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Old 03-21-2014, 08:45 AM   #1
raytex
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Default Corvette America door panel install

Trying to install new CA door panels on my 65 but they do not line up nicely at the top on the vent window side.
It leaves a 1/8 gap, do I need to bend the panels to line them up?

On the top the panels have a metal reinforcement on the back side, do I need top bend that so it makes the same curve as the vent window?
Panels seem to be straight while door makes a slight curve.

Ray
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:20 PM   #2
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1/8" is pretty minor...and as stout as the top edge of the door panel is...attempting to bend it may work...and then again may kink and cause for you to be in worse shape than currently.

A photo would be great.

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Old 03-21-2014, 09:57 PM   #3
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I will tell you only that on my split window coupe you HAVE to bend the door panels to get them to follow the curve of the door as the panels come straight as an arrow across the top. I placed a bend right where the rear vertical chrome piece is at the back of the vent window. I placed the door panel across two rubber floor chocks that I have and VERY carefully bent the panels. Its tough because there is a long metal reinforcement behind the upper part of the door panel. Get too aggressive and WHAM you've ruined a panel. Nerve-wracking but that's what it took to get mine looking correct.

HOWEVER !! My gap would have been nearly 5/8" if I had not bent the panel...if it were only 1/8" I don't know if I would have chanced it.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:34 AM   #4
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Here are some pics after I bent my new, deluxe, Al Knoch door panels to fit...you can clearly see the curvature of the door...
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:26 AM   #5
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Its actually bigger then 1/8 the gap
I have been trying to carfully bend them already see result at pictures.
Strange that Corvette America states that their door panels are the highest quality that you can get while they are straight at the top.
Curious to see panels from other vendors.

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

I am far from happy with the current result and will need to bent it more I guess.

Ray
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:58 AM   #6
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My door panels are the deluxe Al Knoch variety and straight as an arrow when I got them.
Your panels look almost like mine when I first installed them without bending them.
I think the AK panels are the better fit. Look at the top, thin, stainless piece horizontally along the top near the rear of the vent window. IMO AK has a nicer transition around the vent window area.

My '63 doesn't have the extra stainless strip horizontally along the door edge though.

Last edited by Frankie the Fink; 03-22-2014 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 03-22-2014, 02:42 PM   #7
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On my ’67, the original passenger side door panel had a large gap at the vent window – no telling what it had gone through (first pic). My new CA door panels actually fit better right out of the box but not perfect.

I doubt if it’s recommended by CA, but I installed them first and then used a rubber hammer to narrow the gaps. Just go at it carefully, padding with a heavy towel, starting with soft blows. You’ll be able to tell how much force (not much) is required. Mine conformed nicely without damaging the panels (second pic).

Original panel with gap:

Click the image to open in full size.

CA panel caulked gently with rubber hammer (in my GM days, we use to say "caulk to fit"):

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by Mike67nv; 03-22-2014 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 03-22-2014, 05:43 PM   #8
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YES...the consensus is......MODIFICATION IS REQUIRED. I preform the same "style" of modifications as Frankie the Fink and Mike67nv have shown.

Getting these door panels to look and fit right is nerve racking at best.

DUB
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:11 PM   #9
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I bought the Willcox door panels for my '66 recently . . . and although I've only test fit them so far, it looks like they'll fit just fine. The kink is present where it passes the vent window, and it's nicely curved to fit by the top of the window. Should have them installed next weekend and will report any issues if I run across any.

Tom
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:13 PM   #10
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I'll be real interested in that Tom. To date, everybody I know that's done this job has either put up with the funky fit of the straight panels or had to bend them to get nice gaps. Nobody has just screwed on the panels and had them fit nicely. You'll be the first I know of so get back to us on how it goes...
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Austin View Post
I bought the Willcox door panels for my '66 recently . . . and although I've only test fit them so far, it looks like they'll fit just fine. The kink is present where it passes the vent window, and it's nicely curved to fit by the top of the window. Should have them installed next weekend and will report any issues if I run across any.

