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Aligning doors, fenders, hood gaps.

MerlinsMopars

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20 months ago my 71 Challenger rt went to the body shop to return to it's original color and all panels were removed to jamb it. I am looking for tips on hanging everything again and will probably just have to fight with it until it's back to tolerable but everybody has ways of doing this and I could use some help on ways to tackle it. Being freshly painted, is scary and I'm not trying to have to keep doing it anymore than I have to.
I put new hinges in the doors and hood but still old springs and the hood still needs pushed down on the rear driver side, just like the old ones so no luck with improving that. We hung the doors before the windows were in, against my recommendation to the body shop and of course they sagged after that. Then he wanted to put the hood on, which we did while we had 3 people and it seemed to be ok except for the left hinge having to be pushed down after closing it. Drivers fender went half decent. Passenger side fender has 1/2 " gap at the door and back as far as it can go without boring out holes and sits high where it meets the hood at the windshield, even without any shims anywhere. There were no shims when we disassembled it which makes no sense to me. The car actually had nice gaps before and now won't seem to line up whatever I do.
If you guy's can give me some tips on the whole process, I would really appreciate it.
 

Rich Followell

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It is really hard to give a fair answer without being there to see it and measure it etc. I do know that the aftermarket door hinges can be an issue I replaced one on the right side of the car it fit so poorly no amount of making the holes bigger was gonna work. they simply are to wrong size due to incorrect thickness of the metal used and that throws off the numbers when you reverse engineer something. As far as the hood goes it usually are hood hinges bad or the front of the car is misaligned often bent. When doing a reassembly I always start with the doors when the lines are good and the seals fit snug and the doors close with a gentile push then you move on with the fenders, hood, etc. Good luck with your project!
 

moparleo

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Did you take pictures before you removed the hood, fenders and doors to verify the gaps ?
Otherwise it is always doors first to set door/quarter panel gaps.
Fenders to set front of door/fender gaps.
Last the hood.
 

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torredcuda

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Were quarters replaced or original? Always start with door to quarter and rocker gaps then move forward assuming your rear quarters are located correctly. I would trust rebiult factory hinges over new reproductions. If the car had nice gaps before there is no reason it shouldn`t now unless the shop screwed something up, didn`t they get decent gaps BEFORE painting?
 

MerlinsMopars

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Were quarters replaced or original? Always start with door to quarter and rocker gaps then move forward assuming your rear quarters are located correctly. I would trust rebiult factory hinges over new reproductions. If the car had nice gaps before there is no reason it shouldn`t now unless the shop screwed something up, didn`t they get decent gaps BEFORE painting?
The quarters are original and the body shop removed everything but didn't pre fit anything. It did have nice gaps before it was torn down. That's what I don't understand but I am going to pull the fenders back off and get the doors where they should be without the striker in there and go from there. The passenger door looks like it will hit the fender at the top, front and already has a massive gap between the door and fender.
I'm wondering if the car settled since everything was removed. Windshields we're out of it also. Floors and rails are solid. The car was stripped bare and filled where needed. The bracket under the top of the fender was only loosened on the door jamb and now it doesn't line up with the hole so, it's irritating. The trunk lined up well tho.lol.

IMG_20220708_141723110_HDR.jpg


IMG_20230204_190041147_HDR.jpg
 

pschlosser

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It's nice when we can get the doors, fenders and hood all dialed in before paint, so even the bolts stay looking pretty. That's not always possible.

I concur what others have said. Start with good hinges and get the doors adjusted to the quarter panels. Then fine tune the fenders and hood to the doors.

In my experience, I've had good success with a process, starting with good crisp hardware (hood and door hinges) clean and lubed latches, etc. is a real help. We adjust the door height in back adjusting the latch post, in front with the hinges. Get the gap between door and QP to 1/4-inch. This is a good time to confirm the fenders will move back to make the same 1/4-inch gap in front of door. If not, split the difference and set the door hinges. Work your way forward ajdusting panels as needed. Fenders, then hood, front upper and lower valence panels. Once everything is dialed inn, and the bolts are tightened, raise and lower the car, open and close the doors and hood a few times, then check it all again.

Anecdotal: I ran into an issue I want to mention for other readers. Lifting my fully assembled 440 e-body with a floor jack, behind the front wheels or on the k-member skid-plate, it would change the gap between my doors and fenders after lowering it to the ground. As much as 1/8-inch over the customary 1/4-inch gap. My car appeared to shift or bend at the frame a tiny bit!! ha ha. Driving it a few weeks in city driving resolves this. So, keep in mind from paint, without engine, to after mounting the engine, lifting and lowering the car a few times, things may shift on your e-body a little. I vote do your final adjust with all the weight and parts on the car. Maybe adjust again after being driven some.
 
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challenger6pak

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Use a double layer of the blue masking tape on all the edges before you work on it. Don't let the sun get on the masking tape after it is applied, especially on a black car. Don't leave it over night either. You want it on just long enough to do the work on each panel. Then remove it and tape the next panel.
 

Challenger RTA

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Use a double layer of the blue masking tape on all the edges before you work on it. Don't let the sun get on the masking tape after it is applied, especially on a black car. Don't leave it over night either. You want it on just long enough to do the work on each panel. Then remove it and tape the next panel.
When you use tape for that.dull the tape on your pants or other clothing. Make sure you have pants on or it can be a hairy mess.
 

cuda joe

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it;s a bear to line up everything . get everything installed in the doors including the weatherstripping first.. an even gap to the quarter panel and the rocker panel
 

torredcuda

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If frame rails and floors were solid I doubt anything "settled". If gaps were good before there is no reason they should not be good now just takes some time to adjust everything.
 
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