Trunk/rear end body panel alignment!!

RJM718

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Hello everyone, so when I bought my mustang, I knew the alignment on the body panels in the rear weren't aligned because it is obvious, I checked the frame and have had mechanics check and they all said it was straight and not in any accident. One of the previous owners must have done a cheap resto on it and never aligned the rear body panels correctly. I was wondering if you guys could help me figure this out!!! As I just have no clue were to start and would love to get it nice and straight!! As this mis-alignment bothers me more and more every time I see it.

image.jpg

 

marks73

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Which panels are you refering to. There are some on this forum (myself included) that have replaced them all.

 

RJM718

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In this I'm referring to the trunk lid, rear bumper, the piece below the rear bumper, basically the whole back section of the car, is all out of alignment. If you can zoom into the picture you can see the trunk lid and the bumper all misaligned.

 

cudak888

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I see that the left quarter panel sits a tad lower than the trunk, and that the valance panel hasn't been tightened properly. That, and the left end cap doesn't appear to seat on the quarter properly.

It also seems as if the taillight panel is higher on the left side than the right, but that could be an optical illusion due to the 3/4 shot. Get a dead-on photo of the back end and post it here; otherwise, we're all guessing.

-Kurt

P.S.: How are the door gaps where they meet the quarter panel?

 
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Spechti

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Panel alignment on the 71-73 Mustang is a PITA and also a time consuming job if done properly.

First, the cars were not built perfectly like a Rolls-Royce. The gaps were made with a good measure of tolerance. To make it worse, same type parts were not always exchangable without problems. Which means a door from one Mustang not necessarily fits the same nice way on another car.

But at all, no cars came form the factory like yours. If that occurred, quality inspection refused it or at least, obvious misaligments were corrected by the dealer selling the car.

This offers us some variation in guessing what might have happened to your car:

1. The car was rebuilt at the rear using incompatible parts from different cars/years or reproduction parts of inferior quality.

2. Car was bent in an accident (not necessarily a traffic accident) and shoddily repaired

3. Parts were incorrectly installed or were installed using wrong fasteners and attachment material.

Example: the bad fit of the left side of the trunk lid may be the result of a bent or loose hinge, wrong installation of shims or similar.

A very close inspection of the rear might reveal what happened. Compare the mounting points to images of other cars of the same type. Control the part numbers for being maybe of another year or revision type.

Michael

 
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OMS

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From the picture...

It looks like any of that can be adjusted / shimmed to re-aline the panels and gaps.

Rear valance may be a bit tricky

Don

 

marks73

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I would start at the trunk and work your way down aligning with the rear quater panels to get the gap and heighth right. A good shim kit will be needed for the up and down and its a matter of under the back window bolt or the trunck bolts.

 

Qcode351mach

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You can eat up hours upon hours gaping aligning sheet metal on these cars for sure...First things first..Check & see if lower or partial quarters were replaced on the car..Look in the trunk & see if you can find a joint overlap seam...If so There's a good chance they are installed incorrectly..Poor aligning end caps are a sign of a poorly installed quarter section..Also check & see if a new rear body panel was installed..Thats another one few install correctly..I can tell right away enlarging your picture that the drivers side had a quarter section done & done poorly



A good shim kit will be needed
lollerz

Needs a lot more than that :mad:

 
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Go Time

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Ok there may have been some panels installed incorrectly, but I need to say you could make a great deal of improvement with the trunk and lower valance like Don and Marks73 said. I think bringing the trunk lid into alignment and the lower valance as well as the bumper would make a huge difference. Q is correct in the fact the the drivers quarter looks like it is a reproduction by the fit around the bumper and the lower edge of the rear quarter. Panel alignment can drive you nuts if your not accustomed to it. If you can find an old bodyman that was active in the 70's he will know the tricks and there are many. Will it be perfect no, but can it be improved on yes. and I think If i read your post if it was improved some what it would make you happy. Do not think all is lost, it can be helped it just may not be perfection. But have you ever looked at the panel gap of an all original 70's car. Q will have show winners because he gaps to perfection no doubt about that but there are a lot of tricks to help your situation. You have a nice looking car I wish mine was looking as good as yours, Mine is in pieces and with a few adjustments yours will look even better. I hope you have been encouraged by the guys on here because thats what I like about this site, the site and the people on it helps others. Dennis

 

RJM718

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@cudak888, the door gaps look fine, they look absolutely normal, its more just the rear end.

