A panel fixing

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A panel fixing

Postby Fetnas » Wed 12.04.2017, 11:14

OK, here is a slightly different problem.

The A panel on my car is loose at the bottom. Nothing overly unusual about that. The problem is that I can't secure it properly. I had to remove the panel a while back to repair some rodent damaged wiring to the drivers side indicator. This is when i found the problem. In the past, someone has forced the rawl nut out of the hole in the fiber glass nearest to the door opening cracked the fiber glass and enlarged the hole. A new rawl nut can't grab the fiber glass as the hole is now too big.

Up to now I've been using tape to hold the panel in place as I wasn't sure how I would go about fixing this damage. I don't want to go down the route of fiber glassing over the hole as that process is long and slow. I've though about putting a plate behind the hole to give the rawl nut something to grab, but I don't know how I'd go about getting in there. Is it possible to access the inside of the sill to even try this? Is there a larger size rawl nut I could use that would work with the larger hole?

My car was also missing the clamp plate at the bottom of the panel, I've made some out of stainless, but it didn't help with the over sized hole issue. I seem to remember that some double sided tape has been between the A panel and the sill, a solution of sorts, but not what I'm after.

I'm not expecting much of a response, but any helpful suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby HJ2 » Wed 12.04.2017, 12:01

Couldn't you just glue a fixing nut in the now oversized hole with epoxy + glass pearls mixed so the glue won't run before it cures?
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby Fetnas » Wed 12.04.2017, 13:22

Thanks H2J, yes, that sounds like a plausible solution. My thinking hadn't progressed past using the original rawl nut fixing system.

I would need to make sure the top of the nut doesn't sit too proud and stop the A panel from locating properly. I'd also need to get glue inside the sill to maximise the contact surface area, which again would be possible if access to the inside is available. Surely people who've checked their front jack mounting point could tell me if there is clearance to reach into the sill.

Another thought, would a riv nut do the trick? www.rivtec.com.au/threaded-inserts-rivet-nuts I guess my main concern would be cracking the already stressed fiber glass when clamping the rivnut, or I simply epoxy one of these in place? I already have a non sag construction grade epoxy which would be perfect for the job.

Your suggestion has opened up a new path of thinking for me which is just what I needed, thanks. :smt038
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby par » Wed 12.04.2017, 15:24

All the fixings for the lower edge of the A-panel had completely corroded on mine so I used 2 new rubber rivnuts fixed in place with araldite epoxy, I then made a bracket out of aluminium L section to clamp down on on the fibreglass edge as the ends were damaged when removed. I also added a strip of double sided number plate tape to the underside of the L-bracket as a belt & braces approach rather than having to over tighten the bolts into the rivnuts.

Seems to be holding up at the moment.
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby lotusflasherman » Wed 12.04.2017, 18:41

Fetnas wrote: A new rawl nut can't grab the fiber glass as the hole is now too big.


I'd just fill the hole with Isopon P40, wait 30 minutes, drill a new hole for the rawlnut, job done... :bananasex:
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby HJ2 » Wed 12.04.2017, 19:20

:clap:
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby Simon_P » Wed 12.04.2017, 22:55

Take a suitable setscrew and a large washer or suitable piece of plate.

Put the washer on the screw and holding the thread with pliers put the screw and washer head first into the hole, drop the clamp plate over the top and put on a nut... Tighten-up

Don't use a stainless washer or bolt as you can't pick them up with a magnet.
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby Fetnas » Sun 16.04.2017, 12:31

Thanks all for some great suggestions, I'll probably use a hybrid combination of fill and fixed nut glued in approach, all fastenings to be stainless of course. Now I just need to find the time to do the job, not easy with a almost 1 year old son, especially as he's just starting to walk! :smt015
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby basher » Mon 05.06.2017, 23:09

With regard to this panel.
I've got the problem where the door catches the inner wing and as a result I adjusted the door hinge to clear it.
Unfortunately it makes the door a tighter fit at the other end, ruins the panel gap and I'm never certain that it won't snag the inner wing again. I've checked the hinge inside the door expecting it to be rotten and it wasn't. I'm therefore assuming that the A panel was not fitted as well as it could have been before and it needs refitting slightly more towards the front of the car and inwards if that makes any sense. This should give me a few mm to avoid this problem in the future.
My question is, how to you remove it?
Do you need to take off the door? Or can you reach in the cavity to the bolts?
Do you get access to the top bolts by removing the inner wing? Once loose is there potential for adjust in how you secure it?
All help gratefully received..
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby lotusflasherman » Tue 06.06.2017, 01:48

Never needed to do it but look at the Body Structure section in the Parts Manual and you'll see how it fits together..
I changed the side repeaters by opening the door and reaching inside the A panel but you may need to remove the wheelarch liner to get at the fixings..
This is how it's fixed ....
a panel.JPG
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Tue 06.06.2017, 03:31

You can reach all 4 bolts / nuts through the opening ahead of the door - BUT. The lower bolts will have most likely rusted enough that all you will do is spin the jacknuts (not Rawl/Well nuts) when you try to loosen them.

