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Tips for Installing Sheet Metal

1. Professional Installation is Highly Recommended! If you don’t feel comfortable installing the products, please gain some more knowledge first before attempting any major repair. Most of the customer service complaints or questions we get can be answered by using a little common sense and knowing something about body assembly and procedure.

2. Always test fit and inspect parts before painting or installing! Mocking up the parts or testing fitting parts before final installation or paint is always a good idea. Then, if there is an issue to address, you can fix it before paint has been applied. By simply bolting or clamping parts together, you can see how they are going to fit. Compare each part to your original to see if there are any differences. Do you need ot swap a bracket or drill a different hole? Now is the time to find out!

3. Never cut or weld on more than one section at a time! Remember that when the vehicle was assembled in the factory, it was clamped together in giant alignment jigs and fixtures, which you don’t have access to anymore. NEVER work on more than one section at a time or you can screw up the factory alignment. If you cut the entire rear clip off at once to replace it, it is almost impossible to get each panel aligned again so it will fit the rest of the car. Also, if the car has had major collision damage in the past, the body may be “tweaked” and alignment will be off no matter what you do!

4. Always support the body so proper alignment can be maintained! Some of our customer call to complain about the fit of a door or quarter, only to discover that the vehicle is sitting on 4 barrels and is folding in the middle! The best way to repair is to have the vehicle on the ground, supported by the wheels. After the body has been repaired, then is the time to take the body off the frame so detailing can be done. NEVER cut on a body that is not properly supported!

5. Sheetmetal is easily damaged! Small pecks and dings are considered “normal” when dealing with sheetmetal parts. No credit will be issued for parts returned because of minor flaws and imperfections. Even new factory parts have minor flaws! Always inspect your parts when received for shipping damage BEFORE you sign for them!

Which type of “Quarter Panel” do you need?
With so many reproduction options on the market, knowing exactly what you need to repair or replace your sheet metal will save time and money! Learn the difference between fulls, skins and patch panels. Get it right the first time.
“Full Quarter Panel” is made just like the panels that are welded to your car when it was first producted. These panels reach all the way to each edge of the rear quarter panel area, including the trunk and door edges, and reach to the roof line.=, just like the factory-original panels did for your particular model. For Dodges and Plymouths, the door jamb was never part of the original quarter panels.

“Quarter Skins” are nearly as large as “Full Quarter Panels”, but do not include any trunk lips or said panel. They cover only the side of the quarter panel, and reach upward to approximately the location where the bottom of original vinyl roofs would normally be. Keep in mind that while “Quarter Skins” initially cost less than “Full Quarter panels”, it often takes more labor to install them. So if keeping your costs down is the only reason that you might select “Quarter Skins” over “Full Quarter Panels” you should be aware that the final net cost might not represent much of a savings. Also, “Quarter Skins” do require a lip to weld to – all the way around the edge. This makes them a poor choice for badly rusted out cars or collision damage, since there is often no bottom edge remaining to weld to. In this case, you are better off choosing “Full Quarter Panels” and adding outer wheel houses to complete replace the rust.

“Quarter Patches” are just what they sound like. Small pieces of quarter panels for repairing small holes in isolated areas. These are good choices for nearly perfect cars with tiny holes in specific spots or for low-budget “driver” cars. Yet it can be very difficult to hide the seam areas where the patchs are welded to the original panels.

What’s the Black Coating on most restoration manufacturer’s sheet metal?
It’s called EDP, which stands for Electro Deposit Primer and it makes an excellent primer under your paint job. As you probably know, factory paint back in the 60’s and 70’s was usually just sprayed onto the surfaces that could be reached by a spray gun. But this left may blind areas behind braces, etc., completely bare of any paint protection. Hence, many cars rested within a few years. But EDP coating is applied electrically, almost like a plating process. This excellent rust-resistant coating reaches every nook and cranny, for unparalleled corrosion resistance. The only surface preparation required is a light scuffing of the surface for better paint adhesion. No stripping is necessary. The panel is protected from rust as long as the EDP coating remains under your paint. 

A Word About Tooling
The act of stamping flat sheets of steel into the complex shapes that make up fenders, doors, hoods, bumpers and other parts generates tremendous pressure, heat and friction. The stress and strain of repeatedly stamping various shapes and distortions inevitably causes rapid wear to tooling surfaces. As the tooling wears out, the shapes it forms out of sheets of steel must also change. Thus, tool-life is a very big factor in the quality of parts you receive for your vintage car or truck. Keeping in mind, it just makes sense the brand new precision tooling can sometimes produce higher quality parts than old tooling, which has been used for many years to stamp tens of thousands of parts. When the metal masters encounter old tooling, they must weigh the practicality of restoring and resurrecting old dies and tools, versus the cost and time necessary to start over from scratch. But more importantly they must decide which method will result in better quality new products at affordable prices.

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