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Author Topic: '68 taillight bezels won't fit properly.  (Read 1407 times)
DAVEN1256
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« on: March 21, 2013, 09:51:06 PM »

I am having trouble with the fitment of the taillight bezels on my '68. I have a reproduction tail panel and OER bezels that were bought new in 2001 and stored away until now. The studs on the taillight bezels fit the holes in the tail panel OK. The problem that the bezels do not sit tight to the tail panel at all four corners at the same time. Also, the curvature of the bezel from top to bottom does not match the curvature of the tail panel exactly.

No body work or metal shaping work has been done on the tail panel since it was installed. The worst side is the passenger side where, when three corners of the bezel touch the tail panel, the fourth corner is sticking out a 1/4 inch. (See the picture. Three corners are touching. You can see the shadow being cast by the lower , left hand corner that is up)

I am getting ready to send the car to the body shop for final body work and paint and this can't be left this way.

I am not sure if the the problem is the tail panel....the bezels.....or a combination of both.

Can anyone comment on these OER bezels that are unused but twelve years old now and if they were known to fit poorly?

Would I be better off with a new set of CHQ bezels which seem to have a good reputation?

Can a body man do anything with the tail panel for a better fit without warping it?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Thanks.......Dave

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tmodel66
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2013, 08:27:57 AM »

I don't know about this. Your problem should have been addressed when the tail panel was installed because it would need to be massaged to make the lights fit. Don't let them build it up with bondo.
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Daniel  
'69 SS 350/4 speed  Fathom Green--POP
Mike S
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2013, 09:41:28 AM »

Dave,

 On my restored 67 convertible done in the mid-80's I had this exact problem on the passenger side with original and reproduction tail lamp housings. Three touch the panel and the 4th lower right corner stood out by almost 1/4" and the gasket didn't hide it as much as I wanted it to and that is with the original rear panel. To minimize the gap I used body solder to fill the gap and smoothed and feathered it with a body file. So it may not be a bad panel but more of the typical fit nuances of mass production.

Mike
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67 LOS SS/RS L35 Hardtop - Original w/UOIT
67 NOR SS/RS L35 Convertible - Restored
KurtS
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2013, 10:03:08 AM »

Get an old, pitted original and see how it fits.
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Kurt S
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joesauer
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2013, 11:11:26 AM »

My replacement OER bezels also did not fit properly (and were not very good quality).  I returned them and bought CHQ's.  They fit properly, and came with threaded studs.  I did have trouble with water leakage (minimal) around the replacement gaskets, so put a fine bead of caulk around the housings (inside edges where you can't see it).  No more leaks, and great fit.
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Mike S
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2013, 11:32:30 AM »

 I suspect in this case it's the rear panel contour that is causing the gap and not the lamp housing themselves.

Mike
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67 LOS SS/RS L35 Hardtop - Original w/UOIT
67 NOR SS/RS L35 Convertible - Restored
Rick68
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2013, 08:21:52 PM »

I bought my bezels from Classic Headquarters and they fit perfect on my car.Not only was I impressed with the fit but the fact that they came with the correct attaching hardware and the factory part numbers and LH and RH were cast into the bezel.
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tmodel66
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2013, 09:08:56 AM »

If all else fails you can tweak the housing. Lay it on 2x2 or something to support it around the edges and lean on the place that's sticking out. Be careful and don't go gorilla on it but it can be bent/warped to a certain degree. I had to tweak the louvers on my hood to make them fit and they are the same pot metal.
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Daniel  
'69 SS 350/4 speed  Fathom Green--POP
DAVEN1256
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2013, 01:10:32 PM »

Thanks for everyone's opinions and ideas.

I know that gaskets will fill gaps. I see some cars out there where the gasket will be squeezed down to nothing in one corner of the taillight bezel and a 1/4 inch thick on another corner. I don't think that looks so good. Is that the best you can hope for with reproduction parts?                       

I see other cars out there that seem to be an almost perfect fit all the way around with the gasket barely visible. Are these original  parts, better reproduction, or someone who just got lucky?

I wanted to see if my problem was the tail panel, the bezels, or both so I took a piece of wood cut it in the shape of the bezel, put a screw through it at each corner, and adjusted the screws so that the end of all four screws touched a flat surface at the same time. (the end of all four screws were in the same plane). The I put the screws up to the taillight openings and the new OER bezels to see what might be warped.







What I found with the taillight openings was that the top, outside corner on each opening was pulled in a 1/4 inch from the other three corners and that the OER bezels seem to be flat. (All four screws touch the corners of the bezel at the same time)

I guess my questions now are......Is this the correct shape of the tail panel and the bezels should have be manufactured to match?.......or is the tail panel warped and the bezels the correct shape?

I haven't tried this yet since I don't have gaskets yet......but if you crank down all the stud bolts and draw the bezel tight to the tail panel, are you going to notice distortion in the tail panel?

           Thanks,
           Dave
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Sauron327
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2013, 03:05:21 PM »

Repro quarters too? The top outside corner is pulled in because the installer aligned it to the quarter. Last car I did had repro quarters with a GM tailpanel and the CHQ bezels fit well, approx 3/32"(divide that by two) manipulation of tailpanel required. The 1/4" you have gets divided by two. Present job with AMD tailpanel and quarters accepts GM taillight bezels nicely and will require no work for a tight fit. The original GM bezels on my GM tailpanel conform well with no gaskets. Gaskets should not be used to make up a gap. One cannot do bodywork from a screen, but it's not a big deal to make multiple manipulations to achieve a better bezel fit. Best to save original gaskets, they barely show when installed. My original gaskets don't leak and I've R&R'd the lights numerous times. How's the upper bodyline just under the lid on that repro tailpanel look? Is it just like a GM line or is it noticeably different?
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DAVEN1256
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2013, 04:06:12 PM »

Scott, thanks for the reply. Yes....repro quarters too! When you say the 1/4 inch is divided by two, I assume you mean you would tilt the bezel so that you have an 1/8 inch gap at oppsite corners instead of the whole 1/4 inch at one corner.  I am not sure what you mean when you say body work cannot be done from a screen, though. When you say you can make multiple manipulations for a better fit, can you be more specific?

I am attaching a photo of my entire tail pan area. I really don't know how to tell a GM tail panel from one that's not. If it doesn't look like a GM, is that significant for anything other than correct appearance?

Thanks......Dave

By the way....does anyone know if I might be better off buying a set of CHQ bezels rather than using OER ones that were manufactured twelve years ago?

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Dave C.
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2013, 05:23:12 PM »

Looking at the photo you posted holding the template up to the tailpanel I see the gap between the trunk lid and the tailpanel increases going towards the center of the tail.  The problem could be that the tail panel is bowed slightly in the center.  Perhaps corrected by removing the trunk latch base and pulling center of tail panel forward?
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Sauron327
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2013, 06:54:56 PM »

By not doing it from a screen I mean not entirely. Alignment is a choreography. Through observation, multiple adjustments and compromises objectives are achieved. I canít see exactly how all the panels interact with one another so only basics can be provided. How is the decklid to tail alignment? The perimeter of the light hole can also be persuaded in or out slightly. The tail top center can go in or out to align with the decklid. By making multiple corrections, fit is achieved. This providing your bezels are not junk. GM tail vs other repros here: http://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=212160&page=2&highlight=AMD+tailpanel
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DAVEN1256
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2013, 07:36:23 PM »

The tail panel to trunk lid alignment seems to be pretty good from what my amateur eyes can tell. After looking at your photos of the three different tail panels, I'd  have to say mine look more the GM and AMD than the other. I don't know what brand was used by the shop that did the work.
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