Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts Part 2

Click Here to Begin Slideshow When building a car (or having a car built), one thing you never hear about is the mock-up stage, or pre-fitting of parts. The truth is, most high-end cars (for example, well built street rods or full-blown customs or even high-end restorations) are built this way. Essentially, the various bits and pieces are tediously hand fitted to the car while it’s either in bare metal or covered in initial epoxy primer. Then the range of components are massaged to fit and when everything is perfect, the thing is blown apart for final body and paint. That’s why, when you examine these cars carefully, gaps are close to symmetrical and the panels fit nicely. They look great. But honestly, Detroit never fit their stuff this well. Fair enough. It looks fabulous. But if you pay a shop to do this work, you might be a wee bit shell-shocked when you see the final bill. The reason is there’s just a lot of going back and forth fitting pieces until it’s right. It simply takes time. But you can do much of the tedium at home, without special equipment. Mocking up components doesn’t have to be painful. But you might have to move some pieces around and fiddle with them in order to make them fit precisely. Trust us, it’s a whole bunch easier (and less painful) to do it now rather than when the car is painted. And while we don’t have room to lay out each and every detail, what follows is a look at some of the basics. Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts, Part 2

Click Here to Begin Slideshow In our last issue, we examined how, in car construction, parts are typically pre-fit prior to final paint and body. This might not be all that common with some projects, but with street rods, customs and high-end restorations, it’s pretty much standard practice. As mentioned in that segment, any number of components require hand fitting to allow for gaps, and appearance. Basically, you’re lining up things now, while the car is either in bare metal or in primer so that it all goes together neatly once it’s been painted. In the process you’ll discover that some pieces go together smoothly, but in other cases, it takes some, uhm, finesse to get it right. What follows are more examples of mocking up parts. Bottom line here is, it’s easier to do it at the primer stage than when the car is complete. See the accompanying photos for more: Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts, Part 2

Mechanical parts matter too (you’ll soon see why). Actually, there’s a huge mix of parts shown here. The rad support is a small block example that we sent out to have converted to a big block example. The radiator is a reproduction gooseneck and the fan shroud is a reproduction.

Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts, Part 2

What’s with the cardboard? We use it to protect both the rad fins from damage and stop the cheese grater effect on our skin! More in the next photos:

Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts, Part 2

Expect the unexpected. During the mock up, we double-checked the bolt holes for the rad mount on the passenger side. Low and behold, the folks who welded in the captured nuts somehow got the threads crossed. The time to fix it is now (before paint)! This is a good example of why mocking up the car is good news.

Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts, Part 2

There are just a huge amount of variables in play when rebuilding a car today. We chose high quality rad support bushings and hardware. These reproductions fit nicely (whew!). The same can’t always be said for other repro hardware.

Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts, Part 2

Back to the fan shroud. If you think all of this is easy-peasy, think again. There are a lot of variables in the mix and it’s a good idea to make sure all of the hardware cooperates.

Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts, Part 2

Here’s a case-in-point: The previous photo shows the upper shroud mount. In order to fit both the rad support and the fan shroud properly, both side clips have to fit perfectly. This is the driver side shroud clip.

Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts, Part 2

Here’s the passenger side shroud clip. Basically, all three mount locations (top, both bottom sides) must jive

Stuff They Never Tell You: Pre-Fitting Parts, Part 2

Hood alignment is another issue, particularly if you’re using an aftermarket fiberglass hood (they usually spell trouble). Luckily for us, the repro stinger hood fit reasonably well and even the gaps were pretty good. FYI, this was checked and test fit while body repairs were being done. And yes, the fenders, doors and deck lid were on and off multiple times here too!

Back to Post

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


I agree to receive emails from RacingJunk.com. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy