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Test fitting panels before paint...questions

blu67

Well-Known Member
So I am going to start test fitting panels before sending it out for paint and body work. I have some questions as I have never had to start from basically scratch like this:

1. Once I test fit panels and get them gapped nice, how do you mark them to be sure they go back in the same place after paint?
2. Do you have the paint shop put the panels back on or do it yourself? They can touch up any damage right there and then after all...
3. After I get some of the used panels acid dipped, do I have the dents and such fixed then or move on to test fit and wait until it goes in for paint for the repairs?
4. I think it's ideal to have everything off (doors, hood, fenders, etc.) when getting paint but how necessary is it?

Thanks
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
1. For doors, drill a small hole for locating pin(s) through the hinges into the body/door. Makes it a snap to get aligned again. This will also help get the fenders back where they fit during mock up.
2. If you have money for it you can have them put panels back on but if you do as in #1 it's not hard to do yourself.
3. If you are having panels/parts dipped to bare metal see if they can spray in a 2K epoxy immediately thereafter. Then you have no worries about flash rust, etc. Bodywork can go right on top of the epoxy.
4. Parts need to be off for paint. At least to jam everything. Then it really depends on the paint being used. If a metallic by all means paint with the panels in place after jamming. Same for silvers. It's important the panels be painted in the same orientation as when assembled so the particles lay the same and in the end have the reflective action. If you've ever seen a silver car that has had damage repairs and a respray you've probably seen what happens when you don't do it as suggested.
 

stangg

Active Member
I never found the door pin trick to be 100% reliable. What I do now after paint is install the striker on to the jamb, then tape the full edges of the door, tape up the rocker panel, and tape about a 1/4" of cardboard on top of the rocker, Place the door such that the body lines align to the quarter and rocker, then simply install the hinges. The card board helps to set the bottom gap and protect the paint. You're still going to need to tweak a little here and there, but this will get you very very close. The pin trick doesn't work so well if the door isn't fully loaded when you drill it, and/or if you need to install new weather-stripping, you may need to adjust, especially if there is any play in your door hinges. Don't be afraid to put multiple layer of quality masking tape over your fresh paint. It's a great way to minimize / eliminate damage. If you are at all worried about the getting the doors on initially, ask the body shop to at least get them close as it is a two person job. For hood and decklid hinges it can be tricky to get the adjustment dialed in. One trick is to get a plastic gallon container ( Milk/ water type) and cut it into pieces to make some large washers. Put a couple on each bolt so that the serrated washers don't cut into your fresh paint. Once you get it all aligned, remove the plastic washers by removing and replace one bolt at a time. You won't lose your alignment doing one at a time. If you want, you can even keep the plastic washers on 'til you feel the paint is fully cured.

My car was painted in pieces. It is metallic and was painted over the course of two days because the booth wasn't large enough to accommodate painting everything at once. Most but not all parts were oriented to match how they would be placed on the car. A good painter will know how to do this successfully. On my car, the shell and rear parts and doors were base coated on day 1, every thing but the doors were cleared. Day 2, the nose pieces were base coated, the doors were blended from the leading edge into the middle part of the door, then doors an nose were cleared. All together it looks like it was painted assembled. Don't skimp on paint product if doing it this way. I made a mistake and forgot to bring the front directional bezels that get mounted in the front valence to the paint shop. I ended up painting a pair on my own with good quality chromabase. It looked ok, until I got Spies Hekker paint (same brand used on the shell) and sprayed another set . Even with a cheap spraygun, the color laid out so nice. My point being a high quality paint will likely yield a much better quality finish. A good painter might insist on top quality paint.

What parts are you having dipped? Doors, trunk lids, and hoods have some adhesives / sound deadeners between touching panels that I believe will be eaten away with the acid dipping. Might be better to just mechanically strip those pieces.
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
I used an old antifreeze jug to make those plastic washers and can't say enough what a great trick this is. Not only does it eliminate damaged paint it also lets you tighten bolts down fairly snug and still be able to shift fenders around for alignment. Makes it much easier to fine tune and not keep pushing stuff out of whack in other directions while tweaking. I think I left them in place for literally YEARS during my marathon build. When finally removed the hardened paint held up great when bolts were tightened down.

If you do the pin trick with your hinges you have to do two per piece to get alignment right. Otherwise a single pin still requires correct "clocking" of the part. You should also hang some weight (representing the window glass, mechanism, etc.) on the door when aligning too. This will help to mimic the "sag" in the hinge and even sheet metal when a fully assembled door is installed.

When hanging a door I cheat and use my roll around stool (with some blocking) to support the door at the correct height relative to the car body. I don't have the luxury of an extra set of hands around very often to help.
 

blu67

Well-Known Member
Great suggestions, guys. Thanks! I like the plastic washer ideas

What parts are you having dipped? Doors, trunk lids, and hoods have some adhesives / sound deadeners between touching panels that I believe will be eaten away with the acid dipping. Might be better to just mechanically strip those pieces.
I was going to have the hood, trunk lid and possibly doors dipped because they have those nooks and crannies that hide rust and I wanted to be sure to get as much of it as I could. Especially in the stamped support areas of the trunk and hood. I hadn't thought that the acid would take that off too but I guess it makes sense. Can that not be replaced? It doesn't look like much was used...On my doors, though, I know there is some rust in the front lower corners and I can feel it at the bottom of the doors when I reach inside. Not bad yet but could become that over time. I suppose POR 15 on the inside could work and taking care of the rust in the corners from the outside would work there.
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
The rust in the lower front of the doors is always worse than you think. Debris settles in there and holds moisture causing rust/rot. The lower inner structure for window track is the biggest culprit. I coated the lower portions of my doors with a rust converter/inhibitor solution after being thoroughly cleaned out after media blasting. Then next I used POR 15 to coat the lower few inches internally. That was about 10 years ago. Still looking great.
 
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