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Thread: How to remove and adjust header panel?

  1. #1
    V8 addict and rescuer of unsaleable Full Sizes
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    Default How to remove and adjust header panel?

    I believe I read every thread on this topic and couldnīt find the answer. My Chilton also doesnīt cover this topic, so any advice wil be appreciated.

    The passenger side fender, hood and header panel donīt line up on my 87 wagon. The upper edge of the header panel to the upper edge of the fender is off about 1/4" and the panel is "sagged" about 1/2" under the passenger side part of the hood. Reason must be a past accident, someone must have hit the fender, as the dent is still visible despite 5 lbs. of plaster an a re-spray. At least the PO replaced the bumper. Anyways, the bad fitment bothers me every time I look at it.







    First I thought I could simply realign the hood, but since it meets the fender quite well I guess the header panel rather needs to be lifted. My plan is to hopefully be able to (partly) take the header panel off (or loosen the bolts some) and then shim it to bring it up, say, 1/2" or so.

    I canīt seem to find the bolts holding the panel, tho.

    Laying under the front end, I saw three bolts on the very right, holding the header panel to the fender. The two lower ones are not tightend as the vertical 90° fender edge has been warped in the hit. The top bolt seems to hold the panel for the most part. How can the top bolt be accessed? It seems to be so far up and under the upper horizontal fender edge that I donīt know how to reach it. I have not taken off the turn signal/head lamp trim yet to see if the upper screw can be accessed from there. Does anybody know?

    Next, there are two bolts by the high beam pod, holding the header panel to the radiator support. The plastic tabs on the panel are broken off and too low to align with the support, so I will have to fabricate something. There will be quite some tension in the panel once I have forced it up for better alignment (will heat help??) due to the warped fender. Of course there is a crack in the header panel as well, but I have decided to live with that for the time being cuz otherwise Iīd have to do paint work which is not in the budget right now.

    Can somebody please tell me if I missed some bolts that hold the panel and how to reach especially the top one I mentioned?

  2. #2
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Check this post out. http://www.grandmarq.net/vb/showthre...l=1#post757236

    Here you can see some of the mounting points for the headers panel. Expect slight variations due to your car wearing a mercury front end, though it should be fairly similar.

    You will have to pull the battery out and maybe even the horn (if yours is located in the fender compartment) to access the nuts that hold onto the header panel through the fenders. The nuts tend to seize onto the shaft and then screw out of the header panel and make a really mess of things as it does not pull though the fender due to a washer on the studs.

    Looks as if the hood was kissed in the accident as well. The real issues here unfortunately may be the fender and hood, not so much the header panel.

    A side profile pic of the affected area will help some as well as a picture of the body lines between the hood and fenders from bolt sides.


    EDIT. Is the crack between the grille and the high beam on your header panel?


    If so that may be the stress relief point from having the fender push into the car, the reason for the slight kink in the leading edge of the hood as well as the header panel dipping down in your described area.

    Your fender is probably pushing the header panel over...the split happened due to high stress and the top portion dipped down and now reveals that unsightly gap between the header panel and hood.
    Last edited by 87gtVIC; 08-09-2019 at 06:37 AM.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  3. #3
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    Thx, that sure helped some!

    I just went out to the garage, pushed the battery aside (no hold down clamp, need one) and reached inside the fender. Was able to put a socket,extension and small rachet on and unbolt the nut no problem. Did I get you right, you mean the nut is moulded into the plastic of the header panel and when seized up, you tear the plastic up tryin`to unscrew the nut, hence destroying the panel? Glad that is not the case here!

    In terms of pics I will see to get some later today or maybe tomorrow. Yeah, the crack is where you mentioned. Also, some of the plastic tabs on the grille are cracked, but may be repairable. Iīll take the grille out to gain more flexibility on the header panel.

    My plan was to unbolt what is necessary, adjust/push up (maybe with a jack and some wood logs) from inside/underneath, fabricate and attach brackets for the missing tabs, bolt everything up and hope the header panel to hood gap gets a bit smaller. Matter of fact I will have to "twist" the top kink of the header panel to the outside a bit to get it inline with the fender kink. Not sure if I'll be able to do so, though. Maybe it will come up when I attach the light pod brackets. Problem is, since the bondo was put on the fender with the header panel misaligned, every correction towards the hood will lead to a wider gap on the side where the panel meets the fender ...

  4. #4
    V8 addict and rescuer of unsaleable Full Sizes
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    Great spray can paintjob, BTW.

  5. #5
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colonel328 View Post
    Thx, that sure helped some!

    I just went out to the garage, pushed the battery aside (no hold down clamp, need one) and reached inside the fender. Was able to put a socket,extension and small rachet on and unbolt the nut no problem. Did I get you right, you mean the nut is moulded into the plastic of the header panel and when seized up, you tear the plastic up tryin`to unscrew the nut, hence destroying the panel? Glad that is not the case here!
    Basically. The studs have course threads into the header panel then a washer molded into the stud then it goes through the fender hole and fine threads appear for the nut to secure the fender to the header panel. Often when removing the nut from inside the fender one finds themselves unscrewing the hole shebang from the header panel. It is a bad situation.

