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  #1  
Old 06-22-2011, 08:58 AM
tt3898 tt3898 is offline
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Smile How to achieve proper body alignment??

I am currently restoring my first F150, it is a 1977 F-150 4X4 Shortbed.

This is also the first time that I have stripped any vehicle down this far. I have removed the box, inner / outer fenders, and raised the cab to replace all of the body mount bushings. Now that the box, cab, fenders, etc. have been painted I am ready to re-intall them.

My question is: What is the proper procedure for re-mounting the box, cab, inner / outer fenders so that I can achieve the proper body alignment? How to decide how many shims to put in each spot? Should I be cross measuring with reference to the frame? Should I measure from the floor up to the bottom of the cab? Or is this an Eyeball thing until you get it right?

Thanks for your helps guys!!!
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2011, 09:26 AM
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Congrats on moving along with your restoration.

The typical method on a unibody car is to work from back to front. This is a truck so things are a bit different. Actually, I would have aligned all the gaps before taking the truck apart. An old body man trick is to drill a 1/8-inch hole in the mounting flanges and upon reassembly use the drill bit as an alignment pin. C'est l'vie.

For ease of assembly of the truck, i suggest you and your helper start by mounting the cab since its location is basically determined by the body mounts and has limited adjustability. After the body, mount the doors and work on the top and rear gaps and try to make 'em consistent on each side. It's okay to torque the door hinge bolts so it doesn't move.

Then come the fenders. It's tricky here because you'll mount the inner fenders first, then bolt the fenders to them. Manufacturing tolerances back in the day weren't as precise so the number of shims varies widely. Mount them snug but not in their final tightness.

Loosely mount the core support and generally to the width of the hood. You may also want to check how the grill shell fits.

Now go back and work on the gap between the door and the front fender. You may have to move the inner fender back and then pull the fender forward. Even vice versa. Now work on the gap btwn the cowl and fender.

Now it's time for the hood. Mount the hinges and then the hood to the hinges. After that, it's a matter of tweaking here and there to achieve nice gaps.

I'd put off the bed as long as possible cuz access is easier without it.

Don't be surprised if you have to back track. You'll probably reach a point and want to pull your hair out so take a break and step away from the rig. It might take three times as long to do the last 20 percent of job but it'll be worth it.

Good luck to ya.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:52 AM
tt3898 tt3898 is offline
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Thanks very much for the info HIO! At least I have a place to start now. Unfortunately the box is resting on the frame as I am short on space, guess Ill just have to work around it. Thanks again!
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:14 AM
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Door and hood alignments have always been my nemisis.....
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:08 AM
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Yeah, I've heard that the doors and hood are the LARGEST pain the ****... and unfortunately, if you use HIO's method, and screw them up, you'll go almost all the way back to square one because they're at the start.

Good info tho.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:25 AM
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That is all great information HIO gave. The only possible thing I could add is depending on the condition of the frame and cab mounts, you may have to use body washers under the cab on top of the rubber mounts. Same goes for the radiator support. THis can help you achieve a more uniform gap at times. Usually, if you havent torqued them down to tight, you can remove the bolt and jack a little bit to slide them in. They look like this.

Part 6-2470 - 2" Stainless Steel Body Mounting Washers by Totally Stainless Inc.
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  #7  
Old 08-03-2011, 02:48 PM
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Congrats my friend! I have just finished removing & installing ALL new body mounts for my 1983 Bronco & believe me if I had know before I started just how in depth, time consuming & frustrating the whole process was going to be I would never have started! I purchased state of the art Poly mounts so I would advise first of all that even though your new body mounts are exactly that NEW - your old body mounts are SHOT and over the years your cab will have adjusted itself to the slow disintegration etc of years of use. I marked all of the shims & spacers not just for the body but also the radiator mounts etc. When I went to install everything I realized that the new body mounts etc had totally different heights ( nothing major ) & that the old shims/spacers were going to have to be used in different locations & NOT where they were originally. So do your cab first paying particular attention to the gap between the back of the front fender & door when time to align them, I ended up placing most of the shims under the radiator for proper clearance for the fan blades in the shroud. I have everything bolted down now but am still adjusting for panel & radiator height, it will take time because I want it done right & definitely don't want to redo anything like this again.I took it for a run this morning & found that a full turn to the left had the fan blades catching the shroud so had to re-shim again.Also will have to repair/weld/adjust rear fender/door gap drivers side as on inspection I found the rear fender bolt lug had snapped off & that's another story..........lol! Hey just hang in there it IS frustrating but well worth the extra effort in the end, it IS trial & effort & strange as it may seem eyeballing until your satisfied has been the way to go for me. And I am STILL not satisfied!!!!!!!! Good luck.
**** Oh heck I just realized the date on this post so no doubt you have everything completed by this time. ****

Last edited by Palliz; 08-03-2011 at 02:51 PM. Reason: dated
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  #8  
Old 08-03-2011, 04:00 PM
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Not that this helps the OP, but maybe anyone else reading this. If a panel alignment looks good before removal, I scribe mark it around any place the 2 pieces connect.

And it makes going back on a snap, especially the hood (scribe around where the hood attaches to the hinges).

Also be ready to handle the "But it measures out even and just don't look right".
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  #9  
Old 08-03-2011, 09:40 PM
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ive found that a rule of thumb on body gaps is usually about the tickness of a paint stick. i usually align every panel before i pull one apart i find a spot on the panel that is not noticeable n drill a 1/8 in hole where i can put something to make sure the panels are properly aligned then remove the pilot pin after there bolted on i could b wrong but this is how i do it
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:10 PM
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Yea HIO Silver post #2 supports your idea.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:13 PM
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Another thing is that if you are using new or different doors you might have to adjust the cab. On my truck I had to do this. I measured the driver side door opening and it was an 1/8 of an inch narrower than the passenger side but without it the extra 1/8 inch the door wouldnt close properly. We ended up having to put a port a power in between the cabs driverside door pillars and push them apart, all with fresh new paint. We somehow managed to not even scratch the clear coat . Also like other people said earlier drilling 1/8 inch alignment holes works awesome.

Last edited by 650; 08-03-2011 at 10:15 PM. Reason: spellin
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:43 AM
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I use the method HIO stated, but here's an additional little tidbit: I found that you need to set the hood springs unnaturally low. In other words, once you have it aligned, the next time you shut it, the hood will be high in the back. I want to say my springs were down 1/4" to 1/2" below where I thought they should be. This prevents that kick up look that a lot of old trucks seem to have.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teds74ford View Post
I use the method HIO stated, but here's an additional little tidbit: I found that you need to set the hood springs unnaturally low. In other words, once you have it aligned, the next time you shut it, the hood will be high in the back. I want to say my springs were down 1/4" to 1/2" below where I thought they should be. This prevents that kick up look that a lot of old trucks seem to have.
That's good to know. I've always wondered why some people can't get the hood to align properly near the front windshield... I've seen that sometimes it's bad enough that you can nearly see what colour of inner fender they have.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:15 PM
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Good posts Guys. This info is gonna help this old guy get his 77 2wd back a "little closer" than it was. John
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teds74ford View Post
I use the method HIO stated, but here's an additional little tidbit: I found that you need to set the hood springs unnaturally low. In other words, once you have it aligned, the next time you shut it, the hood will be high in the back. I want to say my springs were down 1/4" to 1/2" below where I thought they should be. This prevents that kick up look that a lot of old trucks seem to have.
Huh, my truck has that issue. I was wondering how to fix that...
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:09 PM
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