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 Alignment and fit of Rear Spoiler/tail lights
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Bill Boyle
Horse Feathers (Charter Member)

USA
4797 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2013 :  7:49:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bill Boyle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What was passed on the assembly line in 1979 (PMD) would not pass in today's automobile making world.

Circling around my 79 TA, looking at body panels and the like, I noticed how poor the fit was on many body parts of 34 year muscle car. As I want to this car to be competitive in future car shows around here, I have to consider what to do to make parts fit better.

Below are 4 photos taken today. Two of my rear spoiler and the right and left tail lights.

The first photo: Here one can easily see how the end cap and the fiberglass center are not the same dimension so they can't line up. The length of the center is at least .250" larger.



The second photo shows how it looks from a distance. It ain't pretty.



This next photo is the left tail light fixture and how it aligns with the rear spoiler. Compare it to the right tail light fixture. See the gaps?



versus this:



The tail lights can be adjusted a little but not enough to remove all the air space.

As I work on the restoration, I hope to some how make fitment corrections to these parts.

They don't build cars like this anymore...and that's a good thing. Back in 79 we didn't know any better, did we?

Bill

"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

----
400 bored +.030, forged TRW pistons, ported 62 heads, Hedman headers, 2.5 SS dual exhaust X Pypes, Comp 276AH10 cam, Scorpion 1.65 RR, 850 Q-jet, stock intake & tuned HEI; original owner.

cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5338 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2013 :  8:17:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Honestly, all of my original panels are like that in one way or another. Gm just didn't put that much effort into it, and we're spoiled by seeing 50K body work jobs online, at shows, and in magazines. It throws our sense of "perfect" off, but it also drives our end of the hobby to try just a little harder.
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Blued and Painted
Chief PONTIAC

USA
3409 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2013 :  10:37:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good body man would make quick work of those fit issues. Problem is Good body guy's are hard to find and expensive. Then you got to find a Good Paint Guy.


Bull Nose Formula/ 461/ Q-Jet/
TH400/ 3.08 8.5 / R44TS.
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Bill Boyle
Horse Feathers (Charter Member)

USA
4797 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2013 :  10:51:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bill Boyle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Going around the body of the car, the sheet metal is pretty straight, however; the fit between the doors and the fenders isn't real good. The passenger side fender I've had off the car and attempted several times to get the plane of the door to line up exactly with the plane and curve of the fender. Not much luck. The fender contour is not exact enough to get it like it should be. Close but no cigar. This is another indication of the lack of detail to tolerances back in the 70s and before at GM (and other domestic brands).

As I get further into this project, I will do my very best to get hood, fenders, doors, trunk, air dams, and related parts aligned correctly. I may be able to improve on the factory fit a little bit.

"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

----
400 bored +.030, forged TRW pistons, ported 62 heads, Hedman headers, 2.5 SS dual exhaust X Pypes, Comp 276AH10 cam, Scorpion 1.65 RR, 850 Q-jet, stock intake & tuned HEI; original owner.

Edited by - Bill Boyle on 13 Mar 2013 10:55:11 AM
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Bill Boyle
Horse Feathers (Charter Member)

USA
4797 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2013 :  10:54:18 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bill Boyle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I was wondering, does anyone know if there is some outfit that makes fiberglass end caps to match the plastic ones on our Firebirds?

"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

----
400 bored +.030, forged TRW pistons, ported 62 heads, Hedman headers, 2.5 SS dual exhaust X Pypes, Comp 276AH10 cam, Scorpion 1.65 RR, 850 Q-jet, stock intake & tuned HEI; original owner.
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Lucas
Cochise

USA
428 Posts

Posted - 24 Mar 2013 :  11:52:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ebay shows a fiberglass replacement that summit racing offers. You might look into it as it says fiberglass and not the urethane. It says its an OER part.
Lucas

"wildfire"
Real pontiac power
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7222 Posts

Posted - 05 Apr 2013 :  9:31:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If, by end caps you mean the trunk spoiler end caps on the quarters, just make sure the fiberglass aftermarket units are not actually the <78 units as they won't look right on the 79-81 cars even though they will "fit".

As far as the trunk spoiler and tailights, remove and drill the holes slightly larger and you will have plenty of adjustability to line things up alot better. It can be quite revealing how professional body men use simple methods and "techniques" in aligning body panels, including bending hoods (slightly), beating on things with rubber mallets, floor jacks, presses, C clamps or whatever it takes to align the factory slop out of the equation.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Aguila1
Buffalo

USA
85 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2013 :  11:07:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just found out that Keystone restores urethane bits. www.keystone-auto.com. They also restore '79-'81 Turbo "turbine" wheels.

You can also use body filler on fiberglass parts, like the deck lid spoiler to take up the gap and urethane repair filler on the urethane parts. Some restorers frown on removing the factory imperfections, like the waves on the tops of the doors, but like you, I prefer to make it the best it can be. Just keep in mind, it is what it is, not a Mercedes.

On the waviness found on urethane bumper covers: I used wood soaked and covered in epoxy as a rigid backing to keep it all straight. Fiberglass mat has also been used with success on the underside of '70-'73 endura noses. If you look closely you can see how I recontoured the bumper to eliminate the factory step using urethane filler. No waves and 7 years on, no issues.



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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7222 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2013 :  4:05:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That is sweeeet and has a great "stance" too!

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Aguila1
Buffalo

USA
85 Posts

Posted - 03 Jun 2013 :  7:57:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Phil! It took a second set of composite springs from VB&P (www.vbandp.com/#8206;), to replace the the first from Flex-A-Form which were arched too high and ridiculously stiff. The wheels are Year One 17s with Nitto Invo 255/50s, (http://www.nittotire.com/tire/invo#overview). The front springs are from Coil Spring Specialties, (http://www.coilsprings.com/classic.aspx). The only rubbing is taking about an inch square of the paint off of the over-sized Addco sway bar on the front. Everything else fits perfectly well. I'm glad I didn't go with the 275/40s, as some suggested. Ride quality equals BFG Radial TAs, but quieter.

By the way: Where I used the wood/epoxy backing reinforcement is the part that gets wavy over the headlights and the plane in front of them. Check for fit on the bumper support as you go along since too much and the bumper won't fit right and you'll have to trim it down. Don't ask how I know. I need to replace the hood hinge to get the hood to sit right in the back driver's side. Now that the engine is out, that will be taken care of, too.
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