Muscle Car Review - - Tech -

Es­tab­lish­ing and then set­ting sheet­metal gaps on hoods, deck­lids, fend­ers, and doors can be a real pain. If the car has nice gaps be­fore you tear it down, it’s a good idea to check them all first. There are a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent meth­ods to do that, but the easy method we pre­fer is to check the re­spec­tive di­men­sions with num­bered drill bits.

To get there, first ap­ply a strip of mask­ing tape to each side of the gap (for ex­am­ple, a line of mask­ing tape along the door edge and an­other along the fac­ing fender edge). Then pick sev­eral spots, top to bot­tom of the gap, and insert a num­bered drill bit. Use a go/no-go method­ol­ogy. You will find that the gap ac­tu­ally varies quite a bit top to bot­tom. At each point where it changes, mark the drill bit di­men­sion on the tape. Then pho­to­graph it. This way, you’ll have a per­ma­nent record of the gap be­fore you tear down the car.

When the time comes for re­assem­bly, tape the sheet­metal again, re­fer to your pho­tos, and, us­ing drill bits, move, nudge and shim ev­ery­thing back to where it was be­fore it came apart. A tip: Most sea­soned re­stor­ers ad­vise set­ting the gap be­tween the door and rear quar­ter-panel first and work out­ward from there.

Drill bits make a handy tool to mea­sure panel gap. Sim­ply insert the re­spec­tive bits us­ing a go/no-go sys­tem.

The trail­ing edge of the fend­ers and the lead­ing edge of the doors were taped (heav­ily) on this Nova prior to re­moval and be­fore re­assem­bly. Au­to­mo­tive painter’s tape works per­fectly.

Check the gap on sev­eral ar­eas of the fender, and mark the di­men­sion right on the tape. This way you can pho­to­graph it and you’ll have a per­fect ref­er­ence when re­in­stalling the fend­ers.

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