1969 Firebird Convertible - Page 42 - Team Camaro Tech
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post #616 of 658 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 16, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Cutting the driver fender to fix the headlight surround.


The driver fender is a lot better than the passenger fender but if still had problems. The headlight rubber gasket did never fit the fender perfectly. I would have to use ratchet straps, hydraulic bottle jacks, my feet and hands to get it to fit. Everything had to be stretched or compressed to get it fit. One problem with the fender is the shape was not right. The fender needed to be pulled out between the top body line and middle body line. I cut the top body line and moved the metal outward.


I used a TIG rod as filler material. I welded the cut back together.





The bottle jack held the metal in place during welding.


Ready for a skim coat of plastic filler.


Once again, I welded a washer in the fender mounting holes. The washer has a smaller hole than the original hole. I have read that some people drill 1/8" pilot holes to help realign the panels to the car. I did not want to have bunch of unnecessary holes in my car. The small hole in the washer is a better alignment method in my opinion.

Patrick
cowl, rockers, floor, trunk, A&B pillar, mini tub, smoothed firewall, tail panel, quarter panels, doors, ford 9", quadralink four link, sub frame, sub frame connectors, fenders, hood, Swamp People, beer:

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post #617 of 658 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 16, 09:22 AM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Very nice Pat!

1969 X66 396 LeMans Blue, M20, 373 ...
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1969 Convertible (just arrived)
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post #618 of 658 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 16, 06:00 AM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Patrick I think that washer idea is Brilliant!

My Build Thread


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post #619 of 658 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 16, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Fitting the outer fenders to the inner fenders

A long time ago, I showed how the inner fender did not fit the outer fender along the wheel well area. The outer fender does not wrap tightly around the inner fender in some areas. I made some relief cuts in the outer fender and bent the metal to fit the inner fender. I welded the relief cuts closed.








I removed the stainless wheel well trim from the original fender. The original stainless trim does not match up with the reproduction inner and outer fender. There is a semicircle slot that is cut into the trim. It is supposed to clear a bolt that fastens the inner and outer fenders together. It looks like the fender bolt holes are not drilled in the correct location. I will leave this problem alone until I get purchase new trim. The new trim might be notched in the wrong location.







The driver side fender does not sit flush with the hood in the middle but it is flush in the cowl and headlight area. I cut the driver fender next to the hood.


I used my most powerful magnet to pull the fender metal flush with the hood.


I used a little shim to make sure the two panels are at the same height.


I used my copper bar to set the gap between the hood and fender and spot welded the fender back together.



I slowly welded the cut closed. The weld was not even along the edge of the fender. I used my die grinder to make the edge even. I used the hood edge as a guide. The rubber roloc disk followed the hood’s edge and ground the fender edge straight.



The two photos below show the fender after the modification.



Patrick
cowl, rockers, floor, trunk, A&B pillar, mini tub, smoothed firewall, tail panel, quarter panels, doors, ford 9", quadralink four link, sub frame, sub frame connectors, fenders, hood, Swamp People, beer:

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post #620 of 658 (permalink) Old Dec 19th, 16, 10:46 AM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Wow - looks great.

'68 Camaro SS with RS conversion
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post #621 of 658 (permalink) Old Dec 20th, 16, 03:05 PM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

You're Mr "no fear" when it comes to cutting those new parts, But the results look great..I still am a little nervous, until that first cut is made. I also have a crown in my hood, at the center of BOTH fenders...I'm going to put the hood on the shop floor with blocks on each corner and gently push the crown down on both sides, with a ruler on the edge so that I don't go too far with it...If I ever get back to working on it again...many "life changes" occurring right now...
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1967 RS Convertible,
1931/32 Ford Roadster, original steel body, 327,3 deuces, muncie M-20
1934 Ford Truck 4" Chop, flathead V8 vintage hot rod
1951 Ford F-1 Pickup project 350/350

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post #622 of 658 (permalink) Old Dec 21st, 16, 07:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Thank you Mr. Greg.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike-T View Post
You're Mr "no fear" when it comes to cutting those new parts, But the results look great..I still am a little nervous, until that first cut is made. I also have a crown in my hood, at the center of BOTH fenders...I'm going to put the hood on the shop floor with blocks on each corner and gently push the crown down on both sides, with a ruler on the edge so that I don't go too far with it...If I ever get back to working on it again...many "life changes" occurring right now...
I was afeard making the first cut. I guess I do like to cut first and ask questions later.

I had a bad experience when I tried to bend my deck lid. I ended up buckling the top of the lid and throwing it away. Like you inferred, only my driver side had the crown. The passenger side was flush.

I was afraid (afeared) that I would hit the inner frame when I made the cut. The inner frame does not butt up against the corner of the top sheet metal. I was afraid of warping the top of the fender. It did warp a little as shown by the sanding marks. It was not bad. I was able to tap the high spots down with a hammer.

In a previous post, I cut the passenger fender the same way to get rid of the "C" shaped fender to hood gap. The cuts and welds were similar to the one you and others made to fix the quarter panel to deck lid gap.

