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Discussion Starter #1
Before I start cutting the aprons on my 68 (because of misalignment issues, and one being 3/4 longer than the other from cowl to radiator support), I thought I would ask one time . . .

Would you go through the trouble of cutting away ALL the aprons for the sake of 3/4"? I was looking at the correspondence I got from Stang-aholics when I first noticed that the aprons were off (they did not do the apron installation, but did put in Heidts apron panels when they installed my IFS) and they said variations are not unusual.

I guess I thought it was worth checking because I would have to do both sides, (front and rear aprons, as well as Heidts panels) because the car has an IFS and the Heidts panels have ribbing on them that I think was done custom by Stang-aholics. So the work is not inconsiderable.

The 'windows' at the bottom of where the shock towers were do NOT line up, which bothers me, but probably would not be that big of a deal with an engine installed. And I could notch the fender to make it sit back a bit further.

I know I have been doing a lot of hand-wringing on this over the months, but I just want to try and avoid biting off more than I can chew, removing everything down the rails and then not being able to get things back where they need to be.

Thanks for any replies, as well as your continued patience.
 

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Hey do you have pics of this?
Sounds odd...who did the apron work? If it wasnt you Id take it back to them and tell them to make it right. If it was you...then I guess you'd have to decide if its just cosmetic, or will it affect wheel alignment or fender/hood/grill alignment or anything else major?
If its cosmetic and wont affect anything...just done look at it 'til the engines in :)

Joe
 

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If you measure from the cowl or firewall to the front suspension mounting points on each side, is there a difference there?

If the discrepancy is forward of the suspension mounting points, then the problem is mostly cosmetic. If there is a 3/4" difference between mounting points of the left and right suspension, then you might run into some more significant ride/handling/steering problems.

2 cents from a newbie
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey do you have pics of this?
Sounds odd...who did the apron work? If it wasnt you Id take it back to them and tell them to make it right. If it was you...then I guess you'd have to decide if its just cosmetic, or will it affect wheel alignment or fender/hood/grill alignment or anything else major?
If its cosmetic and wont affect anything...just done look at it 'til the engines in :)

Joe
Thanks for the reply.

I can go take some shots of the panel windows, where the suspension cross member attaches to the rails, but this photo should show what I mean. The Passenger side is 3/4" longer from cowl to the corner of the radiator support. You can see how it juts forward in the photo. I don't think it affects anything but cosmetics, though.

The work was done a long time ago, so taking it back for a re-do isn't an option.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you measure from the cowl or firewall to the front suspension mounting points on each side, is there a difference there?

If the discrepancy is forward of the suspension mounting points, then the problem is mostly cosmetic. If there is a 3/4" difference between mounting points of the left and right suspension, then you might run into some more significant ride/handling/steering problems.

2 cents from a newbie
The rails are square, and the suspension mounts onto the rails. There should not be an issue as far as ride/handling/steering is concerned. I am sure that Stang-aholics has pretty significant experience with this install, and got the cross member and cradle perfectly square.

So, the issue is with aesthetics, as well as fitment.
 

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If its just cosmetic Id roll with it. I think theres enough wiggle room in panel alignment to get it lined up and pretty. If not theres tricks of the trade...shims, strategic hole elongation etc.

Once everythings together and lined up youll forget about the whole episode.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks.

Here are a couple of shots of the panel 'windows' I am referring you. You can see that, in the case of the driver's side, everything lines up in the center of the window. On the passenger side however, the extra length of the aprons from the firewall forward positions the same window so that the bolt on the right is almost even with the right side of the window.
 

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Thats interesting...I wonder where the added length comes from? Aft apron, forward apron or the shock tower plate? If you suspect the suspension might hit the side of the cutout I would think you can trim that one side for more clearance (to match the other side).

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thats interesting...I wonder where the added length comes from? Aft apron, forward apron or the shock tower plate? If you suspect the suspension might hit the side of the cutout I would think you can trim that one side for more clearance (to match the other side).

Joe
I am guessing somewhere between the rear apron and the shock tower plate. That would push the window forward. The suspension won't hit anything - just bothers me that the windows are in two different positions
 

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I learned a long time ago that perfection does not exist. Mistakes are made. When humans come into contact with things of mechanical nature sh*t happens...thats why airplanes fly themselves nowadays.
Dont fret man...if it isnt structurally or suspensionally (is that a word?) important then march on and save your mind for important things.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I learned a long time ago that perfection does not exist. Mistakes are made. When humans come into contact with things of mechanical nature sh*t happens...thats why airplanes fly themselves nowadays.
Dont fret man...if it isnt structurally or suspensionally (is that a word?) important then march on and save your mind for important things.

Joe

Thanks.

Yep. There were plenty of mistakes made on this car. Wish I knew more about these things when I entrusted a body shop to do all this. Now, pretty much $5500 down the drain, and some of the issues ARE structural.

I am resigning myself to a re-do, and am just figuring how much of a re-do I want.

