Elements of Proper Quarter Panel Replacement at the V8 Speed and Resto Shop

There are a lot of details to watch when replacing a quarter panel! 

Quarter panels are the large, steel body panels that reach from the trailing edge of the door to the rear taillight panel, and from the roof down to the lower rocker panel and wheel opening on a classic or Muscle Car.    

Quarter panels are integral structural parts of the car, and play a significant role in the construction, strength, and safety of the car's body and chassis.    Some cars, like Chevrolet Camaros, are not body-on-frame construction, meaning the body itself is the main structure of the car.   These are known as "unit-body" or "unibody" designs, and are also found in Pontiac Firebirds, Chevrolet Novas, Dodge Challengers, Plymouth Roadrunners, Ford Mustangs, and many other popular classic and Muscle Cars. 

Over time, quarter panels are prone to wear, rust, and crash damage, and are often in need of repair or replacement.    Many new reproduction quarter panels exist for popular cars.   When new panels are not available, original equipment panels can often be sourced from a donor car, reconditioned, and installed on another car… if done properly. 

There are many factors that contribute to a proper quarter panel installation, including, but not limited to:

 

  • Thorough cleaning of car. 

  • Initial body measurements and photographs.   Measure and record gap dimensions, and also overall body “squareness” to ensure proper fit when work is complete. 

  • Assessment of additional panels requiring replacement - trunk “drop off” quarter panel extensions, wheel houses, etc.

  • Shipping costs and tax of replacement panels.

  • Unboxing and inspecting new panels for shipping damage.

  • Inspecting accuracy - or lack of accuracy - of new panels.

  • Body masking to protect existing paint. 

  • Body fixturing / bracing, especially for convertibles.

  • Removal of bumpers, trim, lights, bezels, badges, vents, door strikers, etc.

  • Interior disassembly, including seats, carpet, headliner, rear package shelf,  interior lighting in sail panels, sound deadener, wiring, side panels, window cranks or switches, ashtrays, console, and other related parts. 

  • Removal of  quarter panel vent assembly.

  • Removal of vinyl top, if applicable.

  • Alignment of trunk lid prior to panel removal.

  • Alignment of door prior to panel removal, often requiring new door hinge pins or hinge rebuild to achieve proper and consistent alignment.

  • Window glass removal.

  • Paint stripping.

  • Undercoating removal.

  • Rubber weatherstripping removal.

  • Removal of lead in roof seams.

  • Removing original panel: drilling spot welds, grinding spot welds, separating other welds, cutting, etc.

  • Previous body structure repairs uncovered by panel removal requiring correction

  • Repairing crash damage on adjacent panels where quarter panel attaches.

  • Rust repair or replacement of adjacent panels, wheel tubs, trunk floors, etc.  Requires prep of new panels.  

  • Window trim fitment and attaching stud installation, studs not found on new panels.

  • Measuring and cutting of marker light hole openings on new panel where required.  

  • Measuring and drilling new trim, antenna, and emblem holes in new panel where needed.  

  • Window alignment and regulator repairs and maintenance.

  • Achieving desired level of panel fit - original and stock, or improved gaps.

  • When O.E. panel is used from a donor car, assessing and correcting the condition of take-off panels, and time required to strip, straighten, and restore.   May involve cutting and fabricating patch panels to repair small damaged or rusty areas.  

  • Removal of “e-coat” electrostatically applied shipping primer from new panels.

  • Masking and applying epoxy premier to panels with required preparation and materials.

  • New panel installation: fitting, adjusting, clamping, welding, grinding.

  • Applying appropriate seam sealers in all seams to prevent corrosion.

  • Lead seam filler replacement. 

  • Bodywork: new panel preparation and cleaning, sanding, filler application, sanding.

  • Interior body and paint work on exposed interior surfaces of the new panel.   

  • Cleaning the car to remove bodywork and grinding dust before the paint process. 

  • Masking for interior paint work. 

  • Preparation, priming, bodywork, paint, and clear.   Non-exposed surfaces receive prep work, primer and industrial coating, usually in color to match interior.

  • Unmasking. 

  • Cleaning the car to remove bodywork and grinding dust before the paint process. 

  • Installing wheels.   

  • Masking exterior and interior for paint application.   

  • Paint application, color and clear.  Possible paint preparation, masking, and paint application on adjacent panels for color match.  

  • Unmasking. 

  • Wetsanding and buffing new paint. 

  • Cleaning the car to remove buffing compound and other dust. 

  • Install vinyl top.

  • Window glass reinstallation and alignment. 

  • Reinstallation of bumpers, trim, lights, bezels, badges, vents, door strikers, etc.

  • Interior reassembly, including seats, carpet, headliner, rear package shelf,  interior lighting in sail panels, sound deadener, wiring, side panels, window cranks or switches, ashtrays, console, and other related parts. 

  • Rubber weatherstripping reinstallation, including fitment of new reproduction rubber.

  • Install quarter panel vent assembly.


As you can see, a proper quarter panel replacement is a time consuming job that requires many steps and precision work.    We have replaced many quarter panels over the years, and are happy to consult with you on restoring the body on your car!

Contact the V8 Speed & Resto Shop with all your Classic or Muscle Car needs today!

 

quarter panel replacement

817 S. MAIN STREET - RED BUD, IL 62278