Remounting a body on a frame
I am restoring a 1957 Ford Fairlane convertible. At some point the body was removed from the frame and pieces of tire we used for body mounts. I have a body mount kit with the rubber insulators and shims, but since I have nothing to compare it with I don’t know where to start. I know that I have to adjust the shims for body alignment, but that’s about it. There is nothing in the shop manual, except torque specs.
Loosen all of the bolts holding the body to the frame, and then lift it with a jack just enough to slip out the tire scraps and slip in the mounting pads. Only lift a tiny bit, because you could crack the windshield if you tweak the body very much. Do this at each mount, and then tighten the body evenly back into place. Now check the door alignments. If the gaps around them are inconsistent, adjust the door and fix the fit with body shims if they are not too far out.
Because your Fairlane is a convertible, you may need to make measurements across the body to make sure everything is square as well as vertically plumb. Without a top, a car’s body becomes quite flexible. Hopefully, whoever took the body off before knew what they were doing and braced it diagonally with an X made of angle iron or steel straps at the rear seat bulkhead to hold it square.
The body needed to be braced at the door openings too, so they wouldn’t distort and cause the doors to fit poorly, or the joints at the bottom rear corners of the door openings to crack and deform due to the weight of the rear quarter panels. Use a tape measure to make sure the body is aligned properly in these places.
As luck would have it, another reader has a somewhat similar challenge with his Chevrolet. For more details as to fitting and clearance, keep reading below because I think the following tips will be helpful to you too. Everything needs to align with everything else on a car body.