The next step, get the gaps right! Here’s the basic idea:
♦️The objective is to make sure the panels are flush, and that the panel edges are flush and remain thin.
♦️In order to sight down the car when it’s done and not see where the panels start and stop, the edges need to be touching this c-channel (barely). You will likely need to hammer and dolly the edges around to get them in the correct spot. This also ensures all the edges remain metal and thin after body work is complete.
♦️This is done by using long pieces of aluminum c-channel or flat stock. As you see in the picture, there is a piece of it spanning the entire door, and the majority of the fender. This shows you where all the body filler will be, and if any areas are too high and need to be shrunk down.
♦️Next set the width of the gaps.
♦️Sometimes, the gaps are just right. If they’re not, they need to be added onto by welding, or ground back (and then probably welded).
♦️Typically, start with the door to fender gap. This is where clearance is needed, and is what determines how tight the gaps can be.
♦️There’s no universal size, but often approximately 5/32” could be a good starting point.
♦️Make sure the two panels stay flush as you grind or weld. If your gap is set, and the panels are flush and you have clearance, in theory there shouldn’t be a clearance issue after body work is complete.
♦️TIG welding is preferred for this, since the weld can penetrate more into the door edge, you can control the build more, it’s cleaner, and it can be hammer/dollied 🔨 easier
♦️♦️Spend the time to get the metal work as close as possible. If you get this step right, you won’t have to go back and re adjust any of this work.