My "A" panels were notched when I finally removed them, but the jacknuts didn't want to cooperate. I tried pulling on the lower part of the "A: panel and they slipped out from under the clamp plate - with a bit of attitude, but they did slide out when I couldn't loosen the bolts.

The more I tried to remove the bolts, the more they spun and started to damage the fiberglass of the sill. I eventually used a dremel to cut the bolt head off and drifted the remainder of the bolt into the jacknut in the sill to expand the jacknut and then finally dremel'ed and drilled the top part of the jacknut and let them fall into the sill. I don't remember if I was able to fish out the remains or it they are still in the sill somewhere (It was 10 years ago). When I put it back together, I used the original clamp plate on the bottom flange of the panel.

Then, you run the bolts/washers down to get a loose fit and with the door closed, try to find the best fit but then carefully open the door and adjust it again so the "A" panel doesn't hit the door again. Finally, snug the bolts enough to hold the bottom where it fits best. Remember to use liberal amounts of anti-seize to minimize future rusting problems. Stainless would be a good choice of replacement hardware.

The upper retainers are lock nuts and large (penny) washers and they came loose without a struggle. IHTH
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby dapinky » Tue 06.06.2017, 09:03

Pretty much as above.....

..... I found the easiest way to reach the 10mm bolts at the bottom of the panel was to gather up all of my 3/16" and 1/4" extension bars and feed them down from above the top hinge - if you try to use a spanner there is no room to swing it.

If they are rusted, then some surgery may be required.

When I refitted mine, I ensured that I used new rubber wellnuts which were stuck in with silicone to prevent water ingress, then i fabricated a flat plate (item 51 in the parts picture above) from aluminium plate to prevent future problems with rusting.
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Tue 06.06.2017, 10:54

Right, Dave.

All of the bolts/nuts are reached thru the door opening working above the top hinge. I am lucky, I have several 12" long 1/4 drive extensions and a drawer of shorter ones.

Interesting that you had well nuts / rawl nuts. Mine was assembled with the aluminum jacknuts.
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby dapinky » Tue 06.06.2017, 12:13

Brit-Car-Nut wrote:Interesting that you had well nuts / rawl nuts. Mine was assembled with the aluminum jacknuts.


My car is the only one I have ever dismantled to that extent (in that area), so I can't say if they were 'OE' or not - they were quite loose in their holes, so I now suspect that a previous owner may have fitted them, but not a tight fit. I know the car had some paintwork a year or two before I bought it, so it may have been as a result of that process.

Either way, it now seems to work!
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby basher » Tue 06.06.2017, 22:30

Thanks all for the advice.
It seems to be relatively straightforward if your jacknuts / wellnuts release! I'm guessing mine will be rusted to buggery and 'surgery' will be needed.
But as Phil says, worst case if you have to break them out, mark the crosses for the centre of the holes, fill them and drill them out again. Then make sure that you make all necessary waterproofing precautions in case you ever have to go back in again.
I'll see if I can get some photos.
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby basher » Wed 21.06.2017, 22:55

Tried this tonight.
The top bolt nearest the front of the car has the easiest access but mine was rusted solid. In the end I had to cut it with a grinder ( dremel died on me) to remove nut.

Next the first bottom bolt nearest the door opening rusted thoroughly. With a combination of ratchets, extension bars and u/j's got it turning but not releasing. Emptied half a can of release agent underneath it in the vain hope that it might let go later.
Bottom bolt furtherest from door opening. Rusted to buggery. Even with all the extension bars and u/j's can't get on it sufficiently to even risk trying to turn a rusted bolt without wrecking the head. All the hinges etc seem to be conspiring to get in the way.
Worst of all is the top bolt closest to door opening. This is completely behind the top hinge, so much so that it snags on the end of the bolt and pushes on the wing. I can't get near it.
I can't see anyway of doing this without taking off the door. Maybe if I get loosen both bottom bolts I could swing the wing out and then slide the top down when it's free from the bottom but I need the top but at least loose first. Ideally I would like the door on for positioning so I know the wing is in the right place.
The plate between the two bottom bolt appears to be missing so I'm thinking that someone's been here before...
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Re: A panel fixing

Postby CalElan » Mon 03.07.2017, 23:38

that top bolt is very tricky to get at.. Most of the spanners I had were simply to wide to fit into the gap available.
In the end I found the oldest and slimmed it right down with an angle grinder. Took longer to do this than to loosen the nut. BTW you do only have to get it loose as the panel pulls out.
The panel pulls directly outwards at the bottom edge and then pulls directly downwards away from the panel join at the top.
I'm lucky in that I have a California car and I don't think it's ever seen rain.
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