Patrick
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post #623 of 658 (permalink) Old Dec 21st, 16, 12:31 PM
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Scott
 
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

I've removed the crown on 3 hoods by blocking and pressing the center down, and/or by drilling the spotwelds on the hood sides, pulling the hood skin down on the side structure and rewelding. They often do not properly locate the hood skin on the structure. The skin is affixed to the frame with NVH, which is why it can buckle if persuaded too much.
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post #624 of 658 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 17, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Thank you for the advice.

Modifications of the Front Valance Part 1

The front valance is a piece of metal the holds the parking lights and is mounted below the bumper. It is unique to the Firebird. The photo below show the valance. It also shows the plastic inserts and the parking lights.


A long time ago, I had a problem with the seam where the valance and lower fender bolts together. The seam had a big gap. I was able to close the gap with some locking pliers. When I took the pliers off, the gap would slowly reappear after a few weeks. The valance was pushing the fenders out and causing the gap. I measured the old valance and reproduction was too long. I cut the new valance about 1/3 from the driver side. I reinstalled the valance on the car. I marked where the two pieces overlapped and cut off the excess. I removed about a ¼” of metal. Then I butt welded the valance back together.






The new valance did not line up with the bottom of the headlight surrounds. The photos below show the valance sitting too low. The original plastic inserts did not fit in the reproduction holes in the valance.





The photo below shows how the original plastic insert fits the original valance.



The plastic insert sits high in the reproduction hole. There is a bracket that is welded to the valance. The plastic insert and parking light bolt to the bracket. The bracket was welded in the wrong place causing the plastic insert to sit too high.



Patrick
cowl, rockers, floor, trunk, A&B pillar, mini tub, smoothed firewall, tail panel, quarter panels, doors, ford 9", quadralink four link, sub frame, sub frame connectors, fenders, hood, Swamp People, beer:

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post #625 of 658 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 17, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Modifications of the Front Valance Part 2

The spot welds that hold the bracket are in a very tight space. I turned down one of my spot weld cutters to fit in the chuck of my angle die grinder. I was surprised the die grinder had enough torque to cut the spot weld. If you need a really small right angle drill, a die grinder turned out to be a viable option.




The photo below shows the bracket removed from the valance.



The edges around the plastic insert were sharp and crisp on the original valance. Not so much on the reproduction. I clamped a locking grip plier with a flat nose to the valance. I hit the other side with a hammer. The vice grip flat nose served as a perfect dolly that provided a surface to flatten the metal. The side flange was straightened using a hammer and dolly.









Below is the result. It turned out pretty good. But later it turned out to be a waste of time because of the modifications made later in this post.
I cut some relief cuts in the flange and remounted the valance back on the car. I used a hydraulic jack to bend the valance’s metal flush with the headlight surround. I tack welded the relief cuts to hold the metal in place.









I inserted the plastic insert. The reproduction valance was not bent properly around the parking light holes. The side of the valance should be the same shape as the plastic insert. The reproduction piece metal should be flush with the plastic insert. It was shaped too flat in this area. It should have more of a curve.


I pressed my contour gauge against the original valance. I compared the shape of the original to the reproduction. They are not the same.





I cut the flange off that I just flattened. I made three relief cuts in the valance. The relief cuts allowed me to bend the metal flush with the plastic insert.



Patrick
cowl, rockers, floor, trunk, A&B pillar, mini tub, smoothed firewall, tail panel, quarter panels, doors, ford 9", quadralink four link, sub frame, sub frame connectors, fenders, hood, Swamp People, beer:

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post #626 of 658 (permalink) Old Jan 9th, 17, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Modifications of the Front Valance Part 3

The other side of the valance had the same problem. I made some relief cuts and bent the metal to match the shape of the plastic insert. I made new flanges and welded the flanges to the valance and welded closed the relief cuts.








I welded the mounting bracket I removed earlier back onto the valance. Now I am able to bolt the plastic insert to the valance.


The plastic insert is now in a fixed position. Now I can fix the gap on the bottom of the valance. I cut the metal that is near the bottom of the plastic insert and moved it up flush with the insert.




I added a little filler piece of metal to fill the hole.



This is the result after welding and grinding.








One down one to go.
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Patrick
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post #627 of 658 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 17, 07:45 AM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Looking good Pat.A lot of work to fit the light but you made it look easy.

Stuart
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post #628 of 658 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 17, 07:53 PM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Wow.. a lot of details.. nice work
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post #629 of 658 (permalink) Old Jan 19th, 17, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

Quote:
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Wow.. a lot of details.. nice work
Maybe I provide too many details. This build project could be too long and garrulous. It could be boring to a lot of people.

Patrick
cowl, rockers, floor, trunk, A&B pillar, mini tub, smoothed firewall, tail panel, quarter panels, doors, ford 9", quadralink four link, sub frame, sub frame connectors, fenders, hood, Swamp People, beer:

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post #630 of 658 (permalink) Old Jan 19th, 17, 08:24 AM
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Re: 1969 Firebird Convertible

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Originally Posted by tp_smith View Post
Maybe I provide too many details. This build project could be too long and garrulous. It could be boring to a lot of people.
I think the details are whats needed to help understand the process. With the pics and descriptions you do a fine job.
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