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Old 03-30-2018, 07:48 PM   #1
darkmercury51
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Default Front end alignment on my 38

Hey folks, are there any tips on getting the panels on my 38 Ford half ton to line up? Some body lines are kinda wonky just look at the pics. I dont want to start trimming sheetmetal


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Old 03-30-2018, 08:45 PM   #2
V8COOPMAN
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

That sheet metal all depends on the geometric mounting points built-in to the original chassis. That "Wonder World" rat chassis obviously missed those requirements by a mile! If you get a REAL, original chassis back under that mess, it'll all start lining-up again like Henry built it eighty years ago. DD
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Old 03-30-2018, 08:53 PM   #3
darkmercury51
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

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Originally Posted by V8COOPMAN View Post
That sheet metal all depends on the geometric mounting points built-in to the original chassis. That "Wonder World" rat chassis obviously missed those requirements by a mile! If you get a REAL, original chassis back under that mess, it'll all start lining-up again like Henry built it eighty years ago. DD


Its a lucky 7 frame made for 35-41 fords with a heidts mustang 2 front end. And a 65 mustang 8 inch in the back with a competition engineering 4 link. I dont think the frame is a issue everything else lines up as per bolt hole in the boxed frame. I think it maybe do to fact i dont have the tensioning rods or the rad to pull the front up...


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Old 03-30-2018, 08:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

yup, that opens a large can of worms when all the original mounts and frame have been changed. no ones measurements will work, you just have to fool with it until its fits to your satisfaction.
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

It will be difficult to line everything up without the old frame, inner fenders mounted, radiator supports installed, and the grill loosely fitted. Front sheet metal looks pretty solid. Good luck.
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:25 PM   #6
darkmercury51
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

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Originally Posted by bosborn38pu View Post
It will be difficult to line everything up without the old frame, inner fenders mounted, radiator supports installed, and the grill loosely fitted. Front sheet metal looks pretty solid. Good luck.


All the bolt hole align with the sheet metal as well as inner fenders. I have had to find factory measurements just to prove mounting locations. The inner fenders are not shown because they have to be notched to fit over the upper A arms. And to honest, im mocking it all up to prove fitment before i have it all sandblasted and start on the metal work. Its not going to be a rat rod like some else implied lol. It just time and money


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Old 03-30-2018, 09:36 PM   #7
darkmercury51
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

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Originally Posted by cas3 View Post
yup, that opens a large can of worms when all the original mounts and frame have been changed. no ones measurements will work, you just have to fool with it until its fits to your satisfaction.


My 51 Mercury M-1 went together with no problem


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Old 03-31-2018, 09:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

The body lines are wonky with a Ford frame and looking at how the panels are made and attached it comes as no surprise. The radiator tensioning rods won't lift much and I wouldn't want the radiator, or any other panel, under stress because it will crack. I agree with previous poster, you will need to adjust to your satisfaction.
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Old 03-31-2018, 09:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

Here's photo of rods on my 39pu.
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Old 03-31-2018, 09:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

Its been a while but I believe the radiator and its supports starts the whole thing off as it sets the height and the angle of everything else. The inner fender panels also should be installed as they bolt tight to the frame and then the fenders are hung off them and adjusted. You may have to bolt the entire front end (with grill) together to figure out where everything needs to go.

PS: The grill frame is very strong, the grill bars not so much. When the lower apron is bolted to the grill it will pull it all together. Assemble the grill and apron together as one piece and then fit the rest to it.

Last edited by 38bill; 03-31-2018 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 03-31-2018, 04:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

On the assembly line the front clip was put together first, then put on the car.
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Old 03-31-2018, 05:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

What did it look like , fit wise , before you took it apart ? Are all the sheet metal parts from the same donor ? How far is the orig frame from you ?
This is always a problem when using a non ford frame , no matter what your Merc truck may have been like . The holes can line up but frame measurements can be tricky for fabricators to reverse engineer .
It'll line up with some stretching and shrinking , keep all panels moveable and you may have to do the unthinkable, ream mounting holes , sheet metal and frame mount and rad support .
Good luck
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Old 04-01-2018, 03:38 AM   #13
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Red face Re: Front end alignment on my 38

The front of the fenders need to come up. Shim the inner fender mounts etc.
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:54 AM   #14
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

It seems like 38 Bill has a good plan of action. Since the frame is not original, I wouldn't count on it being an accurate part of an original assembly. If metal attachment mods need to be made, I'd try to do it with the frame mountings rather than the sheet metal if possible. If all else fails then start modifying the sheet metal. This is a custom install anyway with all the mods already in place.

