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Discussion Starter #1
So I cut out my tail light panel today, and while I am not installing the new one just yet, I decided to take a couple minutes to fit it. This panel came with the car, so I have no clue where it was ordered from:



I was expecting it to fit in the same way that the old one came out...but imagine my surprise when I saw the only way it would fit is sliding UNDER the trunk corners and INSIDE the quarters...obviously this is incorrect...at least judging by the way the OEM piece came off(it fit OVER the trunk corners and OUTSIDE the quarters.

So my question is whether all of these tail light panels are like this? I mean, I suppose I could get this thing to fit correctly with some MAJOR metal work, but its certainly not worth the 4+ hours of surgery it would require to look right...its far easier just to order another one...but I want to make sure I dont just end up with another reverse-fitment panel if I do so.
 

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So my question is whether all of these tail light panels are like this?
No, they absolutely are not all like that. The non-original Ford tooling repops are notoriously awful, and I can see you've got one of those because the top flange is too narrow and won't fit over the corner piece as it should. Find one made from original tooling. What was wrong with your original that you wanted to replace it? Accident damage? Could it be saved?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, they absolutely are not all like that. The non-original Ford tooling repops are notoriously awful, and I can see you've got one of those because the top flange is too narrow and won't fit over the corner piece as it should. Find one made from original tooling. What was wrong with your original that you wanted to replace it? Accident damage? Could it be saved?
Nothing like that, just a lot of rot around the bottom areas...too much to salvage
 

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No, they absolutely are not all like that. The non-original Ford tooling repops are notoriously awful, and I can see you've got one of those because the top flange is too narrow and won't fit over the corner piece as it should. Find one made from original tooling.
How would one know that the part is made from original tooling?
 

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Just got to the office and found that I bought part #40324-1 from NPD Tail Light Panel.

Looks like there are limited quantities left, but as I said above, it fit correctly. I bought mine in February 2016. As @4ocious mentioned, the one I used was original Ford tooling.

Allen
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the help guys, I am used to ill-fitting panels, but this one took the cake for being the farthest off I have yet worked with and I certainly didn't want to have to re-work it. I will be ordering a new one today or tomorrow(along with new bumper brackets, which seem to have seen better days as well)
 

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I had almost the same fit issue using the NPD full coupe quarter panel with my stock tail light panel. I had to use a chisel and increase one of the folded areas which sucked it in and I got perfect alignment. I think I have pictures in my build thread. Drivers side needed more massaging than the passenger side did. I also had to re-bend the lower part of the quarter panel to fit the trunk drop.

Edit: page two I have pictures of what I had to do to get the quarter and the tail panel to fit better. You can see the shinny edges from where I used a chisel to increase the fold.

https://forums.vintage-mustang.com/build-forum/1152544-project-66-back-mustang-game-2.html
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had almost the same fit issue using the NPD full coupe quarter panel with my stock tail light panel. I had to use a chisel and increase one of the folded areas which sucked it in and I got perfect alignment. I think I have pictures in my build thread. Drivers side needed more massaging than the passenger side did. I also had to re-bend the lower part of the quarter panel to fit the trunk drop.
How did that happen? I was not aware any quarters came with the trunk corners(I chose to save my OEM corners since I heard the aftermarket ones fit pretty badly, though these are right at the edge of being salvageable)
 

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I had almost the same fit issue using the NPD full coupe quarter panel with my stock tail light panel. I had to use a chisel and increase one of the folded areas which sucked it in and I got perfect alignment. I think I have pictures in my build thread. Drivers side needed more massaging than the passenger side did. I also had to re-bend the lower part of the quarter panel to fit the trunk drop.
How did that happen? I was not aware any quarters came with the trunk corners(I chose to save my OEM corners since I heard the aftermarket ones fit pretty badly, though these are right at the edge of being salvageable)
I bought the full panel for a coupe and this is how they come, just like a factory replacement panel would.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
















The replacement panel looks pretty good for the most part...just wondering what I should do about the trunk/bumper bracket holes. Anyone have any tricks for getting that install right?
 

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If you don't have a spot welder, drill holes at the proper location and rosette weld them. Once dressed, the welds disappear, for original appearance spin dimples where the welds are.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you don't have a spot welder, drill holes at the proper location and rosette weld them. Once dressed, the welds disappear, for original appearance spin dimples where the welds are.
I didn't mean that..I meant, are there any better tricks for aligning the brackets and the tail light panel holes while everything is loose? Maybe I should just fill them in and re-drill them entirely? How will this affect bumper fitment? Is there enough adjust-ability with the holes being off that far?
 

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There was an extended discussion on this forum in 2011 about fitting trunk floors. It included locating and welding the bumper brackets and tail panel. It was extremely helpful when replaced my trunk, cross member, bumper brackets, and tail panel
 

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When I replaced a taillight panel last winter I had both a Ford Tooling and the Standard panels available from NPD so I decided to compare them. Both would work well, but the Ford Panel had a lot of little details that made it fit and look better.




The little creases here fit the panel in much better




Note the taper here



No taper on the import panel





No taper creates large gap



Taper creates better fit


 

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Without the small details this tip doesn't fit tight





Properly shaped tip fits perfectly, nice and tight





Repro panel doesn't fit properly





Ford tooling panel fits much better





The Ford Tooling seems a bot work here, with the uneven stamping





The repro panel appears to have been double stamped


 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Those little areas don't concern me(though mine fits better than the Ford tooling in your picture for the upper channel actually, the other areas are about like you posted) since when I go to spot weld it, I will take advantage of that heat to contour those areas as needed(I found with multiple other panels that you can get a very tight fit by using the heat provided by the welding to contour the panel you are working with, you just have to be quick about it....I suppose you could heat the area afterward to do it as well, but you would need to be careful with the heat. The Ford tooling panel is only marginally better fitment(the taper around the tail light holes as an example...both fit fairly poorly there...gap here or gap there...either one will need to be contoured...and I suspect it would be harder to reshape the Ford tooling panel actually since the gap is at the corner(corners are always more work, although that does explain why the holes for the bumper bracket are off as much as they are)
 
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