    And yes. since body filler was used to smooth everything out you adjusting things now may bring them out of kilter.

    Quote Originally Posted by colonel328 View Post
    Great spray can paintjob, BTW.
    Thanks I am very proud of my fenders.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  6. #6
    V8 addict and rescuer of unsaleable Full Sizes
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    Ok, hereīs some pics of the hood and fender. Lines up ok to me overall, whatcha think?










  7. #7
    V8 addict and rescuer of unsaleable Full Sizes
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    Now that I look into the drv side of the engine bay, what am i missing here? Some sort of reservoir?




  8. #8
    Member WagonMan's Avatar
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    That bracket is for the self load leveling shocks air pump. Either your car had this from the factory or the inner fender liner is from another car. Look for rubber vacuum lines along the drivers side frame all the way to the rear shock area. WagonMan
    1990 Colony Park
    1970 HEMI Superbird

  9. #9
    V8 addict and rescuer of unsaleable Full Sizes
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    Will do. I did find some disconnected black plastic lines and a valve on the passenger side in the back, though. Haven’t had a chance of testing if its functional yet. Can I have both, the (missing) air pump AND the manual valve in the back?

  10. #10
    Member WagonMan's Avatar
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    Yes and No. Sounds like the car was equipped with regular air shocks, which explains the manual valve. WagonMan
    1990 Colony Park
    1970 HEMI Superbird

  11. #11
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    Hmmm. Just found a black line the size of a pencil with a green line inside leading from the bracket down to the bulkhead.

    How does this system work, does it pump up the shocks anytime the car is started or only when it’s fully loaded or when trailering?

  12. #12
    Member WagonMan's Avatar
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    There is a sensor(switch) above the rear axle with a swing arm. When the car has a load the arm will be pushed up making the compressor run until the car is level. WagonMan
    1990 Colony Park
    1970 HEMI Superbird

  13. #13
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    Iīll check if the load leveling shocks are still on the car or if they have been swapped for regular ones.

  14. #14
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    Had a chance to work on the header panel a bit. Not quite happy with the results, tho, may have to get back to it again.

    Some pics from “before”:






  15. #15
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    I removed the battery to reach the three nuts which all came off nicely. I also removed the grille plus two nuts in the top center that held the header panel to the radiator support. Now the right part of the panel was loose and could be adjusted somewhat. I also widened the mounting holes in the fender a bit as the studs were forced in, preventing proper fit of the panel.

    The header panel I lifted with a jack and a piece of wood to find the exact spot where to mount the headlight pod to radiator support brackets. As those were broken off I had to fab something.











    Here are the brackets on the car:



    Last edited by colonel328; 08-18-2019 at 04:36 AM.

  16. #16
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    How did it turn out?

    Well, was better during the install, but after tightening all the nuts and bolts it nearly looked as if the parts went back into their old position. The header panel upper edged came up a bit and the lower edge has moved up and forward. However, the kinks on the top still don’t line up (I doubt they ever will) and the very right side of the panel tilts down a bit. But at least I killed a rainy Saturday morning...






  17. #17
    The Brown Blob 87gtVIC's Avatar
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    Hey. Good work anyways. Was worth a shot.

    Again, it is tough to make things right after things were repaired incorrectly. A shortcut was taken before your ownership in the repair and it is tough to overcome that without replacing panels.
    ~David~

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekTheGreat View Post
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck

  18. #18
    Wagon Addicted Tiggie's Avatar
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    Looks better IMO. Agreed on the tweaked panels... can’t make them perfect.
    1988 Crown Vic Wagon - daily
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    You could lower the passenger side hood bump stop to bring the hood down some, it would make it sit slightly low compared to the fender but it would hide the gap from the bent hood some.

    Its not too unlike the damage my '97 had/has, except mine was/is worse off than yours. My header panel was destroyed, the fender is shoved over a fair bit at the front, and none of it was even close to lining up right. When I got a "new" header panel, I loosened the fender and core support and pulled them back over closer to where they should be, as well as smashed the end of the fender back over far enough to fit the new panel. I was able to get the header panel in and aligned properly with the un-wrecked drivers side fender and core support, but both fenders and core support are still shoved over a bit, and the front of the passenger side fender is too low relative to the core support because of the way it buckled. Somehow, the aluminum hood stayed perfectly square and flat aside from the very front corner being folded down slightly, this is how I know that both fenders are still pushed over because I have a 1/2" gap at the rear passenger side and front drivers side relative to the fenders, and almost no gap at the opposite corners. I also had to slot the hood latch bracket and bend it down slightly so it pulls the hood down tight enough to be level with the still out of whack header panel alignment. The end result is that all of the parts line up way better than they rightfully should, aside from the hood to fender gaps and the fact that I never paint matched the header panel and bumper or filled the dent in the front of the one fender, it would be hard to tell it was hit anywhere near as severely as it was. If the car was in better shape as far as rust, I would have certainly replaced the passenger side fender and I have no doubt that I could have probably gotten fitment very close to factory spec, its the way that fender is buckled (it actually creased up near the hood hinge support) that is preventing the rest from "falling into place".
    -Steve

    2006 Audi A6 S-Line FWD ~132k miles, stock.
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