I could literally just remove EVERYTHING from the rails forward, which some recommend I do because the radiator support is bent and wrinkled to accomodate the difference between the two sides, and do have a welder and other tools needed for this. I am just a little concerned about not being able to get everything to fit.

I have gone through COUNTLESS old threads on aprons in the SEARCH function, but have not found much in the way of detail. I once saw a photo of a car getting its aprons redone and there was a bar mounted across from side to side (like a Monte Carlo bar) and it makes the process look pretty difficult to get right.

I had always thought that if you securely clamp the aprons to the rail flanges, all you would have to worry about is HEIGHT, not the width between the two sides.
 

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Wow that sucks. Irresponsibility and jackassery on behalf of the body shop to actually tweak the radiator support to fit.
Now I wonder how the radiator fit is going to be with the tweaked support?
This may be a dumb suggestion but...can you separate the the forward apron and the rad support to trim the apron and realign the rad support? I mean to keep the mis-alignment just between the aprons and not affect the support.
A hot rodder with a torch would have done that a week ago and would have been sitting back drinking a beer and thinking about the next body to torch! Haha just kidding.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow that sucks. Irresponsibility and jackassery on behalf of the body shop to actually tweak the radiator support to fit.
Now I wonder how the radiator fit is going to be with the tweaked support?
This may be a dumb suggestion but...can you separate the the forward apron and the rad support to trim the apron and realign the rad support? I mean to keep the mis-alignment just between the aprons and not affect the support.
A hot rodder with a torch would have done that a week ago and would have been sitting back drinking a beer and thinking about the next body to torch! Haha just kidding.

Joe
I thought about that. I think the radiator will probably still fit, and I was planning on a larger, more modern radiator anyway, but it looks pretty funny. Wrinkled, with Frankenstein-ish type welds where it hits the aprons. That is part of the problem. The shop used stitch welds where there should have been spot welds.

And THAT, in turn, is what prompts me to think about just pulling out the cutoff tool, cutting off all the aprons from the rails, radiator support and all, and just starting over.

Plus, I would be a just a little concerned that doing this would shorten the amount of space available for the battery tray (though I had thought about doing creating a mount for the battery in the trunk - maybe a bit ambitious).
 

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Have you measured from the shock towers to the radiator support? If the aprons are equal, you have a problem with the shock towers or, more importantly, your front end is skewed. Cutting the apron will get it looking right but it's masking a larger problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Have you measured from the shock towers to the radiator support? If the aprons are equal, you have a problem with the shock towers or, more importantly, your front end is skewed. Cutting the apron will get it looking right but it's masking a larger problem.
There are no shock towers. They were cut out when the IFS was installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Okay . . .Now my head hurts!!

I just went out and measured the distance from the front corner of each of the windows- the side nearest the radiator support - to the radiator support itself.

They are NOT equal. Which may be a good or bad thing.

What is odd is that the longer side actually has a shorter measurement from window to support. By a little over half an inch. I would have expected it to be just the opposite.

Also, you can see that the windows are at two different points relative to where they were welded to the frames. Which again, maybe a good thing, as it would show that the positioning of the crossmember/cradle is probably just where it needs to be, but that the aprons were REALLY installed poorly.
 

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I would test fit the front end sheet metal and hood to see how it fits. If all you have to do is elongate the holes in the fender apron a little I wouldn't worry about it. When you install the front end you will be able to tell which fender apron is off.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I would test fit the front end sheet metal and hood to see how it fits. If all you have to do is elongate the holes in the fender apron a little I wouldn't worry about it. When you install the front end you will be able to tell which fender apron is off.
The fender on the passenger side will not fit. The tab at the front end of the fender causes it to sit on top of the apron. I could notch that tab so
that it would fit, however. I think the holes would line up.

As far as the hood, it seems too wide to fit between the aprons. One of the posters on this forum measured the distance between his aprons at the hinges to be 39 7/8" and mine are 39 1/2". This is what puzzles me about installing aprons in general - seems like proper fitment should come when they are properly attached to the rails, but it appears this is not the case.
 

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Given that the window to radiator measurements are the opposite of what you suspect, I think there is a good chance the car has been in a significant wreck and the body was tweaked a bit. It might be wise to put the car on jack stands and start doing a lot of measurements on the under carriage to figure what is in the right place and what isn't. I'll bet there is a lot more messed up stuff than just the aprons.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Given that the window to radiator measurements are the opposite of what you suspect, I think there is a good chance the car has been in a significant wreck and the body was tweaked a bit. It might be wise to put the car on jack stands and start doing a lot of measurements on the under carriage to figure what is in the right place and what isn't. I'll bet there is a lot more messed up stuff than just the aprons.

The car has been measured at key points, and has been on a frame jig. When I bought it, the car had significant rust, but no signs of collision damage. From all indications (measurements and the frame jig) the unibody is straight, it's the aprons that are off.
 
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