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Improving the wheel opening on '55 quarter patch

395 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Shrunken_Head
I just received my CARS '55 lower front quarter patches; 1106 and 1107. I was really hoping that the profile of the wheel opening would be closer to original but they are not much better than the cheap 20 ga. ones I got with the car.

I traced the profile of the opening directly over the rear wheel to compare the two. The CARS panel is much softer and less pronounced.

Can anyone offer any suggestions on how to get the CARS profile a little closer to original shape so they can flow together? I thought I saw a post before where Mikey mentioned he has had success massaging them.

The second picture is the CARS over the original and the third picture is the original over the CARS to give you an idea how far the metal has to be moved.

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My success with them comes from only using enough of the panel to repair the rust. If your plan is to cut the OEM panel to fit the repair panel, you
are thinking incorrectly. It is a repair panel, not a replacement panel. So I avoid cutting into the OEM wheel lip area because none of the repair
panels have ever been exact.

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I used the Cars panels and used the minimum as Mikey stated. It's my guess that you haven't looked close at the fitment to the rocker mate up and the profile (both being Cars panels - new rockers too). They do not match each other and had to be reworked to mate with each other. The quarter path being the primary part that required rework. I also had some other rework as I used them on a '55 Nomad (remove door jam except for lip that folds into and mated with Nomad door jam - unique to Nomad quarter). At the time I complained to Cars with photographic evidence showing the difference and and was told that I was the first one to complain. They said they would search for a better set and they could not find any in their warehouse, so they provided a 15% refund. I bought quite a bit more and they delivered all to a show so they wanted give me some degree of satisfaction.
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@55wagoncrazy and @zookpr I wish I could use the original wheel opening. Unfortunately the previous owner took out rather large chunks on both sides. The passenger side patch is barely long enough if I can hammer the flange flat. They left more of the drivers side and I should be able to all but the forward few inches due to rust.

I'm hoping that someone here has had luck massaging the lip profile and can share their technique.
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Okay - so the bend angle isn't enough and the radius is not quite in the right place.

Here's what I would try: I'd get a short piece of PVC pipe whose outside diameter is equal to or just a bit smaller than the curve of the original sheet metal. You want to fit all the way down in the radius of the curve. Using the PVC as a guide/anvil, bend the patch panel until it eatches the original metal. You could use a body hammer, or try a heavy rubber or plastic head mallet - just see what works.

Once that's right, you'll need to massage the part of the wheel well opening you'll be replacing. It looks like there might be just enough of it left to use as a guide, but not sturdy enough to use as a your dolly/anvil. You'll just have to work carefully to replicate the curves. I recommend getting the outside portions correct first, then getting the fold of the wheel well lip to match up after initial cutting and fitting.
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2 things from the photo. The edge of the replacement panel is stamped to slide into the rear panel the same company makes. So that edge
is not stamped the same as the area 3 inches forward. You will need to dolly that area to match the rear OEM panel. Then just make a small
section to weld in the gap.
I looked through my scraps, and I don't have any 55 sections of wheel lip area I could donate.
Thanks stoveboltgeek. That's pretty close to what you I was thinking. I had already tried a piece of 2" ABS and it's very close to the radius. I was thinking about a blunt wide chisel from the backside to try and sharpen up the lower part of the profile. Maybe a small sandbag for a dolly.

Thanks Mikey and for checking for any leftover pieces. Plenty of people doing gassers now. Maybe I should put up an ad to see if anyone has any cutoffs.
The only way I can think of to properly change the shape of the wheel opening is with custom dies and a pulmax or power hammer. Since most of us don't have those what I would try is to make the female and male dies out of steel that is about 1/2 to 3/4" thick to match the original profile. Then weld those dies to a vise grip type pliers and use that to reshape the lip. You would have to do just a bit at a time so you wouldn't make a mess of it. Also try it on some scrap pieces first before trying it on the replacement panels.
Thanks Brian. I only need a small portion of the lip for the driver side. I can practice the post #7 method first on that patch panel. If it doesn't work I can try to fab something like you mentioned but, I don't have anything to shape metal that thick.
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