Imperial Homepage -> Repair -> Body -> Fender Removal
Question from David(1966):
'66 Crown Coupe body question -- my FSM refers to separate left and right fenders that can be removed individually. I fear the FSM was written by someone who never actually tried to perform this operation.
First, the hood hinge assembly must be removed to loosen two of the bolts the FSM says to remove, but there's no mention of removing the hood first. Second, when I examine my sheetmetal following the outline of the hood I don't see a seam. I see solid metal from the passenger side cowl all the way around the front and back to the driver side cowl, like a giant "U". Am I missing something?
Actually, the fenders are separate, with a filler panel spanning the front of the car. The seams are leaded-in and smoothed to make the front sheetmetal appear to be a solid piece.
You can carefully attempt to remove the entire front sheetmetal (If so, I would leave the radiator support and fender liners attached to avoid stress on the seams.)
If a fender needs replacement, you might as well sever the lead seam and unbolt the fender from the filler panel. You'll have to refinish that area anyway.
I can only speak for my '65 and not a '66. We had to remove the entire front clip to get to some rust on the firewall and other areas in the front of the car. The restoration shop owner who was doing the work told me the fenders did not come off separately from the rest of the front portion of the body. He said they were welded together in one large 'clip'.
Follow-up from Paul:
The front clip of Imperials is welded together into one piece on 1961 through 1966 models. A body shop can remove a single fender by making a cut in a prescribed place. The factory service manual is written to show the qualified body shop where to cut and how to disassemble the "front clip". They did not intend for the owner to do this in their garage.
Question from Tristan (1967):
Today while having a good look at my 67 imperial which is still about half finished, I got an idea. Rather than trying to paint the back side of the front fenders and everything around them while they are on the car, couldn't I just take them off? I'm guessing that they unbolt, am I right in thinking that, and if so, just how much work is it to get them off?
Reply from Roy:
The front fenders on a 67 are bolted on and while removing them is not extremely difficult, there is a great deal involved. Before you can remove them you will have to remove the wiper arms and the cowl panel, the outer half of the inner fenders that create the wheel wells, the battery box and windshield washer reservoir on the driver's side and vacuum reservoir and radio antenna on the passenger side, the panel that covers the hood latch, the pot metal grill sections above and below the main grill, the body colored steel section that holds the main grill and headlight buckets, the right and left bumper wings and finally the body colored pot metal fender nose pieces that hold the cornering lights and turn signal indicators which will include separating one of the spade connectors from the wiring plug in order to get the wires out of the fender. A lot of work and dozens of bolts and nuts that may not want to give up without a fight, not to mention keeping track of them all! There is always a chance of snapping a rusted bolt or stud or stripping a stud in one of the pot metal pieces. I wouldn't recommend doing it unless there is a serious issue with rust under the fenders and if you do go ahead with it, I would recommend you go ahead and get the insides sand blasted and coat everything with POR.
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