Back seat panel alignment convertible.

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Nov 4, 2016
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The Netherlands
My Car
1973 Ford Mustang Q-code convertible
Hi guys,

I am restoring a 1973 convertible. I noticed a big alignment issue of the backseat panel. It looks like it was welded in like this in the factory. 

The question is , would you leave it this way or would it be better to correct the panel? I am not sure if you would notice it when everything is installed again, so hopefully some convertible owners can advise...







Mine is the same. Not quite level, and left to right is off a good bit as shown in photo. I thought it was bad repair work but the more I look at it the more it looks like it was made that way. Longer on the passenger side.


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LOL, 1/2" would be difficult to make anything out that much. On most stamping check fixtures you set the panel on nets that are located the same place on the check fixture and the weld assembly fixture. The nets are 3.0 mm tall and then around the edges of the part for trim line or form you also have a gap check that is 3.0 mm nominal. The part would never fit on the fixture if it was off over 3.0 mm or about 1/8". 
On some mating weld surface you would only have = / - .25mm or about .010". Some would be = / - .5 mm. Each panel has an elongated hole and a round hole that are used to locate the stamping in the check fixture and weld fixture.

I completely understand, I built dies, gages and fixtures for over 25 years. Typically I agree on 1 part but with stack up things can go quite a ways. If the parts in question are not off by more than 1/4" i'd be surprised. Back then net surfaces were 1/8"... LOL!  We also scaled mylars for most "fresh air fit" dimensions. Back in the 70s hand drawn parts were a quite bit more loosey - goosey than in more recent cad designed part days. Today a designer thinks if he can design it to 5 or 6 decimal places the part can be built that tight. I started my diemaking apprenticeship well before cad and CNC. It's good to see another toolmaker around. 

After I retired several shops I had worked with on tooling wanted to hire me. I ended up going to China with two suit cases and lived there for a year that time. I was engineering manager at a good sized shop several hundred die makers. Rows of CNC equipment, I think we had over 50 wire EDM machines. We could go tools way faster than in the U.S. and I have seen first hit parts in the 90% to print range. We used what ever components the customer wanted and flew leader pins and bushing, nitrogen systems from the U.S. to China built the tool and shipped by boat and would beat any quotes in U.S.. The unions have killed the U.S.. No way can we compete. We did work around the world got to Germany a couple times while with them. They did not want me to leave but they paid for my home and shop so good for me. 


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