Rocker panel to door gap

Discussion in '1977 Z28' started by Camaro Tim01, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. Camaro Tim01

    Camaro Tim01 Veteran Member

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    I have a project car I'm rebuilding that a previous owner attempted and made a mess out of.
    None of the panels were installed properly and he's hacked into a lot of them and filled and evened with tons of Bondo. As a result I have no basis or measurements to take that I can be sure of as I attempt to correct his mistake. From both doors back I have to change EVERYTHING, without having any good reference points to measure from.
    I'm at the point of test fitting new full quarter panels on but have no real points of reference so I have a few questions on how to proceed.

    The only thing I can do is align an even gap along the bottom of the door to the rocker panel but I'm not sure what that should be so does anyone know what the average gap between the door bottom and rocker panel is ?
    after that what should I do for the in and out adjustment as the quarters are off, how do I set the door ?

    I suppose I set the bottom gap equally and then test fit the quarter and then try to adjust the in out of the door so it matches ?... and if so what do I at the rear as there are no panels there to align anything to ?
    excuse the huge pic, but as you see there's really not a lot to line anything up to and the only reason the door gaps look good is because they filled it in with bondo to line it up like that to hide their mistake... How would you proceed ?[​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
  2. jbloake

    jbloake Veteran Member

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    54697E45-1547-4E1D-AAF2-EEAEDC59CD19.jpeg
    I admire your ambition ! But maybe you should look for another body. These cars are hard to get straight even when you start with a complete car .
     
  3. bodymanbill

    bodymanbill Veteran Member

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    Wow what a mess, like u said u need to get a decent gap on the rocker panel then just start building it piece by piece, screw and clamp everything together don’t weld anything. I would even put the weather stripping and latches on make sure everything fits good before u weld anything, I never worry about measuring gaps on old cars just make them look good to the eyes and even. Remember adjust, adjust and adjust some more then when your finished adjusting do it some more.
     
  4. Jim Streib

    Jim Streib https://www.flickr.com/photos/121766713@N04/albums

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    Yep, you have some work ahead of you.

    I think you will have to mock everything up using self tap screws, nuts and bolts, clamps, and whatever to where then you can then get a better idea as to how the end result might be. One thing you do not know is if the remaining structure is still square or what and from personal experience on a 74 Nova hatchback of mine, when I cut off the original quarters, both outer rear wheel housings, the taillight panel, and some of the hatch floor, the remaining structure in the rear moved. LUCKILY I had supports going down to the ground and one or two of them lifted off of the ground and was able to add weight above these points to then be able to put the new metal onto the car.

    I also had another buddy working on a first generation Camaro with a LOT of metal replacement and he made the mistake of not measuring things and placing what is referred to as "Winding Sticks" used in high end woodworking across the door openings and trunk openings to check for any twists and he had to go back and undo welds and adjust things and by hurrying along, created more work than needed.

    Keep in mind too that even NOS metal might take some tweaking to get things to fit just right. Even on some NOS quarters for my Nova I had to section out 1/4" of an area as it was too long. I also had to work some panel edges as they got bent over time from being handled or possibly dropped on an edge.

    Jim
     
  5. steins70z28

    steins70z28 Veteran Member

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    An easy way to establish the door to rocker gap is to use a couple of paint stir sticks they're approx. 1/8 thick and provide a good average gap. Follow the pic as where to set the front of the door to the rocker. (jbloake) You can adjust your in /out after you have the new qtrs test fit. My main recommendation is to keep as much original metal as possible even if it takes more cutting and fitting. The more you cut off the more you have to guess how things fit. Without exact measurements or a jig its really hard to recreate the internal structure. If you keep the original inner wheel house stucture near where the door closes against it will provide you with a good base structure to attach your qtrs which will in the end provide you with where to adjust your in/out of your doors. You're going to need the tail panel to set the back ends of the qtrs. I hope you have an original trunk lid as it will provide you with the dimensions your trying to create with all the panels. It can also give you a quick reference as to whether you're out of square. Many good recommendations in the previous posts.
     
  6. xten

    xten Veteran Member

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    Hey Jim, I saw a guy I knew and knew he worked in a GM stamping plant. I told him about a 2nd gen TA left quarter that was 3/8" too long. They were still in production then, and I bought it new from GM. He explained that was during an incentive plan and they got an extra 25 cents per quarter over a certain quota, so they were shoving 4-5 pieces of metal in the press at a time. Didn't think you could do that, but that would explain the extra length.
    Sorry to high-jack
     
  7. Camaro Tim01

    Camaro Tim01 Veteran Member

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    Thanks for everyone's input and suggestions, I appreciate them greatly. I think what I'm going to do and please feel free to comment or add suggestions or tell me if I'm crazy and it wont work is this : ( once my inner wheelhouse is rebuilt and complete)
    1. Sand off the bondo down to bare metal along bottom door edge so I can actually see where the door ends and then make it a 3/16 - 1/4 " gap evenly along the bottom.
    2. Try to adjust the side door to door pillar gap ( pillar is original and hasn't been changed or altered ) to approx. 1/4" ( diagram shows 11/64" but that's with a 1/4 panel)
    3. Put weather-stripping on door and try to get it lined up so it sticks out @ 1/16" out past the pillar ( approx. panel thickness )
    4. clamp outer wheelhouse on temporarily
    5. Fit quarter panel and see how it fits at front by door, line up body crease on door with crease on 1/4 panel
    6. Clamp in package tray and upper trunk panels
    7. Clamp in rear tail end panels.
    8. Using long straight edge make sure body crease is straight.
    9. Place trunk lid on and check gap there.

    Does that sound right ? Have I forgotten something ? Anything I should watch out for ?

    Jbloake , may I ask what book that diagram is from and where I can possibly find one ?
     
  8. xten

    xten Veteran Member

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    Is the front sheet metal still on your car? The door-to-fender gap is important. I'd hate to see you get the door where you think it's right, then fight to get a good gap between the fender and door, and fender to hood.
     
  9. jbloake

    jbloake Veteran Member

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    E3B9F731-F846-4E1D-BE15-DDB27656F300.jpeg I believe I got that from an online 1971 fisher body service manual . Something I would be looking at sense there is so much cut out is the frame rail heights . Everything gets attached so you want it in the right place
     
  10. Camaro Tim01

    Camaro Tim01 Veteran Member

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    front end is off the car for when I did cowl/dash corner repairs and I left it off for better access to subframe for cleaning and painting which I havent done yet but the fenders can be shimmed so unless I am way off I should be able to get it in an acceptable range....

    I'll make sure the car is level but I don't have tram gauges so I can't do all the measurements, I'll measure the rear height and width of the frame rails, I checked it roughly with a tape measure and it seems to be correct for the width at 47 1/8" but I will check the height as well

    Thank you everyone for the help and advice !
     

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