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Thread: How to attach body panels ?

  1. #1
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    How to attach body panels ?

    I apologize in advance for this silly question. It must be silly since nobody ever talks about it so everyone must already know. How exactly are body panels attached to the car??

    I have been lurking here for years and have read countless build threads but this detail is always skipped over. I've read about bonding the panels to the steel frame with adhesive, or fiberglassing directly to the steel, or bolting to the steel. The part I don't understand is how these methods allow for the exact positioning that is required. Panels must be positioned very precisely to get the proper gaps and levels. The underlying steel frame cannot be built to such exacting measurements so there must be a way of adjusting the fit when attaching the panels.

    If anyone can give me some details or point me to them I would be grateful.

    Bruce.

  2. #2
    Senior Member MacGyver's Avatar
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    Bruce,

    There are many ways builders attach panels to their builds. Just like you already mentioned. Although fiberglass panels are attached much like metal panels. As an example – Most cars have fixed rear quarters that are welded to car. There is no way to adjust them. Although the other panels that mount near it like the trunk lid and doors are able to be adjusted. Such as elongated holes where the mounting screws are. Generally, many builds start with mounting the fixed panels first then finishing by mounting the panels that have been designed to be adjusted for the proper fit.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    I think another question to ask is also, what panels would you be fitting?

    The 355, 308, Bentley, 360, 430 panels would all have some mounting strips to use screws around door frames etc. For additional support under the larger panels, there would be framing built from the chassis, (oem frame or custom frame) and bonded to the under side of the fiberglass panels. Also, several of the kits have used oem mounting flange shapes to mount the panels to the oem locations. A good example is the Ferrari kits on Fieros/MRII's that use the fender mounting holes to mount the front clip etc.

    For cars such as Lambos that have complete bodies that you mount, several people have bonded square metal tubing to the underside of the body and welded in mounting points such as tubes running toward the chassis and then make mounting plates on the chassis to bolt the body on.

    Others have made the mounting frame while the body is on the chassis and positioned very accurately. The frame is made to fit the body panel shapes and welded to the chassis. The body is taken off and glue or fiberglass putty is put along the contact areas of the metal frame to body and the body put back on and positioned very accurately again. Once the putty/glue has dried, some fiberglass is laid over the metal frame on the body panels to make sure it stays. Removable pieces are then mounted and lined up to the mounted body section.

    I believe Jim Dinner mounted his Diablo body on the chassis using windshield Butyl rubber. Creates a strong bond but remains flexible enough so the body can flex a bit so you don't end up with cracks in the panels later in life. The same principles apply for this mounting where you would build a mounting frame that fits to the body panels and then apply the Butyl rubber and final mount the body to the frame.

    As you can see, there are several ways to do it and each kit will require a slightly different process. You would need to look at whatever body you have bought and determine the best method for you. If you have full body kits, the question to ask at first is will you ever want to pull the body off after it has been hard mounted and bonded? If yes, you would do a metal frame on the body panels that have bolt on mounting points to the chassis. If you don't plan on removing the body in the future, then either method of bolt on or welded metal mounting would work. The same applies for the clip panels on other kits. The rear sections are usually the areas that are either hard mounted of bolted for later removal.

    For my 308 build, the front clip and doors are removable but the rear clip is hard mounted and won't be coming off. For my 355 build, I currently have the rear clip bolted and reinforced with framing but can come off. It is all in what you want as an end product.

    Hope that helps.
    Don
    Last edited by Don; 05-16-2012 at 03:17 PM. Reason: Fixing spelling. Apperently I can't spell.......
    308 Ferrari replica
    Prova Countach 5000QV

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Don View Post

    I believe Jim Dinner mounted his Diablo body on the chassis using windshield Butyl rubber. Creates a strong bond but remains flexible enough so the body can flex a bit so you don't end up with cracks in the panels later in life. The same principles apply for this mounting where you would build a mounting frame that fits to the body panels and then apply the Butyl rubber and final mount the body to the frame.

    Don
    You are correct Don. I use windshield urethane. It is about $20.00 a tube but well worth it. I used 6 tubes to mount my recent 6.0 Diablo body.
    As far as aligning panels for the gaps, thats another story.
    If you read through my Completion Blog from 2010 you will get the idea. Panel gaps are addressed after fitment is finalized.

    Click below
    This page is set up to just document my progress on the car and hopefully make me work harder on it. I am going to try to update this everyday.




  5. #5
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    That would make a jelly fish erect, whats the colour?

  6. #6
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    nice car jdinner, are you driving it?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by carspancho View Post
    nice car jdinner, are you driving it?
    Yes, just putting the finishing touches on the computer map. BMW V12 with all GM sensors and controls.

    917kit, it is Giallo Orion Mic 2CT Lambo paint code 0056.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bangsters's Avatar
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    yeah jdinner, your car looks awesome.... spent 2+ hours going through your build. great attention to detail, doesn't look like a kit at all.

  9. #9
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    I'd like to thank MacGyver and Don for their advice. I now have a much better understanding of the process. I also want to thank jdinner for his comment and for the effort he put into his website...and for bringing that beautiful Diablo into this world.

    Bruce.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdinner View Post
    Yes, just putting the finishing touches on the computer map. BMW V12 with all GM sensors and controls.

    917kit, it is Giallo Orion Mic 2CT Lambo paint code 0056.
    beautiful work!

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