Tom
Bought my CA panels from Wilcox too. If you watch their sales, you can get some great prices. I also received one panel damaged (UPS smashed the arm rest), Tommy stepped up and got me an expedited replacement. Great customer service.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:11 PM   #12
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I personally just installed a pair of these (CA Brand) on the 65 we just restored.. no issues, no tweaking to install. I have an original set here and like Mike above, I think they fit better than the original panels I have. This is the only pic I have of the panel, but I still have the car and can take more. Ray, when did you get the panels? If they are old production that might explain the issues.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike67nv View Post
On my í67, the original passenger side door panel had a large gap at the vent window Ė no telling what it had gone through (first pic). My new CA door panels actually fit better right out of the box but not perfect.

I doubt if itís recommended by CA, but I installed them first and then used a rubber hammer to narrow the gaps. Just go at it carefully, padding with a heavy towel, starting with soft blows. Youíll be able to tell how much force (not much) is required. Mine conformed nicely without damaging the panels (second pic).

Original panel with gap:

Click the image to open in full size.

CA panel caulked gently with rubber hammer (in my GM days, we use to say "caulk to fit"):

Click the image to open in full size.
I agree with Mike, my 67 door panels from CA fit very nice right out of the box, did not have to modify at all.

Mike
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willcox Corvette View Post
I personally just installed a pair of these (CA Brand) on the 65 we just restored.. no issues, no tweaking to install. I have an original set here and like Mike above, I think they fit better than the original panels I have. This is the only pic I have of the panel, but I still have the car and can take more. Ray, when did you get the panels? If they are old production that might explain the issues.

Click the image to open in full size.
I got my panels about 6 years ago when I bought the complete new interiour for my restoration they have been in the original box and plastic eversince.
Are these old production and the cause for the poor fit?
Its only the gap at the vent window the rest fits nicely.

Ray
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raytex View Post
I got my panels about 6 years ago when I bought the complete new interiour for my restoration they have been in the original box and plastic eversince.
Are these old production and the cause for the poor fit?
Its only the gap at the vent window the rest fits nicely.

Ray
Yes.. Sadly I believe this is what you have. The door panels were completely re-tooled about four years ago... with new upper supports and new window felts.... The entire panel was re-vamped. The new panels fit better than original panels did IMHO.. they are awesome.

I made a two part jig years ago so that I could take the upper felt off the new panels, put it in the jig, smack it with a hammer and then re-install the felt on the panel.. (what a pain) But the upper support didn't have the correct bends in it, but with the Z in the upper felt it looked way better. But it was all that was available at the time so we all made due.

Willcox
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
I'll be real interested in that Tom. To date, everybody I know that's done this job has either put up with the funky fit of the straight panels or had to bend them to get nice gaps. Nobody has just screwed on the panels and had them fit nicely. You'll be the first I know of so get back to us on how it goes...
Frankie,

I was finally able to transfer the metal pieces from my old original panel to my new Willcox panel tonight and I installed the passenger side panel. I also now have @ a 3/8 inch gap by the vent window . . . it's wider than on the original panel. I then compared the original and the new panel for the driver's side (put them side-by-side) and the original panel has a more pronounced "curve" at the top of the panel toward the front. Looks like a little "messaging" is in order for my new panels as well.

Tom
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Old 04-15-2014, 10:17 PM   #17
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Yup!
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:38 AM   #18
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I have installed several sets of the new style CA panels from Willcox over the last 4-5 years, including a set tonight on a coupe, and have never had anything other than an excellent fit. No fuss, no muss, and no tweaking.



Regards, John McGraw
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:41 AM   #19
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I have the original panels on my 65, and there is close to a 3/8" gap along the vent window, on both panels. I friend of mine has the new CA panels on his 65, and he has about a 1/8" gap along the vent window. His panels fit perfect......better than my originals. He did however lose a point in judging because the hump that runs the width of the panel has too sharp of an edge, and is not rounded enough.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:40 AM   #20
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It seems to be that if you have AK or older CA panels you have to bend them; if you have newer CA panels you do not. Folks will have to beat that against losing a point in judging and make their own decisions I guess. I won't be buying any more CA soft parts after my disaster with their 63 coupe headliner.....personal choice.
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