Ford Mustang Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi folks. Here's another one of those pesky door/fender gap alignment issues. I took my car into a local body shop that specializes in early mustang restoration in order for them to drill out old bolts which had been sheered off both hinges on driver and passenger sides. When I picked up the car and paid them for the hinge repair work I didn't notice that there was a huge gap between the door and fender which made the front fender stick out about a 1/4 inch when viewed from behind looking forward. I called them and took it back into them to fix and they spent and additional 2 hours trying to align it all by aligning the fender and the hood which he said was too high in one spot. Anyway, they did all they said they knew what to do but there was still a big gap(in my opinion) betwee them both only it wasn't just in one spot as before but now if you took forward toward the front of the car you see a big gap and then if you backward toward the rear of the car there is, in my opinion, a big gap. Here are three photos of this issue. One is looking straight on from the side, one looking backward and one looking forward. How do I fix this issue without taking it to another body shop and paying hundreds more to get it done right? The shop that did this work for me said that when I got tired of looking at it to bring it back to them and they would use a padded polishing pad and 2x4 to hammer it out/in and then if it cracked the paint they would charge me $350 to repaint that area. As you can probably see from the closeup photos they managed to chip the paint in a few places while doing their work which bothers me but...
Should I just live with this issue or what would be the cheapest solution? I don't want to take it back to them for that hammering job he suggested and yet it does bother me because there was no gap issue when I took it to them the first time. What to do? Please help someone. If they couldn't get it aligned perfectly...there is little chance that I could even though I have read much about how to align a mustang door and fender. Thanks ahead for any advice.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,663 Posts
You must have taken it to a "production" paint shop and not one that cares about quality. You've got an obvious bondo run in the crease on the door panel. If they don't care about that they're going to make every excuse possible about poor panel alignment.

Some alignment is done with the door hinge bolts but a lot of it is done with shims. The only reason to use a hammer and a 2x4 is if the panels are not straight to begin with- and of course that should have been done before the color was applied- again the body shop's fault.

I'm afraid if you take it back to these guys they'll only make the problem worse by chipping/ scratching more paint. That's usually how the game is played. And they'll make sure every repair is a different color, your wallet is thin and you have less hair.

Hopefully you didn't pay too much. Wait and see how the rest of the paint holds up- cheap paint jobs don't last all that long. If that's the case you may need to live with it for a couple of years before you throw up your hands and find a better shop.

In the meantime go to some car shows and talk to the owners, learn how its done the right way and what shops to use and which to avoid, and maybe try to realign it yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your response. Actually, this paint and body shop did not do the painting. I have owned the car for nearly three years and put up with the hinge problem and then just decided to take it to this company for the spring and pin replacement because they deal in almost exclusively mustang work. As I said, I never noticed a problem on that drivers side panel not lining up until I took it to them and I thought perhaps they might have done something to 'bend' the door panel when they did whatever they did to drill out the old pin and install the new one with the arm and spring I don't know. It's very distressing but I don't want to take it back to them. Just by looking at the photos can you tell whether loosening a particular hinge would adjust it properly? If it's bent though that would only make it out somewhere else wouldn't it? What would you do?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,663 Posts
OK I misunderstood.

It looks to me like the door panel is bent. Is the curve the same as the fender?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,663 Posts
Maybe I'm looking at it wrong. Can you adjust the lower hinge out, or shim it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have not tried anything to it yet on my own. I've never done any of that so am afraid I might do more harm than good. Not sure how to proceed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,663 Posts
One of the joys of owning a classic car is learning how to repair it and make fine adjustments. I don't own a Mustang of that era anymore, but when I did nobody could tune the engine better than I could. It became sort of a zen-like relationship. Its not an uncommon experience. People have written books on the subject.

Lining up a car door is trial and error. Examine the hinge carefully and look at how it's attached to the chassis, and to the door. The general procedure is to loosen bolts the move the door as little as possible within the bolt holes, then re-tighten. It's best to have a series of soft wood blocks of various sizes to keep the door at the proper height while you loose the bolts. Also some wood shims and pieces of cardboard to make fine adjustments. It doesn't hurt to tape the edges with several layers of masking tape to protect them.

With an old car you may have issues with rusty bolts and hinges "welded" onto the body and door with layers of paint. Sometimes the initial loosening takes substantial force, and you may need steel wedges, cold chisels, hammers and the like. Start with a plastic hammer, work up to a rubber hammer with a hardwood dowel to focus the energy on the part, and if it still doesn't budge pad the adjacent area with cardboard and be as careful as you can with the hard tools.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Does anybody else have any ideas as to which bolts to loosen and whether a person like me who has no experience doing such work should be attempting to do it? Every other aspect of the door seems to line up just fine. It's just this one spot that drives me nuts to see.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
124 Posts
If you go to YouTube and do a search for door adjustments on a classic mustang, you should find several videos on the procedure. I have a 67 and you have adjustments on the door hinge where it connects to the door up and down and in and out. Also you have adjustments on the body behind the kick panel where you can make adjustments front and rear and up or down. From looking at the pictures, it seems that the door needs to come out at the bottom and forward top and bottom to keep the spacing consistant from the bottom of the door to the top of the door. Depending on how you adjust the door, you can even make the door come out on the bottom and go in at the top, depending on how you twist the door. Like I suggested, look for the videos or take it to a referred body shop that is known by a Mustang Club that does excellent work. Like Yadkin said "One of the joys of owning a classic car is learning how to repair it and make fine adjustments." Have fun and enjoy the car.:winks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's true and I have done many things myself to the car over the three years I've owned it; but, if I've never done this procedure and if I do something wrong it could end up costing me serveral hundred dollars for someone else to fix. Have either of you known anyone who had a similar situation where it looked like the lower front of the door was bent out as mine appears to be and used a padded 2x4 and rubber mallet to straighten it and did not mess up the paint? That's my biggest fear because right now there is no way I could afford a new paint job. But...I may try.
Thanks for all your advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,278 Posts
I've sat on this a few days. But now I'll offer up what I'm thinking.

PERSONALLY, I'd step away, and stay away. Your fears are only inevitably going to be realized.

Trying to fix and line up my doors is a frustrating, pain in the ass process. I still have one that's not good and something is going to need to be done.

I really don't thing smacking on the door is going to be your fix. You SERIOUSLY risk damaging the paint here, and then you have to consider the structure of the door--except for smacking the actual skin in, there's nothing else that can be smacked in. And if the door actually got bent smacking it is not going to be the solution, though if it were it would almost certainly involve some repaint.

I would take it to another shop and have them give you an estimate of what it would cost to straighten your door. My guess would be 2 hours shop time (if that), which runs around $60/hr. That's if it is just a basic door adjustment and there aren't some serious structural issues with the door itself. But at least this way you only get an estimate first before you have them start tearing into it and then you end up with sticker shock.

:bigthumbsup
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks very much all of you. I will probably do the taking it to a new body shop and get an estimate. That seems most sensible because I'm like you, me smacking it will most assuredly require a repaint. Didn't want to spend anymore money on it than I already have but if I'm gonna have a classic Mustang convertible I want it to be right! Thanks again everyone.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top