Front Clip Installation: Part 3
Installation of a new one piece front clip continues in this update. With the front clip dry fit in place it was time to take everything apart to prep for final installation. It seemed a little odd taking everything apart that I had spent so much time installing, but I made reference marks on everything as the parts came apart so that reassembly could occur pretty easily.
The major effort here was to roughen and clean all of the bonding surfaces. As in the past, a die grinder with a 20 grit sanding wheel was used to roughen the surface followed by a good cleaning with lacquer thinner.
Once the bonding surfaces were cleaned adhesive was applied to the flanges of the firewall. Once again, my adhesive of choice was Lord Fusor 127EZ. The long working time on this adhesive came in real handy and made this process a lot less stressful. I couldn’t imagine doing this with regular bonding adhesive where you’d have 20 minutes top.
With the adhesive in place the front clip was carefully lowered into place. This is definitely a job for two people. One person should work each side of the clip and pull the fenders out so that the beads of adhesive don’t get wiped of the firewall flanges as the clip is moved into position. Once the clip was set in position several clamps were installed along the top firewall flange…
And screws were installed along the trailing end of the front fenders. As the screws were installed a framing square was used to make sure the fender was flush with the doors.
And, yet one more lesson learned. In the photo below you can see that I used a clamp to suck the upper corner of the fender tight to the firewall flange (the area near the windshield pillar where the clamp is). This was another no-no because I did it without first checking to make sure the fender would be flush with the windshield wiper door. I eventually had to go back and separate this area and re-glue it in the right position. So, when the time comes to glue this area, make sure the top of the fender stays flush with the wiper door when it’s in the closed position.
In addition, clamps were also installed along the bottom edge of the front fender. Needless to say, make sure you clamp carefully in these areas. You don’t want to introduce so much pressure that you warp the panels.
And that’s going to do it for this update. My next update will wrap up the process of bonding the front clip, and deal with some of the finishing touches of installing a new one piece front clip. One thing is for sure – it’s a lot of work! Definitely more than I had originally anticipated.
That’s all for this short update. Part 4 of the front clip installation should be coming in the near future. While waiting for the next update, why not stop by the Corvette Restoration Forum to say hello and talk Corvettes. Lastly, if you haven’t done so already, please Like this project on Facebook to receive additional progress updates and notifications when updates have been posted.