done with 2 people. I've done all the above mentioned adjustments by myself but is better done with an assistant. Hope this helps!

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll give em a try and see how things turn out.
 

Bus79Z

Member
Oct 14, 2013
62
Midwest
A nylon ratchet strap around the body will pull and hold the fenders in at the bottom.

The doors look like they are aligned well with the "A" pillar but I don't see the top of those fenders ever lining up with the doors unless you physically bend/pry them upwards.

I don't think the fender tips will align well with the hood either.

Would I need to mess with the door alignment at all to fix that? The fender tips are my biggest concern since they don't look right.
 

Twisted_Metal

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Gold Member
Feb 26, 2004
31,406
Bloomington, MN
The doors look pretty good to me.
If they align well with the rockers and rear quarters, I would leave them alone.

I'm not sure of the best way of tweaking the fender tips without fear of damaging the windshield. (If it's good and you don't plan to remove it.)
 




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