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C body door and fender alignment

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  • C body door and fender alignment

    I can't get my passenger side door "in" far enough to line up the front right fender on my 53 C body Commander. I've taken out all the shims between the hinge leaf and the door, but there is still 1/8" gap where the top of the fender and the cowl meet if I move the fender out to be even with the door. I can adjust the fender in to close the gap, but then the door sticks out too far. Any ideas other than milling off the hinge leaves?

    As far as I can tell the car has never been in an accident on that side. I did find some really old body work under the tail light housing on that side. I know it's old work because the repair was made using lead and was under 2 layers of paint. All the sheet metal (fenders, door skin) are original and repair free on that side of the car.

    Thanks,

    ddavis
    Dave Davis
    Bakersfield, Ca.
    1953 Commander Regal Starlight
    \'58 392 Chrysler Hemi powered

  • #2
    How is the rust situation on the floor where the "A" pillar welds to the floor? It sounds like for whatever reason, poor factory fit of cowl and "A" pillar, frame damage, body damage or whatever, the "A" pillar is outboard too far causing this misfit!

    StudeRich
    Studebakers Northwest
    Ferndale, WA
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner
    SDC Member Since 1967

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    • #3
      Zero rust, zero damage. The PO had taken the entire front end off the car to install a different drive train, but the doors were never touched. I bought the car with all the front end back in place, but not aligned very well.

      I thought about just filling in the gap with lead, but then the hood side gaps would be altered.



      ddavis
      Dave Davis
      Bakersfield, Ca.
      1953 Commander Regal Starlight
      \'58 392 Chrysler Hemi powered

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      • #4
        1/8" gap? That's just about right isn't it?


        Dwain G.
        D 'N Q RACE ENGINES

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        • #5
          Actually no. Where the fender and cowl meet, I prefer no gap at all.

          ddavis
          Dave Davis
          Bakersfield, Ca.
          1953 Commander Regal Starlight
          \'58 392 Chrysler Hemi powered

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd say a proper gap should be about 1/8- 3/16ths. Whats gonna happen to your paint with no gap?

            LaSalle,Il
            61Hawk
            Oglesby,Il.

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:Originally posted by dday392

              Actually no. Where the fender and cowl meet, I prefer no gap at all.
              ddavis
              Naturally, it's your car so you can go "no gap" if you really want to ...but at least '56 K bodies had anti-squeak pieces made of rubber material attached to the cowl to keep the fender from rubbing hard against the cowl (see below):


              Good Luck!!!

              <h4>Last Man Standing in Studebaker Indiana</h4>

              Comment


              • #8
                I'll weigh in on this subject since I have fought with it too on my '53 K....

                I have had the driver side door off and the fenders/rocker loose 3 times in the past couple years tweaking the fit. The passenger side has been a issue too but not as bad as the driver side. I originally had the fenders shoved tight to the cowl. As you found, then the door sticks out too far. In my case, it was made worse since I kept a shim under the hinge to prevent what I thought was even worse in that the lower rear corner of the door stuck out so far it would not even come close to being closed with the rubber seal. The other problem I had was the door being too far back so that the front/rear gap were very uneven. The door was as far ahead as the slots in the hinge plate would allow.

                This past spring I made another attempt at it. I filed out the sheetmetal slots in the door and also hammered in the front a little were the hinge bends around and managed to gain about 1/8" more movement to pull the door ahead. Then I had the rubbing problem with the door/fender gap when it was about 1/2 way open. I found out I HAD to keep the shim under the top hinge as that somehow changed the arc the door goes through as it opens just enough to clear the fender assuming I had that exactly spaced away from the cowl a little bit. I struggled with this off and on for a couple weeks. I ended up with a compromise of gap at the cowl and the door sticking out a little so that neither issue was too obvious. It probably is about 3/16-1/8" now. The rear corner required that I loosen the rear fender and jam some rubber belting material cut into thin strips into the gap between the body and fender near the bottom to force it out more so that the edge lined up with the rear of the door. The last thing to get worked over is the rocker panel. I have them attached with sheet metal screws in the rubber channel over to the floor so I can put washers in there to adjust it.

                I don't think my car was ever aligned very well as I found the body not square with the frame such that the brackets needed to be shimmed one direction in the front and the other in the rear. I have looked at panel fit on dozens of '53 and '54 C/K's and no two are the same! I think the only way to get perfect gaps would be to paint your car flat black so nobody could tell [:0]



                Jeff in ND

                '53 Champion Hardtop

                Jeff in ND

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                • #9
                  The idea of putting a thin rubber shim in between the cowl and the fender mating surfaces is a good one, and I had planned on that. The reason I want no gap at the cowl is the hood side gaps. If I did use a 1/8" gap at the cowl, each side gap for the hood would be 1/2"to 5/8" and that is huge in my thinking. With the fender tight up next to the cowl the gap is about 3/8" down the sides of the hood, not great but better. At least the hood rests on the rubber buttons with no fender gap at the cowl, otherwise the hood sinks below the fender line.

                  I know you all are trying to help, but what I should have asked is, has anyone had to move a door "in" beyond the adjustments Studebaker provided? And how did you do it?

                  Thanks,

                  ddavis
                  Dave Davis
                  Bakersfield, Ca.
                  1953 Commander Regal Starlight
                  \'58 392 Chrysler Hemi powered

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The alignment sequence that I use for C/K bodies is; rear quarters, doors, hood, front fenders. I have used shims, but I have never had to modify the adjustments that the factory provided. Of course, the basic body shell/tub has to be correct to start with. Studebaker used to offer different sized rubber bumpers for hood to fender. I have always used the thicker ones and then made them smaller with a razor blade.

                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer
                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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