Help me understand the difference between skins and full fender replacements

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Jun 14, 2019
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Location
Coachella Valley (Palm Springs)
My Car
1973 Convertible, 351 4v CJ, C6, Mach 1 Decor options, power: steering, brakes and windows, a/c, Rally Pac gauges, Deluxe interior.
[url=https://ibb.co/ZVjjKXW][img]https://i.ibb.co/zrMMbxG/s-l1600-2.jpg[/img][/url]
'73 convertible. I need to repair the driver's side rear quarter.

View attachment 73 Mustang rt rear crunch 1mb.jpeg

Replacement skins seem far easier to come by compared to full fenders, but I've never considered them because I don't really know when they're appropriate. First question: is the skin a replacement or an overlay? If a replacement, then I'm guessing the old is cut out to exactly conform to the skin and then the skin welded in its place. Just a swag so don't laugh. I don't weld (although my Dad had a full welding setup in his shop for repairing oil-field equipment so I've got the gist of it, but I've never not regretted *not* learning in my own garage when I was a kid!)

The obvious is the crunch at the corner, but also the quarter panel is distorted above the wheel going up. Which seems to me to call for full quarter panel replacement. Or does it? Is a skin structurally sound enough to replace that much metal?

The bumper is remarkably straight although not quite aligned in parallel to the rear. It must have been a pretty good smack and the frame needs to at least be checked, but it's really the only significant body issue. Well, and the paint. I'm just trying to figure out what I'm getting into before I poll locally for this type of work.

(Does the photo show inline with the text? Did when I wrote but then doesn't when posted.)
 
Last edited:
A quarter skin is just that, a partial outer skin that replaces the most commonly damaged areas. It will have flanges for the B pillar, wheel house and taillight panel. These panels are typically trimmed below the body line on the rear quarter.

A full quarter replicates the factory panel and will include the body line and sheetmetal into the trunk area and the top well.

This video shows a guy installing a quarter skin.

Regarding your damage, you can anticipate the taillight panel, trunk floor and possibly the frame rail being damaged. If the frame rail is damaged, you'll typically see a buckle in the area I highlighted. Compare the driver and passenger sides. The rail and rear of the car will often be pushed downward when this happens, and is often visible from the rear. A good body shop that is willing to do the work could save that quarter as long as their is no hidden rust damage. If there is, then a full quarter replacement and pulling of the rail would be needed.

1707681165308.png
 
A quarter skin is just that, a partial outer skin that replaces the most commonly damaged areas. It will have flanges for the B pillar, wheel house and taillight panel. These panels are typically trimmed below the body line on the rear quarter.

A full quarter replicates the factory panel and will include the body line and sheetmetal into the trunk area and the top well.

This video shows a guy installing a quarter skin.

Regarding your damage, you can anticipate the taillight panel, trunk floor and possibly the frame rail being damaged. If the frame rail is damaged, you'll typically see a buckle in the area I highlighted. Compare the driver and passenger sides. The rail and rear of the car will often be pushed downward when this happens, and is often visible from the rear. A good body shop that is willing to do the work could save that quarter as long as their is no hidden rust damage. If there is, then a full quarter replacement and pulling of the rail would be needed.

View attachment 85682

Awesome feedback, thanks. I'll check the frame the next time I have the wheel off, although unless it's obvious I might not see the problem. Also, time to find a good body guy.

We used to have a wonderful light-industrial area just down the hill from us with lots of small, independent auto shops: mechanicals, body, etc., but when MJ was legalized the landlords went for the big money and now they're *all* grow houses. Many had been in the same location since opening and just closed shop altogether. The search begins.
 

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