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1948 - 1956 F1, F100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Fat Fendered and Classic Ford Trucks

53-56 Front sheet metal alignment procedure

 
  #1  
Old 12-14-2010, 09:48 AM
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53-56 Front sheet metal alignment procedure

I've posted this a couple times as replies to different topics about aligning the front sheet metal, but it's hard to find by searching and you have to read thru many posts to find it. I keep getting requests for the procedure, therefore I've decided to post it to it's own topic to make future searches more sucessful.

My suggestion: Most try to align the rest, then do the hood. As stated above the hood is aligned first then the rest of the front clip is aligned to it. First I will assume the frame to cab mounts are in good condition with good rubber and cab mounted straight. You'll never get the front right if the cab is crooked.
  • Start with the radiator support horseshoe with all the front sheetmetal off the truck.
  • Make sure the rubber isolator under it is in good shape, not hard/cracked/missing, the bolts are free.
  • Put the truck front end on jackstands under front of frame, level front to back on frame and side to side on cowl seam.
  • CAREFULLY adjust the horseshoe until the top is level, the distance from the front support rod mounts on the firewall to the top corner of the horseshoe is equal side to side.
  • Add the wind deflectors to the sides of the radiator support, only snugging the bolts.
  • Remove the hood latch plate from the latchplate strip and mount the strip to horseshoe and deflectors.
  • Adjust the deflectors as needed until the strip is also level and square to cowl, tightening the bolts in several steps like tightening a head on an engine.
  • Set the hood in place without hinges, verify that you can get the hood to match up to the cowl with an even gap (hood gap will be larger than the 1/4" we usually try for when aligning sheetmetal, just the nature of the beast, you did replace the cowl windlacing didn't you?)
  • Try placing temporary 1/4" spacers between the hood edges and the front hood latch strip to simulate the front rubber hood bumpers.
  • If the hood won't align, you need to find out why before proceeding, likely the cab mounts need adjusting. If the front of the hood is decidedly off center the cab isn't square to the frame.
  • Once you have the hood sitting properly and evenly gapped around the cowl, remove it and add the rest of the front sheet metal, tightening all the bolts just finger tight.
  • Add the front end support rods with the adjusters just touching the front brackets. Make sure you have all the hood to fender bumpers in place and they are not hard or damaged.
  • Now set the hood back in place as before. This will likely take two people, but align the rear of each fender with the edge of the hood and the front even with the front of the hood. Don't worry if they droop a bit in the front.
  • Snug all the bolts between the fender and cowl, inner fender, and lower valance pan, leaving the fender to wind deflectors and lower brace just finger tight.
  • Repeat on other side.
  • Now adjust the support rods to bring the front of the fenders up to align with hood.
    • Additional tightening will bring the center of the fender to hood alignment up and the front edge of the fender back, tighten until you are satisfied with the fender to hood fit,
    • then tighten the deflector to fender bolts and the fender support strut. Hopefully all of this has put the frame horns centered in the cutouts in the lower pan.
    • If not you can adjust some by bending the support struts to move the bottom of the fenders side to side.
  • Finally you are ready to hinge the hood!
  • First look in my "extras gallery" for the hinge pictures, remove the springs and be sure the hidden hinge pivot shown is not frozen and working freely. Even new hinges can have this pivot tight or paint frozen, and if tight the hood will never close properly!
  • Bolt the hinges to the cowl just snug enough to support the hood,
  • bolt the hinges to the hood with the proper shoulder bolts and wavy washers,
  • tighten the shoulder bolts just slightly more than finger tight, NO TIGHTER!
  • Now carefully close the hood.
  • Adjust the hood hinge to cowl location until the hood closes without excessive drag on windlace or contact with cowl or fenders. The hood should set down in the same alignment as before hinges were attached.
  • Once the hood is opening and closing smoothly tighten hinge mount bolts, and add a safety wire thru the heads of the shoulder bolts so they cannot loosen.
  • Finally add the lower latch mechanism to the latch plate panel.
  • Adjust the latch plate until the hood latches smoothly and sits properly. If the rear of the hood doesn't pull down by itself (and that pesky pivot is free), adjust the latch plate further forwards to pull the hood forwards as it latches, that should get the rear of the hood to come down.
Take your time to get each step exactly right before going on and everything should align and work better than when it came out of the factory!
Hope it helps!
Chuck
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:47 AM
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Sam, I tried to copy and paste your edited format, but the bullets didn't copy as you can see. I don't know how to get them to appear.
 
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:57 AM
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Thanks gor the re-post
 
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by AXracer View Post
Sam, I tried to copy and paste your edited format, but the bullets didn't copy as you can see. I don't know how to get them to appear.
Ok, I'll send this as a file to your email, then u can cut/paste from there
sent

Sam
 
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:13 AM
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Worked that time! Thanks for the editing, I'm sure it will make it easier to follow.
 
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:19 AM
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Only one small glitch I have found. Chuck, you have no gallery titled "Misc".

Edit: Oh, I get it now. The gallery is sdetweil's . Doh!!!
Edit: Nope, not there. Wrong again.
 
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BACAGrizz View Post
Only one small glitch I have found. Chuck, you have no gallery titled "Misc".

Edit: Oh, I get it now. The gallery is sdetweil's . Doh!!!
Edit: Nope, not there. Wrong again.
Was called that at one time, now they are in my "extras" gallery. I changed it in the text.
 
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:32 PM
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Thank you. Very good instructions.
 
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:39 AM
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Thanks for the repost , I tried searching for it once, but had no luck.Greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:45 PM
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Always glad to be of service.
That hidden pivot on the hinge being free is critical to the correct operation of the hood. The hood will go up and down with that pivot stiff/frozen but will not pull down at the cowl properly.
 
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:02 PM
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ax racer just wondering how you would tighten the support rods or put hood hinges on when apparentli if i read your post correct the hood is still setting on the truck unhingrd.. just wondering thanks ax
 
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:03 PM
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should read hood unhinged
 
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:04 PM
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Attach the hood hinges to hold the hood alignment once it is set. Test to be sure hood opens and closes to same cowl alignment before continuing with adding and aligning additional sheet metal. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
 
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Old 02-05-2011, 01:27 PM
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AX,
As always, your stuff is incredibly informative. I only wish I was at this stage... (though I DO see it in happening this spring... maybe.)
 
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Old 02-05-2011, 02:07 PM
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Chuck,

Thanks for posting the suggested procedure!

It copied perfectly into OpenOffice..... http://www.openoffice.org/


Cheers,


Rick
 

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