@spechti i will check more closely to see what happened, i will start to take apart the rear end once its taken off the road for the winter. Thank you for letting me know what it could be from.

@OMS and marks73, thanks guys i will most likely see if i could just adjust/shim it, i would hate if i have to re-replace any panels, as i just dont have the funds for that right now, tough to keep another car on the road and be a full time student.

@Qcode351mach, i will check tomorrow to see if they were replaced, i dont remember if there was a seam in the trunk, if there wasn't, was it not replaced, and most likely needs to be shimmed? or could it be from an accident?

@Go Time, yes i would definitly love to just get it less noticeable of the misalignment, if i can get the trunk lid and lower valence i would be much happier, i am not by any means looking for perfection, i just want the average joe think it looks good and not notice the misalignment. And yes it is driving me nuts, as i just have no clue where to start, looks like i will just dive into it and see what happens! hopefully i dont mess anything up... Thank you, i appreciate that. And yes it has encouraged me and i have learned more about my car which is what i want to do. I just am trying to find out what happened to the car in its 40 years of life. All i know is that this car is staying with me now!!

Thank you everyone for your fast replies!!!! I GREATLY appreciate it!! and will post tomorrow what i find with the car!

 

OMS

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Check the rear valance

Look in the trunk for a stud on each end

Valance should be installed with the stud

I have seen may of them screwed on [ exposed screw at the bottom corners ] and it causes the bow in the center

Go to my site to see the stud

part number 1109

Don

 

RJM718

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sorry all for responding very late, this has been a hectic week at college and havent been able to devote any time to the mustang. But this is what i did find, the drivers quarter panel as many of you said, has been replaced, this has caused the misalignment of what looks like everything. Now since i just want to make it look better and dont have the money to put into re-doing the body work, what should i do? and thanks OMS i will look at this tomorrow.

 

Qcode351mach

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sorry all for responding very late, this has been a hectic week at college and havent been able to devote any time to the mustang. But this is what i did find, the drivers quarter panel as many of you said, has been replaced, this has caused the misalignment of what looks like everything. Now since i just want to make it look better and dont have the money to put into re-doing the body work, what should i do? and thanks OMS i will look at this tomorrow.
As some of the others said..shim..move..tighten..align best as possible..

 

RJM718

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thanks qcode, looks like i will just have to dive into it and see what i can do!! hopefully next summer, she will be looking great!!

 

peche 71

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RJM, where on Lawnguylan are you, I'm a native from Hauppauge. thanks for posting this i have a similar thing with my 71, good to get some feedback.

 

RJM718

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Nice to find another native!! Im in suffolk county, close to Suffolk County Community College Brentwood Campus. And no problem, i am extremely thankful to everyone to pointing me in the right direction!! This helps alot, and has helped me realize what is going on with my car. Nice to find information and feedback on this problem! Once my winter break comes around, I am going to take the back end apart on my car, and try to get it all shimmed up.

 
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GravY

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I see a lot of 71-73s trunk deck sagging on the driver side. Mine is the same and for a quick fix I placed a piece of rubber on the trunk edge. When the lid is closed the rubber will keep the lid at the correct height.

So shimming would take care of the problem?

 

marks73

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Nice to find another native!! Im in suffolk county, close to Suffolk County Community College Brentwood Campus. And no problem, i am extremely thankful to everyone to pointing me in the right direction!! This helps alot, and has helped me realize what is going on with my car. Nice to find information and feedback on this problem! Once my winter break comes around, I am going to take the back end apart on my car, and try to get it all shimmed up.
Sometimes it's easier to just loosen parts rather than remove (unless there are repairs to be made)when trying to align the panels.

 

Tnfastbk

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There is a nice example of trunk misalignment in the VIP forum but you have to be a VIP member to view it:blush:

 
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