It can be difficult to get alignment when you have the original frame so the custom frame is not going to be any better.

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Old 04-01-2018, 10:16 AM   #15
rich b
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

Maybe start with the hood top to cowl fit, then the hood to grille fit and height, may even have to shim the body to get this right, then the side panels, then the fenders. Some old stuff does not fit like new cars and you may have to slice and dice some seams to get it the way you want. May even want to roll it outside during this process, so you can stand back a good look at the body line flow.
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:07 AM   #16
darkmercury51
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

Thanks folks. I think im missing a vital part on the front as well. The braces that attach to the frame/inner fender and go up to the head light. The cab it self is off a 2 ton and the rest in original 38-39 half ton. I have shimmed the cab as well to the factory height as i am trying to get around installing the wooden cab mounts. All the sheet metal i am using is original for the era minus the drive train, which is all Ford as well, right down to the motor mounts are made for a 53 truck 351w conversion. I just had to narrow them 2 inches due to the frame in the era narrows as well. I got 2 grills to make one nice one, 2 pairs of rad mounting metal as well as the sheet metal that goes under the grill that connects to the fenders and for that reason in case i have to massage the metal. I am building this as close to factory spec as i can on the information i can find. I am keeping it all Ford which in it self is a feat because there is no upgradable parts for these beasts. I had to special order metal parts like the firewall and the floor boards which isnt cheap. Long story short if i wanted small block chevy powered hienz 57 rat rod i would be driving it at the moment.


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Old 04-01-2018, 12:04 PM   #17
38bill
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

I dug out a few photos (yes photos, didn't have a digital camera back then) of my truck. Don't know if you can see it in this photo but without the grill mine didn't look that much different than yours. PM me your email if you want some other photos.

Bill
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Old 04-01-2018, 07:05 PM   #18
bosborn38pu
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

[QUOTE=darkmercury51;1612180]Thanks folks. I think im missing a vital part on the front as well. The braces that attach to the frame/inner fender and go up to the head light.


I think you've hit the nail on the head. Those braces are heavy duty and have slotted holes to allow for some adjustment on the frame side. BTW: I'm looking for the center stainless steel trim piece for my grill. Its the v-shaped trim that attaches to the grill center between the Ford logo at the top and the crank hole trim at the bottom. I have one, but it doesn't fit the curve and I've not had any luck with it so far. PM me if you (or anyone else) happens to have an extra.
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:39 AM   #19
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

Quote:
Originally Posted by rich b View Post
Maybe start with the hood top to cowl fit, then the hood to grille fit and height, may even have to shim the body to get this right, then the side panels, then the fenders.
I would definitely start with the hood. Just from my experience.
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:47 AM   #20
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Default Re: Front end alignment on my 38

You have a non stock application. That means you have to use your ingenuity. You have to work from first principles, one piece at a time. As said, the hood is the start point. Align this to the cab. Drop a plumb line from the centre of the hood down at the front. Is it on the centre line of the chassis? No? Unbolt the cab and move it until it is.
That's a start.
Put the grille in place, aligned to the hood which now fits perfectly to the cowl, and on centre. Does the grille sit at the right height? No? raise or lower it until it looks right, then shim the cab so the hood fits perfectly again.

Then carry on with each panel until you get them all fitting as well as it is possible to get them. It may be that it is impossible to ever get them perfect. You have to keep going until the quality of the fit and finish matches the character of what you are building.

As soon as you drift from stock you have to take the responsibility for making it work.

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